Monday, October 13, 2008

Hall Park Roundup by Morgan Mallory

The city purchased the Hall property and invited it’s citizens to design their community park. It was a noble gesture. Two hundred plus stakeholders from all parts of our city were invited to design their park and a consensus was reached for a park concept in a well organized and fair manner.

The Community Input Map above representing elements the taxpayers wanted, morphed into a “Special Use Park, below with the plan now directed to: 1) ”Provide…recreational facilities that are predominately active…2) Maximize the number and use of athletic fields…”

Who made this decision? The Godbe Survey indicates 8o% don’t support the Special Use concept. An Encinitas Days survey indicated the citizens did not want this plan. A SANDAG report was not supportive. Council meetings minutes and press comments support a Community Park. Neighbors of the park are scared.

The issue has become divisive for our community. Across the picket lines are caring, loving families of our community that believe their cause is just.
One side believes that they have the right and need no less than five dedicated and mixed use fields in their “Special Use Park”. The City of Encinitas has been promising to build active-use fields for nearly 20 years. The first proposed site (where Encinitas Country Day was recently built) was sold and the Hall Property was acquired in 2001 with intention of building an active-use park in what had been a thriving commercial nursery. … that there are “unmet needs” for athletic fields in the City. (Enc. Soccer Web)
”Unmet Needs”
Appendix P of the Hall EIR includes a Needs Assessment table from the Encinitas General Plan3. This table lists the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) estimated required need of one soccer field per 10000 residents, with a service radius of ½ mile. The Encinitas Soccer League's web site lists 13 active field locations in the city, many with multiple fields.

One side which includes stakeholders from all over the city and park neighbors want their “Community Park” that was designed with playing fields, but not limiting additional park amenities to accommodate five fields. They have made many efforts to compromise, the other side has not. Cardiff residents who have valid, unanswered concerns want fields too.
"In 2008, you have no park, so softball, no soccer, no walking, no community access. It is a wasted asset. And there are huge bills such as consultants and attorneys fees, opportunity costs, community resources overused and polarization of the community. What happens if there is no change in the current approach? There will be winners and several losers. There are also likely to be lawsuits and three more years before the park is used realistically."
Dick Bayer of the La Jolla Center for Dispute Resolution

The city offered their stakeholders a Community Park and a Special Use/Sports Park at the same location.
The planning commission recommends:
“ Commissioners called for replacing at least one of the dedicated soccer fields with passive uses, such as trails or open space. Early documents show community support for passive uses at the site.”
“Commissioner Virginia Felker said that the project had languished for too long. “We’ve been talking about this since 2001,” she said. “Hopefully, we can come up with something that most people will be happy with.” She noted that records from several public meetings dating back to 2002 show that many residents don’t want a sports-focused facility at the site.”
“Commissioner Gene Chapo had a conciliatory tone. “I want to strive to try to find a project somewhere in this 2,500 pages of document and all of these consultants … that we can support together,” he said. “It really is in our interest that this project gets built.”

The Park and Recreation Dept and the Soccer Leagues are appealing the Planning Department’s recommendations on the 20th.

There is a consensus. Everyone wants to build the park.

The thousand pages of Volume II was withheld from electronic distribution, because “of the large digital size”. see comments
survey results
Planning Commission rejects Hall park plans September 19, 2008
Candidates focus on park plan


  1. How can the City get away with this?

  2. Morgan,

    I give you respect for taking the time and effort to document this.

  3. It will be interesting, at the Candidates Forum, to find out how the candidates feel about this and to find out how they feel about the Streetscape plans. Have any or all been to any Streetscape workshops or reviewed them?
    Who are friends of Leucadia?
    Candidates Forum is happening tomorrow night. It is an opportunity to find out
    who are friends of Leucadia?
    Rachelle and Maggie are.

  4. The citizen's did not get to vote on the park elements because of the way the city structered the bond that was used to purchase the property.

  5. Thank you Morgan. That was a lot of work and very helpful to me to "wrap my mind" around this whole process. You have my respect for doing this.

  6. It will be interesting what Doug and Bob, (Park & Recreation commission members), have to say at the forum.
    Did Park & Rec. put in the direction to: 1) ”Provide…recreational facilities that are predominately active…2) Maximize the number and use of athletic fields…”?

  7. The City gave only one business day to offer comments challenging this determination of the appeal of the Planning Commission.
    Today, a Holiday, by 5:00 P.M.

  8. I live near the Hall Property. I cannot believe I recv'd the notice in my mailbox on Friday afternoon and I only have until Monday 5pm to digest everything and respond?? On a holiday too? It's insulting!
    I'd love to see 2-3 active fields and the rest of the park passive with other ammenities......pool, skatepark, tennis ocuts, basketball, accomodate everyone!

  9. Don't you get it? It's what staff and their close friends want to go in at the park. They control what and when important info gets out to us. They have an unlimited budget and can wait until we are too tired to protest anymore. I was once told by a city employee that the first protest is the most well attended, the second will have half as much and the third less than half that.

  10. It is true. The citizens have the feeling that there is nothing they can do. One council member told a concerned citizen, when she said the citizens want a community park, “Get over it.” All community surveys, public comments and council minutes support a community park concept and not a Spec. Use/Sports Park. The council majority and the 5 sports field supporters have ignored public consensuses and have caused the divisive and costly delays. They are the ones that have delayed the BUILDing of THE PARK.

  11. In an election year, citizens are listened to. If you care about Encinitas, the whole city, and the blatant attempt by special interest to hijack our money and our streets, show up on October 20 and say something. The council is committed to stay as long as there are speakers. I went to the Planning Commission hearing and the ESL league had speakers for the whole first hour -- they had already signed slips and had a few people turn them in so they could waltz in early and leave early. I waited two hours to speak. The ESL is organized and committed to shove this park down our throats. Do we give up now? Have we done everything we can? Are we quitters? No -- show up and bring a neighbor. All the communities in Encinitas should be weighing in on this. The ramifications of allowing special interest to trump local opinion is a precedent that has started to erode the unique character of our City -- look at Moonlight Lofts, Pacific Station, now a sports complex? I don't live in Cardiff and I have children who play soccer -- but I don't like what is being done and how it's being done. The ESL has tried to marginalize the people who want a community park -- portraying them as 30 neighbors -- so if you want a true community park show them that there are many more than 30 individuals who are not happy with the proposed sports complex. Write a letter or show up and speak or donate your time to a speaker. Bring your kids. Tell Stocks and Bond and Dalager they are not a omnipotent troika who can sell out our quality of life. I might even wear my Junk Stocks and Bond T-shirt (if I had one).

  12. Citizens for Community ParkOctober 14, 2008 1:12 PM

    What? Only one day to offer comments? That is ridiculous. All of the comments already given to the Planning Commission should be considered.

    Furthermore, if there was some mysterious deadline for comments, then everyone who previously submitted comments re the Hall Property should have been notified, well ahead of time, of that deadline.

    Typically, comments are taken, in writing, up until the time the public discussion is closed. I don't get this!

    I had already made a comment, on the NCT and SDUT blogs that I feel our Council should NOT have the authority to appeal a Planning Commission decision. That should come from a citizen, not Council, itself, who sits in a quasi judicial capacity to determine the appeal.

    Our City lacks proper checks and balances. Council plays judge, jury and executioner and there is no separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial "jurisdictions" or branches of Council,which is also conflicted by sitting on the Boards of the Encinitas and Cardiff Sanitary Divisions and the San Dieguito Water District. No one is watching out for the best interests of the ratepayers!

    Give us a break and vote out the incumbents. Morgan, yes, thanks for doing a good job on this piece, and I wish you could get it published as a community commentary piece in the NCT or SDUT.

    The Planning Commission weighed hundreds of documents received and hours and hours of public input. The Commissioners knew that many of the public speakers were from Carlsbad, from sports leagues that want to be able to play their tournaments at Encinitas taxpayer expense, on fields that are composed of artificial turf!

    The community, as a whole, favors less full sized fields. There was someone taking anonymous votes at the Cardiff forum. I and several others voted for only two full sized fields, which can be used as four youth soccer games, or practices, which typically use only half fields. This would be in addition to two or three baseball diamonds. I was told by the gentleman collecting ballots, that Barbara Cobb, the moderator would be counting them after the forum. I talked to her afterwards, and she said no, no one had asked her to count any vote, and she had no plans to do so!

  13. Cardiff resident Bob Holt conducted the informal poll on the Hall property at the Cardiff Forum. Barbara Cobb only gave him permission.

    The results? Out of about 55 responses, around 45 prefered a reduced number of fields.

    This was not a scientific poll, but it agrees with the city's own Godbe Survey, which showed small support (less than 20%) for active sport fields.

  14. It boggles the mind that a dude who's knocking down old funky Leucadia rental units in order to make big bank on developing new big buck McCondo's on Vulcan has the ballsack to Diss a park project in Cardiff that's had like a hundred freaking pblic meetings!

  15. Thanks Morgan.
    A lot of people forgot how we got here.

  16. Don't forget what happened in the middle of all this. The city probed deeply into the idea of selling off a chunk of the Hall property to pay for the park.

    It is curious that the sports people weren't concerned about not getting 5 fields then. Did they even know that almost happened.

    A few of the CQL people SAVED the full park concept by pointing out that the city's bond scheme would not allow part of the park to be sold off.

    Not long after that the city ordered $20 million dollars in loans.

  17. Monday should be interesting.

  18. What happened to the live web cast for tonight's meeting? (Oct 20 2008). The audio was OK at the beginning of the meeting, but it's not working now.

  19. You can watch on Channel 19 live if the webcast isn't working.


Thank you for posting on the Leucadia Blog.
There is nothing more powerful on this Earth than an anonymous opinion on the Internet.
Have at it!!!