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)
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”.
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2008/06/03/news/coastal/encinitas/zafa947205fdfe2808825745d0018213c.txt see comments
survey results http://www.lajollacenter.com/Hall%20Park%20Community%20Park%20Conflict%20Assessment%203-25-08.pdf
Planning Commission rejects Hall park plans September 19, 2008
Candidates focus on park plan