of Rose Creek sues City over new trolley station’s impact
Dave Schwab, October 17, 2019
Pacific Beach environmental watchdog group has sued the City
alleging an environmental report on the new Balboa Avenue
Trolley Station doesnt comply with the California Environmental
Quality Act in failing to address proposed densification near
environmental plan excluded significant analysis of potential
impacts to Rose Creek by artificially drawing the boundary
of the plan area to exclude the creek and bike path despite
numerous requests by the community to identify the impacts,
both during scoping and in comments to the draft EIR,
said Karin Zirk of Friends of Rose Creek. If the City
wants to encourage more users in this sensitive habitat, then
the City needs to provide park rangers, trash pickup, and
other maintenance services to protect this rare coastal wetland.
will consult with our client and respond through the courts,
replied City spokesperson Leslie Wolf Branscomb to the Rose
Balboa Avenue Trolley Stop is one of nine planned for the
Mid-Coast Trolley under development to extend trolley service
from Santa Fe Depot downtown to UTC and serving Old Town and
UC San Diego beginning in 2021. The new Balboa station is
in a transit-oriented zone promoting higher housing densities
and mass transit including bicycles and other multi-modal
uses, as well as relaxing parking requirements for development.
Aug. 1, San Diego City Council unanimously passed a specific
plan calling for greater housing density and multi-modal connectivity
for the new Balboa Station serving Pacific Beach/Clairemont.
The council, however, stopped short of dedicating Rose Creek
as public parkland, as some were advocating as a condition
of project approval.
filed the lawsuit on behalf of Friends of Rose Creek, a nonprofit
whose vision is for lower Rose Creek to be turned it into
an open-space park providing habitat restoration and recreational
and educational opportunities, on Oct. 9. The environmental
group hosts annual trash pick-ups and clean-ups of the creek.
said the Rose Creek suit is part of a larger reaction to City
land-use policies. The City is trying to avoid addressing
the cumulative impacts to our natural spaces, which we see
not only in the Balboa Plan but also in the De Anza Revitalization
Plan and the Fiesta Island amendment, she said. They
are all being done separately, and the cumulative impacts
of all the projects, the connection between them, is not being
Zirk: I would like to see the City fully analyze the
environmental impacts of Rose Creek. The City has identified
impacts, where they just say no mitigation is feasible. We
disagree. We think their environmental plan should be amended
to include mitigation measures.
contends the new Balboa Trolley stop is going to be problematic
in numerous ways.
going to increase noise pollution and make the traffic worse,
with at least a seven-fold increase in trash from the four
tons per year we now pick up to 28 tons per year, she
said. We cant keep up with that now, and the City
is providing nothing new to address this issue. We also have
people trampling through critical sensitive habitat.
noted Escondido-based DeLano & DeLano environmental and
land use law firm has been engaged to represent Friends in
its lawsuit. She added the legal alternative was chosen only
as a last resort.
didnt want it to come to this, said Zirk. We
wanted the City to take care of all the natural resources
and amend the specific plan, but the City has chosen not to
said a March 2020 court hearing has been set for the Friends
of Rose Creek lawsuit.