Franklin Ridge Road Connection Update
Summary of Lawsuit:
An environmental lawsuit regarding the approval of the road connection from Phyllis Place in Serra Mesa to Civita in Mission Valley was filed on November 27, 2017. A 501(c)3 nonprofit Board, composed of representatives from Civita and Serra Mesa, sued to protect public safety and the quality of life in Civita and Serra Mesa.
Lawsuit Ruling and Appeal:
On January 28, 2020, more than two years later, the San Diego County Superior Court ruled against the environmental lawsuit. The decision supported the City’s process.
In a January 31, 2020 Union-Tribune article, Judge Rules For S.D. In Lawsuit Over New Connector, it was stated that the road “…would allow developers to build more commercial projects and dense housing in Mission Valley by boosting overall traffic circulation there.”
Within the 60 day deadline requirement (approximately April 1) the Board will appeal the decision to the 4th District Court of Appeal. We’re concerned about safety for both Civita and Serra Mesa residents. An appeal is heard by three judges and takes approximately 18 months. The brief will be filed by December and will include arguments about the inadequate preparation of environmental documents and the bias of City Councilmember Scott Sherman.*
If this freeway connector is completed, lives are at risk. A 4-lane, 55-mph freeway connector will immediately allow over 23,000 cars daily increasing to over 34,000 cars a day through Serra Mesa and half-mile stretches of Via Alta and Franklin Ridge roads in Civita. This freeway connector will clog the only access road for many homes in Serra Mesa, creating a dangerous situation for emergency access and evacuation of that area.
Additional funds are needed now to move this appeal forward. Turn your concerns about the road connection into action. Donations are tax deductible. Online donation information is at https://savecivita.com/take-action/ or checks can be addressed to Save Civita and mailed to Save Civita, PO Box 23315, San Diego, CA 92193. Thanks to all of you who have donated to this worthwhile cause!
*City Councilmember Scott Sherman actively campaigned in May 2017 to obtain support from the Mission Valley condo associations; Civita associations were excluded; and the campaign began prior to meeting with the Serra Mesa Planning Group representatives. References to Sherman’s role are on pages 2, 5-6, 29-30 of Plaintiff’s Brief and pages 25-27 of Petitioner’s Reply Brief at http://www.serramesa.org/hot-topics/. Sample quotes from the Plaintiff’s Reply Brief, pages 29-30:
“In fact, as far back as May 2017, on at least one occasion, Mr. Sherman’s staff was offering to write the support letter for a group willing to support the Project.”
“Even worse, the day after the Planning Commission recommended approval of the Project on August 24, 2017, Mr. Sherman’s staff sent out an e-mail stating “[t]hank you to everyone who came to the Planning Commission Hearing yesterday and sent in letters of support! With your support we had over 40 speakers in attendance and turned in over 50 letters in support of this Community Plan Amendment.””
“Mr. Sherman’s staff then urged supporters to attend future public hearings and sign an online petition in support of the Project.” “In light of the foregoing, it is clear that by the time of the City Council’s public hearing on October 30, 2017, Mr. Sherman’s motion and vote in favor of the Project were a foregone conclusion. That his vote was already counted means the hearing failed to comport with the fair-hearing aspect of due process. Due process requires that all hearing judges be impartial.”
Court Order is HERE.
Tentative Ruling is HERE.
Plaintiff’s Reply Brief filed on November 20, 2019 is HERE.
Opposition’s Brief filed on October 28, 2019 is HERE.
Plaintiff’s Brief filed on September 13, 2019 is HERE.
Lawsuit is HERE.
Additional information about the lawsuit is HERE.
Franklin Ridge Road Connection Summary
On October 30, 2017 City Council approved 4 lane Franklin Ridge Road connector (connects Phyllis Place in Serra Mesa with Via Alta/Franklin Ridge Road, Civita development, in Mission Valley)
Emergency, bike, and pedestrian access exists at Kaplan Drive in Serra Mesa and Aperture Circle in Civita
Connectivity exists with Mission Center Road and pedestrian and bicycle trails from Civita to Phyllis Place mandated with or without the connector
Phyllis Place will be widened to 5 lanes from Franklin Ridge to I-805 SB
Phyllis Place Park located across from City View Church bisected by connector
Environmental study indicates that connector provides limited benefit for evacuation to 200+ homes in Phyllis Place area and surrounding communities have multiple access routes
Connector traffic results (long term): Phyllis Place (Franklin to I-805 S) traffic increases 1,327% from 2,420 to 34,540; 61% more vehicles on bridge; significant impact on 6 freeway segments; significant delays and queuing on Murray Ridge I-805 ramps
Murray Ridge bridge restriped to 5 lanes and 2 bike lanes
Elementary school at corner of Via Alta and Civita Blvd
Only two crosswalks half mile apart at the top and bottom of Via Alta and Franklin Ridge Road in Civita – adding more prevented by steepness of the grade (~ 8%) and curves
9 of 19 mitigations won’t be implemented – most of them violate City policies; developer agreed to pay for connector; unclear who pays for other mitigations including widening of Phyllis Place
Serra Mesa Concerns
Bisection of Phyllis Place Park – danger for pedestrians; impact usability of the park
Safety issue caused by City View Church parking lot not aligning with the connector (the conditional use permit allows left turns from the church driveway and the City can’t require the parking lot reconfiguration mitigation since this is private property)
Connector encourages auto-dependency and discourages mass transit, biking, and walking (Climate Action Plan strategy adopted by City); encourages travel from other areas (e.g., North Park) to access I-805 freeway
Gridlock occurs at peak hours limiting mobility for 200+ single family dwellings and 56 retirement/Senior home residents
Emergency access from Phyllis Place impacted by congestion
Steepness of connector (developer indicates just under 10%) – potentially create noise and air pollution
Route could be used by semi-trucks traveling to and from retail/commercial area – difficulty with idling and making sharp turn at intersection
Circulation – Worsens in Serra Mesa and doesn’t help most of the Mission Valley intersections and segments which were studied
Impacts (noise and air quality) on retirement/Senior units located across to the west of connector
Click HERE to view the final environmental impact report, scroll down to August 15, 2017.
Click HERE to view resolution, R-311380, for certification of EIR, adoption of finding, statement of overriding consideration, and Mitigation, Monitoring, and Reporting Program.
Click HERE to view resolution, R-311381, authorizing amendment for street connection.
City Councilmember Meetings
The Serra Mesa Planning Group’s representatives met with the remaining city councilmembers and/or staff prior to the City Council hearing on October 30. The councilmembers were given the same booklet as the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee members. Additionally, all councilmembers were provided a summary chart (click HERE to view) and a summary map (click HERE to view).
Serra Mesa Planning Group PowerPoint Presentation at the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee on September 21
Click HERE to view the presentation.
City Councilmember Meetings
The Serra Mesa Planning Group’s representatives met with City Councilmembers David Alvarez, Chris Cate, and Georgiana Gómez and/or staff prior to Smart Growth and Land Use Committee hearing on September 21. City Councilmember Scott Sherman declined to meet with community groups. The document (click HERE to view) provides the information that was presented and discussed during the meeting.
Serra Mesa Community Council (SMCC) Position Presented at the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee Hearing on September 21
The Serra Mesa Community Council board voted unanimously on August 21, 2017 to support the Serra Mesa’s Planning Group’s position to oppose a community plan amendment for a road connection.
Also, SMCC has a duty to represent the interests of Serra Mesa and to ensure that impacts are addressed. Since SMCC doesn’t have the expertise to evaluate the environmental document, SMCC retained an environmental attorney to review the FEIR and prepare and submit comments to this committee. You should have a copy of his letter. The letter describes deficiencies in the FEIR and provides justification for voting against the community plan amendment.
Serra Mesa Community Council (SMCC) Response Letter 2017
SMCC’s attorney submitted to the City a response letter (click HERE to view) to the FEIR on SMCC’s behalf.
Environmental Document 2017
The Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Serra Mesa Community Plan Amendment Roadway Connection is posted HERE. Scroll down to March 29, 2017. You can also find a map of the proposed street change here HERE.
Serra Mesa Planning Group (SMPG) Response Letter 2017
The Franklin Ridge Road Connection Subcommittee met five times with the main purpose to draft a letter in response to the Recirculated DEIR. In evaluating the Recirculated DEIR the focus was on identifying the inconsistencies, specific impacts, errors, omissions of data or analyses, and conclusions not based on evidence. SMPG reviewed and approved the response letter on May 18, 2017. You can review it HERE.
Serra Mesa Planning Group (SMPG) Position Statement 2017
On May 18, 2017 SMPG approved a position statement (click HERE to view), which was sent to the City.
Serra Mesa Community Council (SMCC) Response Letter 2017
SMCC’s attorney submitted to the City a response letter (click HERE to view) to the Recirculated DEIR on SMCC’s behalf.
Get the Facts – Franklin Ridge Road Connection presentation at the May 24, 2017 Serra Mesa Community Council meeting
The presentation (click HERE to view) summarizes the Serra Mesa Planning Group’s analysis of the Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report.
Serra Mesa Planning Group Representatives Met with City Councilmember Scott Sherman and his staff on June 15, 2017.
The document (click HERE to view) summarizes the information that was presented and discussed during the meeting.
Environmental Document 2016
The Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (DPEIR) for the Serra Mesa Community Plan Amendment Street Connection is posted HERE. Scroll down to June 2, 2016. You can also find a map of the proposed street change here HERE.
Serra Mesa Planning Group (SMPG) Response Letter 2016
The Franklin Ridge Road Connection Subcommittee met four times with the main purpose to draft a letter in response to the DPEIR. In evaluating the DPEIR the focus was on identifying the inconsistencies, specific impacts, errors, omissions of data or analyses, and conclusions not based on evidence. SMPG reviewed and approved the response letter on June 16, 2016. You can review it HERE.
Serra Mesa Planning Group (SMPG) Position Statement 2016
On June 16, 2016 SMPG approved a position statement (click HERE to view), which was sent to the City.
Serra Mesa Community Council (SMCC) Response Letter 2016
SMCC’s attorney submitted to the City a response letter (click HERE to view) to the DPEIR on SMCC’s behalf.