Rancho Santa Fe Association chips in to ‘refresh’ expired roundabout EIR
The Rancho Santa Fe Association board has agreed to provide San Diego County with an additional $60,000 to update the Environmental Impact Report for the Paseo Delicias/Del Dios Highway roundabouts project, which has now gone “stale.”
“They’re asking us to help finish the process,” RSF Association Manager Bill Overton said at the Feb. 4 meeting. “I would say that a 73 percent vote is compelling community support (for roundabouts) and it would be reasonable to use Covenant Enhancement Funds to complete this project and carry out the survey.”
It took some time for the county to respond to the Association’s November letter about the survey-backed preference for roundabouts.
Leann Carmichael, a county program manager with the department of public works, wrote a letter on Jan. 28 that detailed the long, winding road it took to get to where they are now, starting back in 2004 when the Association requested the roundabouts as an alternative to traffic signals.
“Since that time, community interest waxed and waned. Considerable time, funding and effort were expended to bring the project to Draft EIR public review from late 2012 to early 2013,” read Carmichael’s recap. “As part of the EIR public process, the Association requested a reduction in the size of the roundabouts and took a passive position of not objecting to the EIR. Concurrently, the Association also initiated a new independent study of a traffic signal concept.”
Carmichael said based on the lack of clear support for roundabouts and the “upswing in support for signals,” the county held off on certifying the EIR pending a clear recommendation. In May 2015, the county received the request to move forward with traffic signals, which was followed by the community-wide survey and the Association then asking to reverse its May request, submitting the preference for roundabouts in fall 2015.
“I think it’s important that the membership knows, in reading this letter from the county, how tragically flawed our decision-making process is in this community,” said board member Kim Eggleston. “(The letter) is a condemnation of the wishy-washy, back and forth, one vocal minority overrides another vocal minority and we end up doing absolutely nothing… and this goes back to 2004.”
Twelve years later, Eggleston said he hopes they are now making progress and that they will be more decisive in their decision-making.
“I think the membership needs to know, this is no way to run a railroad,” Eggleston said. “I think it’s important that we get this issue behind us, give them the money, do it.”
The cost to “refresh” the expired EIR is a total of $75,000, of which the county has $15,000 remaining for the project. The county requested the Association kick in the remaining $60,000 required to refresh and certify the EIR.
Funding has not been identified for the roundabouts project and there is no estimated time frame for construction completion.
In granting the money, the board members also wanted to ensure that once the EIR is certified it will remain certified and that it wouldn’t expire while they are waiting for funding.