• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

No matter the ultimate fate of the falls, George Janczyn says that there’s been little citywide interest in the matter. He characterizes local media coverage as scant at the outset and nil by 2007. The general assumption, he notes, was that the falls would be preserved. (Indeed, when he contacted Councilmember Marti Emerald’s District Seven office in 2009, he was assured that the project was dead.) But master plans have a multitude of pathways to resurrection, including court-approved revision, and SDSU pressed on in its quest to civilize a parcel of land few San Diegans had ever inventoried as wild to begin with. Although the San Diego Superior Court was persuaded to set aside the original master plan, it allowed SDSU to present for judicial imprimatur its new and improved edition — the ’07. As the litigation wound through procedural oxbows, Janczyn embarked on an informational campaign, writing extensively about the proposed project on his blog, groksurf, setting out a timeline of developments. He also posted a slide show and numerous photographs of the falls.

On February 11, 2010, Judge Thomas Nugent, presiding in Vista (the litigants — objecting to the roster of available downtown judges — had moved the case up-county), approved the 2007 Master Plan. In pertinent part, Nugent ruled that SDSU’s revised plan had satisfied applicable requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and provisions regarding mitigation. After protracted procedural wrangling and copious outlays of attorneys’ fees (the Del Cerro group alone spent around $60,000), SDSU had won, at least temporarily, the right to put up a scaled-down version of its project with 172 units. As for the latest ruling, Janczyn says, “I have mixed feelings. Currently, no one really uses the falls because access is so difficult. But if the project goes through, the wildness will be lost. Right now, we have an unmaintained site. Ideally, I’d like to see a minimally maintained site with trail improvements, maybe a few places to sit, and parking for, say, about six cars.” However, according to Janczyn, the mere presence of the faculty/staff housing — even consisting of 172 units rather than 540 — would turn this patch of wild into a manicured scrap of mild. On the other hand, he muses, “With the state of the economy, it could be ten years or more before it’s built.”

No matter when the project is built, and regardless of its scale, San Diego State doesn’t want to fund mitigation. The university contends that its only obligation is to request funds from the State of California, a stipulation, says Janczyn, that is tantamount to nothing at all. On June 1, 2010, the City of San Diego, still fighting SDSU’s apparent attempts to evade paying for mitigation, filed an appeal to set aside approval of the 2007 Master Plan. The Del Cerro Action Council, however, has dropped out of the fight due to lack of money.

Given the logistical roadblocks to building at the falls — tortuous road access, grading nightmares, unavoidable environmental degradation — one might think that SDSU has a supportable reason for choosing the site, a reason it would elucidate. But when I called the university for comment, Greg Block, director of media relations and new media, refused to comment, sputtering, “We don’t talk to the Reader.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader

More from the web


JWilson2 July 28, 2010 @ 11:13 p.m.

To clarify a point, regarding the property owned by SDSU at Adobe Falls, it has been suggested SDSU work with property owners adjacent to the trolley to possibly trade some or all of their property. Then their housing could be built adjacent to the trolley and eliminate the need for driving from the proposed SDSU housing at Adobe Falls to the SDSU campus. If the housing was adjacent to the trolley, SDSU students, staff and faculty could be dropped off in the middle of the campus and eliminate the need to drive to the campus. Del Cerro Action Council.


ListMakerLisa July 29, 2010 @ 8:34 a.m.

SDSU has an Urban Planning program, as well as Biology and Geography Depts. that should be howling over this project. A land swap seems not only logical, but a much more responsible use of taxpayer money. Where is the US Army Corps on the analysis and mitigation of the watershed in this development? If access is going to be a problem, how could this location get a pass on the CEQA laws concerning traffic and access to fire and police protection? This really sounds like all the pertinent laws have been circumvented.


nan shartel Aug. 2, 2010 @ 1:40 p.m.

i went to groksurf and watched the video...the area is just beautiful...i think a nature area would be a grand use for it...i would think State's Ecology program would be thrilled to develope it into a premier San Diego Nature area


nan shartel Aug. 2, 2010 @ 1:41 p.m.

and lure many young people into their Ecology Program too


navyskcs Aug. 5, 2010 @ 8:54 p.m.

I have lived on Adobe Falls Rd for the last 5 years and have been following this issue all along. I think that the bottom line here is that with California's budget troubles, SDSU will never have the funds to go ahead with the project even if they ultimatly win in court. I believe they have way too many other priorities to deal with to worry about this project.

I take my dog down there once a week and I can say that the falls have been one of the best kept secrets here and could become one of the 7 wonders of San Diego if the city could acquire this property and develop it into a park. The Urban Corps acame through a few years ago and cleaned it up after the sewage spill but it could use some more TLC as the college kids party there but it's not too bad.

I appreciate the reader and Mr Janczyn for keeping some light focused on this issue.


Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!