The Cliffs Emergency Response Team
Navajo Community Planners Inc., on August 19 took no action on a request from the Cliffs Mobile Home Park residents to support their plan to obtain emergency evacuation easements on nearby Allied Gardens Little League fields. Instead, planning group chair Matt Adams invited residents to come back after they meet with the Little League and residents of streets that would be affected by the easement.
The Cliffs is a 262-unit senior park located off Mission Gorge Road on Old Cliffs Road. Across the street are the ball fields. Old Cliffs Road ends in a cul-de-sac at the top a hill. Mobile-home residents are seeking two easements across the fields and onto the endpoints of cul-de-sacs on Halifax Street and Estrella Avenue. Park residents are also asking for certification of the upper field as an emergency helicopter pad with the adjoining field certified as an assembly area.
Larry Webb, deputy park captain for the Cliffs emergency-response team, told Navajo planners that he had communicated by e-mail with the Little League. When Webb presented the proposal at the July 23 Allied Gardens Community Council town hall meeting, residents learned that the Little League, not the City of San Diego, owns the fields.
Team members and park managers Susan and Ivan and Wilkinson discussed the plan in an August 16 interview.
Work on the park's proposal started after Webb, a retired missionary who ministered in the Bolivian Andes, read the plan posted in the clubhouse.
He found inconsistencies in the "generic plan" posted by previous managers. Webb said these included "the instruction to gather by the lake. We have no lake."
There were "instructions for airlift evacuations off the roofs of the mobile homes. Whoever wrote those plans had never faced the challenges of getting a 90-year-old crippled grandmother up onto the roof of a mobile home under any circumstances, let alone chaotic moments."
Residents and managers started revising the plan in February. "In that process, we learned there's no alternate exit" besides Mission Gorge Road, said Webb.
The easements petition signed by more than 200 residents stated, "At peak travel times, egress onto Mission Gorge Road is very difficult due to all lanes being filled to capacity. This negative situation is being further impacted by the new construction of 444 units being initiated at the Archstone project plus another 997 units approved for the Shawnee/Riverbend project at Old Cliffs Road and Mission Gorge."