The City of San Diego is asking a judge to halt progress on Palomar Community College District's proposal to build a new campus on 27 acres in Rancho Bernardo.
The proposed South Education Center Project would be located in a currently unfinished four-story, 110,000-square-foot building on Rancho Bernardo Road that is attached to an existing parking structure. The proposal also includes plans to build a 1200-foot road connecting the parking structure and lot to the education building.
Residents living near the proposed campus objected to the plan and the college district's refusal to study parking in adjacent neighborhoods.
In May 2016, Rancho Bernardo councilmember Mark Kersey wrote a letter to college officials stating his opposition to the project as proposed. "The proposal in many cases is based on flawed information and leaves out significant impacts.... Without addressing the many parking and traffic shortcomings...I see no way for residents and the community to welcome the [South Education Center] to District Five."
Despite the concerns, the district moved forward with final certification of the project's environmental studies. In response, on July 15 the city filed a writ of mandate citing inadequate parking and traffic studies as well as failing to address increased greenhouse-gas emissions.
"The traffic generated by the Project will have a significant effect on the environment. For example, the project will increase the delay at the intersections of Rancho Bernardo Road and Via Del Campo, Rancho Bernardo Road and Martinal Road, and Rancho Bernardo Road and West Bernardo Drive in amounts that exceed the applicable significance threshold identified in the [final environmental impact report]. These impacts have not been adequately disclosed and analyzed in the [report]."
The city also claims that the Palomar Community College District has ignored requests to provide the city with copies of environmental documents that are required by the California Environmental Quality Act.
"[Palomar Community College District] is planning to proceed with construction and operation of the project, even though the construction and operation of the Project will irreparably harm the environment as described herein. A temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctions should issue restraining [Palomar Community College District] and its agents from proceeding with the project."
A judge will consider the city's objections in an upcoming hearing.