A group of Mission Valley residents living in the Civita community are suing the City of San Diego for approving a plan to build a freeway connector directly through their development.
The group, calling itself "Save Civita Because Sudberry Won't" — a reference to the developer Sudberry Properties — says the city sidestepped environmental laws in order to gain approval.
That road, as reported earlier, would stretch from Friars Road north into Serra Mesa and to Interstate 805, splitting the massive development in two. City planners estimate that more than 34,000 cars will travel through the community each day.
Residents who purchased units in Civita, however, have long opposed the road. They say that Sudberry Properties failed to disclose plans for the road when they bought their properties. And, Sudberry's claims that the development was to be a transit oriented, urban village, was just a sales pitch.
The lawsuit focuses on violations to the California Environmental Quality Act. Specifically, the lawsuit claims that city staff did not analyze the short and long term impacts to the community and also failed to present alternative plans.
Residents in Civita have spent years opposing the road. According to a statement from the group, nearly 1,000 residents have gone on the record to oppose the road.
It has been an uphill battle for residents.
Despite the opposition, representatives from Sudberry and other developers have urged city officials to approve the road. Even bike advocacy group, Circulate San Diego, lobbied for the project, this despite the fact that a bike lane and walking trails would be built at the location with or without the road.
City council approved the plan for the road last month.
The lawsuit will now move through the Superior Court.
UPDATE 11/30, 11:10 a.m.
"We have not urged the city to approve the road,” says Marco Sessa, senior vice president for Sudberry. "Our only urging of the city has been to move the issue forward to a decision. For over a decade we have had to plan for both scenarios at a significant expense and have encouraged the City to make a final decision…. Since 2005, we have remained neutral on whether the connection should be approved or denied.
“It is absolutely false that we failed to disclose the potential for the road when folks bought in Civita. Every buyer has been provided disclosures that specifically reference the issue and we’ve discussed the issue at numerous public meetings. I also wholeheartedly disagree with any claim that the road connection somehow keeps Civita from being a transit oriented urban village."