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Navajo Planners hear update on Alvarado Creek

Posted: September 16th, 2016 | Communities, Grantville, News, Top Stories | No Comments

By Jeff Clemetson | Editor

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, the Navajo Community Planners, Inc. (NCPI) got its first update on the Alvarado Creek Enhancement Project. The update to NCPI included a report on an earlier meeting of the Flooding Subcommittee that was formed to oversee the project.

Last year, the city of San Diego received a grant from SANDAG to study solutions to flooding problems along Alvarado Creek in order to facilitate redevelopment in Grantville.

“One of the biggest issues to overcome in order for that vision to be realized is a resolution to the flooding situation,” city senior planner Seth Litchney told the NCPI board.

The SANDAG-funded Alvarado Creek Enhancement Project includes a study of flooding in the areas around the Grantville Trolley Station. (Graphic by Todd Kammer)

The SANDAG-funded Alvarado Creek Enhancement Project includes a study of flooding in the areas around the Grantville Trolley Station. (Graphic by Todd Kammer)

In order to satisfy the four terms of the grant, the city brought on a consulting team to study how to address flooding; increase access to the Grantville trolley station; enhance Alvarado Creek as an amenity by creating walking/biking paths; and improve water quality.

“Keep in mind that the multi-faceted aspect of this grant says it is flooding and it is also land use in trying to make this an amenity,” Litchney said. “So how can we take those two areas and combine it.”

Litchney said that while the background studies for hydrology have not yet been done, the Flooding Subcommittee had met with Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and other landowners who are affected by the floods.

The San Diego River Conservancy (SDRC) also took part in the subcommittee meeting.

“The Alvarado Creek flows into the San Diego River, it’s something [SDRC] would like to see improve from a water quality standpoint,” Litchney said, adding that SDRC also has grants to offer, so it is important to have them involved.

The subcommittee meeting produced valuable feedback, from owners about concerns; ideas for what can be done; things that need to be studied; potential areas the consulting team hadn’t thought of; and where the boundaries of the study should be, Litchney said.

As of now, the study only includes the area around the Grantville Trolley Station with Twain Avenue to the north, Alvarado Canyon Road to the south, Waring Road to the east and stopping at will Mission Gorge Road to the west.

“The area where Alvarado Creek flows beyond Mission Gorge Road isn’t necessarily part of our study area, but potentially that area could be impacted by these flows and any changes that occur upstream,” Litchney said.

The NCPI board raised concerns over leaving Mission Gorge Road out of the study area.

“The pipes that go underneath Mission Gorge Road are one of the problems because they can’t handle the capacity,” said Jay Wilson, who was also part of the subcommittee. “They’re backing up so [the consultants] agreed to take a look at that because that’s definitely a problem.”

Dan Smith said the pipes under Mission Gorge Road can’t handle existing conditions, let alone the planned future development.

“Can we get more money to study the bridge? If we don’t fix the bridge pipes, it’s not going to do any good,” Smith said. “The study, as you know, is to take care of the existing conditions. It has nothing to do with the 3,000 units we want to build by the trolley station. It has nothing to do with the trolley station development, which is what we are trying to get to eventually. This doesn’t even address it, so we’ve got a long way to go.”

Litchney assured the NCPI board members that the consultant team plans to study beyond the “imaginary line” it drew at Mission Gorge Road for the study’s boundary.

“There’s no way that we can come back with a proposal that ends up causing a bigger problem down the further edge of the creek,” he said, adding that the study will take into account the planned development in a general sense only because there are no concrete development proposals for the consultants to work with at this time.

“No, [the study] doesn’t necessarily say, ‘there are 3,000 units here, how are we going to fit that in there?’ But what it’s saying is we know what the vision is for the area and we want to include it as part of the solution and not necessarily do something that takes away the ability for that to redevelop,” he said. “That’s what really spawned this — the fact that 3,000 units can be built there. That’s why this proposal did so well at SANDAG because they want to see it happen, too. So the solution that we come up with has to take into account this vision that has been created for Grantville.”

Next up for the Alvarado Creek Enhancement Project is continued work by the consultant team, and another meeting with the subcommittee, to develop two alternatives on how to address flooding while also incorporating the vision in the Navajo Community Plan. More public outreach meetings, one early next year and a second one a little later, where those alternatives can be presented to the public and discussed, are also planned, Litchney said.

—Reach Jeff Clemetson at jeff@sdcnn.com.

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