Comments submitted re: Draft EIR for BUSD school proposal

MAR 22, 2018 Comments submitted re: Draft EIR for BUSD school proposal

Whew! We did it! Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) set a short 45-day public comment period on its proposal to build a 1,500 high school in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley.

Lots of praise for the staff at environmental attorney Kevin Johnson’s office. They did an amazing job. A Big Thank You to everyone who shared information and supported the work on these comments!  You’ll want to read them!

Highlights include:

The proposed high school will generate an additional 2,700 vehicle trips per day, a whopping 73% increase in traffic in Gird Valley.  Gird Road currently experiences accident rates far higher than the statewide average of 1.32 per million vehicle miles: 2.36 from the 76 to south of Oak Cliff Drive and 1.90 to the north of Oak Cliff Drive to Reche Road. Accidents will increase along with the additional traffic. School-related traffic, accidents and parking problems are district wide problem yet BUSD has made no effort to establish a carpool program to address this huge negative.

Before beginning its required biological assessment of the flora and fauna on the proposed site, BUSD used 600 goats (with sheepdogs), plus mechanical methods, to clear its 50 acres on Gird Road. It also strung barbed wire fencing around the site, a barrier to wildlife movement. In spite of this effort to denude and isolate the property, endangered species were found on the site (burrowing owl burrows, nesting least Bell’s vireo, kangaroo rats, pocket mice) and a mountain lion was recently spotted nearby. The property has over 16 acres of federally-designated critical habitat for the arroyo toad but BUSD’s Draft EIR ignored the fact that a federal biologist had found an arroyo toad on adjacent land.

Per the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services’ Know Your Hazards mapping tool, Gird Road is in a VERY HIGH WILDFIRE HAZARD LEVEL zone (7350 W. Lilac Road, where the current BUSD high school is located, is rated MODERATE) and Gird Valley has been evacuated twice in the last decade. Fires in 2017 ran just south of the proposed school property on Gird Road yet BUSD includes only one entrance/exit in its proposed high school design. Please read the letter from the Fire Chief on why this is a terrible idea and why this huge project must have at least two entrances/exits! School children’s safety is non-negotiable!

Fallbrook Community Planning Group (FCPG) commented on the Draft EIR after discussing it at a public meeting on March 19 (see transcribed comments below in March 20 posting) where Vice Chair Jack Wood stated,  “There are a number of reasons why this property is not suitable for a school.I strongly oppose the development of a high school on this location.” Chairman Jim Russell noted BUSD greatly understated the parking needs, stating, They will have parking for less than 10% of the student body… I think [this development] would totally devastate Gird Valley with all the students trying to park out on Gird Road and I seriously question the logic of the folks who put those numbers in the EIR and think that is an appropriate thing to do.” … I think a major egregious error in this EIR is the fact that the property is not centrally located where a high school should be so folks can feed in from all around. This is the very extreme edge of the school district,” “on the very extreme edge, the northern edge, of the district and in my opinion is not an appropriate place for a high school.”

You’ll want to know more so read all about it!