Thursday, May 14, 2009

Citizens Group Files Suit Against San Carlos City Council

The Save San Carlos Parks community group filed suit yesterday in San Mateo Superior Court against the City of San Carlos, challenging the City’s inadequate environmental review of its decision to convert Highlands Park from natural grass to synthetic turf.

“No one wants to go to court over this issue. We proposed a settlement conference to try to find a compromise, but unfortunately the City declined that offer. That left us no choice,” said Greg Harris, a member of Save San Carlos Parks. “In their rush to move forward they have failed to consider the significant adverse impacts on the community.”

Save San Carlos Parks says that a legally adequate environmental review will, among other things, do at least four things:

Evaluate alternative surfaces and compare their impacts or benefits to the City’s synthetic turf proposal.
Analyze the health impact of synthetic turf and crumb rubber on young children.
Address community concerns over the required infrastructure to support the increased traffic and parking.
Analyze the City’s economic viability to support this park over the long run.

Despite facing a $2.7 million budget deficit in the next fiscal year, the City approved a plan to move forward on a field project that will ultimately cost the City $3.7 million.

“Preparation of the required environmental impact report will reveal that this project will exhaust the City’s capital improvement funds for our parks and leave the City unable to maintain this field over the next ten years,” said Daniele Huerta, a member of the Save San Carlos Parks organization. “This project benefits the competitive year-round soccer players in San Carlos, but it would mean the City has no money for the rest of the community.”