Noise, Light, Commercialization, Traffic, Parking and…
The issues today are much the same as nearly a decade ago when the current turmoil arose over the School District’s plans to install lights on the Point Loma High School football field: Frequent noise and light pollution invading our homes, traffic and parking, trash and loitering in front of our homes.
The Difference This Time: Urgency
The project and environmental impact report finally have been approved by the School Board and field redevelopment is under construction. Approving 5-0, the School Board ignored its own EIR warnings of “unmitigatable” adverse impacts from noise, light and traffic. The newly approved EIR warns that more than 1,000 cars for each big event will wind up parking on our streets, and neighbors should expect events any night of the week to accommodate 25% more “stadium” visitors. That’s 2,500 cheering fans, concert-goers and special-event attendees.
More than 54,000 LED watts of stadium lights (similar to 540,000 standard incandescent watts) are about to illuminate Loma Portal and beyond, and amplified bass-heavy pump-up music, play-by-play calls and sponsored announcements will invade PLHS neighbors’ homes, in between and over the aircraft noise.
The School District has designated PLHS lights and stadium conversion into a juiced-up rentable venue as the immediate first phase of the “PLHS Whole Site Modernization and Athletic Facilities Upgrade” project – like, now – and has pushed back classroom renovation and construction to the last phases, still years away through 2020, although the borrowed bond money for classrooms was approved years ago by voters.
Adding Insult to Injury
Loma Portal residents mostly have been ignored, despite submitting hundreds of pages of scientific warnings, witness observations, anecdotes and common-sense declarations about the environmental damage threatening this historic residential neighborhood. Our same neighbors have been patronized or ignored in dozens of meetings with aloof school and city officials. So Loma Portal residents have been forced to sue the School District to enforce state and municipal laws protecting our citizens from environmental harm.
The lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court seeks to preserve PLHS athletic fields for PLHS students and specifically exclude third-party rentals that would commercialize our residential neighborhood in violation of state and local law.
For details on the impacts of increased stadium use and nighttime events, click the links above or read the summaries below:
In the first year after field lights went up at Clairemont High School, the field was lit up and sound system amplified for hundreds of nights. The VAVi Sports and Social Club, a for-profit play-and-drink business for young adults based in Pacific Beach, was among the most frequent renters. VAVi counts Miller Lite beer and iTan tanning salons among its most important sponsors, neither of which seem like healthy messages for young adults, much less for a high-school field-game business. READ MORE
Most PLHS parking already occurs on our single-family residential streets because of grossly inadequate parking on campus. So what does the School District do? Although enrollment peaked years ago, it will increase football-field seating capacity by 25%, to 2,500 spectators, with only a token increase in parking. The result: Traffic and parking jams for dozens of blocks surrounding the campus on weeknights and on weekends. READ MORE
Serious traffic trouble until late at night is what to expect from a redeveloped PLHS stadium, like the head-on crash on Voltaire Street near the stadium entrance before the 2015 Homecoming game. And that was in daylight. Imagine hundreds of inexperienced, teen drivers out until late at night, enabled any night of the year by the stadium lights, a party atmosphere, sound system and new loose Field-Use Policy. Or imagine the young-adult VAVi sports team renters heading to (or from) their Miller Lite beer parties. This is a prescription for danger for pedestrians, motorists and passengers. READ MORE
SAFETY and CRIME
The PLHS stadium is pretty unique, sharing property lines not with parking lots or parks or streets or canyons, but with people’s homes. What used to be a relatively peaceful dark neighborhood at night is about to glow so bright that neighbors will be able to read indoors without lamps. Remember the Clairemont High School lights fiasco? The lights and sound system, of course, are designed to attract and entertain visitors from everywhere. Mostly, they’ll be teens (for school sports) and rowdy young adults (the renters). READ MORE
“A significant and unavoidable noise impact is identified with the implementation of (the) proposed Athletic Facilities Upgrades,” the EIR warned the School Board, to no avail. Loma Portal neighbors agree. The PLHS field redevelopment will make San Diego’s noisiest neighborhood even worse. READ MORE
Many residents think light pollution will be the worst aspect of unfettered nighttime use of the PLHS athletic facilities. In fact, the School District’s redevelopment czar offered Loma Portal residents free window blinds in an unsuccessful negotiation prior to the School Board’s project approval. What, no free earplugs? READ MORE