On March 4 Deputy Mayor Gaasterland and Mayor Druker presented council with a Resolution to create a Task Force to advise council on the Notice of Preparation (NOP) “scoping” process for the SANDAG tunnel project. Three council members (Worden, Martinez, and Quirk) rejected the Task Force and the accompanying Resolution. Unfortunately, the sound system was terrible and most people couldn’t understand the discussion and reasons for this action. So, here is a recap of why the council majority rejected the proposal.


The council majority preferred to conduct the proceedings before the full council where all could participate and where the planning and legal staff who have handled hundreds of NOPs could help.


The proposal:

  • Included only residents and excluded Del Mar businesses despite impacts to businesses;
  • Included two advisory members from the City of San Diego, but excluded representation from Solana Beach and the Fairgrounds who are equally impacted by the tunnel, making it look political;
  • Would, under the Brown Act, exclude councilmembers Worden, Martinez, and Quirk from participating or addressing the Task Force and would constrain open and free discussion among Task Force members;
  • Because SANDAG has already said it will study a fairgrounds alignment the proposed Resolution calling out a fairgrounds alignment for preferred study would unnecessarily antagonize the Fairgrounds putting our fairgrounds housing plans at risk;
  • The council has already adopted a statement of Guiding Principles governing the issues in the proposed new Resolution;
  • The short NOP process can be quickly and efficiently dealt with at council, without the need to create a Task Force;
  • Creating a Task Force can be addressed later in the process.

For these reasons the council decided it was better to hold the NOP scoping proceedings before the full council.


So, What Is This NOP Process And Why Is It Important? Before SANDAG starts the environmental review process for a tunnel project it is required by law to issue an NOP and conduct a “scoping” process. This process will define what is addressed in the required environmental documents (in this case a joint EIR and EIS). This process is open for 30 days or more and allows everyone interested to submit comments to SANDAG as to what issues they think should be addressed. SANDAG expects the process to happen in April. We are well equipped to handle the NOP process before the full council, welcoming input from everyone and making sure our issues are on the record.


Disclaimer: This piece reflects my personal views and not necessarily the views of the city or the council, although I have done my best to accurately recap what happened at council.