By JC Mejia
With the recent verification of the SDSU West initiative, San Diegans will vote later this year on the future of the existing Mission Valley stadium site — a distinct choice between SDSU West and SoccerCity. Like many of my neighbors in Mission Valley’s neighborhoods, this site is located just a stone’s throw away from our front doors.
Over the past year, I watched SoccerCity, backed by La Jolla-based investors, present a plan with shiny renderings and supposed promises for our Mission Valley community. Surely, I thought, a “full vetted” plan for this critical piece of our neighborhood would have included input from Mission Valley residents and protections for our neighborhoods.
But that never happened and never will.
SoccerCity never considered neighbors while it created a private, backroom plan that we’re just supposed to accept. The plan skips environmental review, expressly prohibits public hearings and exempts itself from noise ordinances.
Skipping the environmental review most importantly means there will not be appropriate mitigations for traffic. FS Investors says they will commit millions of dollars for traffic improvements, but there’s no proof that this will be enough, especially considering that we have already seen them significantly underestimate their traffic impact. SoccerCity traffic will trump the Chargers’ busiest game day traffic by thousands every single day. Shouldn’t nearby residents get to share our concerns about this through a public process? Shouldn’t we get guarantees that we won’t be seriously impacted?
And if the traffic and noise isn’t enough cause for concern, SoccerCity is poised to muck up our community with 750,000 square feet of additional retail space. There is already an abundance of shopping options in Mission Valley — upwards of 6 million square feet. More regional retail space will just exacerbate the traffic problem we already have.
The SoccerCity plan will taint the character of the Mission Valley community we know and love by transforming it into an unneeded entertainment district with shopping, restaurants and bars. The last thing our city needs is a Gaslamp 2.0 in Mission Valley — that is what the Gaslamp Quarter is for.
I have two young kids, and I can’t imagine leaving our house every single day in double game day traffic, no matter whether I am taking them to school, going to work or just trying to get to the grocery store.
The impact on us as residents is why I am supporting the SDSU West plan. The SDSU West site plan is an open and transparent process. Through public hearings, our community’s questions and comments will be answered and heard, and the impacts on us will be properly mitigated. In fact, SDSU recently presented to and got feedback from the Serra Mesa Community Council — outreach we’ll continue to see with other community groups. Their continued communication throughout the process assures me that this is the right choice for Mission Valley.
Plus, SDSU plans to dedicate more than half of the space to park space and a permanent river park. This is the future I would like to see for Mission Valley. Let’s not let this iconic piece of land in Mission Valley be inundated with the ideas of investors who don’t understand San Diego and blatantly disregard the desires of our community. We need more parks, not more traffic.
Our community has been and continues to be family-oriented, known as the heart of San Diego. Please help us keep it this way for generations to come. SDSU West will not only support the growth of one of the most valuable assets to our economic region, SDSU, but will also secure the preservation of the character of our great community. The path set forth by SDSU West is exemplary of how our community can thrive while still maintaining the integrity of its character.
I have one request for San Diegans: Please consider your Mission Valley neighbors when you vote on the future of the stadium site and support SDSU West. SoccerCity never considered us, but I am hopeful that our neighboring voters will.
—JC Mejia is member of the Friends of SDSU steering committee and a resident of Mission Valley.