City of San Carlos to Settle With Citizen Group Over Artificial Turf?

September 11, 2010

Wow… I literally did a double-take yesterday when I got my daily email update from the City of San Carlos (by the way, if you aren't subscribed to the City's eNotify update service, you should definitely do so.  It's a great service.)  Yesterday's email with the agenda for the 9/13 City Council meeting had the following bullet item:

Authorize City Manager to sign a settlement agreement with Save San Carlos Parks related to the Lower Highlands Field Renovation – Synthetic Turf Project (Item # 7j)

I thought I misread it at first, but according to Michelle Durand's article in today's Journal, it looks as if the City of San Carlos and the citizen group Save San Carlos Parks may be close to reaching a settlement that will resolve their long-standing dispute over the conversion of Highlands Park to an all-weather surface.

Costly Settlement

Much of the settlement seems to focus on traffic mitigation around Highlands Park, since the recent Superior Court ruling found no fault with the actual installation of the turf.  But aside from the cost of traffic modifications, the terms of the proposed settlement call for  the City to pay for the legals fees incurred by the citizen's group — which is nearly $85,000.  And this is in addition to covering the cost of their own legal representation.

This a big ouch for a city that's already nearly broke.   But if the settlement comes to pass, it should remove the final hurdle to complete what was started over a decade ago.

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  1. Cheri on September 11, 2010 at 5:14 am

    $85K wasted on nonsensical attorney fees. I’d also like to find out where the City thinks it can divert the overflow traffic to. Maybe Heather School parking lot? Also, I’d like to see the city provide plastic bags for all the dog owners that congregate in the mornings and the evenings on North grass field. Lately, the field has become an exercise/bathroom for pets. My daughter’s soccer team has to encounter this every time. Some of these turds are the size of large grapefruits.

  2. Pat B ` on September 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Remember, that’s only one side of the legal fees. The city hired its own representation. Our city attorney does not handle law suits, that’s extra, probably another $85 K. I can’t remember when San Carlos settled a lawsuit early on. They seem to always fight until they’ve been slapped down by the courts and have no choice.

  3. Alexia on September 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    I take daily walks around the Highlands fields and have noticed the same things. It’s my understanding that dogs don’t like to run on artificial turf because of the textured surface and will not do their bathroom duties on it. It would be natural to conclude that you’re going to see a lot of this pooping on the other grass field. Have you noticed that many of these dogs are unleashed and the dog owners don’t carry poop bags. There used to be a filled dispenser at the end of the field towards the easment on Elston Court. Perhaps due to budgets cuts, the city doesn’t refill it anymore. In Torrey Pines (San Diego), they do a soil sample test in the city parks to check the level of contaminants due to dog defecation. All this is unnecessary if dog owners would be more responsible.

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