Say NO to PUSD's plan to put a Costco on a site designated for a future school!
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We are a group of concerned residents, families and friends that OPPOSE the district’s plans to lease the land (known as “Black Mountain Ranch site”) on the corner of Carmel Valley Road and Camino Del Sur to Costco. We are urging the Poway Unified School District (PUSD) board of directors to STOP this project now and do the right thing for our children and community!
We oppose this plan for the following reasons:
A. PUSD’s Lack of Transparency
The PUSD board members and staff were bombarded with emails of concern from the community starting on September 10th, 2020. Why? Because thousands of community members found out about the board’s plan to lease the land designated for a school to Costco on the day they voted to do so. Why? Because the board's actions lacked transparency. The district is now scrambling to provide the information on their website that should have been provided throughout the process, but instead they are doing it AFTER they voted to proceed with the lease. The lack of transparency is obvious. This information should have been provided to everyone prior to the vote, not after the vote.
B. PUSD Did Not Involve the Community
The district did not involve the community at every single step.
Fact 1: The TWO “announcements” in the Union Tribune is not enough.
Fact 2: The PUSD did NOT follow the Education Code Requirements for community input (Section 17387-17391), which required at least 7 members, “match the community demographics”, are “parents of students”, and also include “land owners or renters, with preference to be given to representatives of neighborhood associations.” However, there were only 5 members who are NOT parents of elementary and middle-school aged children, and did not include an HOA representative (BUT they had one in 2012). The community has changed significantly since this original committee was formed in 2012.
Fact 3: PUSD is failing to recognize that the Costco lease is NOT in the best interest of the community.
Fact 4: PUSD kicking the can to Costco to deal with the blowback from the community shows bad faith on the part of the District and at a time when the District should be working to rebuild trust. Once the lease to Costco is signed, only those in the district who live in the City of San Diego will have a voice, which leaves approximately 40% of the district disenfranchised from the process. As for the remaining 60% who are eligible to vote when this gets onto a City ballot, their voices will be drowned out as they make up only 11% of the population of the City of San Diego. PUSD's lack of transparency prevented meaningful community involvement, and the concerned families' voices will be drowned out at each subsequent step in the future.
C. Leasing to Costco Eliminates the Option to Build a School on the Site
We recognize that there are experts in the district who work on this. We don’t dispute that. However, members of this community are concerned about the length of the lease. PUSD relied on a limited data set (a 5-6 year enrollment forecast) in making a decision to call the land surplus. However, a 5-6 year enrollment forecast is INSUFFICIENT because the district wants to lease the land to Costco for 40-60 years. An RPAC committee that is incomplete, not representative of the community’s demographics, and relies on an incomplete analysis is improper and not aligned with the district board’s core values of doing what is best for the children.
D. Negative Impact to the Various Neighborhoods and the Environment
The proposed Costco and gas station is in the heart of a residential community with designated open-space for hiking, biking and nearby a nature preserve. A Costco and gas station will have a negative environmental impact because of its underground fuel tanks. A big box store DOES NOT belong in this neighborhood. The more appropriate location for Costco is near the commercial land currently in progress near the 56 Freeway (Camino Del Sur exit). Adding a Costco and gas station will further exacerbate the traffic on this intersection throughout the entire day. The roads could, of course, be expanded to accommodate tens of thousands of more cars and the many 18-wheeler Costco transfer trucks. However, do San Diego residents want to use their tax dollars so that Costco can accommodate the traffic their presence will bring?
PUSD failed to be transparent throughout this whole process – from review, discussion, decisions and votes regarding the RPAC, the RFP and the Costco negotiations. The manner in which PUSD handled this process was such that it prevented meaningful involvement from the community. As a community, it is our sincere hope that our coming together will encourage the PUSD Board of Directors to STOP this process and PARTNER with the community to determine the best use of that land and what is best for the children/students. Some believe we need a school on this site, while others believe it should be a retail center for small businesses that can serve the community, and some are unsure of the best use for the property, but all agree that a Costco is clearly the wrong choice for our community.
As concerned residents, families and friends in the Poway Unified School District (PUSD) and neighboring communities, we are signing this petition in OPPOSITION to the district’s plans to lease the land known as “Black Mountain Ranch site” or to Costco.
To learn more about the issues: please visit our website protectourcommunitysd.com
***PLEASE DO NOT DONATE to change.org, those funds are NOT getting redirected to this group. You can donate using GoFundMe https://gf.me/u/y2pbgp or (search for ). “Protect our Community Now” (POCN) is a is a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation aka PB 501c3. THANK YOU for your support.***
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