Fairgrounds to host 241 toll road appeal hearing

Supporters and opponents of the controversial Foothill South Toll road through San Onofre State Beach will return to the Del Mar Fairgrounds for a rematch Sept. 22.

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce will hear an appeal of the California Coastal Commission’s denial of the 16-mile extension of the 241 toll road. The hearing is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at O’Brien Hall, the same site of the massive Coastal Commission hearing in February.

The Coastal Commission denied the project 8 to 2 citing numerous unmitigated environmental impacts on the 2,500-acre state park, including the potential to degrade water quality, camping and surfing resources, drive endangered species towards extinction and threaten a Native American burial ground.

The project applicants appealed the decision to the Commerce Department, and a hearing was granted to take public input. Individuals wishing to speak at the hearing must mail a written request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association before Sept. 12.

A large opposition turnout is expected, mobilized by environmental groups Sierra Club and Surfrider, who have campaigned vigorously to “Save Trestles,” a premiere surf spot at San Onofre State Beach.

How to speak at the hearing:

Those wishing to provide oral testimony must submit a written request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association by Sept. 12.

Requests must be submitted via U.S. Postal Service or commercial carrier and received by Sept. 12, not just postmarked. Requests faxed, e-mailed or phoned will not be considered.

Requests should include the speaker’s full name, address and a statement that testimony will be provided on behalf of an individual.

Mail to:

Thomas Street

NOAA Office of General Counsel for Ocean Services

1305 East-West Highway, Room 6111

Silver Spring, MD 20910

For more information:

241 Toll Road

Save Trestles

Del Mar Fairgrounds