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Stephen Goldfarb April 21, 2014 at 10:22 AM
Giving credit. Cogentrix, the Quail Brush power plant promoters, are once again at the CaliforniaRead MoreE nergy Commission asking for a second 1-year extension. They still want to install a massive power plant (longer than a football field, 3 stories high, with 11 gas fueled generators, and 100 foot tall smokestacks) in East Elliott. Cogentrix chose an area designated for open space conservation adjoining Mission Trails Regional Park to site their power plant. One may ask why Cogentrix did this rather than choosing an industrial site for the proposed power plant? The answer is not hard to fathom. A capable company doing its due diligence would soon learn that East Elliott property was cheaply available due to the City's artificially suppressing land value. Low land value is so the City can purchase the property for a park or landfill. The result has been the formation of two organizations to fight locating the power plant in the neighborhood, thousands of person-hours to mount a community action against the power plant, and engagement of several government agencies (City Council of San Diego, City of Santee, San Diego Planning Commission, community planning boards) vote on the power plant. Though an unintended consequence, and an irony, we should give credit for the Quail Brush power plant where credit is due: the City Council of San Diego and the park expansion interests on whose behalf they act. Stephen Goldfarb
Stephen Goldfarb April 22, 2014 at 01:19 PM
It is worthy of note that Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) got its start when the federalRead Moregovernm ent made the former Camp Elliott available to incorporate into the City for residential use. As part of that arrangement, the federal government gave the city 2000 acres for public use, open space and recreation. That 2000 acres includes the Fortuna Mountain area of the park. The concept was that East Elliott would be for residential development and the 2000 acres given to the City would be the open space offset to development. Park advocates subsequently obtained other land to add to the initial federal grant, leading to the present park size of about 5800 acres. MTRP is today the largest such park in California, and one of the largest in the nation. Yet another 1300 acres is being added to the park from the Rancho Encantada area (now called Stonebridge Estates). This is 10 miles from MTRP. Park advocates call this area Mission Trails Regional Park North. In this case, the provision of the land was made in cooperation with the owners who were permitted to develop a portion of their land for residences. That is how the Multiple Species Conservation Program is supposed to work. It is clear that there is ample park land for recreation. The City, by acting to accommodate special interest park expansionists, whose appetite for park expansion is without limits, is acting contrary to its own stated fundamental priorities. In 2002 the City declared a housing emergency. This led to a complete revision of the General Plan. The City was running out of land for residential development (about 4% remained in 2006). The concept of the revised General Plan was to foster "smart growth" and emphasis on vertical development on infill property. In the present instance, the City is removing land from development. Thousands of residences are removed even at the very low existing density of 1 dwelling unit per 40,000 square feet. Rational intervention would allow this situation to be changed. It would do no harm to park enthusiasts to do so. Stephen Goldfarb
Stephen Goldfarb April 23, 2014 at 06:20 PM
When the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) was implemented in 1997, it was hailed asRead More&quo t;enlightened" public purpose legislation. That is because it allowed private owners to economically develop their property while setting aside land for conservation. Former Mayor Susan Golding, in her cover letter to the MSCP, embraced this concept. She wrote, "The MSCP is an historic accord established to strike a critical balance between development and the protection of valuable habitat. Together, the City of San Diego, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the California Resources Agency, and members of the environmental and building and development communities have worked to develop a sound plan to put aside habitat or endangered species while making it easier and less expensive for most property owners to develop their land. When it is complete, San Diego will be home to the largest urban preserve in the country." She also wrote, "Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt has called this plan a 'model for the country...that truly demonstrates that the preservation of ecosystems and the unique plants and wildlife they support is compatible with growth and development.'" As we have stated, a private owner is allowed to economically develop 25% of his or her property in exchange for deeding 75% of their property to the City for conservation. Everyone was listening except the special interest Mission Trails Regional Park expansionists who thought it would be a great idea to deprive the owners of economic use of their property so the property could be acquired to incorporate into the park.