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60-Day Delay for Quail Brush Power Plant Rezoning Decision

The San Diego Planning Commission grants Cogentrix request for a continuance on vote.

Read more about the Quail Brush Power Plant Project

Facing a crowd with signs reading "Stop the Santee Power Plant," the San Diego Planning Commission decided Thursday to grant Quail Brush Genco (Cogentrix) a requested 60-day continuance. In June, the Commission will decide whether to investigate if the plant can be located where it is planned, in the .

In order to build the plant, the city of San Diego Planning Commission must re-zone the power plant site from open space to industrial and Cogentrix must get approval from the California Energy Commission.

The Planning Commission voted 4-2 to grant what is now the second continuance to this decision.

The usual opposition to the plant was in the crowd along with about 40 cohorts: Van Collinsworth with Preserve Wild Santee, , the and the Stop the Santee Power Plant protesters.

Congressman Bob Filner spoke against the continuance and San Diego City Councilmember Marti Emerald spoke in favor of it. Others in favor of the continuance included the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and various local construction and electrician unions.

"I would ask for the continuance to continue the community outreach to discuss the need or desire to buid this power plant at ," said Emerald.

"I don't think it's a chance for outreach, it's a chance to propagandize," Filner said to the Commission.

"They [Cogentrix] are scared of all the people here... they don't want all this testimony to come up about saving Mission Trails Park," he said.

Other public speakers were continually reminded only to speak about the issue of the continuance and not the merits of the placement of the power plant, the topic which most speakers had come to address.

, Project Manager for the Quail Brush project, told the Commission the continuance was necessary for a number of reasons.

"We plan to take this time to work on addressing the issues raised by the public and to provide more information in response to those concerns," said Zeibart.

"We are working with staff to modify plant design to address issues raised about visibility," she said.

She added that the design changes aren't planned to affect already released emissions statistics.

When asked for specifics about what outreach Cogentrix is considering in these 60 days, Ziebart replied:

"This will give us more time to meet with local residents and community groups that are interested in learning more about our proposal to enhance energy reliability in the region."

Many public speakers claimed that Cogentrix was manipulating the permit approval process, that this request for continuance was a ruse.

"This delay is their attempt to prevent organized resistance to gain strength," said one speaker.

Other speakers worried that the delay would affect oppositions ability to intervene in the CEC process of approval.

"I don't think the Planning Commission really understands what's going on with this project," said .

The Planning Commission will meet again on June 28 to decide whether to initiate an amendment to the East Elliot Community Planning Area, where the plant would be built.

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Van Collinsworth April 27, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Congressman Filner defends Mission Trails Park Congressman and candidate for San Diego mayor Bob Filner stood up for Mission Trails Park and our public health today at the Planning Commission by opposing the Quail Power Plant Abomination. A large crowd of Mission Trails Park supporters watched as the Planning Commission voted 4-2 to continue the issue of whether to initiate a zoning change from open space to industrial for power plant siting until June 28. See the linked film clip and mark your calendar! https://www.facebook.com/PreserveWildSantee
Van Collinsworth April 27, 2012 at 03:44 AM
I hope Congressman Hunter will take a strong stand also. Here's a statement from Congressman Filner: "I spoke today at the Planning Commission to oppose the Quail Brush Power Plant because it will harm the surrounding air quality and degrade Mission Trails Park -- plus, installing a gas-powered plant in an area ravaged by the 2003 wildfires makes little sense. As a region, we should be investing in solar power and clean energy, not threatening our environment and the health of our communities."
JR April 27, 2012 at 03:56 AM
What is Emerald's stance on this?
Van Collinsworth April 27, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Council member Emerald has not taken a position, but she has taken time to appear and request two continuances. She also directed the applicant to present to the community planning groups which was helpful. After Tierrasanta Town Council did not support initiating the rezone - it was pulled from Navajo.
Stephen Goldfarb April 27, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Cogentrix-Quail Brush wants to overturn decades of careful land use planning to install their power plant. The plant (3 stories high and longer than a football field with 11 separate generators and 11 100-foot tall smokestacks) doesn't belong on environmentally conserved land. The company touts economic benefits, but these are also available at a more suitable location.
Maggie Acerra April 27, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Bob Filner is an opportunist latching onto this so he can finally connect with the voters on something. It sounds like the 60 days is more about "what kind of deal can we make" on the part of the Planning Commisssion than any actual hard work and research about the power plant. What ever side of the political spectrum you are on as a voter doesn't matter right now, corruption is corruption, and every citizen must fight the back room deals being prepared as we speak. This is our home, not their dumping ground, and we are only able to fight this because of a small group of Santee citizens that fought to bring this to the attention of the Santee residents and to those in the City of San Diego. The truth about this power plant is already out there and I can't imagine how Congenttrix will package this to make it more desirable to the citizens, however, they may make the local city councils in the area a great deal to either jump on board with this or ignore it and stay out of their way. We need to keep an eye on our local govt reps very carefully over the next 60 days!
rudy reyes April 27, 2012 at 03:51 PM
We are doing a great job! Congentrix should be afraid and showing
Santee Homeowner April 27, 2012 at 03:56 PM
you do not have to be a victim of the energy companies, kill them with guerrilla solar. http://solarjohn.blogspot.com/2008/08/design-and-build-off-grid-solar.html
Santee Homeowner April 27, 2012 at 04:00 PM
This abomination was known to the MTRP stewards for many months and was kept secret from the community.
Van Collinsworth April 27, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Current law favors licensing power plants – there is not much of a check & balance on the CEC. We have to defeat the zoning changes in the City of San Diego. We can’t count on the CEC to reject it if San Diego provides a green light. If San Diego doesn't allow the zoning to change from open space to industrial we will win. The plant violates San Diego “LORS” laws, regulations and standards, so San Diego can reject it out of hand, but may not have the political courage to battle the energy industry. Our job as citizens is to provide them with the courage needed and hold anyone bought off accountable. It doesn’t help us to take a shot at a candidate/official that just offended a large source of campaign funds by speaking out strongly on our behalf. Bob Filner – just did that. It is not any coincidence that of the candidates running for Mayor – Bob Filner is the least well funded even though he has the advantages of being in Congress. Money and power – the entity we’re fighting would much prefer one of his competitors. The same dynamic exists in the San Diego District 8 race that governs the site. One candidate has taken a strong position against the power plant (the least well funded), one has shown concern without taking a firm position and one has demonstrated a close affiliation with the status-quo. I’ll let the readers figure out who is who. The bottom line is that you need to go beyond party alliances and “follow the money.” Its a proven indicator.
Nancy April 27, 2012 at 10:22 PM
What's the best thing for the citizens to do now?
Santee Homeowner April 28, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Nancy, Please email the CEC and voice your opposition, the commisioners do read the emails. . ESolorio@energy.state.ca.us Then email the San Diego Planning Commision planningcommission@sandiego.gov Please visit http://www.stopthesanteepowerplant.org and sign up to follow the blog, you will be informed of the latest things to do. Surf the blog and also like the FB page http://www.facebook.com/SanteePowerPlant http://solarjohn.blogspot.com/2008/08/design-and-build-off-grid-solar.html
Retha Knight April 29, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Mission Trails Regional Park Citizens’ Advisory Committee (MTRP CAC) meets this Tuesday, May 1st @ 6:30 pm at the visitor center of MTRP. We must band togeather and show strong opposition to the MTRP CAC. "SAVE MISSION TRAILS REGIONAL PARK!" Join us, bring friends/family and let everyone there know that you oppose a power plant being built on the border on MTRP! The power plant is a THREAT to our Health, our Park, our Community and our Property Values! You can bet Co gen tricks will be there with their "community outreach." NOTHING says recreation like 11-smoke stacks spewing millions of tons of Air Pollutants on the border of MTRP and surrounding communities...IT'S SO HEALTHY TO BREATH and not at all harmful...!!!!!!!
Retha Knight April 29, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Our regular Tuesday community outreach meeting at Carlton Oaks Country Club will take place this Tuesday, May 1st at the Mission Trails Regional Park CAC meeting at the visitors center. "SAVE MISSION TRAILS REGIONAL PARK" go to http://www.stopthesanteepowerplant.org
Patty Kay Mooney May 09, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Now Maggie, why would you bad-mouth Bob Filner for standing up with us against Quail Brush power plant??? I don't see anyone else taking a stand. Not Fletcher, not Dumanis, not DeMaio, not Sanders..... A ten-time Congressman - elder statesman, if you will, has some klout and I for one am very happy to have him stand beside us against this asinine power plant.

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