The San Diego Planning Commission (SDPC) met for nearly six hours Thursday for a hearing focused on the proposed Quail Brush Power Plant that would be constructed near Santee and , but came to no conclusion and will have to meet again on the matter.
An anti-climactic vote failed on a motion that would effectively deny the re-zoning of the site from open space to industrial use, but the advice of SDPC Chairperson Eric Naslund drew the most interest from the crowd.
"For those in orange shirts (opponents of the project)- concentrate your energy on the California Energy Commission, regardless of what happens here. That's your next line of attack... they have a potential override of anything done locally," he said.
Naslund was referring to a fact that was made clear at the meeting: The CEC can override the SDPC and San Diego City Council if they decide not to re-zone the area to industrial. According to the CEC, such overrides are rare, but one such override occurred just this year in approving the Carlsbad Energy Center Project.
Representatives of the CEC confirmed that if the City of San Diego conclusively decides not to proceed with the amendment or approval process, it might put CEC in the position of overriding them.
After a long haul of hearing testimony from Cogentrix, SDG&E, many environmental and business organizations, the public, city staff, and other interested parties, SDPC still needs to decide whether to initiate an amendment to the East Elliot Community Planning Area. They are scheduled to meet again on the matter at the July 19 meeting.
Nearly 200 speaker slips were submitted at the beginning of the meeting, and speakers in opposition included Santee City Councilmember , Santee's Deputy Manager and Planning Director, with Preserve Wild Santee, , and a lot of residents of Santee. It was pointed out at the meeting that every elected official and candidate in the project area is opposed to it.
On this issue, of the five commissioners, four must vote for a definitive decision to be made, and the vote to deny the amendment initiation was 3-2.
Check back for more on Quail Brush at Santee Patch