Over 40 local community, climate, labor, environmental justice, and conservation organizations sent a letter today to the Escondido City Council recommending milestones to be achieved prior to the city moving forward with any consideration of Harvest Hills.
The letter outlines significant policy conflicts between the proposed project, San Diego County, and Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) policies, fire disaster prevention, and formalized and proposed habitat plans.
Harvest Hills proposes to radically expand the wildland/urban interface and, if constructed, would threaten local and on-site residents and the world-famous Safari Park in the event of fire.
In the three years since the DEIR comment period was closed, several important actions have not been taken and new policies and more visible realities have worsened the prospects of this project.
Locating sprawl development in a Very High Fire Severity Zone is increasingly being opposed by our organizations, local residents, and the California Attorney General.
The organizations urge the City to require the following actions prior to advancing the CEQA review and rendering a decision on the project at the City:
1. The Annexation Agreement needed to proceed with LAFCO Sphere of Influence and annexation decisions is fully executed;
2. A favorable position for the project has been adopted by the County of San Diego demonstrating that incompatibilities are resolved;
3. A full and detailed economic impact analysis is completed which makes transparent to existing residents and taxpayers the unfunded costs of this project, including an analysis of fiscal impact of a partially completed project; and,
4. The new City Manager is installed at the City.