Comments Needed on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) by January 2
The proposed Safari Highlands Ranch development is a sprawling 550-home development being planned within pristine biological habitat north of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and east of existing homes in the San Pasqual Valley.
A Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) has been released and needs your comments. You do not have to be an Escondido resident to comment. This is a regional issue.
The land is presently undeveloped and the quality of the habitat is so high that all of the property has a special designation from the County, indicating at least 75% of it should be preserved due to its high wildlife habitat values.
The Sierra Club opposes this project.
Because the County General Plan only allows 27 homes on this site, the Escondido city council is proposing to annex the land into the city. As a sprawl development, it will worsen the city’s finances while devastating local natural resources.
Please add your voice to the concerns about this project by writing a letter/email by January 2, 2018. Please write:
John Helmer, Contract Planner
City of Escondido
201 North Broadway
Escondido, CA 92025
Letter or email must be received by 5PM January 2, 2018. Put Safari Highlands Ranch DEIR # ENV 15-0009; SUB 15-0019 in your title.
The DEIR is significantly deficient in many areas related to biological resources:
- Fails to comply with Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) criteria and other requests from agencies.
- Does not include conservation measures to protect species and, in fact, recommends a project that will devastate hundreds of acres of biologically pristine habitat.
- Fails to avoid oak woodland habitats resulting in loss of over 400 oak trees, including 300 Englemann oaks.
- Fails to mitigate habitat impacts of 128-acres of ‘fire management zones’ areas.
- Fails to reduce or mitigate over 19 miles of urban interface that will have significant negative edge-effect impacts on habitat and species.
- Fails to include or disclose mitigation plans and measures.
- Fails to evaluate reasonable alternatives to this project.
- Fails to address significant cumulative impacts from the project.
Request that the city:
- Withdraw the DEIR and require any future project to be compliant with the MSCP criteria.
- Reduce project size and redesign the project footprint to minimize impacts to on-site habitat especially oak woodland, chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and wildlife corridors and to reduce the edge effects on habitat in the current plan.
- Significantly redesign project to protect wildlife corridors.
- Disclose mitigation plan specifics so that effectiveness can be determined as part of this analysis.
- Remove roads and trails from areas that impact wildlife and bisect and split habitat.
You can read the full DEIR here: https://www.escondido.org/environmental-impact-report.aspx
For more info visit https://spvpa.org/safari-highlands-ranch/
If you are interested in becoming more involved with conservation aspect of our group, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to meeting many of you over the next year.