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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

San Elijo Conservancy Buys Prime Lagoon-Front Acres

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The economic downturn has a silver lining for one environmental organization in North County. The San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy has bought a piece of land from developers who failed to raise the money to build on it.

If you drive up Interstate 5, you cross several lagoons: stretches of open water that are home to numerous birds. For years, developers have tried to build a hotel on the shores of the San Elijo Lagoon between Solana Beach and Cardiff.

But now the San Elijo Conservancy has closed escrow on the three-acre waterfront site, putting a stop to any development.

“We called it the parcel of story poles,“ said Doug Gibson of the Conservancy, “because there would be different iterations of proposed developments with their story poles on it for the last ten years, which would have been a dramatic change in the view-scape of the lagoon.”

Gibson said the land was priced at more than $10 million in 2006 and was too expensive for the conservancy to bid on. This year, they got it for $3.75 million.

The land in question is between I-5 and Highway 101, on the south side of the Lagoon entrance.

Gibson said the conservancy still has to raise the money to pay off the loan they took out to seize the opportunity while it was available. But he’s confident they can do that in the coming year.

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