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San Diego County Supervisors Green Light Otay Ranch Housing Development

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors are pictured in the county chambers...

Photo by John Carroll

Above: The San Diego County Board of Supervisors are pictured in the county chambers during a session, June 26, 2019.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Wednesday approved a controversial housing development in the Otay Ranch community.

After a public hearing that lasted more than two hours, the board voted 3-2 in favor of Otay Village 14 and Planning Area 16/19, also known as Adara.

Located between the city of Chula Vista and rural community of Jamul, the project entails construction of more than 1,000 homes and a commercial village core, along with an elementary school, fire station, sheriff's office, trails, electric vehicle charging stations, solar panels and over 700 acres of open space and parks.

Single-family home prices would start in the $500,000 range, according to a presentation by the developer, Jackson Pendo.

Liz Jackson, president of Jackson Pendo, said the completed project will add $2.3 million to the county's general fund and generate $115 million in public infrastructure.

In October, the county Planning Commission approved the project with certain conditions, including the return of any found native American artifacts to the affiliated tribe.

Most of the supporters who spoke at the meeting said the project was attractive for numerous reasons, especially for more housing options.

Opponents, including representatives of several prominent environmental groups, said there were too many risks, including threats to endangered species and an insufficient wildfire evacuation plan.

One critic said the home prices were out of reach for many families.

Board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob and Supervisor Nathan Fletcher cast the dissenting votes. Jacob cited potential fire dangers; Fletcher made no comment on his opposition.

"There's a risk here that's not calculated because you can't legislate human behavior or common sense," Jacob said, referring to the evacuation of the region if a wildfire broke out. "To even think that state Route 94 would be a safe evacuation route, that is ridiculous."

Supervisor Kristin Gaspar said the project is consistent with the county's General Plan, with the infrastructure that will accommodate the growth.

"If we can't approve General Plan-consistent projects, I don't know how we're going to make a dent in the housing crisis," she said.

Gaspar added the county is now 100,000 units short of meeting its goals.

The county, the state Fish & Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and a company identified as the GDCI Proctor Valley, L.P., must resolve an environmental-related dispute before the project can start.

Details of the dispute were not made clear during today's meeting.

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