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Two San Diego Housing Developments Under Court Scrutiny

The housing development Harmony Grove is nestled at the base of hills near Escondido, Nov 14, 2018.
Alison St John
The housing development Harmony Grove is nestled at the base of hills near Escondido, Nov 14, 2018.

The fate of two large North County housing projects west of Escondido could be decided this week.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal tentatively decided the 450-home Harmony Grove Village South project and the 326-home Valiano development fail to adequately address greenhouse gas emissions and fire evacuation concerns.

Bacal also heard arguments about a lack of affordable housing in the developments. Bacal could finalize her ruling this week.

The judge had developers, the county and those who challenged the county approval of the projects in court to answer questions.

Two San Diego Housing Developments Under Court Scrutiny
Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

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Project opponents argued the proposed developments fall outside of the county’s General Plan guidelines for development in the unincorporated areas.

“These are rules that were developed with 29 communities,” said J.P. Theberge, a smart-growth advocate. “The developers were involved. Environmentalists were involved. And the general plan is a good solid plan, but its proving that the county is not doing their job. The board of supervisors is approving things that shouldn’t be approved.”

San Diego County Supervisors approved General Plan Amendments that allowed these projects to move forward.

More than a dozen other housing developments that have county approval and are planned for rural areas are also being challenged in court.