Please Comment on the proposed
Safari Highlands Ranch development DEIR
Comments due January
Highlands Ranch development, a sprawling 550 home
development being planned for pristine biological habitat to the north of the
San Diego Zoo Safari Park and east of existing homes in the San Pasqual Valley.
The land is presently undeveloped with steep slopes and rugged terrain and
widespread riparian and coastal sage habitats.
Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) has been released and needs your comments.
The quality of the habitat is so high that
all of the property has a special designation from the County indicating it
should largely be preserved due to its high wildlife habitat values.
habitat has been described as one that supports high concentration of sensitive
biological resources “which, if lost, could not be replaced or mitigated
It is also the location of significant
cultural resources. Surrounded by steep
canyons, future residents would be living in a dangerous and inaccessible fire
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.
Last, this project does not, in any way, meet the standards or requirements of the multiple species conservation plans. Certification of this DEIR and adoption of this project would undermine regional habitat planning throughout the region.
Please add your voice to the concerns about
this project by writing a letter/email by January 2, 2018 to:
John Helmer Contract Planner, City of
201 North Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025
Letter or email must be
received by 5PM January 2, 2018.
Highlands Ranch DEIR # ENV 15-0009; SUB 15-0019 in your title.
Among many problems with the DEIR are the
Does not include
conservation measures to the maximum extent practicable per agreements with
agencies and, in fact, recommends a project that will devastate hundreds of
acres of biologically pristine habitat.
Fails to avoid
established oak trees resulting in loss of over 300 Englemann oak trees.
Fails to preserve functioning
Fails to implement
many of the requests from wildlife agencies to protect sensitive wildlife.
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.
Biodiversity of the
region is under-assessed in the biological report and mitigations will not
protect impacted species.
Inadequate actions are
required to offset and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Fails to meet requirements
in Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) and other regional plans.
Fails to evaluate
reasonable alternatives to this project.
Locates 100s of
residents in high-fire risk zones with minimal protection or evacuation
options. A fire station will not even be
constructed until half of the 550 homes are constructed.
Request that the city:
Withdraw the DEIR and
require any future project to comply with the guidance from the natural
resource agencies and 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.
Redesign the footprint
to significantly reduce the almost 20 miles of edge effects on habitat in the
Avoid impacts to
sensitive resources and require mitigation of unavoidable habitat losses.
Remove roads and from areas that impact wildlife and realign roads and trails that bisect and split habitat and corridors.
Require full funding
and operation of fire station at the onset of the project.