Digger - May 16, 2007
This post concerns an assault on Borrego that, while not a direct or immediate threat to the Borrego Valley aquifer, is nonetheless highly objectionable in many of its aspects and will have a long-term, deleterious, secondary affect that is inimical to groundwater management efforts in the valley.
The San Diego county Department of Planning and Land Use is considering a permit request for project known as Country Club Estates located in Borrego Springs on 172 undisturbed acres north of Country Club Road and east of Borrego Springs Road (Case Number TM5487, APNs 198-320-01 and 198-320-26), hereafter The Project (aka "Rudyville" after the developer Rudy Monica}.
Concerns about The Project fall primarily into two broad categories: Density and Environmental Damage.
With respect to density:
With respect to environmental factors:
A secondary, but no less important, negative environmental impact of The Project is the damage it will do to a major effort to protect the valley's critically overdrafted, sole-source aquifer. At least 70% of water extracted from the aquifer each year is for irrigation. In 2004, the Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group (BSCSG) was successful in increasing the density of about 5,000 acres of farm land in the northern part of the valley from one dwelling unit (du) per 20 acres, to one du per 4 acres in General Plan 2020. The sole purpose of the increase was to facilitate sale of farms for estate developments to reduce demand on the aquifer from irrigation. Permitting The Project on virgin land will seriously undermine this groundwater management strategy by adding 148 redundant homesites to the existing inventory, competing with and slowing the development of farmland, and hastening the degradation and depletion of the valley's only water source.
Applicant has repeatedly demonstrated a callous disregard for environmental and aesthetic values that are widely shared in the community. More than 70 residents of the area surrounding the project area attended a BSCSG meeting on 4 April 2006 to protest the project. No one supported it. Moreover, Applicant has consistently ignored recommendations from the BSCSG, which voted in April 2006 to deny a permit for The Project and continues to vigorously oppose it.
In light of the foregoing then, the county must at least require a full Environmental Impact Report on the proposed project area and hold public meetings in Borrego Springs where residents can present their case against The Project directly to decision makers. Failure to do so will result in a less than informed decision regarding a project that promises significant negative consequences for the community and the environment.
It appears that the county is poised to issue a "negative declaration" for this project, i,e, that no Environmental Impact Report for the project site will be required. If you want to register a complaint about this potential blight on the landscape, and you should, contact:
Mr. Bill Stocks, Project Manager
5201 Ruffin Road, Suite B
San Diego, CA 92123
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