EHL filed suit against the City of San Marcos under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) over the Highlands development project, which would block an important wildlife corridor. We are encouraged, however, by a project condition that requires conformance with the pending North County habitat plan.
Located in northern San Diego County, San Marcos has an important role to play in assembling a regional habitats preserve. But despite input from EHL and many others, the Highlands project, approved in December 2016, would render an important wildlife movement corridor non-functional. In the already-fragmented North County, such corridors are crucial.
Fortunately, the County of San Diego also submitted comments based upon its Planning Agreement with the state and federal wildlife agencies for the North County portion of the Multiple Species Conservation Program (NC MSCP). That agreement calls for any annexations of County land – as the Highlands project proposes – to be consistent with the NC MSCP. The City honored this with a condition for NC MSCP conformance as determined by the wildlife agencies and County. EHL hopes this condition will be the basis for resolving our litigation and offers its assistance to the City. We also hope that the City will move forward to complete its portion of the Multiple Habitat Conservation Program (MHCP), a plan for North County cities.
The lawsuit cited numerous deficiencies under CEQA including greenhouse gas analysis. There is also the absence of a firm water supply. EHL is working closely with local activists and groups and is represented by the law office of Kevin Johnson.