The Watchdog Newsletter
23 April 2002

Board of Supervisors Betrays the Public Good

A "Derelict Board." That's how the San Diego Union-Tribune titled a lead editorial about the County's proposed plan to rezone 200,000 acres of agricultural preserve land and to eliminate an agricultural element for the San Diego County General Plan. This of course, is the project that SOFAR has been engaged with for many years now known as GPA 01-01 (formally GPA 96-03). The editorial went on to accuse the Board of deceiving the public about the true nature of their project, which was quite simply to ensure the development potential of the last of San Diego County's resource lands. We could not agree more, both with the title and the content of the editorial, which explains what Save Our Forest And Ranchlands and its supporters have been fighting for all along. We need to keep fighting for the sake of the lands in question and for the sake of all future planning efforts.
(If you did not see the editorial, we are enclosing the abstract. Please email our office if you would like the full text)
Derelict board | County keeps trying to develop farm land
The San Diego Union - Tribune; San Diego, Calif.; Apr 17, 2002;
In 1996, Judge Judith McConnell found that the county's stewardship of agricultural lands was so inept that she declared a building moratorium and awarded land-use control of the 250,000 acres to SOFAR. Today, if you live on that land and want to do a room addition, you apply to SOFAR for a permit, not the county.
Meanwhile, the methodology for gauging environmental impacts consists of developing a theoretical, one-size-fits-all footprint for what a typical residential home and lot might be, and dividing biological resources such as endangered plants evenly among each theoretical lot. Then, county researchers studied those theoretical lots to determine the impact of the agricultural plan. Biology professors Ted Case of UCSD and Jay Diffendorfer of SDSU called that approach "so at odds with what we feel well-trained biologists would perform that we can only conclude political or other influences warped their methods."

A Special Thank-You

At the hearing on April 17th, our presentations went very well and covered all of the topics involved in this project with expert testimony on the law, planning, science, economics, and water quality. We were very fortunate to have such a team on our side.
Needless to say, the County met all of our facts with a torrent of deception. We believe the County's misbehavior on this incredibly important item underscores why we must and will continue to fight. The County plans to go to court and have their plan accepted, and we intend to challenge the validity of their plan. Thank you for your past and future support.

A Special Congratulation

SOFAR would like to congratulate past SOFAR Board member Suzanne Drolet.
She has just taken a trip to Chicago where she received the National APA Transportation Planning Division's Annual Award for a Graduate Student Research Paper. The paper looks at how San Diego has integrated transportation and land use policies. Specific attention is paid to the City of San Diego because it is such a significant part of the metropolitan area economically,
historically, in population and physical size, and has dedicated substantial planning effort and financial support of transit based development. The paper describes and evaluates efforts taken by the city to implement transit based land use and then reflects on the direction of its General Plan update within the context of the regional attempt to coordinate land use decision making.
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