As a CNPS Conservation Committee member, I strongly oppose and will be voting NO on Newland Sierra due to the many problems that it would cause and the fact that this is an area of great environmental sensitivity.
For a start, this project does not comply with San Diego County’s General Plan. Their claim to include the required affordable housing is misleading. According to Rita Brandin (senior VP and development director, S. Cal), this project’s housing estimates were from $343,000 to $984,000 in 2018, with a ten-year construction estimate. By that time prices will be higher. Based on the city of San Diego’s housing information website, using HUDs affordable housing formula, only housing priced lower than $225,000 is considered affordable, leaving these homes out of the affordable price range.
Then consider the increase in vehicular traffic. Traffic on I15 and nearby surface streets would increase to undesirable gridlock from the additional 2,000+ homes in the area. There are no new major roads planned and all roads would lead to I15 and the Deer Springs/Mountain Meadows interchanges. This would be an even worse problem in the event of a fire evacuation. The result would be a traffic nightmare and more pollution from automobiles. Current residents, including Joseph Manrique, Harmony Grove rancher, fear they and their livestock will be trapped by this increase in traffic.
Protecting wild areas is also very important to the overall health of our San Diego Community. As we break up our natural area into a patchwork of mosaic urban sprawl with small areas of natural areas interspersed, we are putting many species in danger through habitat fragmentation. It has been recommended that in order to preserve our health and the biodiversity of our planet, 50% of all land areas should remain or be transferred into natural space. In order to do that we must prevent projects such as Newland Sierra from running rampantly through these lands in the name of urbanization.
When you go to the polls on March 3 or send in your ballot, please consider the impact of your vote on the quality of life in San Diego. If passed, housing permits would be issued. If not passed, there is no approval for anything else and the 45° slope would make warehouses next to impossible. We should not be putting people in situations where they are in danger from fire and cannot safely evacuate. We should also be preserving critical habitats to protect San Diego as a biodiversity hotspot.
Here is my corresponding piece YES on A