Judge rules in
favor of Olivenhain neighbors
rules EIR is needed for Desert Rose housing project
By Edward Sifuentes , April 25, 2014
The developers of a controversial housing project planned
for a horse property in Olivenhain must conduct an extensive
environmental study before the development can move forward,
a Superior Court judge ruled on Friday.
Farms Estates LLC wants to build 16 homes on what is now a
horse boarding facility on Desert Rose Way on the eastern
edge of Encinitas. But neighbors sued the city and Woodridge,
saying the project should have been subjected to a full environmental
review before it was approved by the City Council last year.
ruling by Superior Court Judge Judith F. Hayes reinforced
a tentative ruling she made last week that found there was
substantial evidence to make a fair argument that the
project may cause a significant adverse effect on the environment.
DeLano, an attorney representing the residents, said his clients
were happy about the ruling.
a victory for the community, DeLano said. It really
is. Its what weve been saying all along.
Gonzalez, an attorney for the developer, declined to comment
Friday afternoon saying he had not read the judges ruling.
Gonzalez said after last weeks tentative ruling that
the developers were extremely committed to the project
and that it would eventually move forward even if more environmental
review was required.
the benefits of the project include significant wetlands enhancement
and the donation of public trails for pedestrians and horses.
have said that 16 homes is too many for the 6-acre lot and
that the project doesnt fit with the neighborhoods
rural character. They also worry about fire and traffic issues.
said having a full environmental impact study would allow
the city to consider those effects in more detail.
citys Planning Commission agreed with the neighbors
last year and voted to reject the proposal. But the City Council
later overturned the decision saying that a state affordable
housing law gives the developer special privileges, such as
permission to put additional homes on their lots, if some
of those homes are set aside for low-income residents.
project would require that one of the homes go to a low-income
her ruling, Hayes said the Planning Commissions findings
were enough to establish a fair argument that
the project could have detrimental effects on the environment
requiring the more in-depth study.