Targets Housing Project
Olivenhain group seeking environmental study for plan to build
May 7, 2013
Members of an Olivenhain residents group have filed a lawsuit
against the city and a developer who is planning to build
16 homes in their neighborhood, asking the court to demand
a full environmental report be completed on the project.
residents attorney, Everett DeLano, said Monday that
they hope the case, which was filed last month in Superior
Court, will cause the Encinitas City Council ultimately to
rethink its vote to approve plans for the Desert Rose Way
council had discretion to decide whether or not to reject
the project, DeLano said, adding that he doesnt
buy the councils argument that it had no choice but
approval under state housing laws. I think they were
operating with the wrong premise.
Gonzalez, a noted environmental attorney who is representing
developer Woodridge Farms Estates, strongly disagrees. On
Monday, he emphasized that the company has complied with state
housing density bonus laws with its project and they will
prevail in court.
dont expect the judge is going to respond to this much
different than the City Council did, he said. At
the end of the day, even if successful (in their lawsuit),
the best theyre going to get is an (environmental impact
report) theyre not going to stop the project.
state law, developers can obtain special privileges, including
the option of putting more homes on their lots than might
ordinarily be allowed, if they set aside some of the housing
for low-income residents.
Farms Estates is proposing to build 16 homes on what is now
a 6-acre horse boarding facility on Desert Rose Way, which
is east of Rancho Santa Fes intersection with 13th Street
on the very edge of the city limits. One of the homes is proposed
to go to a low-income family.
homeowners have long argued that 16 homes is too many for
the 6-acre lot, saying the project doesnt fit with the
surrounding rural area and will be a fire hazard. In November,
a majority of the citys Planning Commission agreed and
voted to deny the project.
the developer then appealed that decision to the City Council,
which after two meetings and many hours of public testimony
voted in March to approve the project. Opponents filed
their lawsuit April 15.
the lawsuit, members of the Save Desert Rose residents group
argue that the city of Encinitas violated the states
Environmental Quality Act by failing to adequately assess
the developments environmental impacts. Both the city
and the developers are named in the lawsuit.
suit seeks a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction
and/or permanent injunction on the city taking any additional
steps to process the projects paperwork until adequate
environmental analysis occurs and the court case is
and Gonzalez said Monday that no court dates have yet been
expect a mandatory settlement conference pretty soon, but
weve heard no notice of it yet, Gonzalez said.
Curriden, an Encinitas city planner, said Monday that the
city already is in a holding pattern when it comes to the
Desert Rose project. The project map approval process already
is done, and the design review process wont start until
the developer files the authorization paperwork, he said.