San Diego Superior Court Ruling Stops Sprawl Development in Fire-Prone AreaOctober 28, 2021
Photo: Quino checkerspot butterfly
Earlier this month, the San Diego County Superior Court reversed San Diego County’s approval of the Otay Ranch Village 14 project, a proposed development that would have paved over critical wildlife habitat while building 1,100 homes on fire-prone land east of Chula Vista. In a consolidated cases brought by a coalition of environmental groups and the People of California, the court ruled that the county’s environmental analysis of the proposed Otay Ranch Village 14 project failed to address and mitigate numerous concerns, including wildfire risk, climate impacts, threats to the endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly and other issues.
The proposed sprawl development would encompass more than 1,000 acres of wildlands in unincorporated San Diego County. The area has burned twice in 15 years, making it a particularly inappropriate place for high-intensity development. The court’s decision also cited the county’s failure to analyze the cumulative environmental impacts of the project on wildlife and climate change, and its failure to comply with its own general plan by not requiring affordable units in any of the planned 1,100 homes.
Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP represented the Endangered Habitats League and California Native Plant Society in the lawsuit. The ruling also responded to related lawsuits filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Preserve Wild Santee and the California Chaparral Institute. California Attorney General Rob Bonta also joined the case on behalf of the State of California.