By Tommy Hough
Around the nation, and even here at home, our environment is under attack.
From the rollback of long-standing environmental and conservation laws by the Trump administration, to the ongoing desecration of reputable and effective regulatory agencies, to attempts by members of our own party to undo the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and enable runaway development, now is the bleakest period for the environment in our nation in over 60 years.
That's why we need your help at San Diego City Council this Monday, Aug. 5, to stand with us and our allies to stop an exceptionally bad environmental precedent and development proposal pointed like a dagger at the sanctity of our preserved, yet rapidly vanishing, urban wildlands.
This spring, San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action members unanimously voted to oppose an office park proposal at Del Mar Mesa Preserve that's being marketed by Cisterra Development under the Orwellian name of the "Preserve at Torrey Highlands," near the communities of Rancho Peñasquitos and Del Sur south of State Route 56.
The proposal is anything but a "preserve." Even though the area itself was initially set aside for mitigation from previous projects, the multi-story, 450,000 square foot office complex is surrounded on three sides by the protected Del Mar Mesa Preserve, and will aggravate the dilemma of preserves marooned as "islands of conservation" with a further loss of habitat that will directly affect the preserve and its role as a wildlife corridor, enable an increase in invasive species, and further "bite" into our vanishing native wildlands.
In fact, development on "the notch" site atop the mesa may even be illegal, and will require a change to the Torrey Highlands Community and City of San Diego general plans simply to facilitate construction.
We'd like you to join our club and other coalition members at Civic Center Plaza this Monday, Aug. 5, beginning at 12:30 p.m. as we voice our opposition with a press event and rally at Civic Center Plaza at City Hall (202 West C St.), followed by testimony during the afternoon session of San Diego City Council beginning at 2 pm.
Our ask is for you to wear your club shirt and attend the press event and council meeting with us. Be seen. Bring a sign. Even if you don't want to speak at the council meeting, you can cede your time to those from our coalition who would like to speak or have prepared remarks.
If you joined us for our hike at Del Mar Mesa Preserve with the California Native Plant Society in May, you know what a special place the preserve is, and how it contains some of the last vestiges of oak woodland and native coastal canyon habitat in our region.
Development has been inching south from State Route 56 and toward the preserve for years. But even this development marks an extraordinary leap into heretofore undisturbed habitat. The best solution is for this project to go somewhere else. Even construction of State Route 56 in the early 2000s was routed around the proposed site of the office complex because of its critical conservation qualities.
RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if you can make it on Monday, or click on our club Facebook event page. Wear your club shirts and join us this Monday, Aug. 5, beginning at 12:30 p.m. at Civic Center Plaza at San Diego City Hall, 202 West C St., San Diego, CA 92101. If you're going to join us for the council meeting, be prepared to stay throughout the afternoon, and make appropriate transportation or parking arrangements.
Thank you as always for your support. This is a moment our local environment needs it.
If you missed it, have a look at club president Cody Petterson's testimony and choice words on the proposed office park at Del Mar Mesa Preserve to the city planning commission in April.
Photo slideshow by Tommy Hough. To see club member Renée Owens' photos from our Del Mar Mesa Preserve hike this past May, including the two photos below, please click here.
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