What kind of legacy will we leave?

The City of San Diego and concerned citizens move to save an environmentally sensitive area in north county from developer's bulldozers.

by Harry Mathis, San Diego City Council Member for District I
[Ed. note: Mr. Mathis' district is the site of planning prea "Neighborhood 8A," much of which lies just inland from Torrey Pines States Reserve. This area is being proposed for development by one of the large corporate owners, Pardee, and for conservation by a consortium of other local owners and concerned citizens.]
fter a considerable effort and a number of delays, the future of Neighborhood 8A was back before the Council on Tuesday, April 11. At that time, the Manager presented a set of recommendations which included a compromise development concept and an acquisition process for Pardee's Parcel A.
In the past, I have gone on record that I will not approve a plan for development in Neighborhood 8A which is not consistent with the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP), a comprehensive environmental preserve system being developed by the City. The compromise plan, which proposes no development in the northern portions of neighborhood 8A, has the support of the City's MSCP staff. Under the proposal recommended by the Manager, several property owners will not be able to develop to the extent they have wished. However, despite this reduction in development, community sentiment runs high for the preservation of even more of 8A than the compromise plan proposes.
The extraordinary environmental quality of 8A has made any development in it an important issue. The State and Federal Resource Agencies have designated 8A a core biological resource area of great value. It has the largest remaining stand of Southern Maritime Chaparral (SMC) in San Diego and is exceptionally rich in biological diversity. Because of this unique value, it is worth saving, and I believe every effort must be made to preserve it. There is general acceptance of the notion that development south of street "A" is reasonable and acceptable. On the other hand, development as proposed, will destroy nearly half of the SMC.
The focus of the Council's interest is the 143 acres identified as "Pardee's Parcel A." Pardee proposes, under the Manager's recommendation, to develop 80 acres for single family dwellings. I am not in support of this proposal for Parcel A. I believe that the public should be given precedence in the opportunity to have the site preserved in a natural condition. Results of a poll conducted last week indicate that nearly 70% of residents in Carmel Valley and Del Mar Heights are willing to pay for at least a portion of the acquisition cost for Parcel A through a properly tax assessment. In my mind, this, combined with funds from environmental sources, can result in a successful acquisition effort.
Pardee has insisted that it is a willing seller at a fair market price, and its parent company, Weyerhauser, has taken pride in portraying itself as a friend to the environment. The outcome in 8A will be an important test of their credibility. I expect them to be true to their word and cooperate in a good faith effort to make purchase of Parcel A feasible.
I received the support of my council colleagues to join me in seizing a rare opportunity to help preserve a unique and valuable resource which wilt be the cornerstone of our MSCP efforts. I am particularly pleased that the imitative has been taken by the people living in the area who know better than anyone how important this resource is. The community's willingness to bring to bear both their time and financial resources through a property tax assessment was the deciding factor which enabled me to get the support of the Council in achieving our goat to acquire Parcel A. Its preservation wilt benefit of all of us and future generations.
The Council could have denied consideration of the compromise plan. However, while I do not support any development on Parcel A of Neighborhood 8A, I recognize that we must move forward toward a compromise plan which creates a climate for the successful acquisition of Parcel A. Simply put, it gives us a vehicle for controlling the future of Neighborhood 8A in accordance with the MSCP. With the Council action of Tuesday, we can pursue a course of action where it is the interest of the Council to give precedence to acquisition of negotiated fair market value of Parcel A if funding for acquisition is assured. I am confident that with community involvement and financial support we will be successful.

Announcing the formation of the
Carmel Mountain Conservancy

he Carmel Mountain Conservancy has been formed to actively pursue acquisition avenues to preserve the Carmel Mountain Area.
The Conservancy is endorsed by: California Native Plant Society, Torrey Pines Association, Torrey Pines Docent Society, Endangered Habitats League, Los Peñasquitos Lagoon Foundation, Friends of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, San Elijo Conservancy, Ted Case, faculty UCSD, Ellen Bauder, faculty, SDSU, Barbara Coffin Moore, naturalist and author, San Diego Earth Day and the San Diego Earth Times.
For more information please write: Carmel Mountain Conservancy, P.O. Box 910424, San Diego, CA 92191, or call (619) 682-7026. Donations gratefully accepted.