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As I noted in my story today, the county of San Diego received permission to destroy 3,000 acres of its coastal sage scrub in return for agreeing to adopt a habitat conservation plan.

I wasn’t able to squeeze every last detail into the story about the county’s sale of its credits.

Some additional information for you:

  • The county received permission to pave over 3,000 acres. To date, the county has used 370 of those acres. And it has sold or given away the rights to 630 acres. Incorporated cities have used those credits to allow development to proceed.
  • I had to condense a long and insightful conversation with Janet Fairbanks, the former San Diego Association of Governments planner, into a few paragraphs. She offered some additional thoughts worth sharing. She pointed out that Carlsbad, the only city to have adopted its habitat conservation plan, was motivated to do so because its government was developing a municipal golf course.

“It takes a pusher, and they were pushing everybody,” Fairbanks said. “They wanted that golf course, and they wanted their permits. So they were successful. In the other cities, it’s not a priority. There must not be a project out there that’s requiring them to do what Carlsbad did.

“I never met a developer in the city of San Marcos who wanted the city to finish their habitat plan. They just felt like they could move things forward better through the existing process. I never found a way to convince developers in San Marcos that this was a good thing. I tried.”


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