filed against Escondido water recycling facility
Steve Puterski, February 15, 2017
The controversial recycled water facility project has
hit a legal hurdle.
Springs of Escondido filed a lawsuit last week against the
city over its approval to place the project adjacent to the
senior community on the corner of Washington Avenue and Ash
City Council approved the project, 4-1, in January with Councilwoman
Olga Diaz objecting.
facility will add 2 million gallons per day of treated recycled
water to the citys system. It will provide advanced
treatment of recycled water from the citys Hale Avenue
Resource Recovery Facility (HARRF) station.
of Tuesday, the city had not yet been served with the suit,
although City Attorney Jeff Epp said his office and city officials
are aware of its filing in Vista Superior Court.
understand it says there should have been more environmental
studies and its not compatible with the adjacent Springs
project, Epp added. Our primary goal is to work
with the neighboring Springs project to make sure theyre
comfortable from a design and land use stand point.
Springs of Escondido hired attorney Everett DeLano, who challenges
that the membrane filtration reverse osmosis facility mitigated
negative declaration, that the city violated the California
Environmental Quality Act in several respects
and that the city failed to adopt findings adequately supported
by the evidence.
addition, the suit also notes comments from residents who
said the lack of an environmental impact report (EIR) and
the project would lead to health and safety issues.
addition, the site could be available for future expansion
as the city aims to increase its recycled water supply.
is a good project in a bad place, DeLano said. Nobody
opposes recycled water. That is a wonderful thing. The problem
is, it just doesnt belong in this location.
said it could be many months before the litigation is concluded,
which means the water facility could be on hold for an undetermined
period. Should the city start construction, though, DeLano
said he would seek an injunction to stop those efforts.
city, meanwhile, refuted any claims of health and safety impacts
and will attempt to move forward with the project as quickly
McKinney, director of Public Works, said in a previous interview
that numerous safeguards would be installed to ensure safety
for employees and nearby residents.
though, said a goal for the city is to work with The Springs
of Escondido to ensure residents feel more comfortable about
the project. In addition, the city plans to challenge the
probably fight the lawsuit and press forward with the project,
suit alleges the city failed to follow CEQA procedural requirements,
consideration for all aspects for the project, preparing environmental
analysis as required by CEQA, an EIR as required by CEQA,
adopt feasible mitigation measures and alternatives and violation
of municipal code and General Plan.
suit also alleges the residents would be adversely affected
by the placement of the facility on the empty lot, which will
be less than 300 feet away from the nearest apartment.
said the city is making efforts for recycled water, which
is beneficial for the city especially coming off years of
drought. He said the pushback is surprising given those efforts.
are being stymied in going forward because of apparent environmental
considerations, Epp said. Wed like to get
that taken care of so we can move forward and do something
that is good. That is the objective.
suit also alleges the city could not produce analysis records
concerning the cost benefit, alternative locations, projects
and approaches to certain water needs in the city.
Springs of Escondido appealed the planning commissions
approval on Dec. 21, 2016, according to the suit. They reasoned
it was inconsistent with municipal code, General Plan requirements,
that an EIR should be prepared and the city was illegally
piecemealing consideration of the project.