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Community opposition to Rancho Cielo projects builds
By Rachel Stine, Dec 23, 2013

RANCHO SANTA FE — Multiple lawsuits and an appeal have been filed against proposed development projects in the Rancho Cielo residential community of Rancho Santa Fe.

The specific plan to develop Rancho Cielo, which encompasses about 2,668 acres north and west of Del Dios Highway, originally came before the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 1981.

Over the past 30 years, the plan has been amended six times to incorporate a variety of changes to the proposed development.

Recently, Rancho Cielo Estates Ltd., the site developer, has brought forth two proposals before the San Diego County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to build houses and condominiums on portions of the Rancho Cielo property.

On Aug. 7, the County Board of Supervisors granted approval for the construction of 24 single-family homes located off of Via Ambiente.

A group of nearby residents consequently formed the nonprofit San Dieguito Community Council to oppose the project.

They filed a lawsuit against San Diego County for approving the project on Sept. 6, claiming that the project fails to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

The claim specifically cites that the County did not consider the full environmental impacts of the project that was ultimately approved after decades of changes and instead relied on outdated environmental analysis.

The lawsuit mentions concerns about impacts the project might have on safety and traffic in the area.

According to the group’s attorney, Everett DeLano, the suit is still in discovery.

County documents on the project state that the development plan that was approved did not substantially change the environmental impacts that were originally reviewed as the project was completed.

Two other parties are also in the process of suing Rancho Cielo Estates, Ltd., over the project.

A lawsuit was filed on Oct. 22 on behalf of David Radel, accusing the developer of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, conflict of interests, and other charges.

Patti Jones filed a suit on Nov. 25 claiming that the company breached contracts and negligently misrepresented the project.

On Dec. 13, the San Diego County Planning Commission unanimously approved the development of 18 single-family homes and 19 condominiums on 270 acres of the Rancho Cielo property off of Via Dora and Cerro Del Sol.

San Dieguito Community Council submitted an appeal of that project as well, also citing lack of sufficient environmental review.

“It doesn’t make any sense. Why wouldn’t (the project developers) go ahead and do new studies?” said DeLano.

That project is scheduled to come before the County Board of Supervisors in the near future for a final decision from the county.


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