EHL litigates another Otay Ranch project

The San Diego Union Tribune covered the filing of litigation against an existential threat to the endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly (“Groups sue over Otay Ranch Resort Village, citing species, wildfire and climate,” Dec. 18, 2020).

“The project will take out the most productive habitat for the Quino checkerspot butterfly, pushing it toward extinction,” said Dan Silver, chief executive of the Endangered Habitats League. “It’s not good for people either, recklessly placing thousands in a wildfire danger zone.”

Located northeast of Chula Vista, the “Resort Village 13” was first approved in 1992 over EHL’s objections. While later placed in the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP), the project site is the lynchpin of the entire San Diego Quino population. The butterfly is not a covered species under the MSCP, yet the County chose not to admit to the devastating impacts to the butterfly before approving the project, relying instead on the applicant’s self-serving, faulty analysis. Expansion into a high fire risk zone and automobile dependency are also features of an archaic project. With this threat to the Quino and its habitat, EHL and other groups are challenging the approval on CEQA and General Plan grounds.

The Union-Tribune also covered the San Diego land exchange that was turned down by the Wildlife Conservation Board (see story in this Newsletter), both in an in-depth article before the vote and in a report on the denial. EHL was quoted in the first story (“In a first, California considers allowing housing project on San Diego ecological reserve,” Dec. 6, 2020).

“To put suburban sprawl on ecological land is unheard of,” said Dan Silver, chief executive of the Endangered Habitats League. “Nothing vaguely like this has ever happened.”