Local Leaders Weigh in for Merriam Mountains Rehearing

Thor's Assistant Rostra Administrator (Thor's Assistant) 2 Comments

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The Merriam Mountains people have put together an interesting coalition of supporters.  The letter is below, but click on the link to see the letterhead itself and names included.

SAN DIEGO LEADERS CALL FOR REHEARING ON MERRIAM MOUNTAINS PROJECT
Concerns about Fairness and Jobs motivate request

San Diego, Calif. (January 6, 2010) – Business, community and elected officials called upon the entire San Diego County Board of Supervisors requesting a rehearing of the Merriam Mountains project. The coalition of influential elected official and business leaders cited concerns about jobs, housing and fairness in asking for the rehearing.

Last month the San Diego Board of Supervisors deadlocked on the Merriam Mountains project by a 2-2 tie vote, with one Supervisor absent. The two members voting against the project refused to continue the meeting until the full Board was present. The Honorable Jerry Kern, Oceanside Councilman stated, “By allowing the Board of Supervisors to hear the Project when all five Supervisors are present will demonstrate to the public that representative democracy works best when all our representatives have a voice in the decision. Regardless of how you feel about this project, it is only fair to allow a vote by your full board.”

Under the County rules, any Supervisor can ask to put the project back on the calendar for rehearing within 30 days. “This is an unusual situation where one Supervisor was away on State business,” Bill Stone, Former Little Italy Association Board Member and community leader stated, “but it just seems fair that any person would get a full hearing with all the supervisors present. That is democracy.”

Tom Sudberry, Chairman of Sudberry Properties stated, “ After 10 years of planning and $5 million in processing costs and fees to the county, it seems reasonable for the property owner to expect and receive a public hearing with the entire Board.  Otherwise, it smells of manipulation.”  The developers have spent $5 million on the application process alone through the County, including thousands of pages of technical reports and studies.

The Merriam Mountains project will employ more than 14,000 construction workers and pump more than $1.5 billion into the local economy. Borre Winckel, President & CEO of the San Diego County Building Industry Association, stated, “we have
painters, framers, interior designers and many others out of work. The lack of action on this project sends an ill-timed message and is job creation unfriendly. This project deserves a fair hearing for the sake of all these workers and their families.” The project will also provide 2,700 new homes along the I-15 near Escondido, where it will provide housing for growing North County job centers. “This is a San Diego County economic stimulus package that we need.” added Winckel .

Yesterday, Merriam requested a rehearing on the basis of misrepresentations to the Supervisors at the original hearing. Attorneys for Merriam have also raised concerns that the deadlock violated legal requirements for at least three Supervisors to approve any action of the Board.

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