The San Marcos Highlands development (~200 homes on the open space & Ridgelines north of Las Posas) will likely be making it’s return into the spotlight in the next 2-3 weeks. At this point there is no official project map, no official dates of any kind, therefore no call to action other than to dust off your Save Santa Fe Hills signs and be on the lookout for more information. Sign up for periodic email alerts in the form at the top-right of the page. You can also follow us on Facebook & Twitter.
There will be at least two major differences between the way this Highlands project attempt gets processed and the last one.
1.) The previous Highlands project ignored obvious environmental impacts. Collaborative efforts by people in the community were successful in forcing them to prepare a new Environmental Impact Report (EIR). We hope the new impact report requires them to submit a more acceptable project, or better yet, none at all. (The first notice that ALL Santa Fe Hills residents will receive from the City in the coming weeks is a Notice of Preparation for this EIR.)
2.) The previous Highlands project proposed ~28 homes on top of a ridgeline that falls within the San Marcos Ridgeline Protection Zone. (The Ridgeline ordinance was voted into law by the people in 2008 in order to preserve San Marcos ridgelines from development). During the previous Highlands attempt, this ordinance was not taken into consideration by the San Marcos Planning Dept or the Highlands applicant. Collaborative efforts by members of our community have helped to ensure that City Council and the Planning Department will acknowledge the Ridgeline Protection Zone ordinance this time around so we expect/demand that the spirit and intent of the ordinance be followed to a TEE. In our current pro-development political environment, I can assure you that this will NOT be done unless their are LARGE turnouts at future hearings for this project. Families that live on Avenida Abeja will definitely want to pay attention to this one because that ridgeline is directly in your back/front yard.
The drawings of new homes and streets in the photo below are of the previously proposed Highlands project. The shaded area in pink is the Ridgeline Protection Zone. Notice the overlap.
A project as impactful to our community as the last Highlands proposal deserves to be processed fairly and openly to the public. We hope the San Marcos planning department communicates effectively, timely and processes this project fairly and transparently. The impacts of future nearby developments such as PO 20-23 and Newland Sierra need to be taken into consideration. A lot of people in the community are engaged in this project and we need the appropriate time to review the plans, changes and to provide and receive feedback.
We are not against growth, we just want to protect what makes our lives and community so special and unique. If development does happen on this land, it must preserve our ridgelines, not disturb the wildlife, restore the upper pond (think about the next major fire!! We need more water sources), not overcrowd our schools and not add ridiculous amounts of traffic down Las Posas (or pay $5M towards the extension of Las Posas). For as much as the Highlands project takes away from Santa Fe Hills and our quality of life, it should do twice as much to give back.