Rudyville – The Home Stretch
Last updated 1/11/2018 at 9:57am
J. David Garmon, MD
President, Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy
With the County’s publication of the long-awaited Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) on December 14, 2017, the saga of Rudyville (referred to as DS-24 by the County) is in the home stretch. The publication of the SEIR sets the stage for public hearings and a vote on Rudyville by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors sometime in 2018. The vote by the County Board of Supervisors will determine whether or not Rudyville will increase its zoning density from one home per ten acres to one home per acre.
The SEIR (http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/pds/advance/PSR.html) is available in its entirety on the County’s website. The report is not focused on any one of the 41 Property Specific Requests (PSR’s) to amend the County’s General Plan for land use, but rather is a description of the process involved in evaluating the environmental impacts of each of the PSR’s, including Rudyville. The public is invited to comment on the thoroughness and the analyses of the SEIR until February 12, 2018, and may do so by contacting Kevin Johnston at email@example.com or by calling (858) 694-3426.
County staff has performed a Herculean task in evaluating the environmental impacts of 41 separate PSR’s located throughout San Diego County. Two of these PSR’s are in Borrego Springs, one of them being Rudyville. County staff has documented the public opposition to Rudyville expressed at a meeting of the Borrego Springs Sponsor Group on April 7, 2016; and they have documented the myriad issues associated with Rudyville’s request to increase its zoning density—its inconsistencies with the General Plan (See Chapter 2.9, Land Use, http://bit.ly/2CNR6BO), its increase in water demand at a time when the community must decrease water usage by 70% (See Chapter 2.8, Hydrology and Water Quality, http://bit.ly/2CMVTUs), its impact on endangered species, its impact on an ancient ocotillo forest, its impact on air quality, the fact that Rudyville lies in a flood plane, the fact that Borrego Springs already has 3000 entitled residential lots and does not need more, etc.
Even though the Rudyville PSR has garnered more public input (and outcry) than any of the other 40 PSR’s under consideration, the final determination of Rudyville’s zoning will be a political decision of the San Diego Planning Commission and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Because the final determination is a political decision, public participation will be crucial in determining the final outcome. Unfortunately for residents of Borrego Springs, the public hearings before the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors will be in San Diego, and most likely will be held during the summer months.
The first hearing will be before the County Planning Commission, and could be scheduled as early as June 2018. The exact date has not been set. The County Board of Supervisors appoints the seven members of the Planning Commission who will hear staff reports and staff recommendations, as well as public comments, regarding each of the 41 Property Specific Requests. The Planning Commission will then formulate recommendations to the County Board of Supervisors for each of the 41 PSR’s, including Rudyville.
The final public hearing on Rudyville will be before the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. The earliest possible date for this hearing is July 2018; but again, the exact date has not been set. At this meeting the Supervisors will hear recommendations from the Planning Commission as well as input from the public. And then they will vote on each of the Property Specific Requests, including Rudyville.
Although public participation at the hearings before the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors does not guarantee an outcome, public participation has been noted to be correlated with outcomes.
A group of 40-50 people creates a presence to be acknowledged and is distinctly different from leaving public officials with the idea that “no one cares and no one is watching.”
A strong showing at both meetings will be crucial in letting the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors know that the community of Borrego Springs cares deeply about what happens with Rudyville.
The Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy (TCDC) has opposed Rudyville since its inception, providing public comment and public testimony at every opportunity. TCDC will continue to closely follow Rudyville developments. When meeting dates of the hearings before the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors are known, they will be published in the Borrego Sun and on the TCDC website (www.tubbcanyondesertconservancy.org).