A lawsuit claiming the city of Chula Vista illegally approved a developer’s add-on to a massive, controversial development could bring the project to a screeching halt.
If you've driven down Olympic Parkway east of State Route 125 next to the Otay Ranch Towne Center, you’ve probably seen it.
The developer, Baldwin & Sons, wants to add an additional 300 housing units to the mix-used development that includes a hotel, retail space and nearly 600 already approved housing units.
While some people say the addition will help provide affordable housing that the region desperately needs, an environmental group wants to take the city to court over the city’s alleged circumvention of environmental protection law.
The lawsuit, filed by Supporters Alliance for Environmental Responsibility (SAFER), claims Chula Vista didn’t comply with the California Environmental Quality (CEQA) when it approved the addition, and says the city approved the add-ons based on an addendum to the project’s 2003 environmental impact report that didn’t include a residential component.
The nonprofit wants the project suspended until the city and developer can make necessary adjustments, or until a ruling is made on the lawsuit.
Otay Ranch resident Valentin Valdez, like the lawsuit, claims the project could also impact local emergency response times.
“Police response time has been spread out,” said Valdez, who lives in a development near the project.
Fellow resident Jim Marcum called the suit frivolous and said the 900 new units are critical to creating affordable housing.
“We need this development. We need This housing and need our property values to come down so people can afford to live here,” Marcum said. “This is Americas Finest City. It shouldn't be America’s Most Expensive."
NBC 7 reached out to Baldwin & Sons after-hours Monday and did not immediately hear back from the company. The city of Chula Vista said it would not comment on pending litigation.