Huge Development Gets Split Vote

A plan to build thousands of homes has been rejected -- but it's not dead yet


In a split vote, the county Board of Supervisors rejected the Merriam Mountains housing project on Wednesday. But the proposed development isn't dead just yet.

The development would bring more than 2,600 homes to a rural area just North of Escondido and West of Interstate 15. More than a 100 residents who oppose the project packed into the meeting.

"This project is a disaster, it would change the character of San Diego," Rob Peterson said. He and his wife Cindi live along Deer Springs Road, which would be widened if the project is approved.

"We moved there to be in the serenity of a rural environment," Cindi said.

She also works at the Golden Door Spa, which may end up closing if the development is built. 

"I would lose my job," she said.

But supporters say the project would actually create more jobs, especially for construction companies that have been hit hard by the housing slump.

"We've lost about 85,000 jobs in the past two years because of a lack of construction and the economy," Tom Perez said. He owns a construction company and hopes to work on the Merriam project.

But Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Pam Slater-Price voted against the project, citing concerns about density and fire safety.

Supervisors Greg Cox and Bill Horn called the project "well thought out" and voted for it. 

Supervisor Ron Roberts couldn't attend the meeting because he had to be in Sacramento for a meeting with the California Air Resource Board. He could call for another public hearing on the project and could ask for another vote.

It's unclear if he plans to do so.

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