SAN DIEGO (CN) - The San Diego City Council illegally approved a giant industrial development that will wreak havoc on vernal pools and the environment at large at Brown Field airport on Otay Mesa, environmental and community groups claim in court.
The Coalition for a Safe Environment, the Center for Biological Diversity et al. claim in Superior Court that the environmental impact report on the project was far from adequate.
The project would to lease and develop 331 acres at the 800-acre Brown Field Municipal Airport. It includes a 1.4 million square-foot industrial park, two hotels, 200,000 square feet for commercial use, 810,000 square feet for aircraft support and fueling, and solar power generation.
"Despite the [already] disturbed nature of the project site, surveys found a dozen sensitive, special status, threatened or endangered species, including three species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act," the lawsuit states.
"The project is home to the largest known burrowing owl population in San Diego and also contains important vernal pool habitat, 98 percent of which has been destroyed in the county. The project proposes to destroy all six vernal pool locations on the project site, including those that harbor the federally endangered San Diego fairy shrimp and San Diego button celery."
The city acknowledges that the project will bring "significant, unavoidable impacts to land use, transportation/circulation, visual effects and neighborhood character, air quality, biological resources, and water quality and flooding," but adopted a "Statement of Overriding Considerations" to ram it through anyway, the groups claim.
The plaintiffs claim the project violates the California Environmental Quality Act and zoning laws.
They seek an injunction setting aside the environmental impact report, the City Council's resolution of approval, and suspending work until the project complies with the law.
Plaintiffs include Preserve Wild Santee, Community Dreams, California Kids IAQ, and the California Chaparral Institute.
They are represented by Marco Gonzalez with the Coast Law Group of Encinitas.
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