Approval of Santa Margarita Ranch Development by Outgoing SLO County Sup's Brings Lawsuit
1/26/2009-As they threatened to do during contentious hearings on the Santa Margarita Ranch last year, opponents of the development have sued the county for approving the project, calling it inconsistent with federal and state law and the county General Plan.
The Board of Supervisors’ Dec. 23 approval of the ranch project was “a betrayal of the public trust and an abuse of discretion,” according to Michael Fitts of the Endangered Habitats League, a Los Angeles nonprofit organization. The league joined North County Watch, a Templeton-based environmental nonprofit group, in filing suit in Superior Court on Monday.
The groups have also alleged that the findings in an environmental analysis are legally flawed. Both groups are asking the court to set aside the county’s approval of the environmental impact report, tract map and permit that flowed from the supervisors’ decision...
The portion of the Santa Margarita Ranch proposal approved last month would put an estimated 300 people in 111 homes on 1-to 1.5-acre lots in a 3,778-acre agricultural cluster subdivision.That phase is part of a larger development on the 14,000-acre ranch, one that could create wineries, more than 500 homes, houses of worship, an amphitheater, a golf course, a horse ranch, a livestock sales yard, a guest ranch, a bed and breakfast, a sewage treatment plant, cemetery expansion, restaurants, craft studios, galleries and shops, among other components.
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