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Asked if the San Diego Air Pollution Control Board — comprising the Board of Supervisors — is looking at the concentration of ozone-producing activities planned for eastern Otay Mesa, Reider replied that the board does look at the larger picture every few years using a modeling method. But the permitting process is project-specific and does not look at the whole picture. “On a localized level, landfills must receive an air quality permit from us,” Reider said, “and the modeling must show that that project itself is not going to cause or exacerbate a violation. Then we pull back, and the air quality plan looks at everything in toto to see if ozone standards can still be met by the deadline. The last plan was done several years ago.”

Land-use decisions made by the ballot box instead of by the board of supervisors may ultimately create more problems. Though the San Diego County Taxpayers Association declined to respond to questions and has taken no position on Proposition A, the organization’s website offers an analysis. The analysis begins, “[W]e generally do not recommend or support ballot box planning.” Further along, the association says, “Directly amending the County General Plan allows the developer to avoid an approval process through which the County would evaluate the merit of the project based on General Plan goals and policies.” The website continues, “The proposed amendment to the County Zoning Ordinance would designate the site as a ‘by right’ use.… This would limit the County’s ability to impose requirements related to infrastructure improvements, environmental mitigation, and operation practices.”

Wick foresees that the third border crossing will be a boon to the landfill, providing roads and other infrastructure. As for environmental considerations, Wick says, “We have to go through a complete CEQA [California Environmental Quality Act] analysis.… We’re going to have to mitigate all the traffic and greenhouse gases.”

Some have likened the East Otay Mesa landfill project to the Gregory Canyon Landfill project, approved by voters 16 years ago. The San Diego County Taxpayers Association suggests the two projects might have analogous trajectories. “In 1994, the Gregory Canyon Landfill project similarly asked voters to approve the rezoning of a potential waste disposal site without going through the County’s review and permitting procedures. The project has since been delayed on numerous occasions due to lawsuits regarding proper environmental mitigation.”

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Comments

joepublic June 3, 2010 @ 7 p.m.

Thanks! I haven't voted yet, and this certainly helps me make up my mind. This information hasn't been out there until now.

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VigilantinCV June 4, 2010 @ 11:22 p.m.

I wish every voter could read this clear piece on such an important issue. Luzzaro's writing is always so concise and in depth - the closest I have seen to investigative reporting in Chula Vista for a long time.

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Founder June 5, 2010 @ 10:54 a.m.

Great article! Thanks for doing the backgound and making this issue easy to understand!

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kcgagliardi June 5, 2010 @ 5:33 p.m.

Susan, Thank you for writing this informative article. I was totally in the dark and it was very helpful in helping me decide on Prop A. There is very little out there on this important issue to enable voters to make an informed decision. Good work.

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Susan Luzzaro June 5, 2010 @ 8:01 p.m.

Thank you for the comments. Sometimes you investigate a subject because it is a question...Waste disposal in San Diego County, oddly, is a fascinating subject. Susan

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