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A group of about two dozen activists gathered outside city hall this afternoon to protest approval granted by the San Diego Planning Commission to a proposed large-scale seniors’ residential development in the Carmel Valley area named Rancho Del Mar. The project calls for filling 20 acres of the San Dieguito River Valley floodplain, which is currently designated as open space and zoned for agricultural use.

By not calling for a public vote on the development, the protesters say, the city is in violation of the 1985 Managed Growth Initiative, which set a mandate for developers to seek voter approval for projects in areas San Diegans expressed concern over urban sprawl, referred to as “Prop A Lands,” after the initiative’s original ballot title.

Since the city has adopted of the ordinance, seven of eight projects that have been presented to voters have been approved, says San Diegans for Managed Growth, the group who originally pushed the measure.

“We regret that we must now come out of retirement to defend this measure,” said Diane Coombs of San Diegans for Managed Growth, who was joined by representatives from the League of Women Voters, Protect San Dieguito River Valley, the Sierra Club, and others.

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The group plans to address the city council directly at tomorrow’s meeting, asking for reconsideration of whether the Rancho Del Mar project is indeed subject to voter consideration as required by Prop A.

“We will not stand by and watch this express violation of the will of the voters,” promised Jeanne Brown, representing the League of Women Voters.

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