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New Times / News

The following article was posted on June 19th, 2014, in the New Times - Volume 28, Issue 47 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 28, Issue 47

The proposed residential project on Cerrito Peak in Morro Bay will need an Environmental Impact Report, based on a judicial decision

BY COLIN RIGLEY

Update: New Times has been informed that the applicant mentioned in this story, Dan Reddell, died on June 3. Senior Staff Writer Colin Rigley contacted Reddell via email, as previously instructed based on his condition, and was unaware of his death until after the publishing of this story. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused to his family and friends.

A proposed housing project on Cerrito Peak, often referred to as Eagle Rock, will likely need a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to go forward, based on San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Jac Crawford’s early decision on a lawsuit.

The decision comes more than two years after Morro Bay-based Save the Park and the Portland-based Xerces Society sued developer Dan Reddell over his plans to build a single-family residential project on Cerrito Peak. The peak, a Native American ceremonial site, came with a number of unanalyzed problems, the lawsuit contends, including impacts to sensitive monarch butterfly habitat, the potential of rockslides, and other environmental impacts to the area and surrounding neighborhood.

In December 2011, Morro Bay city councilmembers voted 4-1 to deny four separate appeals against the project’s earlier approval. Community members cited a number of hanging issues, including the lack of additional studies about the site and written concerns from the California Coastal Commission about the project.

While Crawford’s decision on the case disputed some claims—such as the allegation that the project constituted a gift of public property and that there were sensitive archeological artifacts at risk—he noted that many of the remaining contentious issues would be remedied by an EIR.

Save the Park’s attorney Cynthia Hawley said that overall, the ruling was favorable to her client’s position. The applicant, Reddell, has 15 days to object to the decision, after which Hawley said she’ll prepare and submit a judgment based on the decision, which will put the case to bed.

“Other than that it remains to be seen whether the developer will or will not go back and do the proper Environmental Impact Report to go forward with the project,” Hawley said.

Reddell didn’t return a request for comment about his plans for the project, and whether he’ll push forward and fund an EIR, which can easily rise in cost to tens of thousands of dollars

“Other than that it remains to be seen whether the developer will or will not go back and do the proper Environmental Impact Report to go forward with the project,” Hawley said.

Reddell didn’t return a request for comment about his plans for the project, and whether he’ll push forward and fund an EIR, which can easily rise in cost to tens of thousands of dollars