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Save San Dieguito Valley

November 09, 1986

The Local Agency Formation Commission established important ground rules for determining how the San Dieguito River Valley will be developed or preserved when it rejected last week the City of San Diego's attempt to control planning of county territory in the valley.

The county and the city both want to see a regional park established in the valley. The debate before LAFCO basically boiled down to which entity could best be entrusted with the job.

Had the city been allowed to extend its sphere of influence to include the valley, the land would have come under the provisions of Proposition A, and little could have been developed there for the next decade. But LAFCO, a public agency made up of representatives from the county, cities, special districts and the public, decided that because the city would not provide services to the area, the county should continue to be responsible for its planning.

There is no shortage of good ideas for protecting the area. Supervisor Susan Golding has worked for more than a year to sell the regional park idea to the valley's landowners; Councilwoman Abbe Wolfsheimer has an ambitious proposal for a park running across the county for 44 miles; Councilman Mike Gotch has worked with the state Coastal Conservancy to obtain funds to buy a section of the valley that lies in the city.

It's imperative now that council members and supervisors sit down together and forge a workable plan to preserve this natural treasure as perpetual open space. For the valley to be saved, the city should proceed with its purchase of the land within its boundaries; the county must hold firm and resist development proposals that would create urban pockets along the valley, and LAFCO must deny requests for the creation of special districts to provide urban services in the area.

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