High Court declines to hear ‘Desert Rose’ case


The California Supreme Court recently declined to hear an appeal from opponents of the “Desert Rose” development in Olivenhain.

As a last legal option, those looking for further environmental review of the 16-home project filed the appeal in December.

“With the fight now over, the project is free to move forward and the environmental benefits can be realized along with the development,” said attorney Marco Gonzalez, an attorney for project developer Woodridge Farms Estates, in a statement.

Save Desert Rose, a group of residents who argue an environmental impact report (EIR) would illuminate the project’s negative traffic and wetland impacts, had a much different take on the news.

“We are disappointed but not surprised by the High Court’s decision,” said Bill Butler of Save Desert Rose. “The California Supreme Court only accepts a small percentage of the cases submitted.”

The California Court of Appeal in October ruled Woodridge Farms Estates doesn’t have to complete an EIR, reversing an earlier trial court’s decision.

Save Desert Rose’s petition to the Supreme Court stated that the Court of Appeal’s ruling conflicts with case law that’s found a “low threshold” for requiring an EIR.

Gonzalez previously stated an environmental impact report shouldn’t be ordered because the project would benefit the environment and result in affordable housing.

In a recent follow-up email, Gonzalez said the hope is that project grading begins this summer.

The Encinitas City Council approved the development in 2013, leading Save Desert Rose to file a lawsuit seeking an EIR.