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No view, no vision, no room for nature

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
March 7, 2007


Not long ago I received an e-mail from an Oceanside resident asking me to weigh in on the recent decision of three Oceanside city council members to allow a 3-story timeshare complex, on 3.8 acres, to be developed adjacent to the highly disturbed Buena Vista Lagoon Ecological Reserve on the city's southwestern border.

Opposed by every environment group in the region, neighbors, and the Oceanside's planning commission, Jerry Kern, Rocky Chavez, and Jack Feller voted to allow the ill-conceived development because "it followed all the rules," and the absurd notion that the encroachment would not harm the ecological reserve, or wildlife depending on the lagoon for their survival.

Through delusion, denial or deceit, these men are lying to themselves and the people of Oceanside.

There is absolutely no way building four condos, an 82 room hotel with an adjacent high end 4,180-square-foot restaurant, and 8ft wide boardwalk will not negatively impact the ecology of Buena Vista Ecological Reserve. To state otherwise is pure mendacity.

Biology is based on centuries of scientific inquiry. The economics of shady development deals that promote hotels that aren't really hotels is based on wishful thinking. Sadly, the pro build-out majority on the Oceanside City council considers everything fair game in the development derby laying waste to that troubled city by the sea.

For Feller, Chavez, and Kern to even suggest the proposed timeshare complex will not negatively impact the nearby ecological reserve demonstrates how little they know, and how unprepared they are for protecting the natural resources of Oceanside. Completely, and unapologetically, these men have bought into the development at all costs ideology, and therefore can not be trusted to provide fair and balanced leadership.

The noise and light pollution emanating from the timeshare project will be more than enough to alter breeding and feeding behaviors of the more than 200 bird species inhabiting the lagoon. Air and water pollution resulting from the automobile exhaust and parking lot runoff generated by the project are enough to impact the long term viability of Buena Vista Lagoon.

Food waste from the proposed restaurant is guaranteed to attract rats and other invasive species and increase their numbers near bird nesting sites during breeding season. Another potential threat to wildlife is the pets of condo owners, and timeshares tourists.

The biggest hurdle to overcome is the hotel developers wanting to build their timeshare project on habitat for the endangered light-footed clapper rail. Currently there are less than 300 breeding pairs of the Light-footed clapper rail in existence. A pair of light footed lives in close proximity to the proposed hotel location. If these birds were to breed, their offspring would have no where to go.

Thankfully, the last word does not rest with the Oceanside 3. As it stands the proposed Boardwalk Lagoon project must still win approval from the California Coastal Commission. Facing major opposition from statewide environmental groups and outraged neighbors, the timeshare hotel is far from a done deal. There is also the obstacle of an educated Coastal Commission staff doing due diligence on the protest where Kern, Feller and Chavez did not.

Now is the time for ecologically-minded citizens, of every coastal city, to contact the California Coastal commission asking them to deny this assault on the environment, and protect what remains of California's coastal wetlands. Send letters to San Diego Coast District Office,7575 Metropolitan Drive Ste 103 San Diego CA, 92108-4402 or fax them at (619) 767-2384.

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