CARLSBAD — The environmentalist nonprofit group Preserve Calavera has sued the city of Carlsbad over its review and decision on the Quarry Creek housing development.
In its claim, which was filed at the North County courthouse on May 9, the group alleges that the city committed to approving the development before public hearings and furthermore failed to consider the environmental impacts of the project and adopt feasible mitigation measures.
The city has received legal notice of the suit and will meet with Preserve Calavera as part of a mandatory settlement hearing required by CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act), said Assistant City Attorney Jane Mobaldi.
“It’s about open government. So if City Council is going to make decisions, it needs to do so openly,” said Everett DeLano, Preserve Calavera’s attorney.
The Quarry Creek housing development was approved by City Council on April 2.
The project, developed by Corky McMillin Companies, consists of 656 housing units over 156 acres located adjacent to Haymar Road and state Route 78 along the border of Carlsbad and Oceanside. The site includes the historical Marron Adobe and El Salto Falls.
The housing development’s investors, Quarry Creek Investors, LLC, are also included as respondents in the suit.
Preserve Calavera’s filing lists eight causes of actions, which incorporate allegations that the city and the project investors failed to comply with CEQA procedural requirements and environmental considerations, as well as that the housing development violates the city’s General Plan and Municipal Code.
Diane Nygaard, president of Preserve Calavera, said in a statement about the lawsuit that after spending years trying to work with the city to preserve portions of the development site unsuccessfully, “We really had no choice.”
DeLano said that after the parties meet they conduct further research on the allegations as part of the case’s discovery phase.
He explained that if the lawsuit goes to court and the court agreed that Carlsbad committed violations, the city would have to withdraw approval of the project and amend its violations before work on the development could commence.
On May 6, days before filing the suit, Preserve Calavera also submitted notice to the city of Carlsbad claiming that City Council violated the Brown Act with an unannounced closed meeting while deciding on Quarry Creek.
Carlsbad’s City Attorney Celia Brewer said that no violation had occurred and that the city would respond to the group’s claim within 30 days in writing.
Mobaldi said that Carlsbad has not received any other lawsuits on the project and does not expect any more to arise.