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Highlands project heading back to decision-makers

SAN MARCOS — A controversial San Marcos development is beginning the slow process of making its way back to decision-makers after an eight-month hiatus.

The San Marcos Planning Commission and the City Council in January were poised to consider the application for the San Marcos Highlands project, a 189-home subdivision proposed on 262 acres in the city’s northern edge, when city staff abruptly postponed the meetings indefinitely.

A demand by the regional agency that handles annexation requests — which the project requires — for a new environmental report for the project prompted the delay, city officials said. The original environmental document the city and developer relied on was approved in 1990 and last updated in the mid-2000s.

The Local Agency Formation Commission is involved with the project because it calls for 121 acres of county land to be annexed into the city.

About 500 residents had signed a petition opposing the development, arguing that it was too large and incompatible with the surrounding landscape.

Beginning Aug. 15, San Marcos officials began accepting written feedback from the public as to what should be addressed in the new environmental impact report. The 30-day comment period closes Sept. 15.

In addition to written comment, the public has the opportunity to participate in a public meeting on Thursday where staff will explain the environmental review process and the public will have a chance to comment on the scope of the report.

Finally, the project applicant, Farouk Kubba, will provide an overview of the project at a public workshop Oct. 8. Again, the public will have a chance to chance to provide feedback on the project.

Both workshop and scoping meeting will be held at the San Marcos Community Center at 3 Civic Center Drive. Written comments submitted in advance of the meetings should be addressed to Associate Planner Norm Pederson at [email protected].