Our Opinion: This is progress

May 03, 2002

Growth is something most cities seek, for various and usually good reasons, but growth can have its negative aspects, too.

Ask the people who live south of El Centro in the general Clark and Horne road areas, a lovely rural locale that is becoming less rural, and less bucolic, with each day.

South of Interstate 8, an area that has been pastoral and filled with ranch-style homes, is facing the encroachment of subdivisions. The first subdivision built in the area was filled with large homes on large lots. The next one, still under construction, is made up of smaller homes on smaller lots. The one approved by the El Centro City Council this week, the 465 homes of Buena Vista Park, has even smaller homes on still smaller lots.

We, like the people on the Keep Clark Road Country committee, wish it were happening the opposite way. Smaller homes should be closer to town and the bigger ones on bigger lots closer to the older ranch homes in the area, with something that even might tie in the homes with the equestrian center in the area. Unfortunately, that is not unfolding.


And, at this point it seems there is nothing that anyone can do about changing things.

The Keep Clark Road Country committee protested the plans for Buena Vista Park to the city Planning Commission, which listened politely and attentively and approved the plans anyway. The same thing happened with the City Council.

The committee has some issues that resonate with relevance, particularly regarding the impact of the subdivision on area roads and McCabe Union Elementary School, but the council and the commission were not concerned enough to not approve the project. We also agree with concerns expressed by City Councilman Jack Dunnam regarding immediacy of response to the area from already strapped police and fire departments. But the council voted 4-1, with Dunnam dissenting, to approve the plans.

Now the committee, which says it does not object to development in the area but insists the project's environmental impact report is inadequate and the project is inconsistent with the city's general plan, plans to protest to the Local Agency Formation Commission. LAFCO has to approve the annexation of the county land into the city of El Centro. We can't see LAFCO turning back the annexation.

Landowner Brent Grizzle, a former Valley farmer now living in the San Diego area, has done what has needed to be done to get the subdivision approved. He's done the studies, filed the paperwork, gone through the hearing process.

Yes, we wish he were offering bigger homes on bigger chunks of property, particularly in that area, but he has the right to build any size homes he desires and the truth is most people in Imperial County can't afford big homes. If Grizzle is to make the money he wants to make — and that is what capitalism is about — he has to sell homes people can buy.

That, with all its warts, is progress.

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