Nature lovers organized as the San Marcos Foothills Coalition
negotiated an agreement with developer Jeff Bermant to preserve
open space in the hills west of Highway 154. Instead of the six
mansions for which Bermant has county-approved development plans,
the new plan would site 44 less expensive–though still luxury–homes
on the 377-acre parcel. And instead of designating 200 acres of
non-contiguous open space–some of it within private yards–as
accessible to the public, the new plan sets aside 300 contiguous
acres on the northern end of the parcel for public use. In praise
of the new plan, wildlife biologist Mark Holmgren characterized the
rocky grasslands as “our only good example of an intact local
prairie.” But some neighbors voiced opposition, arguing that the
greater number of homes will create more traffic. If the county
does not approve the coalition’s plan, Bermant will proceed with
his original plan.


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