Final approval of the consultant that will prepare the Environmental Impact Report for Safari Highlands Ranch will be decided at the City Council meeting on Wednesday, March 23rd at 4:30 pm. Following the public scoping meetings where many important EIR-related issues were raised, the City received bids from consultants who want to work on the EIR. The applications have been reviewed and narrowed down to finalists. The City Council will decide which consultant to hire at the March 23rd meeting being held at the Escondido City Hall at 201 North Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025.
If you have questions or concerns about the consultants being considered as finalists or other input, there is an opportunity for public comment at the beginning of this meeting. Some people have raised concerns that consultants not be allowed to have prior business with the developer nor be allowed to bid on completing phases of the SHR project if they win the bid to prepare the EIR which is meant to objectively study the impact SHR will have on the area. Both of these are valid points. There is a prohibition against consultants with ‘concurrent’ business dealings with Concordia being hired for this EIR, however nothing prevents the hiring of consultants with past business dealings with Concordia, nor are there prohibitions against a consultant being hired for this EIR and later being hired by the developer or the City to build any part of SHR or it’s related City infrastructure. With a goal of full transparency and objectivity, we feel both limits should be in place but presently we have not gotten a commitment on either.