Supervisors promote community benefits program to protect neighborhoods and residents

San Diego County Administrative Building
The San Diego County Administration Building will be shown on January 12, 2021. (Zoe Meyers/innewsource)

The provincial board of supervisors unanimously approved a program designed to protect communities where large-scale projects such as renewable energy plants or hospitals are proposed on Wednesday.

The district staff will explore how mandatory and voluntary “community benefit agreements” can be applied to business parks, homes, warehouses “and other types of projects[that]can have a significant impact on surrounding communities,” according to a statement from board chairman Nathan Fletcher’s office.

Employees will review proposed options — including community participation and whether the county or a third party will handle the administration — before returning to the board at a future date with a formal proposal.

Fletcher said CBAs can offset some economic, environmental and social impacts on neighborhoods. Benefits may include community amenities, local recruiting, parks and recreational opportunities, and applicable wages.

The board’s action comes Wednesday after significant public opposition to a large solar farm in Jacumba Hot Springs, which was approved by regulators in August 2021. Numerous residents said the project would harm their community and affect overall growth.

In December last year, regulators instructed employees to investigate whether a CBA program was feasible.

“We want to be able to ensure that neighborhoods and residents remain whole as soon as a new large-scale project is proposed and built in their community,” Fletcher said.

City News Service contributed to this article.

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