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East County News Service

Photo: Cottonwood Golf, site of proposed sand mine

December 21, 2018 (Rancho San Diego) - In a significant show of early community strength, the Stop Cottonwood Sand Mine Committee this week submitted over 2,100 petition signatures to the County of San Diego from area residents opposed to the plan for a 10-12 year sand mining operation on the current site of the Cottonwood Golf Course in Rancho San Diego. 

Since its first community meeting only three weeks ago (November 28), attended by over 200 residents, the volunteer group facilitated the collection of 2,109 signatures and 70 additional comments of opposition. Several hundred have also signed up on the group’s website to receive ongoing communications about actions they can take to reject plans for the sand mine. County Planning & Development Services staff also reported over 130 emails or letters received directly from residents.

On behalf of local residents, the committee has expressed significant concerns about a long-term sand mine along the Sweetwater River, in the middle of an established residential neighborhood surrounded by homes, schools and businesses. Those concerns, detailed at, include traffic, safety and noise, impacts on the environment, and decreased property values. Area residents are consistent in their reactions when hearing about the proposal, dismayed at a project wholly inconsistent with the character of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Committee members said they are thrilled by the opposition gathered thus far. “Obviously, this is just the beginning,” said Stop Cottonwood Sand Mine Committee Chair Elizabeth Urquhart. “Much more work is to be done to inform the community about the proposed project and to guide them to help stop it.”

The group encouraged residents to continue to sign up on the website and to collect signatures, using the downloadable petition. Additional steps will be communicated to those registering on the website, as the project application continues its review by County staff and the Valle de Oro Community Planning Group. The application for a Major Use Permit, filed by the developer with the County on November 19, 2018, and other related documents can be found on the Stop Cottonwood Sand Mine website.

The sand mine is proposed by Beverly Hills-based investor Michael Schlesinger, who purchased Cottonwood Golf Course in 2015, four years after the golf course filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Schlesinger proposes to mine 3.8 million cubic yards (7.5 million tons) of aggregate over ten years, in three phases. Sand and aggregate would be utilized to meet road and construction needs, with reclamation planned after each phase.

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