The developer of Lilac Hills Ranch must widen certain roads in order to meet safety standards. But if private property owners won’t sell their land to make it happen, the county might use its eminent domain power to force people into selling.

Lawsuits involving Lilac Hills Ranch, a massive project in Valley Center, offer a peek behind the curtain at how big developments come together. The developer, Accretive Investments, pieced together land for the project using about 20 LLCs and LPs with different names.

Fire officials have said they can’t protect it. County staffers have said it’s wildly out of step with guidelines for growth. So far, Accretive Investments has gotten around every hurdle standing in the way of the project.

“If you built it, hopefully they won’t come” seems to be the Coastal Commission’s answer to San Diego International Airport’s request to build a massive parking garage on North Harbor Drive. Airport officials said in 2009 the structure wasn’t needed.


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