The 2,100-unit Newland Sierra development near San Marcos hasn’t been approved yet. So environmentalists want to know why it’s included among several already approved projects in a North County conservation plan, which could give its developers substantial benefits.

National City has increased the density developers can build to and sped up the time it takes to get a building permit. But even combining those regulatory incentives with the area’s low land costs, bayfront views and proximity to downtown San Diego, the freeway and the trolley hasn’t made a difference.

As the county rewrites its Climate Action Plan, it’s simultaneously considering several big developments that could impact the environment. Environmentalists are concerned the projects would make it impossible for the county to meet the greenhouse gas reduction targets the state says it needs to meet by 2030.

David Alvarez calls it the Catch-22 of San Diego development: You’ve got developers desperate to build in areas that don’t want it, and areas desperate for development that developers won’t touch. Alvarez and Councilwomen Myrtle Cole and Marti Emerald have a fix in mind.