The Merriam Mountains housing project in North San Diego County lives – at least until the Board of Supervisors has another chance to consider the proposed development.

In December, county supervisors closed a hearing with a 2-2 vote, which equaled rejection of the proposed 2,600-unit project just west of Interstate 15 and north of Escondido (see CP&DR In Brief, December 15, 2009; Local Watch, August 2006). Supervisor Ron Roberts missed the meeting, and in early January he asked his fellow supervisors to rehear the matter. "Because of the size of the Merriam Mountains project and its significance in terms of regional population growth, I believe it is important for this project to be considered by the full Board of Supervisors," Roberts wrote. Supervisors voted 3-2, with Roberts in the majority, to schedule a new hearing for March 24.

In the meantime, project opponents have demanded that the district attorney's office investigate Supervisor Bill Horn for allegedly violating a county ordinance prohibiting supervisors from having contact with a project proponent outside of the public process. A Merriam Mountains supporter, Horn admitted last month that he had advised Stonegate Development Group to request a hearing delay until all five supervisors could be present. Opponents want Horn to recuse himself.