“The commission’s decision is not substantiated by the facts,” said David Loy, legal director for the San Diego American Civil Liberties Union.
The A.C.L.U. is appealing the city of Escondido’s denial of a land use permit to open a housing facility for unaccompanied minors crossing the Mexico border.
South West Key, a federally funded non-profit, wants to run the facility out of a building that used to be a nursing home, off of Avenida del Diablo in Escondido.
“I think it would bring the value down, I think it would make people scared, I’d be scared,” said one resident living near the proposed site.
The city’s planning commission filed a report citing resident’s opposition and their concerns over traffic and property value, which they believe to be enough to deny the land use request.
“The planning commission the decision was based purely on land use,” said Escondido City Mayor, Sam Abed.
But attorneys with the ACLU say city officials haven’t presented enough factual evidence to deny the housing facility, which would provide over 100 new jobs.
“I have strong concerns that whatever the ostensible reasons given they may well have been pretexted for either their own hostility, bias or discrimination or caving into hostility, bias or discrimination on the part of certain segments of the community,” stressed Loy.
“I don’t understand why the A.C.L.U.’s position in getting involved with the land use, I think the ACLU has a political agenda,” said Abed.
The Escondido City Council now has until the end of them month to review and consider the appeal.