By ETHAN SIBBETT
Superior Court Judge Donald Alvarez ruled on June 27, 2018 that the Harmony project as currently envisioned cannot be built. The Harmony project is a proposed project to build 3,600 homes between the current eastern edge of Highland and the Seven Oaks dam proposed and paid for by Orange County.
According to a July 5, 2018 press release in the Highland Community News, Alvarez ruled against the current project based on a lack of environmental considerations. His major objections were that the planned homes are too dense, a second bridge over the wash would be needed for the extra traffic, and the effects on wildlife and the wash itself are not adequately defined.
The project may still occur; however, this is a major step backward as the City Council will not be able to review this in time to put it on the 2018 ballot, and so the final decision will not be made until at least 2019. This extra time will allow opponents of the project to gain momentum. The increased costs of the project necessitated by the decreased density of homes and a bridge across the wash will lessen the motivation for building it as well.