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Real Estate

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September 26, 2019

Builders profit, owners worry amid disaster-area development

  • Local governments don't have the incentive or, often, the power to stop risky development. When homes are destroyed, taxpayer dollars often cushion the blow.

    ELFIN FOREST, Calif. — Elfin Forest is named for the miniature trees that blanket the surrounding ridgeline. The terrain acts like a wall, which has until recently prevented suburban San Diego from sprawling into the bucolic valley.

    The town, home to 800 people and 300 horses, bills itself as “A Rural Community.” It's accessed by a single winding two-lane road. When the valley catches fire, as it does periodically, that road is the only escape route. Residents will soon share it with 700 new neighbors.

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