Mountain Meadow Preserve
Mountain Meadow County Preserve. Photo credit: Escondido Creek Conservancy

San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to set public hearings for more open space in the communities of Hidden Meadows and Valley Center.

The hearings will be on Aug. 18 as part of the regular board meeting. If supervisors vote yes, the county will move forward with purchasing both land parcels, which are located in northern San Diego County.

According to information in the board agenda, the county wants 277 acres of open space north of the Mountain Meadow County Preserve in Hidden Meadows, which is located near the city of Escondido.

“This acquisition meets the criteria for conservation due to the high-quality habitat and biodiversity, biological connectivity, access and value,” and also would help lower greenhouse gas emissions by 325 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents a year, county staff said.

The county has an option agreement with Paradigm Development to buy the parcel for $3.46 million.

The second proposed land purchase is in Valley Center, involving 419 acres southwest of Hellhole Canyon Preserve. The county would pay $3.1 million to Title Insurance & Trust Co. for the land.

The two land acquisitions would fall under the county’s Multiple Species Conservation Program, a conservation measure the board approved in 1998.

In a related action, supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to receive the annual report on the MSCP, which is maintained by the Parks and Recreation and Planning & Development Services departments. Since its inception, the MSCP has resulted in the preservation of 23,000 acres.