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San Marcos

A Superior Court judge has ruled that the developer of a proposed trash-to-energy plant adjacent to the county landfill will not have to re-apply for its special-use permits, even though the City of San Marcos erred in not conducting an environmental impact review on a general plan amendment that allows such plants to be built there.

The city had not completed an environmental impact review before amending the general plan of the city, and in a subsequent lawsuit, the courts ruled that the city was remiss and should do so. But that ruling was unclear as to whether North County Resource Recovery Associates would also have to repeat the approval process to build the $220-million plant.

Superior Court Judge Robert O’Neill said Wednesday that, despite the city’s error, the developer did not need to reapply for its special use permit and the permit could stand as issued.

Critics of the plant said they expected to appeal O’Neill’s decision. A spokeswoman for the developer said construction is expected to begin early next year.

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