Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sprawling Safari Highlands Ranch back on the Agenda WEDNESDAY August 26th

Another disastrous project is before the Escondido City Council again. Pages 43-46 of the Agenda Packet AUGUST 26 is the staff report for this project.

There are many reasons this project should be denied.  It is yet another assault on the County General Plan.  (See the Lilac Hills issue as well)   It will severely impact precious habitat, water supply, water quality, local quality of life, and could feed more sprawl development to the east into pristine areas.  Sprawl development does not 'pays its own way' in the long-run and is well-known to bleed money away from the city core and existing neighborhoods which needs infrastructure and support.

The Council should stop this project now by refusing to expand the Sphere of Influence to accommodate this project.  The land is currently in the County and zoned for 27 homes.  This project will put 550 units where only 27 are allowed under the County General Plan.

Please learn more about this project and help the residents defeat it.  The hearing held last year shows many of the concerns about it  Council Meeting Video April 23, 2014  and the Escondido 2014 posting   

Here are some articles about it.
SDUT escondido-sphere-influence-safari-highlands/

SDUT escondido-safari-highlands-development-pasqual/

Our backgrounder is here

Monday, August 17, 2015

Troubling Article in Voice of San Diego about Lilac Hills Developer and Report from PC Tour

This is a very troubling but fantastic article about the Lilac Hills Travesty.Lilac Hills Develop Tactics
This project is the frontline of defense of the new County General Plan  We urge everyone to support the local communities efforts to preserves their community.

Here is some additional info about the Planning Commission tour that we just received.  This is something worth getting involved in.  

This is a brief Community report from on the site visit trip taken by all seven planning commissioners and staff Wednesday, August 12, 2015.


The Commissioners made the four stops on the site visit indicated by the County Map at this link  to view Roads, Evacuation Routes, and impacts to existing property owners that are not a part of the Lilac Hills Ranch Project. Community Storyboard copies for the Commissioners were sent to County Staff Tuesday, August 11.

However, County Staff could not share the Community Storyboards with the Commissioners because of regulations about Planning Commission hearings.  The storyboards provided details about each stop the Community envisioned, even if they weren't on the final tour itinerary.

The Storyboards will be provide to the Commissioners in full accordance with laws and regulations before the September 11th Public Hearing.

The Commission voted 7-0-0 that Public testimony would "reopen" for the new information.

Again, the Public was not able to interact with the Planning Commissioners about the Project, was prohibited from interacting with the Commissioners about the Project.

At 4 stops, the County Staff provided a brief overview of the Stop location and its relevance to the Project.

The Commissioners could then speak into a recording microphone to ask questions that will be answered later by County Staff and/or the Developer.  The entire visit was also videotaped by County Staff.

No "supporters" of the Project attended. 

A few neighbors joined the 40 person entourage over the 5 stops and two hours.

Media coverage was provided by Channel 8 News Investigative Report team; JHarry Jones of the Union Tribune; Joe Naiman of the Fallbrook Village News; and Dan Weisman of the Valley Center Roadrunner.

If everyone that was interested tried to participate, the Site Visit would have been unsafe and been aborted at any point safe passage was a problem. 

Driving and parking for the 25 cars at the stops was difficult and resulted in long uphill walks for many participants.
The Community hit the right balance to demonstrate overwhelming Public concern, yet not shut down the Visit.

Some Details
The starting point was the park and ride lot at Highway 76 and Old Highway 395 next to I-15. It was apparent that the one and only bus stop nearest the project was nearly 3-miles from the project entrance. County Project Manager Mark Slovick pointed out the 10 road standard modifications being requested. Chairman Woods emphasized that there would be no statements/questions from the Public or questions from the Commissioners to the Public about the Project during the tour, but did say that public testimony regarding the tour would be opened on 11 September.  All Commissioner questions were directed to the Staff, with Project Manager Mark Slovick as the County Spokesman.  Answers to the questions asked during the tour were deferred until the 11 September continuation of hearing. Most of the questions asked are ones that the Community has been asking for the past five years. All seven commissioners asked at least one question of staff, some asked many questions.

The entourage of county vehicles, highway patrol, press and community members followed a leisurely pace up the 395 grade, over the Maxwell Bridge, past the nominal entrance to the project and through the "hairpin" turn on West Lilac Road to CALFIRE seasonal wildfire Station 15 at Miller Road. There the discussion focused on modifications to West Lilac Road [to a 2.2C classification as well as the hairpin turn]. Slovick noted that the Staff was not inclined to endorse 3 of the 10 County Road Standard modification requests.  County Department of Public Works was present and sympathetic to the safety issues being discussed and observed. Neighbors along the stretch of W. Lilac Rd. that is opposite Station 15 had their front yards staked and taped to indicate the extent their land would be taken by the County for road widening needed to accommodate the project.

At the next stop, Covey Lane, the entourage parked near Mark and Karen Jackson's' house where the Community had taped and painted a large red X on the pavement to show the proposed 80 foot wide crossing of Covey Lane by the main proposed internal Lilac Hills Ranch Road.

Just as indicated in the Friday Aug 7th briefing.

Aside from concerns expressed about the topography of the intersection and the resolution of the private/public/private/public transition of the Covey Lane roadway along its length, Slovick also pointed out the extent of the Project from that vantage.

The procession moved on to Mountain Ridge Private Road at Megan Terrace where Slovick explained the scope of changes necessary to bring Mountain Ridge up to a 25 mph design speed and to accommodate right turns from Circle R onto Mountain Ridge. Commissioner Barnhart took time to walk to the western edge of the roadway to peer down the side to the wetland below, scratching his chin. Several questions were recorded about the County design standards for such roads.

The tour moved to the final stop at the Deer Springs FPD Station 11 on Circle R. With the noise from the fire station, I couldn't readily hear the questions being quietly asked into the microphone of the audio/video recording, but there were several and the last one made clear that commissioners would be allowed to interact with the Public regarding the tour at the 11 September Hearing. 

Channel 8 was recording and taking audio/video bites at four of the stops and the U-T and the Roadrunner were also taking notes and soliciting comments. Accretive had only one identifiable representative, Chris Brown, a County registered Lobbyist for the Project. The county staff included two lawyers, PDS staff, PDS communications specialist, PDS consultant Kristin Blackson, and Director Mark Wardlaw.  Four of the five County Supervisors had their Land Use Policy Aides in attendance.

Overall, the field trip was very positive for those opposing the project and informative for those that had been past supporters of the Project.  Reality is best seen personally at the location.

It is of extreme importance that the Community is now able to address the Commission regarding the Staff Visit on 11 September.
To repeat for clarity, no additional testimony will be allowed about briefings provided on Aug 7th.  Only new Site Visit information will be allowed.
Detailed speaking rules, such as whether speakers that had briefed Aug 7th will be able to rebrief on Sept 11 are to be determined.  The Commission will be fair about this and not trick anyone.

The involved Community has and will continue to present the facts about the Project without adjectives to the Commission and the Public.

The Planning Commission decision on the Project September 11, 2015 will be an informed decision.

Friday, August 14, 2015

ENU Opposes Sewer Project that will trench in areas of Chatham Plume- City Hearing WEDNESDAY AUGUST 19 4:30 pm

Escondido Neighbors United filed a letter opposing the adoption of a mitigated declaration and of the sewer trenching project.  ENU Sewer MND Letter

The Final MND up for adoption is here MND SW Sewer Replacement project

In summary,  we believe this project is too risky and should not be undertaken.
·         This project is not necessary as current system handles the current level of sewage.  If and when improving the system is needed to maintain current loads, current lift stations can be upgraded.
·         The project threatens to impact a highly serious contaminated waste site and potentially discharge waste into Felicita Creek/Lake Hodges through the MS4.   
·         The plan for management of risks has not been disclosed.
·         The City cannot assure residents along the road that they will be protected.
·         The City cannot assure the workers in the trenches their health will not be put at risk.
·         This project could provide a new conduit for the contamination from the Chatham site.  If this occurs, the City may be liable for the contamination of any new areas. 

We urge everyone concerned about this project to write the Council and please attend the August 19th City Council Hearing if you can to oppose this project.

Friday, August 7, 2015

More Jewels of Escondido: Coastal Sewing and Vacuum Cleaners

The next nominee for our "Jewels of Escondido" series comes from one of our members.  Enjoy!

Coastal Sewing and Vacuum Cleaners  are situated in downtown Escondido on Grand and Broadway. They have been in business for over 40 years. They sell really high quality vacuums, particularly a brand called Simplicity which is American made, and sewing machines and have a repair service that is efficient and very reasonable. I love that they sell all non-toxic cleaning products. You can also a hire a carpet cleaner from them. The owner, Armando, is of Italian descent and is Spanish speaking - he is very friendly. He demonstrated a vacuum cleaner by letting my dog eat a biscuit and then vacuuming up the crumbs! 
This is the kind of store we need to support people!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Oppose Lilac Hills Ranch at County Planning Commission tomorrow, Aug. 7th at 9 am

Our first opportunity to oppose this terrible project is tomorrow, Friday, August 7th.  Please check out this website for more information.

Please help defend the General Plan and speak in Opposition to Lilac Hills Ranch at  the Planning Commission Hearing


Friday, August 7, 2015, 9:00 AM -  
County Operations Center  Conference Center Hearing Room - Building 5520
5520 Overland Avenue, San Diego, California 92123
The closest parking is in the Multi Story Parking structure close to Building 5520.  It usually fills up quickly. However,  there is plenty of parking to the North near Building 5600 - Registrar of Voters.

A large cafeteria is in the same building.  There are lots of other restaurants within walking distance

How to Speak or Oppose the Lilac Hills Ranch Project
1.Fill out a Pink Opposition Speaker Slip for Agenda Item 2 - Lilac Hills Ranch - a sample is attached.
2. IMPORTANT - Slips must be handed to Lisa Fitzpatrick by 8:50 AM
If you wish to speak against the project, you must complete an OPPOSITION speaker slip (PINK SLIP).  Also, if you wish to  register your opposition to the project but not speak, you must also fill in an OPPOSITION
 speaker slip (PINK SLIP).  Speaker slips must be submitted  by 8:50 am to Lisa Fitzpatrick or her assistant

Each speaker is given 2 minutes to address the Planning Commission.