was as clear as he could be on the library issue. Plans
to have Library Systems and Services (LS&S), a private
company, take over the running of the library are on track
and will happen soon, he said.
for the country club, Abed reiterated his position that
a proposal the council will be voting on next month for
392 houses on the 109-acre, now-shuttered golf course is
too dense for his liking. He said he will not vote for so
many homes, but is open to a compromise.
do have a concern with the 392 homes, he said. I
can tell you I will not support the 392 homes.
said perhaps 270 homes would be an acceptable compromise;
however, it is unclear how the full council will vote on
timeline was set for the decisions that are to come. The
citys Planning Commission will make its recommendation
about the country club following a public hearing on Oct.
24. The council will make a final decision three weeks later
on Nov. 15.
they have for years, numerous representatives of the Escondido
Country Club Homeowners Organization (ECCHO) attended
the meeting Wednesday. Representing hundreds of residents
of the area, the group has retained an attorney and is preparing
to sue the city should the council approve the plans presented
by development company New Urban West, which was chosen
by country club owner Michael Schlesinger to pursue a project.
Thursday, ECCHO lawyer Everett DeLano sent a letter to the
city with an alternate proposal for the land that would
allow for just 158 homes to be built. He said the alternative
plan would result in a 63 percent reduction in traffic compared
to New Urban Wests The Villages project.
Urban West has steadfastly said that 392 homes is the least
number of units it will consider for the land because anything
less would make the project fiscally unfeasible. It has
given no indication it is willing to negotiate a lesser
density and confirmed that Thursday.
the last several years, different plans have been proposed
for the country club area one with as many as 600
homes, a company spokesman said in a written statement.
have proposed 392 homes alongside 48 acres of protected
open space, four new community parks, four miles of walking
trails and a brand new $10 million clubhouse facility. We
believe this represents a good compromise. The number of
homes is 35 percent less than what is allowed by the city's
current General Plan and ensures we can provide the amenities
requested by the community without any financial contribution
from area homeowners or city taxpayers.
a New Urban West spokesman said Schlesinger who Abed
referred to as a difficult landlord during the
meeting has indicated that should the project not
win approval, he could hire another development company
that might try to build far more homes on the property by
taking advantage of new state laws designed to ease the
housing crisis and encourage low-income home building.
for the library, Abed announced that the draft contract
between the city and the Maryland-based company was posted
Wednesday afternoon on the citys website.
contract is performance-driven with very strong accountably
measures, and it also protects the citys control and
public interest, Abed said. He said he believes LS&S
will improve the library, and by going with a private company,
millions of dollars in operating costs and many more millions
in pension obligations will be saved over the years ahead.
in the audience said they believe LS&S will decrease
the services provided to the city, citing an audit of the
companys track record in Jackson County, Oregon.
turned to City Manager Jeff Epp, who said the city considered
the Jackson County report, but also considered information
from many of the other 20 library systems the company operates
around the country.
overwhelming majority of evidence is that LS&S is serving
their communities very well, Epp said. We think
theyre going to do a fine job.
council voted 3-2 on Aug. 23 to begin the outsourcing process.
A final vote to approve the contract is tentatively set
for Oct. 18.
said following a workshop the council held a couple weeks
ago about the looming pension crisis that he thinks outsourcing
the library, as well as other city services, is more important
said if something isnt done to lessen the citys
underfunded pension liability in a few years, there could
be nothing left in the citys coffers to fund non-essential
services such as a library.