Housing projects subject of Escondido meetings
J. Harry Jones, March 3, 2015
Two potential housing projects in Escondido
one near approval and the other far from it will be
up for discussion this week during separate meetings at City
night, the City Council will decide whether to sign off on
the 65-home upscale Oak Creek residential development proposed
just north of Felicita County Park.
Thursday night, the citys planning staff will hold a
public workshop on what the community would like to see happen
with the Escondido Country Club land. The property is at the
center a legal battle over whether its current designation
as permanent open space can stand, or whether its owner can
eventually move forward with some kind of development at the
Oak Creek proposal won unanimous Planning Commission approval
in January and, although some Escondido residents oppose the
project, the council is expected to approve it.
part of that approval, the council will have to vote to annex
the 37-acre property into the city so residents can get city
water and be protected by city police and firefighters.
New Urban West a Santa Monica-based company that built
the communities of Ranchos at Vistamonte in the San Pasqual
Valley and Brookside in north Escondido has spent years
trying to address residents concerns about the project.
some opposition remains. In a letter sent Monday on behalf
of a citizens group called Escondido Neighbors United, environmental
lawyer Everett DeLano asked the council to deny the project
for numerous reasons including concerns about a toxic plume
from a decades-old Superfund site that runs under part of
said the city has failed to respond adequately to questions
concerning the plume and other issues such as community character
project would be built on a parcel of land bordered by Felicita
Road to the west, Hamilton Road to the north, and Miller Avenue
to the east.
the council meeting is the final hurdle that must be cleared
before construction can begin on Oak Creek, Thursdays
workshop on the Country Club site marks the very beginning
of a process that could take years.
the workshop is a prelude to the planning staff drawing up
new zoning designations for the 121-acre Country Club property.
August 2013, the Escondido council voted to adopt an initiative
that reclassified the golf course under the citys General
Plan as permanent open space. The reclassification also required
the City Council to rezone the property from residential to
open space within two years. The rezoning process was delayed
when Country Club owner Michael Schlesinger put a different
initiative on the ballot asking voters to overturn the councils
actions. That failed in November.
original initiative is the subject of a lawsuit brought against
the city by Schlesinger. Next week a judge is set to rule
on whether the councils open-space designation was appropriate
or if it violated the rules that govern General Plan amendments
because it targeted a single piece of property.
the citys Director of Community Development Barbara
Redlitz said the planning workshop will take place. She pointed
out that whatever the judge decides will likely be appealed.
Meanwhile, she said, the city needs to keep going with the
process while the courts contemplate the matter.
people are expected at Thursdays workshop. The Escondido
Country Club Homeowners Organization which gathered
the signatures needed to qualify the original initiative for
the ballot is encouraging its hundreds of members to
show up and tell the city what they envision for the property.
recent survey of ECCHOs membership showed that 87 percent
said they wanted some golf element to be included with any
housing development plan perhaps a nine-hole course.