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Another development planned for Elfin Forest!!

99 virgin acres of rare coastal sage west of Paint Mountain Road and north of Escondido Creek has been targeted for suburban development. Estates Seven,LLC has proposed 36, 1 ac lot homes w/ 46.52 ac of open space. This project calls for clustering of homes on smaller lots than currently allowed with a section of deeded open space. This is somewhat misleading as much of the land has already been placed in open space easements and can not be built on. The project area is currently zoned a mix of ECA (environmental constrained area), EDA (estate development area ) and open space. According to County Planner Jeff Murphy (858-694-3691) clustering is only allowed in EDA zoned areas. Access is via Calle Point Bella off of Seven Bridges Rd. The County of San Diego is currently "scoping" the proposed project, a cling on to the massive Bridges development of Rancho Santa Fe. (Many of us Foresters are currently in litigation w/ The Bridges regarding access rights to Surete Del Este, the dirt road to school.) Scoping involves preliminary review with an eye for further studies that can include an EIR (environmental impact report), wildlife/bird counts, traffic, and mitigation issues, etc. Please note this is preliminary information and is subject to change. Please write to Jeff Murphy stating your views on this development at The County of Sand Diego, Dept. of Planning and Land Use, 5201 Ruffin Road, San Diego, CA 92123, reference TM 5239.

It is my personal belief this proposed development is not consistent with the general plan, nor is it consistent with the objectives of GP 2020, the county's draft of the general plan update. Further this proposed plan is an excellent example of what is not appropriate in a rural area and represents the worst of urban sprawl, poor planning and land use. It is a vomit of suburbia in one of the last areas of pristine and almost extinct coastal sage scrub. A tributary to Escondido Creek would be destroyed and the water quality of Escondido creek could be further impacted. Their are also no services near the site, i.e. grocery stores, gas stations, public transportation, etc. It would generate more traffic in an area that suffers level of service F on a daily basis on all of it's major roads. Finally, for the sake of brevity, this represents stupid growth, serves no useful purpose except to line some developers pocket with blood money, blood money of innocents, human and otherwise. Oh, I almost forgot, this development would take out miles of existing trails with no plan to replace them.

Please write Jeff Murphy at the county today!!

Thank you,  

Nancy Reed

The coastal sage is shrinking faster than we realize...more

What a day it was @ the Board of Supervisors! The old foes were out in mass with the developers v. environmental soldiers dukin' it out. Some things never change. I ran into Jack Orr who fought against the incorporation of Encinitas. He is now championing the "property rights" cause. I am not fooled by his talk-- he is a developer, plain and simple.

Onto the news. Supervisor Jacobs make the following motion which was added to by Horn and others:

  1. Population Goals (numbers) are not set in stone. I took that to mean they can be raised.
  2. Standards, density targets, policies, goals ,etc. continue as per current plan. This was not well explained, but I think it means the ground work done re ground rule, mission statements will be kept and not tossed.
  3. Direct the CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) to dump alt 3 map and generate 3 new maps. The head county planner, who's name I didn't write down , kept stating alt 3 was only a starting point and not an end point.
  4. The CAO is to establish a NEW interest group consisting of 7 totalmembers, 2 environmental, 2 development, 1 architect, 1 planner, 1 farmer.The exact numbers may not be correct as they were changed several times. This is in response to developer out cry that they had been left out of theplanning process. Farmers and downzoned land owners claimed the same thing.
  5. Trails are to be included in open space preserves.
  6. All of the complaints, recommendations and issues raised today are to beaddressed by the new interest group, see # 4 above.
  7. Ramona is to get a professional rural planner to help mend the split init's planning area/group.
  8. Give incentives, i.e. density bonus to development w/in a specified distance from major rail routes and freeways. This came from SupervisorHorn, who wants to put real high density along the major transportation routes. 
  9. Return the SPA ( specific plan amendment) back into the planning tool box. The planning groups had removed it and Super Horn felt the "flexibility" SPA's add is a necessary element.
  10. Info re new super Williamson Act to be obtained in regard to help the farmers w/ $. 

 Comments by Horn & Roberts were decidedly predevelopment; Slader pro environment and Cox and Jacobs middle of the road. The Planning Dept is to come back in 90 days w/ a status report.So, here is my report on the latest GP 2020 theater. 

You have my permission to send it to others as you see fit.   Sincerely, Nancy Reed



GP2020 Community Outreach

GP 2020 is a proposal to rezone the unincorporated areas of the county.

It will take effect in 3 years. You'll get to see maps and draft

alternatives. If you can't attend, you can see some of the materials at and Questions can be directed to

Michelle Yip 858-694-3608. GP2020 will have an important impact on Elfin

Forest's future. 



San Marcos’ massive development San Elijo “Hills” is seeking to add

tens-of-thousands of daily trips to their previously approved 44,001

vehicle trip Specific Plan. By processing multiple changes under the

guise of a “minor revision”, they hope for the rubber stamp that

bypasses enviromental review and traffic mitigation.

San Elijo targets traffic at failed Rancho Santa Fe Rd., the County,

Encinitas, Carlsbad, and our freeways. Escondido is hit too. The

additional traffic and Revisions are NOT minor.

- Commercial is reconfigured from one to two commercial centers, not

counting further allowances for the enlarged 7 ac.“church” site to

convert to a 3rd and 4th commercial site.

- A 10 acre site serving an elementary school serving the community

changes to a 20 acre middle school which services half the city.

- The city park gains 5 more acres of intensified use and night


- The revised phasing plan pushes back essential infrastructure.

- Roads are narrowed and onsite parking is descreased.

- “Permitted uses” are revised to include many more traffic intensifying

options such as the following:

- Institutional areas are permitted for commercial use.

- Residential sites permit increased densities along with churches and

day care.

- Patio home sites permit 3 story multi-family or low income units.

- 1800+ houses are permitted detached little houses called “Casitas”.

- Public serving sites can build additional homes instead.

- Regional hiking trails and park can be changed into a golf course.

- The old cap of 3398 units can be exceeded, etc.

What we have here is an intensified traffic-producing core surrounded by

puzzle pieces that can be switched, at whim, for higher traffic

producing uses. San Elijo hit the rubber stamp lottery with the Planning

Commission which said revisions are minor and unworthy of environmental

or in depth review. Approval by the City Council is next.

We must speak up! This affects every North County driver. Plaese demand

full disclosure of impacts, complete traffic review and mitigation, or

that this plan for San Elijo Hell be dropped entirely.

Contact San Marcos Mayor & City Council at

1Civic Center Dr,

San Marcos, Ca 92069

(760) 744-1050 ex. 3145



From the planning commission hearing on Sept 5 

City Council Chambers

1 Civic Center Dr.

San Marcos

From the City of San Marcos web site:


F.H. "Corky" Smith November, 1998 Mayor November, 2002
Pia Harris November, 1998 Vice-Mayor November, 2002
Jim McAuley February, 1999 Councilman November, 2000
Hal Martin November, 1996 Councilman November, 2000
Mark J. Rozmus November, 1998 Councilman November, 2002

Sprawl: The evil that lurks all around us

Staff Writer NCTimes
Suburban sprawl.

Ask anyone and they will tell you what they think it means.

The trouble is, while people say San Diego County is cursed with sprawl, everyone has a different definition for the pervasive and pernicious problem of urban creep. That makes finding a solution especially tough.

Regional leaders are making the attempt, anyway.

The San Diego Association of Governments, a regional planning agency, is promoting a solution called "smart growth" that it hopes local cities will adopt in the coming months.

"Smart growth" is a national trend that aims to keep city edges rural while focusing new construction on unused land in traditional downtowns and transit-oriented city centers.

"Smart growth is a new buzzword for an old strategy. It's not 'no growth' or 'slow growth.' It's 'smart growth,' and who could be opposed to that?" said UC San Diego economics professor Robert Engle, with a hint of humor in his voice.

The current debate is this: What looms in the county's future, "sprawl" or "smart growth"?


Residents feel the effects of growth

When politicians talk about sprawl, they debate lot sizes, zoning and general plans.

Residents have definitions that sit in their gut.

"It's traffic, it's congestion, it's too many cars," said plumber Bob Frost as he sat in his truck recently at North County Fair in Escondido.

"It's like rats in a cage," Escondido resident Linda Mason said. "When you have a lot of them crowded together, there's more friction, more agitation."

"It's great. It's money for me," home builder Joe Rodriguez countered. "Sure, it's crowded, but I don't care. I'll just make the money and run. I just bought 4.6 acres in Hemet."

The past four years have been good to Rodriguez and the construction industry in general, as San Diego County's economy has revved up and new homes have splashed across its rolling hills and valleys.

In the 1990s, the county added about 431,000 people and 97,000 housing units. That's 17 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

North County grew even faster than the county as a whole. During the 1990s, North County's population grew by 22 percent, adding 137,000 more people. That's equal to adding two new cities to North County the size of Vista and San Marcos. The number of homes jumped by 14 percent during the decade, or 32,000 units.

That kind of growth is expected to continue.

At least another 45,000 homes will be built around North County in the next few years, judging from city records.

As more and more typical homes are built ---- two-story houses built on quarter-acre lots ---- politicians and residents are debating anew how to deal with the sprawl those homes create.

"When San Diego was in the tank, jobs were more important than the environment," UCSD's Engle said. "Now that the economy is good, people are starting to see development and traffic, and they don't like it."


A history of sprawl

San Diego County, of course, isn't alone in debating the meaning of "sprawl."

After all, the trend has a four-decade-long, nationwide history.

It began with the great swaths of suburbs built after World War II to provide affordable homes for GIs and their new families. It continued with President Dwight Eisenhower's massive federal-highway building project to provide a transportation network for national defense.

Multilane highways were first seen as a boon to usher rural residents into the city, but the result was just the opposite. Suddenly, farmland and woodland miles from urban jobs were turned into housing tracts, linked to the city by a smooth ribbon of four-lane concrete.

The suburbs were a wide-awake dream for parents and their baby boom kids, who had a streetload of playmates and everyone knew exactly where to find the bathroom in their neighbor's house.

But by the 1970s, environmentalists and urban planners had slapped the word "sprawl" onto "suburban" and set off alarms about the housing revolution's dark side ---- traffic congestion, air pollution, vanishing open space, city centers crumbling in the face of a middle-class exodus.

Southern California's young cities suffered less decline. But the bulldozing of virgin land was greater.

Two years ago, the Sierra Club's national "Sprawl Campaign" gave San Diego County a dishonorable mention in its list of most sprawl-threatened cities in the United States.

One reason ---- the thousands of acres of sensitive native habitat that has been destroyed in a county with one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.

"Ninety-nine percent of what's being built is sprawling development," said Deron Lovaas, the coordinator of the club's campaign. "All we're pushing for is more of a choice."


'Smart growth'

The "smart growth" philosophy hangs on two linchpins.

One element is that any new developments should be designed as dense, transit-oriented communities where people can live, work, shop and go to school with little or no driving.

The other element focuses on renovating traditional city centers so less virgin land is bulldozed. The hoped-for result is that much more open space can be preserved.

The way SANDAG planners figure it, the region's growing population means 400,000 new homes will be needed in the next 20 years. SANDAG experts calculated that current zoning laws around the county would only allow 312,000 new homes, mostly single-family houses, and those would sprawl across 625,000 acres.

To build enough homes and also save virgin land, SANDAG has proposed a "smart growth" plan to create the needed housing and do it on just 225,000 acres.

But the Region 2020 plan depends on convincing all 18 cities in the region and the county to build inward instead of outward, with more townhomes and single-family houses on smaller lots. The goal is for the cities to begin rewriting their general plans starting next spring.

It may be a tough sell.

"Naturally, every city sees their growth as smart, not sprawl," said county Supervisor Pam Slater, whose district includes the North County cities of Encinitas and Solana Beach.


What's sprawl?

Most politicians and urban planners agree with the Sierra Club's definition of sprawl: "low-density development beyond the edge of services and employment, which separates where people live from where they shop, work, recreate and educate ---- thus requiring cars to move between zones."

At SANDAG, the official definition is "low-density, spaced residential development spread across the region in a non-contiguous pattern of development," planner Mike McLaughlin said.

"Leapfrog development," UCSD's Engle said.

Key to the definition of sprawl is that new homes are built before adequate roads, schools, sewers or other infrastructure are in place.

At San Diego State University, urban studies professor Nico Calavita said the issue isn't lot sizes or locations, though he believes that the 10-acre lot size blessed by the county Board of Supervisors for rural areas draws enough new residents to constitute sprawl.

The real question, Calavita believes, is whether new back-country residents take root in the rural lifestyle.

"If you're connected to San Diego and drive there every day to work, then I would say that's sprawl," Calavita said. "It's your dependency on the larger economic environment that matters."


Views around the county

To avoid being tagged as sprawl builders, the county Board of Supervisors amended the county's general plan in April to set minimum lot sizes for 200,000 acres of unincorporated area.

They decided that a no-sprawl plan would mean one home per 10-acre lot in areas west of the San Diego County Water Authority boundary. In North County, that area includes Fallbrook, Rainbow and parts of Valley Center and Ramona. East of the boundary, the supervisors approved one home per 40-acre parcel. County officials figure that about 5,000 homes will be allowed under that zoning.

Slater said fewer homes may be allowed in the future, once the county finishes updating its entire general plan.

But activist Duncan McFetridge disagrees with the supervisors' plans so vehemently that his organization, Save Our Forests and Ranchlands, has taken the county to court over the issue.

His organization proposes a 40-acre minimum west of the water district boundary and 80-acre parcels to the east. He believes that smaller lot sizes will pave over more back country, destroy endangered habitats and send polluted runoff into streams that deliver the bacterial soup to the beach.

"In Southern California, where land is equal to money and we have so many endangered areas, it's tempting for people to masquerade as smart growthers while developing like crazy," McFetridge said. "You can start with the Board of Supervisors."

In Fallbrook, the community plan calls for 1-acre lots in the town center and 2-acre lots elsewhere. Folks there consider that zoning rural because 2-acre lots are big enough for commercial agriculture such as herb and fruit tree growing, said Jim Russell, chairman of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group. Russell grows and sells macadamias, persimmons and decorative gourds on his property.

In Ramona, the town center is zoned in half-acre lots and ringed with 1- to 4-acre parcels, said Brenda Forman, chairwoman of the Ramona Planning Group.

Forman said she judges sprawl on factors other than lot size.

"In the unincorporated areas, urban sprawl destroys the character of a country community," Forman said. "Growth has to fit in so a community maintains its charm."

Along the coast, Carlsbad's booming population has grown by 23 percent in the past decade. More than 5,000 new homes have been built and another 3,000 are now in the works. Most of the new housing developments have risen along the El Camino Real corridor on former ranchland.

But city Planning Director Michael Holzmiller said masses of big single-family homes ---- with prices higher than most people who drive to jobs in Carlsbad can afford ---- doesn't constitute sprawl. He looks at the issue from a countywide view.

"There's a push to have the areas along the coast accommodate the population growth and to preserve the East County's back country," Holzmiller said. "The best thing to do would be to encourage growth in cities that already exist, like Escondido and Carlsbad."


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