Category Archives: San Marcos News

San Elijo Life Email Interview with Eric Flodine Candidate for San Marcos City Council District 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is an email interview with Eric Flodine who is running for San Marcos City Council District 2. San Elijo Life has invited all candidates for Council in District 2 and Mayor to answer the same set of email questions.

Why should the residents in San Elijo Hills vote for you? 

Community. Education. Experience.

Community

I am a San Elijo Hills resident.  My family has lived in SEH for nearly 12 years.  My wife began her teaching career at SEES.  My children both attended SEES K-5, and now I have an 8th grader at SEMS and an 11th grader at SMHS.  We have donated our time and resources to the SEES PTO, SEES Country Fair, Hops in The Hills, SEMS PTO, Double Peak Challenge, local HOA board, and more.  We shop here, we eat here, we hike the trails here, even our dentist is here.  My father moved to SEH a couple years ago.  That means there are 3 generations of my family that live in SEH.  We love being residents of SEH and San Marcos and feel truly blessed at the friends and neighbors we have made over the years.  So, we understand firsthand the perspectives that our neighbors have.  

Education 

Education is very important in our home.  I earned a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly SLO and Master of City Planning from Cal Poly Pomona.  I earned a Leadership Certificate from CSU San Marcos.  My wife is an amazing elementary teacher in San Marcos with a Master’s Degree and a bilingual teaching credential.

Experience

For my civic experience, I have served on the City’s Planning Commission for 7 years, including 4 years as Chairman.  Prior to that I served 2 years on the City’s General Plan Advisory Committee.  So, for 9 consecutive years I have served the City, and have a solid understanding of our City’s process.  My professional experience includes over 21 years as a Community Planner.  Planning for the future of communities is what I do every day.  I understand the levers to push and pull to achieve desired results.  I look forward to engaging with local residents and businesses at the beginning of a project application, not at the end.  As a Planner, I am PROACTIVE, and this is what the City Council needs in discussions on future decisions.  

How can the council/mayor help address cut through traffic and school traffic in San Elijo Hills?

As a 12 year resident of SEH, I have lived here since before San Elijo Road / Twin Oaks Valley Road connected towards Highway 78.  This connection was important for access to the rest of San Marcos, and for fire evacuation, but it also opened up the heart of our community to pass through traffic looking for a “short cut” from the constant logjam of Highway 78.  The majority of our constant traffic issues are from cut through trips.  To reduce this, we must pressure Caltrans and the regional agency (SANDAG) to complete the improvements of Highway 78 from Hwy 15 to Hwy 5.  This will happen with collaboration with the adjacent cities, and with state influence by our state elected officials.  I have the experience to push this through.

Every city has traffic jams around school zones during morning and afternoon times.  We need to ensure safe routes to school to promote more students walking/biking/scootering to school.  One idea I have heard from residents is to coordinate with the Senior Volunteer Program of the Sheriff’s Department to be present at intervals/crossroads along major routes to provide safety for the kids.  I know I would feel more comfortable allowing my SEMS student to walk if there were going to be friendly officers along the way.  Another idea that was shared with me has been through coordinated vanpools and/or neighborhood carpool sign ups.  (I personally take 2-3 kids to SEMS every day).  Busing should also be reconsidered in partnersjip with the School District.  [I would love to hear other suggestions that we can analyze together.]

What is your position on future housing and commercial development around San Elijo Hills?

There are not many vacant private properties remaining around SEH for future projects.  I will be sure that future housing and commercial developments around SEH must provide public benefits for the existing community.  We have a wonderful community that future residents will utilize the amenities of, so in return, a future community must also provide benefits to existing residents and businesses.  This will expand the amenities for the entire region, which is a positive for our community image and quality of life.

How can you work with San Marcos Unified School District to solve school crowding?

This topic is one of the main reasons I am running for City Council now.  I heard loud and clear the frustrations from parents on school crowding (remember I have been a parent of SEES, SEMS, SMHS kids for over 11 years).  The coordination between the School District and the City must be PROACTIVE; unfortunately, this has not been the case.  There has been so much finger pointing over the last couple years (which really heated up during this campaign season).  With my education and local experience, I can tell you the reality of the situation.  The School District has had the information needed to project student generation throughout the City, and with this information could estimate the number of new schools, expanded schools, or portables needed to accommodate the City’s growing student population. Cities around San Marcos have shrinking student populations; we have a growing student population.  The City General Plan estimates the amount of future homes and businesses throughout the City.  The School District can use this information for its school needs assessment.  The student population grew noticeably before the approval of recent projects that have become campaign fodder.  This means the student increases have largely come from existing homes (i.e. growing families).  However, fully understanding that General Plan Amendments are sometimes proposed, and that this impacts school planning, I do have a recommendation for the City Council to consider, and will champion this if elected.  If an applicant proposes an increase in the number of homes currently allowed by the General Plan, or proposes a change from non-residential (i.e. commercial, office, etc.) to residential, then that project must pay 100% of the required school fees before 50% of the homes are built.  This would result in the school district receiving millions of dollars in advance of the homes being built, and the new students attending the local schools.  The school district should then use these funds to provide new schools or expanded schools as they determine best.

What are your goals to improve the quality of life in San Marcos-(events, parks, trails)?

As I mentioned earlier, my family has donated our time and resources to the SEES PTO, SEES Country Fair, Hops in The Hills, Double Peak Challenge, local HOA board, and more.  We shop here, we eat here, we hike the trails here.  I am also a member of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, and volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club and San Marcos Promise.  Being involved in our community, our City quality of life is important to me.  I will continue to be involved, and will collaborate with, and support the City Park and Recreation Department, Friends of San Marcos Park and Recreation, San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, School events, and the other local organizations that put on these amazing community events.  These create a strong community where neighbors care for neighbors and shop locally supporting local businesses.

If elected what are the top 3 issues you would focus on for San Elijo Hills?

  1. Traffic Reduction.  This includes: 
    1. Collaborate with Regional Transportation and Transit Agencies for Traffic Congestion Reductions;  b) Ensure New Developments Reduce Traffic Impacts on Adjacent Neighborhoods; c) Increase Bikeways and Pedestrian Routes Connectivity and Safety throughout the City
    1. Youth Enrichment.  This includes:
      1. Proactively Collaborate with SMUSD, Palomar College, CSUSM and Private Universities on Future Growth; b) Ensure Safe Routes to School for Students and Parents; c) Support Youth-Focused Organizations throughout the City
    1. San Marcos Advanced Fire Evacuation Systems (SAFES). 

When our neighborhood evacuated in 2007 and 2014 due to oncoming wildfires, this was a scary experience for my children and your families also if you lived here then. The brave men and women of the fire department and sheriff department, saved our communities from danger. We are eternally grateful for these heroes.   Unfortunately, what thousands of concerned neighbors experienced was extreme chaos when it was time to jump in cars and evacuate our homes. These personal experiences drove me to want to work with our public safety and city staff to significantly improve evacuation systems and procedures for when the next large fire occurs. This is why evacuation planning is part of my C.I.T.Y. platform.  When elected to City Council, I will advocate for San Marcos Advanced Fire Evacuation Systems (SAFES). In short, the people of San Marcos should be clear about evacuation routes in advance of the firestorm. SAFES would include maps, defined routes, road closure info, custom app, and more, all understood before the need is there. Additional routes are also needed in specific areas of the City, and I will focus on this also.   Speaking with public safety officials and city staff, I believe there is a way to plan better for a coordinated effort on evacuations, and communicate effectively with our City residents. We are fortunate to have trained experts among us that I will work with and be sure they have the resources to implement the SAFES program.   I look forward to coordinating with City residents, City Staff, Sheriff Department and Fire Department to continue to make San Marcos a safe place to live.

Thank you for taking the time to read these brief responses to complex questions.  Please visit my website for my personal contact information www.Flodine2018.us  if you would like to discuss anything further.

Let’s work together proactively for the bright future of San Marcos.

Please VOTE for ERIC FLODINE for SAN MARCOS CITY COUNCIL.

San Elijo Life email Interview with Randy Walton Candidate for San Marcos City Council District 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is an email interview with Randy Walton who is running for San Marcos City Council District 2. San Elijo Life has invited all candidates for Council in District 2 and Mayor to answer the same set of email questions.

Why should the residents in San Elijo Hills vote for you? 

I have a proven track record and have been deeply engaged in issues that impact residents of San Elijo Hills for almost 15 years, and lived in the community for nine of those years.

For the last decade, I have been a member of the governing board of San Marcos Unified School District and have helped steer that district through a period of recession and dramatic growth. When I first ran in 2008, my stated reason for running was to rebuild or modernize San Marcos High School, which was in desperate need of upgrade. Once elected, I pushed hard for a bond (Prop K), and then helped lead the campaign. I was deeply involved in the planning and construction and take great pride in what we accomplished in a short period of time. 

In my time on the board, academic scores have skyrocketed, we have built, rebuilt, or modernized five schools in total (including Double Peak), and we converted nearly every campus to solar power. In addition, 11 schools have been named California Distinguished Schools, two schools became California Gold Ribbon Schools, and SMUSD is now considered one of the finest school districts in the region, which was not the case when San Elijo Hills was being built in the early 2000s.

In addition to my time on the school board, I have been an advocate for our ridgelines and trails, and helped draft the Ridgeline Protection Ordinance, a local law that seeks to protect our ridgelines from destruction by development.

Longtime San Elijo residents might remember when the San Marcos City Council approved a 120,000 square foot Wal Mart in 2004 at the intersection of Rancho Santa Fe Rd. and Melrose. A few of us San Elijo Hills residents (with some help from some other impacted neighborhoods) took up the fight to overturn the city council’s decision. It took a year of battle (I was sued by Wal Mart in the process), but ultimately the voters were allowed to decide the issue and resoundingly rejected the store. Looking back, I can’t imagine what Rancho Santa Fe and Melrose would be like if there was a huge Wal Mart there.

I have also been involved in other projects that I think have improved the lives of San Elijo Hills residents, or at least the children. I am a founder of the San Marcos Promise, which helps SMUSD students find their post-high school path, and for years was very involved in San Marcos Youth Baseball as board member and coach. Today, I am the coach of the surf team at San Marcos High.

San Elijo Hills has grown to be a really beautiful community, and I wish Curt Noland, who oversaw its early development, was alive to see what it has become. 

How can the council/mayor help address cut through traffic and school traffic in San Elijo Hills?

Traffic is a regional problem that requires a regional solution. As the “hub” of North County, San Marcos has thousands of cars pass through it every day to get somewhere else, and like pretty much everywhere else in California, the infrastructure in North County (and specifically San Marcos), to handle automobiles is way behind the growth of housing and business. 

There is obviously no easy answer to the question of cut through traffic through San Elijo Hills. The location of CSUSM and the lack of north-south roadway alternatives will always entice drivers to use San Elijo Rd. and Twin Oaks Valley Rd., and some of the cut through traffic is beneficial to the businesses in the Town Center.  

But the city shouldn’t be powerless to address it.  As a city, we should make our voice heard on projects that are likely to increase traffic through our city and through San Elijo Hills. In the last two years, approximately 3,000 homes have been approved or built in San Marcos and the surrounding sphere of influence and only Chris Orlando has pushed back on these projects due to the negative impacts they will likely have on traffic and our general quality of life. 

As for school traffic, it is an issue we have studied in the district, and an issue that is raised at schools across the district. The reimplementation of home-school transportation is something the district would love to do, but currently doesn’t have the funding.  To reinstate home-school transportation district-wide, it is estimated that the startup costs would be approximately $8.2 million, with an annual cost of about $4.5 million. It requires about 20 additional buses and 45 routes and would require an adjustment of school start times. If public funds are going to be used for busing, the law would likely require that it be provided district-wide, not just for certain schools. If there is a private pay option, which could help defray some of the ongoing costs, the law requires subsidies for low income families. School busing transportation is highly regulated by the state, and costly, and something the school district simply can’t afford to do for the foreseeable future. 

Could the city do it on its own? Possibly. But it would require the political will and citywide support and a realistic revenue stream. It is certainly worth exploring, but ultimately school busing is all about the funding, and any candidate who promises the return of school busing (during a political campaign) without a concrete funding source is playing politics and not advancing realistic policies. 

While school busing would help with traffic at certain times of the day, most of the traffic burden in San Elijo is caused by regional growth without the supportive infrastructure. Any future reductions in traffic will be the result of infrastructure improvements, which must be demanded, technological advances, and controlling the pace of growth. 

What is your position on future housing and commercial development around San Elijo Hills?

The population of San Marcos has nearly doubled to 100,000 in less than 20 years, and the conventional belief is that San Marcos will outpace all North County cities in growth for the foreseeable future.  When you consider traffic and school capacity problems today, and the houses approved but not yet built, there is a real cause for concern. 

I think it’s time to pump the brakes on the large tract housing., which is something the developer community doesn’t like to hear. That is probably why it has invested $27,000.00 into an independent expenditure negative campaign against me (and why it so strongly supports my opponents). 

As a city, we need to be smarter about how we grow.  In 2010, the city was asked by regional housing authorities (like all cities are asked) to produce housing for people at various income levels. For people of upper incomes, the city was asked to build 1613 larger, detached home by the end of the decade. How many has the city approved or constructed? 3189. It has built 200% of what it was asked, and this doesn’t include the Newland Sierra project at the north end of Twin Oaks Valley that was just approved for 2,135 homes (a majority of which will be built within the San Marcos Unified School District boundary).  In the same request, the city was asked to build 734 homes for people of moderate incomes. How many have we approved or built? 63. Less than 10%. There is no question that we have grown in an unbalanced way and have been over-producing the very housing that is more likely to crowd our roads, carve into our hillsides, and fill our schools.

If elected, I will likely be supportive of housing projects that advance smart growth principles. That is, housing that is transit-oriented and closer to the city’s core along the 78, designed for walkability, with smaller units that are more likely to be affordable for young professionals, college students, and families starting out. The North City project around the college is an excellent example of that.

Will San Marcos continue to grow? Yes, but we need to take the long view. The city’s current general plan states the total number of housing units when San Marcos will be at “build out,” and I don’t think we need to rush to get there. We certainly shouldn’t sacrifice our quality of life in the name of growth.

How can you work with San Marcos Unified School District to solve school crowding?

In the last 15 years, San Marcos Unified School District has built five new schools, and rebuilt or modernized five others, dramatically increasing the district’s capacity.  Considering how difficult it is to fund school construction, this is a remarkable achievement. Yet it is still not enough to keep up with the growth.

As a current school board member, I am deeply familiar with school capacity issues, the school construction process, and the complexities involved. On the city council, I would be uniquely qualified to engage in the issues and am ready to make that happen. Simply stated, the district needs to build more schools, and the city and the district should be united in this cause as it has tremendous impact on our collective quality of life.

What are your goals to improve the quality of life in San Marcos-(events, parks, trails)?

We are so lucky to live where we do and to have the quality of life that we presently enjoy. There are few places in the world that have our beautiful weather, hiking trails, open spaces, nearby beaches, excellent schools, and a burgeoning business community. It’s hard to imagine a place with more life-enriching assets than this place we all call home, which is why my wife, Kristen, and I moved here 20 years ago to raise our family.

The first goal in improving our quality of life is to protect what we have. There is a (well-funded) pro-growth crowd out there demanding rapid growth, and demanding it now, using a state-wide call for more housing to justify large development projects in the region and here in San Marcos. Those who resist are called NIMBY or worse, yet those who stand to profit the most from these projects often don’t live here, don’t travel our roads daily, and don’t have children in our schools. This is why I have taken no money from any developer interests in this campaign and am the only candidate in the race for District 2 to do so.

To me, our trails, parks, and native open spaces are enormously important. I raised my sons hiking the trails around San Marcos and San Elijo and playing sports in our beautiful parks. Those parks, and our native open spaces are integral to our high quality of life, and as a member of the city council, I will make preserving them and expanding them one of my highest priorities.

If elected what are the top 3 issues you would focus on for San Elijo Hills?

First, working with the school district to address the school capacity issues. This issue is likely to worsen in the next few years, so time is of the essence. 

Second, always making sure our fire department has what it needs to prevent and fight brush fires, update and improve evacuation plans, and educate the residents of best fire safety practices.

Third, with the growth of CSUSM, the approval of housing along Twin Oaks Valley Rd., and the unlikelihood that there will ever be an alternative north-south roadway, we need to study the current impacts on San Elijo Rd. and use that study in our evaluation of future projects that might impact San Elijo Hills.  

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Editors Note: We have invited all 2018 District 2 – City of San Marcos City Council and Mayor Candidates to answer the same questions. 

San Elijo Life Interview with Mike Sannella Candidate for San Marcos City Council District 2

Here is an email interview with Mike Sannella who is running for San Marcos City Council District 2. San Elijo Life has invited all candidates for Council in District 2 and Mayor to answer the same set of email questions.

Why should the residents in San Elijo Hills vote for you? 

We live in a special community. I have lived in San Marcos for 22 years. I am a husband, a father, and I have more than 20 years of private sector risk management and business management experience. My community and elected experience includes having served on our City’s Planning Commission, the San Marcos Economic Development Corporation and currently I serve as an elected leader on the Vallecitos Water District Board. Vallecitos is in great shape with a diversified water portfolio, a cutting edge waste water recycling program, a balanced budget year after year, strong fiscal reserves, and is award-winning for our efforts in public outreach and transparency in government. I’m proud of what we have accomplished at Vallecitos and I look forward to building on those successes at City Hall.

How can the council/mayor help address cut through traffic and school traffic in San Elijo Hills?

Cut through and school traffic are the two primary pain points in San Elijo Hills. San Elijo Road is public so reducing cut though traffic is extremely challenging. Improving school traffic is much easier. I recently introduced a plan called SMARTS (San Marcos Area Resident Transportation Solution) that will start off as a student busing program. SMARTS will be partially funded by existing congestion management fees and will provide student transportation that is safer for our kids, better for our environment, will reduce traffic congestion, and will add convenience for parents. Look for SMARTS to be implemented before school starts in 2020.

What is your position on future housing and commercial development around San Elijo Hills?

If elected, I will take a balanced approach to new development throughout the City. The key factor for planning for development is to ensure that supporting road infrastructure is included and funded by development and that other agencies are able to accommodate the growth. I will collaborate with the school and water districts to understand their needs and challenges before proceeding with new development. I will balance this with an understanding that there’s a housing shortage crisis in our region, that our local economy depends on development, and infrastructure is largely funded by new development. To find this balance, I will apply smart growth principles that focus on new development that is more walkable and near transit options.

How can you work with San Marcos Unified School District to solve school crowding?

My wife, Amy, is an Assistant Principal in San Marcos Unified and my daughter, Brook, attends San Elijo Middle. I’m as invested in the success of our schools as anyone. I will collaborate with the school district to understand their challenges and needs prior to approving new developments and I will proactively pursue opportunities to help the school district identify and obtain sites for future schools.

What are your goals to improve the quality of life in San Marcos-(events, parks, trails)?

Parks and trails support a healthy lifestyle and enhance our quality of life. I mountain bike our trails and appreciate having access to them. I will be an advocate for maintaining the parks and trails we already have and I will require new development to contribute to those systems.

I envision the Creek District as an area primarily focused on entertainment and recreation. An area for music, food, and maybe even sports venues.  And, more parks and trails mixed in with some retail and residential components. I envision a truly walkable downtown focused on fun family activities, food, arts, and nature.

If elected what are the top 3 issues you would focus on for San Elijo Hills?

Implementing SMARTS (San Marcos Area Resident Transportation Solution) will be a top priority of mine and this solution will significantly benefit those who live in San Elijo Hills by reducing traffic around our schools, adding convenience for parents, and providing a resource to quickly evacuate our children from school in an emergency such as a wildfire. Secondly, I am supportive of updating our stoplight sequencing technology to improve traffic flow through the San Elijo Town Center. And third, public safety is a high priority for me, I have been endorsed by our Sheriff’s Deputies and I will ensure all of San Marcos has the best public safety resources to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe.

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Editors Note: We have invited all 2018 District 2 – City of San Marcos City Council and Mayor Candidates to answer the same questions. 

San Marcos bond refi cuts Mello-Roos taxes in San Elijo neighborhoods – The San Diego Union-Tribune

The city of San Marcos refinanced municipal bonds in June to save some San Elijo property owners $120 to $450 per year in Mello-Roos taxes.“We are trying to be prudent, and whenever we can, with any of our (community facilities districts,) make sure we are getting the best interest rate and moving forward for our taxpayers,” said Finance Director Laura Rocha. Mello-Roos districts are authorized by a 1982 California law which allowed local governments to finance infrastructure improvements and services through special districts. Facilities covered by those bonds include roads, sidewalks, water and sewer lines, police and fire stations. Those special taxes are usually included annually in property tax bills issued by the county. Benefiting from favorable bond markets this year, the San Marcos Public Financing Authority reduced interest rates on $20.6 million in bonds for a number of San Elijo neighborhoods, slashing net interest from 4.82 percent to 3.55 percent, officials said. That produced total savings of about $3.9 million to 882 property owners in the San Elijo communities of Saverne, Azure, Cambria, Woodley’s Glen, Crest View, Waterford, Village Square and Westridge. Savings to individual property owners vary, based on the square footage of their homes, with condominiums typically paying a lower tax rate than single-family homes, said Fiscal Services/Debt Manager Roque Chiriboga. The 31-year Mello-Roos bonds covered the cost of sidewalks, lighting and other infrastructure for the communities, and will mature in 2035. The refinancing reduces annual payments, but will not extend the term of the bond, officials said.The new bond issue, which closed June 6, marks the final step in a series of refinancing efforts to bring down rates in the city’s Mello-Roos districts, Chiriboga said.“Our previous refinances started in 2012, when we initially started seeing the market come down,” he said.As districts became eligible for refinancing, the city issued new bonds at lower rates. It completed three bond refinancing efforts in 2012, one in 2014, and the final one this summer, he said. Those efforts cut bond rates for 5,533 property owners by a total of $23,543,126, officials said.“We try to be very diligent in making sure we are capturing any savings throughout the term of the bond,” Rocha said.

Source: San Marcos bond refi cuts Mello-Roos taxes in San Elijo neighborhoods – The San Diego Union-Tribune

By-district voting begins in San Marcos with 2018 Election -San Elijo Hils and Old Creek Ranch are in District 2

 

The city of San Marcos proactively implements district-based voting and educational campaign to inform voters of the new election process

For the first time, residents in the City of San Marcos will vote for council members by district instead of an at-large election. In preparation for this change, the City of San Marcos is launching “Know Before You Go Vote,” an educational campaign to inform residents about the new election process and what it means for their 2018 ballots.

“We want to help educate our residents about this change because depending on where someone lives, they might not be voting for a council member this election,” said City Clerk Phil Scollick. “We are implementing district-based voting over the next two election cycles as our current council terms expire in 2018 and 2020.”

During this election, only residents from District 1 and District 2, as determined by their voting address, will be selecting a council member. Districts 3 and 4 will then vote for council members during the 2020 election. (City of San Marcos District Map) San Elijo Hils and Old Creek Ranch are in District 2

  • District 1 includes Richmar area and proceeds west to Poinsettia Avenue, east to Woodland Parkway, north to Borden Road and south to the 78 Freeway.
  • District 2 includes San Elijo Hills along with Old Creek Ranch, Discovery Hills, Rancho Dorado and adjoining neighborhoods.
  • District 3 includes area around Cal State San Marcos, the Creek District and Civic Center area, and extends east to the Nordahl Marketplace, west to Rancho Santa Fe Road and north to the 78 Freeway.
  • District 4 includes Santa Fe Hills, Palomar College and neighborhoods north of Borden Road and Santa Fe Road to the west.

To be eligible to run for office in San Marcos, candidates must reside in the district that they seek to represent. All San Marcos residents will continue to vote for the City’s mayor.

The San Marcos city council voluntarily adopted district-based voting in September of 2016 to ensure the City’s taxpayers are not exposed to the risk of future litigation for any alleged violations of the California Voting Rights Act.

San Marcos residents can find their polling place and learn about district voting by visiting, www.san-marcos.net/GoVote.

San Marcos in crosshairs of Growthzilla | San Diego Reader

 

To North Country residents living near Merriam Mountains, it feels like Dr. Frankenstein is bringing that monster back to life. A monster called urban sprawl the community chased out of their backcountry in 2010. “If you look closely, you can still see old Native American marks across the land, along with old rock carvings from passersby in the early 1900s.” STOP NEWLAND SIERRA Back then, the mammoth housing development was called Merriam Mountains. It’s now called Newland Sierra, but the opposition’s p

READ MORE VIA Source: San Marcos in crosshairs of Growthzilla | San Diego Reader

San Marcos High School Women’s Volleyball program – Sponsorship Opportunities

San Marcos High School Women’s Volleyball program had an amazing 2017 year. Our Varsity team won the D2 Avocado League as well as winning the Div 2 CIF Championship Title. This year in 2018, we have been moved to Division 1 and our girls are facing their biggest opponents ever.

Follow the team on MaxPreps for Schedule & Stats

Helpful links:

 

Upcoming matches

9/11 5:00p
Location: Rancho Bernardo High School
Preview Match
9/13 5:00p
Location: San Marcos High School
Preview Match
9/18 5:00p
Location: Mission Hills High School
Preview Match
9/20 4:45p
Location: La Costa Canyon High School
Preview Match
9/25 5:00p
Location: San Marcos High School
Preview Match
9/27 4:45p
Location: San Marcos High School
Preview Match

Supervisors Hearing September 12: SD15 -Copper Hills (362 units on San Elijo Road at entrance to San Elijo Hills)

Op-Ed opposing County rezoning of 69-acre lot west of the landfill (sent to San Elijo Life by Friends of Copper Creek)

Urgent Appeal to Save San Elijo Hills Quality of Life:  Deadline September 12!

A huge increase in zoning is currently being proposed that, if approved, will permanently change San Elijo Hills.  The 69-acre property is just west of the closed San Marcos Landfill, south of San Elijo Road.  This project is called SD15 in the County and Copper Hills in the City of San Marcos.  

The developer could have named this project “Toxic Hills” as this land never produced copper and County reports document (1) on site signs of landfill leachate and/or landfill gas intrusion and (2) possible health risks to future residents and tenants.  

This will change the community forever by

  • harming the character of the community;
  • dramatically increasing traffic;
  • impeding emergency evacuation and diverting fire resources; and 
  • causing environmental harm to Copper Creek and neighboring habitat preserves.  

Right now, this property is in the unincorporated County.  An amendment to the County General Plan proposes increasing SD15’s maximum density almost six-fold from 61 dwelling units (SR-1 zoning) to 362 dwelling units plus a large amount of commercial space (C-1, SR-0.5, VR-10.9 zoning).

This project will be heard at a Board of Supervisors meeting on September 12 and will be approved unless San Elijo Hills and other neighbors vocally protest.  While the San Dieguito Planning Group voted against this project, County staff and the Planning Commission are recommending approval.  Nonetheless, this project can be stopped by our elected representatives if residents speak up.

Traffic Increases

If this property is rezoned, County studies report there will be an additional 16,231 average daily trips.  That is approximately a 27-fold increase over the number of trips allowed under current zoning.  This will negatively affect the quality of life.

Impedes Emergency Evacuation

Existing roads and connectors are already inadequate to provide a safe exit from San Elijo Hills.  In the 2014 Cocos fire, there was traffic gridlock causing people to wait hour(s) to evacuate.  The proposed residential and commercial density will make this problem much worse.

Diversion of Fire Resources

This property will primarily rely on the San Marcos Fire Department and will divert fire protection resources from San Elijo Hills.  This property will be very difficult to defend on up to three sides from a fire.  Because of the proposed density concentration, fire departments would likely prioritize this property over single family homes. 

Harms to Copper Creek/Escondido Creek/San Elijo Lagoon

Copper Creek (leading to Escondido Creek and San Elijo Lagoon) is already suffering from siltation, sedimentation, scouring and flooding from projects such as this that did not adequately mitigate the impacts.  The intensity of this proposed development/hardscape will only increase the harms to the Creek and property downstream.  

This project is opposed by the Escondido Creek Conservancy.

This Project Is Harmful to Habitat, Including Nearby Preserved Lands

This property serves as an important connector/corridor from the County Core to the San Marcos habitat areas.  Development of this property as proposed will fragment the habitat and decrease habitat connectivity between the County and San Marcos.  Edge effects will harm neighboring habitats and fuel modification arrangements will cut into the habitat.  Light and glare effects will affect neighboring preserves and decrease resident’s quality of life.  

This project is opposed by neighboring land managers, including the Center for Natural Lands Management.  

County Neighbors were Held to a Double Standard

Before the County’s 2020 General Plan Update, this property and its neighbors were all zoned 1 dwelling unit per 2 acres.  As a result of General Plan 2020, this property was already doubled in density to 1 dwelling unit per 1 acre while its County neighbors lost their density and are now zoned 1 dwelling unit per 10 acres.  That means this project will have 52.5 times the density of its County neighbors.  This just isn’t fair!

Landfill Dangers

There have long been concerns with the San Marcos landfill.  The landfill is mostly unlined and took 18.75 million tons of material between 1979 and 1997.  The landfill reportedly accepted residential, commercial and agricultural waste including paint and paint thinners, oil, treated sewage sludge and medical waste.  No laws prevented “certain types of low level radioactive waste, known as decommissioned materials” from disposal in the San Marcos Landfill.

A 2017 letter from the County about SD15 states, “While the San Marcos Landfill has closed, it can be expected to remain biologically active and generate landfill gas and leachate for more than 30-50 years after closure.”  Monitoring may need to continue forever.

The County writes that “Landfill gas represents a health and safety issue” and gas can “migrate off-site.”  Landfill gases “can pose an explosion and human health threat.”

SD15’s onsite groundwater monitoring wells are detecting toxic chemicals of concern (“COCs”).  According to the County, there are two likely sources: landfill leachate and landfill gases.  Per County documents, “[t]he source of COCs outside the waste area is likely due to migration of [landfill gas] and, to a lesser degree, leachate.”  County letters concerning SD15 state that “Landfill gas has been documented to travel in the subsurface 1,000 feet or more from the source.  The underlying geology of [SD15] is fractured rock, which adds another layer of complexity to potential gas migration.”

County maps show that most of the groundwater from the landfill flows towards the west, towards SD15/Copper Hills.

News articles report that the San Marcos landfill “is leaching chemicals known to cause cancer, reproductive harm and other health problems.”  It continues, “officials said that because these chemicals don’t occur naturally, any leak exceeds standards set for those sites” and “[a]ny volatile (organic compound) that’s detected in groundwater is an indication of release from the landfills” (emphasis added).

Unfortunately, the County has limited ability to protect residents/tenants from landfill gases and landfill gases.  The County has stated that the Solid Waste Local Enforcement Agency “has no regulatory authority to require [this] Project to be constructed with measures to mitigate the effects of the landfill” (emphasis added).  

The County has only the power to request Department of Environmental Health monitoring of residents, resident notification of landfill proximity, and installation of landfill gas mitigation measures such as explosion-proof conduits/sealing, use of a gas migration barrier with passive venting and hard-wired methane detectors.  Will this developer follow the County’s requests?

In 1999, eighty acres of San Elijo Hills was condemned by the County as a landfill buffer.  News reports state the condemned land was located 1000 feet to 1.5 miles away from the landfill.  SD15/Copper Hills is within 1000 feet of the landfill.

This property should not be aggressively developed and this project should be stopped.

Doesn’t this project include a Boys and Girls Club?

As the property is currently zoned for 61 homes only, with no commercial zoning, it is highly unlikely that there is any definite plan for any specific commercial tenant. I have seen real estate developers frequently make big promises to push through their projects.  Often these promises are not kept and communities disappointed.

Real Estate Speculators Should Not Benefit at the Expense of Neighbors

This property was purchased by the developer, Steven A. Bieri, for only $48,755 per acre.  That price reflects that this land is not suitable for intensive development.  Now, these real estate speculators want to benefit themselves at the expense of the San Elijo Hills, Harmony Grove and Elfin Forest communities.  

Take Action:

We can build a better world for our families and children by speaking up because every voice matters in local politics.  The more public input, using different communications methods, the greater the likelihood that we can preserve the community:

  • Oppose this in person at the Board of Supervisors Meeting on September 12, 2018 at County Administration Center (CAC), Room 310 (Board Chambers), 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego;
  • Contact all five County Supervisors via Email, Facebook and Twitter opposing the project; 
Supervisor’s email address Supervisor’s Chief of Staff email address Facebook Twitter
greg.cox@sdcounty.ca.gov danny.melgoza@sdcounty.ca.gov Gcoxsdcounty @SupervisorCox
dianne.jacob@sdcounty.ca.gov jeff.collins@sdcounty.ca.gov dianne.jacob.58 @dianne_jacob
kristin.gaspar@sdcounty.ca.gov dustin.steiner@sdcounty.ca.gov SupervisorKristinGaspar @kristindgaspar
ron-roberts@sdcounty.ca.gov salvatore.giametta@sdcounty.ca.gov SupervisorRonRoberts @RonRobertsSD
bill.horn@sdcounty.ca.gov Darren.Gretler@sdcounty.ca.gov SupervisorHorn @SupervisorHorn
  • Sign a petition; 
  • Share this information with your family and friends and encourage them to take action; 
  • Read more and sign up to the mailing list.  The developer is also processing this project in the City of San Marcos that will also need public input.

 

San Marcos goes back to school

As the summer winds down, San Marcos students are headed back to school. With elementary, middle and high schools back in school this week and Cal State San Marcos and Palomar College back in session later this month, I-15 and SR-78 travelers can expect increased traffic delays during their daily commute.

While the increase in traffic congestion is familiar to city residents, students and commuters alike, the City of San Marcos is pleased to report that continued relief is on the way.

In the city’s ongoing efforts to get motorists moving and improve traffic flow, several roadway improvement projects are lined up over the next five years.

Ongoing and Planned projects include traffic management system enhancements, upgrades to the city’s traffic signal communication network to high-speed Ethernet, traffic controller replacements, and citywide installation of LED safety lighting. Traffic signal improvements are also planned for Rancho Santa Fe Road and Grandon Avenue and intersection improvements at San Marcos Boulevard and Discovery Street.

Over the next five years, plans are also in place to reconstruct the State Route 78 overcrossing at Woodland Parkway, reconfiguration of on/off ramps, and the widening of Woodland Parkway, Barham Drive and Rancheros Drive. The City is working with Caltrans on completing the design of this project. Future funding and total project costs are still being determined based on ongoing discussions between the two agencies.

During the school year and periods of roadway construction, drive with caution and provide ample time to reach your destination safely and on time.

To learn more about planned traffic management improvements, visit www.san-marcos.net/trafficmanagement. Residents are encouraged to sign up to received city news, traffic alerts and information about programs and services by visiting, www.san-marcos.net/alerts and by following the City on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at the handle, @sanmarcoscity.

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