Category Archives: San Marcos News

Work to update the San Marcos Creek Specific Plan

Work to update the San Marcos Creek Specific Plan is well underway. Over the past month, the project team and San Marcos Creek Oversight Committee have been focused on developing land use alternatives for the Creek District with the goal of providing balanced and flexible land uses.

The San Marcos Creek Specific Plan Oversight Committee provided a progress report to the San Marcos City Council on Tuesday, June 27 and held its monthly meeting on Monday, July 24.

During the progress report, an overview of the planning effort and latest land use alternatives were presented.

Appointed by City Council, the Oversight Committee is a group of 15 individuals that represent the business community and residents of San Marcos responsible for monitoring the progress of the Specific Plan Update and making recommendations to City Council.

All Oversight Committee meetings are open to the public and community members are welcome to attend. A community workshop is slated for September 19 from 6 to 8 pm at City Hall (see below).

Upcoming key project dates and events include:

  • San Marcos Creek District Oversight Committee Meeting #6
    Monday, August 28 at 6 pm
    Valley of Discovery Conference Room, City Hall
    1 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos

  • Community Workshop #1
    Tuesday, Sept. 19 from 6 to 8 pm (corrected from previous email)
    Council Chambers, City Hall
    1 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos

Project information and materials from the Oversight Committee meetings are available on the city’s project website at www.san-marcos.net/creekdistrict.

San Marcos and CSUSM join forces to benefit the community

San Marcos and CSUSM join forces to benefit the community

As North County’s education hub, San Marcos is building tomorrow’s workforce—and thanks to a new initiative, some of that homegrown talent is being channeled to help city staff better serve the community.

The City and Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) recently joined forces to launch Democracy in Action, a pilot program that lets students spend a semester working on city projects.

“Some of the region’s brightest minds are on that campus, right down the street from City Hall, so this partnership felt like a natural win win,” said Economic Development Manager Tess Radmill, who helped oversee the effort.

Over the past few months, about 100 students tackled projects that included: finding ways to curb unnecessary 911 calls; developing a marketing plan for the Double Peak Challenge race; analyzing data to help reduce stormwater pollution; and creating a promotional video about the city.

Already, the project has delivered tangible benefits. For example, students created a trash collection map that will help staff meet new environmental state guidelines. And the video produced by students is already being used to attract potential businesses and residents.

“We’re also graduating students who leave with a deeper understanding of a how a local community works—and with that, they can influence outcomes down the road,” explains Scott Gross, CSUSM Associate Vice President of Community Partnership Engagement.

Fostering civic minded graduates is especially important to the region because many stay local after graduation. In fact, about 80 percent of CSUSM alumni continue living in the region. By comparison, about 60 percent of San Diego State University (SDSU) alumni stay local—and the same is true for only about 25 percent of University of California San Diego (UCSD) alumni.

Democracy in Action was inspired by the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program— which works in largely the same way, but focuses on boosting sustainability. CSUSM liked the concept, but felt it was important to focus instead on civic engagement.

“We wanted students to realize they can inform and impact their local government,” Gross said. “They’re not just sitting in a classroom talking about theories—they’re actually putting their knowledge to work in a meaningful way, and their eyes light up.”

CSUSM student Kristina Kalchev is a testament to that.

“It was great working on a project that extends beyond an assignment and impacts people,” said Kalchev, who worked on the city’s promotional video. “I’m proud to include the video in my reel. I don’t feel so fresh out of the water now. I feel ready for the workforce.”

Kalchev plans to stay in San Marcos and earn her graduate degree while working locally. She says as a San Marcos resident, she now has a deeper appreciation for what the city does.

“We were able to see how much city staff does behind the scenes to keep our community safe. The project really opened my eyes to what local government does,” she said.

Storm Water Program Manager Reed Thornberry also saw a ha moments happening when he took students out into the field.

“I wanted to take them beyond the data. A lot them live in San Marcos—some have even grown up here—but they’ve never explored our creek system,” he said. “They spotted bullfrogs, turtles and crawfish—entire ecosystems thriving. And seeing the impacts of trash, they got a sense of why they’re worth protecting. I think that drove home the mission.”

These students will be among the approximately 3,000 graduates CSUSM produces every year— which is partly why San Marcos is North County’s education hub. In fact, San Marcos is responsible for about 10 percent of the region’s total academic program completions.

“San Marcos is fueling a workforce pipeline that will strengthen our region for generations to come,” said San Marcos City Manager Jack Griffin. “But beyond that, our partnership with Cal State San Marcos underscores how we can collaborate to benefit our community, and we are proud of that.”

To learn more about the Democracy in Action program,
visit https://www.csusm.edu/community/civiclearning/democracyinaction.html.

Defensible space inspections help keep homeowners safe in San Marcos

Defensible space inspections help keep homeowners safe in San Marcos

San Marcos, CA –In the last year, the San Marcos Fire Department (SMFD) conducted nearly 830 defensible space inspections of properties located in the city’s highest wildfire risk areas, as determined by the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

Photo caption: San Marcos Fire Inspector Randy Hill conducts a defensible space audit on a home in a high fire risk area.  

Since January, the San Marcos Fire Department has sent notices to 250 properties asking owners to remove dead and overgrown vegetation and maintain the required 150 feet around a home to help reduce or slow the spread of wildfire.

“San Marcos is no stranger to wildfire and it is up to all of us to help keep ourselves, our property and the community safe,” said Fire Chief Brett VanWey.

During the defensible space audits, recommendations on how to improve or maintain defensible space are provided to the homeowner using a checklist and photos based on an inspection of the property.  If a homeowner is not home or cannot participate in the inspection while fire department personnel are on site, a copy of the report will be mailed to the owner.

Free of charge, homeowners do not need to be present as inspectors are able to assess defensible space requirements from the street or an adjacent property. Inspections are conducted only by uniformed fire department personnel to help educate homeowners on opportunities to minimize risk of wildfire.

“Creating defensible space is critical for a home’s chance of surviving a wildfire and reduces risk to our firefighters responding,” continued VanWey.


Photo Caption: Defensible space saved this home during the May 2014 Cocos Fire.

In addition to local inspections, CALFIRE will coordinate inspections with SMFD for residents living in the State Responsibility Area. CALFIRE’s main goal will be to educate homeowners and evaluate properties to ensure owners maintain the required defensible space – 100 feet for homes built prior to 2005 and 150 feet for homes built after 2005.

Homeowners can use the following tips to help homes survive a wildfire:

  • Maintain 150-feet of defensible space around all structures (100 feet for homes built prior to 2005).
  • Clear all needles and leaves from roofs, eaves and rain gutters.
  • Trim tree branches 6 feet from the ground.
  • Use trimming, mowing and power equipment before 10 a.m.
  • Landscape with fire resistant and drought tolerant plants that require little water.
  • Remove branches away from roofs and 10 feet from the chimney.
  • Keep wood piles and flammable materials at least 30 feet from the home.
  • Use fire ignition resistant building material.

For more emergency preparedness information, visit www.san-marcos.net/beprepared or call the San Marcos Fire Department at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3410.

Report: San Marcos’ Gaining Steam in Key Economic, Education Areas

Housing and business stock are on the rise, and there’s still plenty of potential for growth

In recent years, San Marcos has seen household incomes grow and the already low unemployment rate fall. At the same time, the city is home to high-paying industries and universities that are a pipeline for regional talent.

Those are among the takeaways of a recently released City of San Marcos Regional Profile, which demonstrates with comprehensive data sets the city’s momentum in key economic and education areas.

The city commissioned the regional profile, produced by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (San Diego Regional EDC), to gain insight and information to be used on future economic development efforts, a major priority for the city.

The regional profile encompasses four sections: demographics, socioeconomics, the housing market and the economy, with major findings that include:

  • Household income grew by 8.9 percent each year from 2011 to 2015, greatly outpacing the region’s rate of 1.4 percent;
  • The unemployment rate of 2.9 percent continues to be low, and historical unemployment data show the city weathered the Great Recession better than the region, state and nation;
  • San Marcos boasts 4,000 businesses, up 10 percent from a decade ago. Local firms’ resiliency in the face of the Great Recession has been a key to San Marcos’ status as an economic powerhouse;
  • As North County’s education hub, San Marcos produces 10 percent of the San Diego region’s total academic program completions, with the lion’s share coming from Cal State San Marcos and Palomar College;
  • Higher-than-average median wages can be found in three high-paying industries: manufacturing, wholesale trade and information; and
  • Between 2010 and 2015 housing stock grew by 10.1 percent—San Marcos has more opportunities for development than other regional cities.

“The numbers in the regional profile tell the story: San Marcos’ growing reputation as a great place to live, work and play is well deserved. Not only do we have 40,000 jobs, an annual GDP totaling $7.9 billion and stellar educational institutions, but the community also boasts 72 miles of multi-use trails, 300 acres of park space, 240 restaurants and eight breweries,” said Economic Development Manager Tess Radmill.

As for the work piece of that trio, the City bolstered its business-friendly reputation through proactive economic development, which in 2012 the City Council prioritized in response to the tough economy and the end of redevelopment funding. City efforts thus far have included cutting red tape from the development approval process and there is recognition that there is room for more improvement.

Also part of this commitment to improving business is the regional profile itself, the City’s first such snapshot that will shape future economic development initiatives.

“This profile provides clarity and insight into San Marcos’ regional strengths, in addition to identifying the fundamental drivers of the local economy,” said Kirby Brady, the San Diego Regional EDC’s Director of Research. “It is clear that the city is an economic powerhouse with a diverse economic base, a highly-educated and talented workforce, and opportunities for growth.”

To review the full regional profile, visit www.san-marcos.net/regionalprofile.

2017 SAN DIEGO 4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS SCHEDULE

4th of July Celebrations
All events take place on July 4 unless otherwise noted.

Enjoy a safe 4th!

Camp Pendleton
Ken Grody Ford 4th of July Beach Bash w/Fireworks
10am-10pm / Del Mar Beach Resort
www.mccscp.com/beachbashCarlsbad
Red, White and BOOM! Includes Fireworks
10am-9pm / LEGOLAND California
www.legoland.com

Chula Vista
4th Fest Fireworks
9pm / Elite Athlete Training Center
www.chulavistaca.gov

Coronado
Independence Day Parade & Festivities
7am-9:30pm / Various Locations
www.coronadochamber.com

Del Mar
San Diego County Fair 4th of July Celebration w/Fireworks
10am-11pm / Del Mar Fairgrounds
www.sdfair.com

Independence Day BBQ & Fireworks
6:30-9:30pm / Fairmont Grand Del Mar
www.fairmont.com

El Cajon
4th of July Picnic & Fireworks
1-9:30pm / Kennedy Park
www.ci.el-cajon.ca.us

Escondido
Independence Day Festival & Fireworks
4-9:30pm / Grape Day Park & The Center
www.artcenter.org

Imperial Beach
Independence Day Fireworks
12-6pm / IB Pier
www.imperialbeachca.gov

Julian
4th of July Parade
10am-5pm / Downtown Julian
www.julianparade.com

La Jolla
Fourth of July Fireworks
9pm / Ellen Browning Scripps Park
www.lajollabythesea.com

Mira Mesa
Parade, Family Fun Day in the Park & Fireworks
7am-9:30pm / Community Park
www.miramesatowncouncil.org

National City
4th of July Festivities – June 29-July 4
Kimball Park
www.ci.national-city.ca.us

Ocean Beach
4th of July Fireworks
9pm / Ocean Beach Pier
www.oceanbeachsandiego.com

Oceanside
Independence Parade
10am-12pm / Coast Hwy
www.mainstreetoceanside.com

Oceanside Fireworks Show – July 3
5-9:30pm / Rancho Del Oro Rd.
www.ci.oceanside.ca.us

Poway
Old Fashioned Fourth of July
10am-4pm / Old Poway Park4th of July Veterans Ceremony
11am / Veterans Park

Fourth of July Fireworks
6-10pm / Poway High School
www.poway.org

Ramona
Rotary Community Fireworks & Family Picnic   
5:30-9:30pm / Olive Peirce Middle
www.ramonarotary.org

Ranch Bernardo
Spirit of the Fourth
Community Fair: 9:00am / Webb Park
Parade: 3:30pm / Downtown Rancho Bernardo
Festivities/Fireworks: 6:30-9:30pm / Bernardo Heights Middle
(858) 945-1616 / www.spiritofthefourth.org

Rancho Santa Fe
4th of July Parade
1pm / Avenida De Acacias
www.rsfassociation.org

San Carlos
Fireworks and Music Fest
11am-9:30pm / Lake Murray Community Park
www.lakemurrayfireworks.org

San Diego
San Diego Symphony: Star Spangled Pops – June 30-July 2
7:30pm / Embarcadero Marina Park South
www.sandiegosymphony.org

Big Bay Boom
9pm / San Diego Bay
www.bigbayboom.com

Old Town 4th of July
11am-4pm / SD State Historic Park
www.parks.ca.gov

SeaWorld 4th of July Fireworks
9:40pm / SeaWorld
www.seaworldparks.com

San Marcos
4th of July Celebration w/Fireworks
6-9:30pm / Bradley Park
www.san-marcos.net

San Ysidro
Independence Day at the Border – July 1
3-9pm / Cesar Chavez Park
www.sanysidrochamber.org

Santee
Santee Salutes – Includes Fireworks
2:30-10pm / Town Center Park East
www.ci.santee.ca.us

Scripps Ranch
4th of July Parade
10am / Red Cedar Place to Hoyt Park
www.scrippsranch.org

Vista
Independence Day Celebration w/Fireworks
7am-10pm / Brengle Terrace Park
www.cityofvista.com

San Marcos residents encouraged to attend annual Fourth of July Firework Extravaganza

Leave fireworks to the experts

Residents encouraged to attend annual Fourth of July Firework Extravaganza

With Fourth of July only a few days away, the San Marcos Fire Department reminds all residents that fireworks are best left to experts.

“Fireworks are extremely dangerous, unpredictable and capable of causing serious burns and disfiguring injuries,” said San Marcos Fire Chief Brett Van Wey. “They can also ignite dry brush, grasses and dead tree material and cause serious fires in our community.”

All residents should know that all fireworks — even those labeled “consumer” or “safe and sane” — are illegal in San Diego County. This includes cone fountains, cylindrical fountains, roman candles, skyrockets, firecrackers, mine and shells, helicopter-type rockets, sparklers, poppers and revolving wheels.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, thousands of people, including children and teens, are injured every year while using consumer fireworks. Even something as “harmless” as a sparkler, which burns at over 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, can cause critical injuries and pose a serious fire hazard. Additionally, two out of five fires reported on Independence Day are started by fireworks.

Residents are encouraged to enjoy the city’s FREE professional fireworks show during the annual Fourth of July Firework Extravaganza at Bradley Park, 1587 Linda Vista Drive, on Tuesday, July 4.

Entertainment and festivities begin at 6 pm with the firework show at 9 pm. The evening’s free entertainment featuring Liquid Blue, a show band, will begin at 6 pm.  Children’s activities include face painting, party jumps and more.  Food concessions will include hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos, snow cones and more.

“Offered for more than 36 years of spirited family fun, this annual event offers residents a way to safely enjoy fireworks while celebrating our nation’s independence,” said Community Services Director Buck Martin. “With children’s activities, food for purchase and a great pyrotechnic display, this event has something for everyone.”

The fireworks show is entirely dependent on community donations.  To contribute, please send tax-deductible donations by June 26 to: San Marcos Fireworks Fund, 3 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos 92069.  Donations of $25 or more will receive a commemorative item.

For more fire prevention information, contact the San Marcos Fire Department at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3410.

To learn more about the city’s Fourth of July celebration or to donate to the fireworks show, visit www.gofundme.com/SM2017Fireworks.

Graduation season in San Marcos

Graduation season in San Marcos

Expect traffic delays expected for the next two weekends

San Marcos, CA— Springtime in North County’s education hub means one thing—San Marcos students are getting ready to graduate.

With Cal State San Marcos hosting commencement ceremonies Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 and Palomar hosting commencement on Friday, May 26, I-15 and SR-78 travelers can expect increased traffic delays around the college areas.

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.

Planned projects include upgrades to the Traffic Management Center (TMC)’s server and software, traffic signal equipment, as well as communication lines between the TMC and the traffic signals. In addition to improved staff and equipment response times to changing traffic conditions, these enhancements will allow traffic signals to handle more complex intersection configuration conditions.

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

For more information about Palomar College commencement, visit www2.palomar.edu. To see Cal State San Marcos’ commencement schedule, visit www.csusm.edu/commencement.

To learn more about planned road improvements in San Marcos, contact the city’s Public Works Department at (760) 752-7550.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Nighttime road closures scheduled along San Marcos Boulevard beginning May 9th


San Marcos Boulevard between Tiger Way and Rancheros Drive will close from 8 pm to 5 am on Tuesday, May 9 and Wednesday, May 10 as crews work to overlay the intersection with asphalt concrete. Traffic on San Marcos Boulevard will be detoured via Tiger Way, Autumn Drive, Richmar Avenue and Mission Road.

Although two-way traffic will be maintained along Twin Oaks Valley Road and nighttime hours will minimize impacts to motorists, traffic delays are anticipated and motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes during the work period. Standard traffic control measures with advanced warning signs and detour directions will be in place.

Delays in the schedule may occur due to inclement weather conditions.

For more information, contact the city’s Public Works Department at (760) 752-7550. To receive automatic traffic and roadwork updates, register for the city’s email notifications by visiting www.san-marcos.net/alerts.

San Marcos Creek Specific Plan Update

San Marcos Creek District Specific Plan Update

In case you missed it, the San Marcos Creek Oversight Committee met this week on Monday, April 24  to continue reviewing possible updates to the San Marcos Creek Specific Plan. Meeting materials are now available online at www.san-marcos.net/creekdistrict.

COMMITTEE MEETING AND WORKSHOP MATERIALS
Agenda – April 24, 2017 Framework Principles Presentation
  Retail Market Study Presentation
  Preliminary Conceptual Land Use Alternatives
  Outreach and Engagement Update

About the Specific Plan Update

In 2007, the San Marcos Creek Specific Plan was adopted by City Council and accepted by the community to shape the future of the Creek District into a new downtown area.

Envisioned to pair with the North City (University District) Specific Plan to create a comprehensive downtown in the heart of San Marcos, the 2007 plan included 2,300 dwelling units; more than one million square feet of retail and/or commercial space; 589,000 square feet of office space; a 20-acre park and 74 acres of urban open space.

Beginning in 2015, City Council requested a review of the plan that recognizes a changing economy, new demand for housing options and changing community preferences.  Retail and market realities have changed the dynamic and demand of development in San Marcos since the original Specific Plan was adopted.

Given the loss of redevelopment funds, increase in online marketplaces, and the growth in the San Marcos community over the last ten years, the Creek Specific Plan is being updated to maximize the potential and opportunities of the Creek District while maintaining as much of the original community vision as possible.

Specific Plan Update Process

The Creek Specific Plan will be updated and amended in two phases. The first phase involves updating the vision and land use plan for the Creek District.  The second phase entails amending the technical documents, presentations to the Planning Commission and the City Council, and final adoption anticipated by Summer 2018.

Phase 1, Updating the Vision

Phase 2, Amending the Specific Plan

Stay Informed

Throughout the course of the update there will be multiple ways to get involved and share your feedback:

  • Monthly stakeholder meetings
  • 2 public workshops (dates coming soon)
  • An online survey (under development)

The summer edition of The City of San Marcos 360

The summer edition of the San Marcos 360 is now available online and will be delivered to San Marcos residents and businesses this week.

Featuring articles on upcoming road improvements,  emerging business industry clusters, summer recreation opportunities, water safety, wildfire preparedness, and more, the free magazine serves to connect residents to their government.

San Marcos 360 is published three times per year by the city of San Marcos and includes timely news about the city along with a complete guide to the city’s parks and recreation offerings.

Inside, residents and visitors can also discover exciting recreational activities, special events, day camps, enrichment programs and classes, sporting leagues, and senior programs.

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