Defending Open Space: San Marcos’ most valuable resource

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Defending Open Space: San Marcos’ most valuable resource

 Guest Post by Lesley Blankenship-Williams, Ph.D.

Next time you are outside in San Marcos, look up. Chances are, expanses of undeveloped terrain will be in your line of sight.  Whether your gaze falls on the infamous “P mountain” or the undeveloped hills framing Cal State San Marcos, open space is San Marcos’ most valuable resource.

San Marcos’ unique topography is a boon to residents who cherish their proximity to nature. For us, open space provides therapeutic respite from the claustrophobic and frantic lifestyle of urban cities.

With close to 90% of San Marcos land already developed, open space is now a precious commodity.

Unfortunately, developers feel the same way. And if developers continue to have their way, the  sanctuaries that characterize our City will be permanently mutilated.

The irreversible loss of San Marcos’ most valuable resource begins with the highly controversial Highlands Project, a high density housing development that destroys one of the most environmentally sensitive plots of undeveloped habitat left in North County. Just as the San Elijo Hills community works to conserve  502 acres of open space, residents to the north recognize that the Highlands Project will cause irreparable damage to the last expanse of open habitat in the Northern face of the city.

The Highlands Project has no redeeming features. It places 198 high-density homes directly on top of habitat of exceptional value; such habitat is an ecological gold mine. These 262 acres, owned by real estate investor Mr. Kubba,  is the biological corridor connecting the last large blocks of coastal sage scrub habitat in North San Marcos.

The development will practically eliminate the corridor, irreversibly fragmenting the habitat.  Moreover, the habitat is riparian – supporting the fragile headwaters of Agua Hedionda Creek. But the negative impacts of the project are not limited to wildlife.  The Highlands Project endangers its new residents with an extreme fire hazard risk, further burdens our schools which are already beyond capacity, and saddles the Palomar College area with additional congestion. The community outrage surrounding the Highlands project is well-deserved and aptly described in this 2006 article. The project is, and always has been, designed to maximize the developer’s profit at the expense of the environment and the citizens of San Marcos.

Two-thirds of the proposed housing development are beyond City boundaries and thus subject to County zoning laws.  In 2011, San Diego County zoned Mr. Kubba’s land as SR10;  the property should support no more than 1 house per 10 acres. For a 262 acre plot, 198 proposed homes is a far cry from prescribed 26.  And yet the project is moving forward as if nothing is amiss. And discussions with every City Council member strongly indicate they back the project as is, despite the community opposition.

Why would such an ill-conceived plan, plagued with a myriad of severe issues, be supported by our elected officials?

Because it’s about the road. It’s about the money.

To serve the new homes built in the Highlands area, Las Posas Road (currently a dead end that terminates in Santa Fe Hills) must be extended north. The multi-million dollar price tag on the extension is cost-prohibitive for City coffers. But Mr. Kubba can afford it, especially as he stands to make a hefty profit on the high density development of the Highlands Project.  A classic quid pro quo deal. Mr. Kubba pays to extend Las Posas north towards Buena Creek Road. In return, the City looks the other way.

Why is a Las Posas extension important? The City’s end game, detailed in 2006 City Council meetings and confirmed by a recent meeting with City Planners, is to create a major arterial by connecting Las Posas to Buena Creek. The arterial will divert traffic into the historically rural communities in northern Vista, San Marcos and Escondido.

Proponents of the so-called Las Posas “punch through” deceitfully argue that the extension is a cure to our congestion problems on Twin Oaks Valley. Residents in the north need to “share the traffic” burden by diverting more cars onto Las Posas Road, even if it is at the expense of pedestrian safety, noise and community character. Residents who oppose the Las Posas extension are often labeled as selfish NIMBYs.

The devil is in the details. Who are the proponents of a Las Posas “punch through”? Ultimately, those with a financial tie to development.  And here is why. Las Posas would complement Twin Oaks Valley as the second major arterial into the northern tri-city area, increasing access to these historically rural and isolated communities. This rural area, now characterized by estate homes, would be ripe for new high density development. If you build it, they will come –  as evidenced by the thousands of new homes the developers propose for Merriam Mountains. Any traffic relief would be ephemeral as this study demonstrates. The new road would pave the way to high density housing. With new housing comes more cars and lots more traffic. Ultimately, the extension of Las Posas is the gateway for additional congestion.

San Marcos is at a crossroads. Citizens of San Marcos need to decide if San Marcos is going to be the reckless playground of a few rich developers or if San Marcos is going to respond to its current citizens and invest undeveloped open space, our most precious commodity. It is time to ask, just who do our City Council members serve? Us or the developers?

Send a strong message to our City Council that you value the remaining undeveloped open space as enhancing our quality of life and its role in preserving endangered wildlife and ecosystems by adding your name to this petition.

 

38 comments

  • If residents of San Marcos had the same attitude toward the development of land fifteen years ago, there would be no San Eljo Hills to petition. Furthermore, the “habitat” in question is neither unique nor public property.

    Your screed delivers either misinformed opinion or outright lies…disingenuous and full of scare tactics. The road in question has been in the city’s plans for longer than the homes you erroneously portray as being adversely impacted have been around. The developer is NOT completing the road through to Buena Creek as it is not a requirement for the project. But it is needed.

  • “I find troubling any plan that cannot adapt to a changing environment, or to the concerns of those who trust in the plan to protect the best interests of everyone involved, not just the developer. Smart, effective growth is needed now, especially in San Marcos — not half-baked proposals that have been stewing since the Carter administration.” http://www.sanmarcoshighlands.com/history/

  • Mr. Effinger – Your comments are nonsensical. My “screed” is not much longer than your article written in the Coast. Today is not 15 years ago. Things change. Habitat is now at a premium. What was once appropriate in terms of development is not today as wildlife are constrained to a point where their survivorship is precarious. The County recognizes this and has zoned Mr. Kubba’s property 1 house per 10 acres and designated it the only PAMA (Pre-Approved Mitigation Area) within a five mile radius to reflect the very high value of this habitat and the fact that this undeveloped habitat is critical to the entire species and habitat conservation plans of North County. Locally, this property is unique for a variety of reasons – even the US Fish and Wildlife Service classified it as one of the last remaining undeveloped vegetated habitats of coastal sage scrub in North County. Who owns it is not really relevant. If I owned the Galapagos Islands, that does not give me the right to put high rise condos on the islands, does it? While some of this may be classified as opinion, what are my “outright lies”? What is disingenuous? What are you identifying as a “scare tactic”? A call to preserve open space? Hardly. And while this particular developer is not completing the road through to Buena Creek, exactly, he is funding the majority of the extension. It will be a short segment of the road to finish the connection. The road in question has indeed been on the “books” for quite a long time. And the County staff tried to remove it in 2006. I’ve heard and taken the time to transcribe the recordings of that meeting. But the City of San Marcos came back and lobbied with the County Supervisors to keep it on the circulation element. And former Supervisor Pamela Slater-Price agreed to let it remain on the circulation element with the idea that the Las Posas extension would probably never be built because of the EIR mitigation measures and prohibitive cost. How creative of the City to piece meal the road into two projects so the sum of its parts appears less than the whole. And the homes I “erroneously” portray as being affected? What homes would those be? The ones on Buena Creek? Robinhood Ranch? Santa Fe Hills? Vista? Twin Oaks Valley (north of Buena Creek, of course)?

    Now, if you want to present logical answers to this reply, please do. As a scientist, I always welcome the discussion to present a logical basis for your arguments. But if you do respond, a disclaimer stating your personal financial ties to development would be appropriate. And if you resort to more name calling and bullying tactics in your response, well then you have accomplished little more than making yourself look like a tool.

    • I have NO personal financial ties to the project. Is that enough of a disclaimer for you?

      As for your assertions that this is not fifteen years ago, you are correct…we now have more need for housing than ever and the demand will continue to grow.

      Pam Slater-Price never met a road she liked and is almost single-handedly responsible for the lack of a suitable traffic management plan for North County, at the very least, and more probably the entire county.

      According to the environmentalists you site, there is practically no vacant land anywhere in the region that isn’t “sensitive habitat”. The irony is, wherever open space has been preserved BY DEVELOPERS adjacent to their projects in San Marcos, the habitat areas have been improved.

      What lies? How about assertions regarding the density of the proposed project without revealing how much of it has been set aside as open space? How about the implications that this project is an unreasonably congested project when in fact the overall site denisties are far less than those of Santa Fe Hills?

      • Kirk — San Marcos Highlands is not the answer to the need for housing. Palomar Station and Davia Village, both due to be completed in 2014, will bring 786 new units (and 7,860+ car trips) to this immediate area. In fact, the San Marcos Unified School District estimates that 1,065 new homes will be occupied in 2014. The 2,300 new apartments of the Creek District and 2,600 apartments University District are expected to begin occupancy starting in 2017. There are already A LOT of new homes being built in San Marcos. Take a look for yourself here http://www.sanmarcoshighlands.com/sanmarcosdevelopments.html or on the City’s website: http://www.ci.san-marcos.ca.us/index.aspx?page=324. In regards to the density issues with the Highlands Project… this has been an issue since the very first Highlands proposal in 2002, as showcased here: http://www.sanmarcoshighlands.com/history/. The open space that the Highlands Project has set aside to preserve is fake open space. It’s disconnected, unexplorable space that they can’t develop on anyway. Have you read the comment letter from the County of San Diego? http://sanmarcoshighlands.com/CountyCmtLtr8.19.2013.pdf The Highlands project stinks. I don’t think most people are against a new development… we’re just against poorly planned and reckless developments. (The school district even think the project stinks! http://www.ci.san-marcos.ca.us/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=8248)

      • I am fully aware of the proposed housing options for San Marcos, having participated in numerous workshops and been an active member of the community for thirty years. The fact is, even with what’s proposed, our region needs more to fill the need. These home are not the answer to more affordable housing, perhaps, but do provide an opportunity for people to move up, providing additional housing stock at lower price points.

        I would also point out that those same projects you cite will increase demand for better traffic in, through, and out of the city’s confines. The lack of a sufficient number of arterial roadways as alternatives to the few that exist are a direct result of short-sighted thinking on the part of people who only see what is in front of them and do not take the community as a whole into account.
        Moreover, the red-herring argument that this project creates a public safety hazard is belied by the fact that, should the road be completed, there would be additional routes into and out of not only San Marcos Highlands, but Santa Fe Hills as well in the event of an emergency.

        As for the open space being “fake”, the developers have placed into their plan a dedicated wildlife corridor, something that, so long as the land remains in its current state, does not and will not exist.

        The density issue is a false argument. The proposed homesites are larger than the ones extant in Santa Fe Hills. A significant portion of the property in question is left for open space and a conservancy-maintained wildlife corridor.

      • You arguments are mathematically incorrect. You have zero understanding of what is and is not a wildlife corridor and I could call you out on everything, again. But I am not going to detract from the purpose of this article by having a continual tit for tat as I will probably never reach you in a meaningful way.

        Mr. Effinger, you are obviously very human-centric. I have determined that you value ecological habitat as having zero worth to your quality of life. That is unfortunate, and probably can’t be changed at this juncture.

        But don’t make that decision for other by actively advocating that we destroy what little is left with more high density homes and concrete roads. To me and the majority of people I talk to, I look out and I see the open land and think of the wildlife within and it brings me peace. It is worth the 5 extra minutes on Borden to drive north on Twin Oaks Valley up to Escondido (which I do three times a week and yes, the traffic is a bear but the solution is widening Deer Springs Road, not adding more homes) to preserve the other creatures which have no voice in a world where humans have caused and will cause more extinctions than any other time in the history of this Earth. I want to hold onto something, even a small block of habitat, for my children to know, to enjoy. For my grandchildren. And that fight is worth having.

      • I would like a place for my children and grandchildren to LIVE. You be I’m human centric, but that doesn’t mean compromise can’t be reached. That is why the developer is willing to give up much of the land HE OWNS to meet environmental concerns.

        I’m glad you are so sanguine about traffic today. Check back with me in another five or ten years when it is exponentially worse due to efforts such as your own. As far as Deer Springs Road goes, the best opportunity to secure funding for that improvement will be when development is approved, not despite it.

      • Mr. Effinger, by all means, please keep posting your uniformed diatribes. People may have read this article with a grain of salt before your interjections. But now (thanks to you), the opinions and priorities of those who support this development are very, very clear. You’ve managed to insult thousands of residents across multiple communities of San Marcos. Your flippant responses and perpetual dismissal or disregard of the residents of this city and it’s natural resources is a PR goldmine. From those of us that oppose this development, we anxiously await your continued efforts on our behalf. Keep up the good work!
        ~Kacy

      • Diatribes? Flippant? Uninformed? Please enlighten me on your sources. I am apparently more informed than others here because I am considering the ENTIRE community. I will continue. It’s my right, same as you.

  • Thank you for that well written and well researched article. It’s reassuring that some people still care about habitat and sensitive species conservation. Oh and Kirk Effinger, you just got clowned.

  • Have you ever noticed how north Rancho Santa Fe Road so abruptly “T”s” off and so curiously halts you right at Mission Road? Do you ever wonder why that is? It certainly doesn’t feel right when you drive it.
    Some in the know long time residents claim it’s because of a stinking back room deal struck between the City and the then developer of Paloma (now known as Santa Fe Hills).

    Rancho Santa Fe Road was ALWAYS planned by the City and County to connect north to Buena Creek Road long before the Paloma/Santa Fe Hills’ Las Posas Road even existed.

    That is until the former City Manager (currently the highly paid lead consultant to this very same Highlands project and this developer) helped engineer a diversion of that logical road extension. Yep, diverted it over to the very first new San Marcos neighborhood that was to be paying the Mello Roos tax. That way the unsuspecting new homeowners in Paloma/Santa Fe Hills could pay for the entire construction cost of the road extension with their Mello Roos tax obligation. Genius! A golden goose strategy for a future “consultant” and former City Manager and his cronies who engineered the entire…..shall we say ROOS (instead of ruse).

    The people of Santa Fe Hills residents are the unlucky first victims being played as unsuspecting patsies by a close knit group of current and former City representatives that are developer schills masquerading as “for the good of the people” advocates. They are in this for the money and political gain…let no one kid you of that fact. Screw everybody else! This extension of Las Posas Road as proposed was NEVER forecasted by County planners – EVER! It is the creation of this diabolical group of eager opportunists wanting to cash in and leave the unsuspecting holding the preverbial bag of crap. This man Kubba is being played as the Mac Daddy to all of these amoral masqueraders who fully intend to give him his project in whatever grossly bloated scale it needs to be so that everyone gets their appropriate due.

    Once accomplished then it’s on to the next one…the Twin Oaks behemoth called the Merrium Mountains development. Just huge in scale.

    “But, you see, the Las Posas Road extension north to Buena Creek has now been completed so not to worry your Twin Oaks unsuspecting selves.” “We’ve already done the dirty work by forcing the diversion of all the outrageous increased traffic load you’re about to realize into that “not in my back yard” selfish little neighborhood of Santa Fe Hills.” “Oh, did we mention thatched we fixed them good by making them pay for it too?” “So go ahead and not fret little person….we’re be passing this Merrium Mountain development too…WETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT!”

    **SAN ELIJO NEIGHBORS…
    WE NEED YOUR VOTING HELP AND SUPPORT IN REJECTING THIS “FIRST DOMINO” HIGHLANDS PROJECT AND ASSOCIATED ROAD EXTENSION OF LAS POSAS ROAD THROUGH TO A ROAD CONNECTION THAT IS TOTALLY OUT OF SAN MARCOS!

    SUBSEQUENTLY, GETTING THESE MASQUERADERS OUT OF OUR CITY GOVERNMENT!

    WILLFULL INTENT PREVAILS IN THE RUINING OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE HERE AS WE KNOW IT WITH MASSIVE HIGH DENSITY HOUSING INITIATIVES IN THE WORKS THAT YOU CAN’T BEGIN TO IMAGINE. PLEASE KEEP YOUR MINDS AND EYES WIDE OPEN…SAN MARCOS HAS BEEN TAKEN HOSTAGE BY VERY BIG MONEY INTERESTS…AND POLITICIANS FULLY CAPABLE OF SELLING US OUT!

  • Currently, the traffic on Twin Oaks is created because of the traffic congestion on 78. Drivers take this road to avoid it. However, it creates more congestion for our City. If Las Posas is punched through, the traffic will be diverted into Buena Creek to bypass the lights and congestion of the rest of the road to 78.
    The development was given a number of permits and a old EIR. This EIR was flawed even then, particularly in light of the many subsequent and dramatic changes in General Plans, Climate Action Plans, carbon taxes for congestion, elimination of wilderness, etc.
    One of the key issues proponents of the proposed development leave out is a letter by one wildlife agency which noted that piecemeal EIR’s (and negative declarations) are illegal. The congestion that a project will ultimately produce cannot be considered in isolation of formal plans. Specifically, every part of a road extension must consider the ultimate impact of the completed road. In this case, the developer/investors are moving for a mere negative declaration for a supplemental EIR instead of a comprehensive EIR which fully reflects the impact of the Las Posas punch through.
    Our City has been less than forthright on the punch through issue or the biological treasures of the region. But we are beginning to see that our City is overly generous with developers/investors who see their bottom lines as the only important consideration (which in truth is what they are hired to do). Now they are pushing for the rest of the City to pay for their infrastructure.
    The most recent example of big corporation favoritism is the outrageous behavior of the City in the cell tower appeal several weeks ago. The Questhaven/San Elijo residents won the appeal on the Planning Commission decision to allow the towers to go in despite other more suitable sites and real problems with the existing tower with unapproved modifications. The permit for this cell tower expired months ago with no action by the City to correct it. The faint attempt to camouflage the tower was undone as the screening trees died and never replanted and the illegal mods which made the isolated fake tree ridiculous.
    The City Council agreed that the appeal had merit. At that point the proper procedure would have been (1) to turn down the permit application and return it to the applicant for retooling, (2) to order the existing tower to be removed and (3) to have Staff conduct an inquiry into how many tower licenses had been allowed to lapse – and why.
    But the Council decided it would “fix” the permit application by requiring a repetition of the same failed fake tree gambit. No investigation of the expired permit was ordered nor were illegal modifications ordered to be removed. No order to investigate how the lapse of permits was allowed to occur.
    Frankly, the nearby residents are happy with the County plan for the Highlands and the preservation of the rural nature of the land. A high density urban sprawl combined with a high speed, congested punch through is not conducive to any real quality of life for the animals or the humans.
    Mike H.

  • My husband and I live in Santa Fe Hills and have for 22 years. When we bought our home we were provided a copy of the General Plan and it clearly showed Las Posas Rd was planned to connect north to Buena Creek Rd. We look forward to this happening in the future as it will provide us easier access to our elderly parents in north Vista. The expansion of the trail system, the expansion of Borden Rd north of Palomar College from 2 lanes to 4, the reduced fire load to the north, legal access to the areas to the north, added property tax revenue and spending by new residents in the area as well as the quality and anticipated price points for homes in Highlands Ranch are welcomed by us. We have followed all of the proposed and effected changes in our area over the years and see this as one more step to the planned growth and development of San Marcos.

  • The growth of San Marcos has been done under the radar of its residents for the most part. Most unsuspected residents find out about the projects when they are been affected. If not, ask me about it! We live in the one of the most neglected parts of San Marcos and the only time “they” look at this side is if: they want to divert traffic because the neighbors by Grand Avenue don’t want the noise and the pollution the cars bring them, It is also when “they” want to build a new park that attracts more traffic, a school that brings even more traffic and a DMV that will bring a lot of congestion. And you people at San Elijo and Paloma are complaining?…. give me a break!. We have been living in this neighborhood longer than you have. We had to endured seen 78 become a three line Fwy and the environmental consequences this project brought to us. Don’t you think that the entire San Marcos should work together, so some neighbors don’t have suffer the consequences more than others? Politicians are not thinking about us, they are thinking about their pockets and their political careers!!!!

  • I’m going to tell you right now, I haven’t lived here as long as some of you have so i don’t have as much experience in this. But the fact of the matter is that it saddens me to see the open space that surrounds the city that I’ve lived in for the my entire 16 years of life being ripped apart. The fact that we are so close to nature is what really defines our city. I’ve looked over the plans for the city and some of the changes don’t seem that bad(i.e. the road expansions, the palomar station, Davia village, and other smaller scale projects) but the highland project ,as well as the Creek and University districts seem to be an over exaggeration of the construction of homes. We’ve been building homes since before i was born. We are constructing over 8000 new residential units meaning we are adding at least 8000 new people in to our population at the very unrealistic least. Realistically we will be adding about +20k new people(only an estimate of course.) Can someone why we need so many new homes and residents? I mean we’re going to reap revenue from the new tax payers, but what exactly do we need the money for? And why do we need so much? The city is investing so much in new facilities that it may end up ignoring it’s current residents(though San Marcos has always been good at avoiding this). If there is no well proven answer to my questions it’s just showing that these new projects aren’t really needed for the city to be prosperous and are only avwaste of money

    • We need to add more housing to accommodate you…for one thing. My daughter, who is 32, grew up in San Marcos. She had to move away because she couldn’t find an affordable home here. I want you, my kids, all who grew up here to have the same opportunity to make a home here that my wife and I did.

  • Mr. Effinger… San Marcos has many affordable homes currently for sale. I invite your daughter to take a drive through San Marcos. I’m sure she will find a lovely, affordable home in an existing neighborhood.

    • Affordability is relative and homes for sale in the $300k price range is not affordable for many.

      • The average price of homes in the San Elijo Hills (SEH) and Sante Fe Hills (SFH) are much higher, around $500,000. If projects like the SM Highlands with its Las Posas extension goes through, the loss of open space and increased traffic will depress home values. The road extension will not reduce traffic, but significantly increase it, bring with drivers looking for another short cut to/from the 78 to 15. This increase traffic is a real threat to the people living in the residential area. The 198 homes that are part of the SM Highlands project are going to be priced a lot higher than $300,000. The portion of the project that is in the unincorporated area of San Diego County is not characteristic of the Twin Oaks area. The density of new homes being proposed by this project and projects like the Merriam Mountain does not conform with the semi-rural nature. The part of SM Highland project in the unincorporated area is zoned per the County’s General Plan as being 1 home per 10 acre due to the steep hills. The SM Highland project should be denied again. It is a square peg that the city of SM is trying to force into a round hole.

      • I agree with Mr. Kumura and most opponents of this insane project. But first Mr. Effinger, your last comment just cemented your skewed view and intensive lobbying for this project. Sometimes life isn’t fair, and we don’t always get to live where we want at any given time. I worked hard to get myself here, so perhaps your kid work a bit harder to come home. I have lived in San Marcos for 15 years and have watched development come and come and come. And with all of those new homes are very, very few if any that are $300,000 or under. and when they were, why didn’t your daughter sbnatch one up? The economy is going to wait for her. Although a true parent would assist their child any way they could to HELP them achieve a home…what’s up with that moneybags? Our town kicks ass, but so does Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad? Do you really think we residents are that stupid to think those Highland homes won’t be $500,000+? I get your point of view sir, in so much as it is financially driven. How much are you being paid to lobby this project? Why aren’t you on the city council anymore? And most importantly, which neighboorhood do you live in San Marcos? You DO live here don’t you? You sir flabbergast me.
        Dr. Williams, thank you for the article and the fight. I am right there with you.

      • You, sir, are an ass. My daughter should work harder? Only an arrogant, self-absorbed, elitist with a superiority complex would consider judging someone they didn’t even know in that manner.

        Moneybags? Hardly. Besides, when I bought my first home, it wasn’t necessary for parents to step up and provide the money necessary to bridge the gap of affordability…there was enough housing available (supply & demand…ever hear of it?) to ensure anyone who wanted to buy a home, could.

        As I have said before, I have no financial stake in this, or any other proposed development. Unlike some people, I understand that creating artificial barriers to restrict housing development is an extremely unhealthy thing for an economy. San Diego County is one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation, with incomes that do not match.

        Ever wonder why there are so many people driving THROUGH San Marcos and down the I-15 from Temecula and Murrieta? Here’s a hint…they work in San Diego County, where they can’t afford to live.

        Tom Kumura’s comment that the project density doesn’t conform to Santa Fe Hills is right on…it’s LESS dense, thanks in no small part to the open space being dedicated.

        To answer your other questions…inane as they are: 1)I was never on the city council; 2) I live in the city of San Marcos, as I have continuously for thirty years…with the exception of two years spent in Lake San Marcos. I don’t know where YOU live, nor do I particularly care, but I was here before Applewilde, Discovery Hills, Paloma (Santa Fe Hills to newcomers), Twin Oaks Valley Ranch, and San Elijo Hills, to name a few. Anyone who lives in any of those projects should thank me and all the other citizens of the city who allowed those projects to be built.

  • Dr. Williams… thank you for your insightful article. Have you ever considered running for City Council? You have my vote.

  • Whichever member of City Council votes FOR this project will NOT be getting re-elected, that is for sure. Chris Orlando and Kristal Jabara will both be up for re-election in November 2014. http://www.ci.san-marcos.ca.us/index.aspx?page=146

  • Thank you Kim. Unfortunately, such a venture not feasible at this juncture. I a full-time faculty member at Palomar College and have two small kids. I believe that to be a meaningful member of the Council would mean a significant time commitment because you really do have to have a good pulse on what the community wants, and not just what developers and their interests want. Hopefully, this article and the petition will enlighten our current City Council about what their constituents truly want. If the City Council does not listen, then what Kevin M said is the next step. New officials, because clearly they are not representing their constituents.

  • I have lived in San Marcos for over 15 years and North county for 20. Who are all you people. If I could, I would run for office and win because I am anti government, period. These BOZO’s just want to make money and retire wealthy. That’s it. This I will say though, this land is going to be developed into something. That cant be stopped unless somebody with more money than Kubba gets involved, and why would they. Think of a better development and then get that moving. These rich folks think they can run our government. Oh shoot, wait a minute, they do. assholes

  • John, thanks for saying it. We can’t avoid development, because too many folks stand to profit from it. Let’s just try to end up with something nice. Think Palo Alto, not Tustin. As for the “need” for more or more affordable housing: Population growth creates more bodies needing a place to park. But, they don’t have to all park in the same spot. I moved to San Marcos because it was cheaper than where I grew up; that happens. I suppose the flip side of the profit motive, which is too often ignored, is that property values will rise if demand is much higher than supply. Why not have low density housing, with a proper corridor and public open space? That would be a great compromise. Ideally, residents should have more say about development than theoretical prospective residents; and the only reason for that not to be the case is that catering to prospective residents lines the pockets of decision-makers. One of the reasons that dynamic is hard to change is that, as I’ve been told by a Solana Beach city council campaign manager, it cost 200k to run for city council, 20 yrs ago; so big money is built into the process. Quiet people who care about nature just aren’t inclined to enter into a rat-toothed, money mongering enterprise like politics; though some do, they’re in the minority. This leaves us open space lovers with limited representation. I guess all we can do is agitate and demand the best compromise we can get.

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  • Meanwhile… SMUSD is 4,474 students OVER capacity, with a mass number of home developments on the way…

    • Anonymous,

      Your claim is pure fabrication.

      I have confirmed with SMUSD officials that your figures are not even close to reality.

      While it is true there is some overpopulation on some campuses, the district’s plans to build a new K-8 school in San Elijo Hills address that. Prop. K funding also has already been used to expand capacity at San Marcos High School and future expenditures for classroom upgrades and construction are planned.

      Furthermore, the district plans for additional schools a growth demands. This is, after all, what impact fees are designated for.

      • Dear grumpy old man,

        I am merely quoting a letter, dated 8/16/2013 from Khary Knowles, Executive Director of Facilities Planning & Development of SMUSD that says “…existing school capacity within SMUSD currently is not adequate to meet the student population. Based on SMUSD’s 2013 School Facilities Needs Analysis, SMUSD’s 2012/1013 capacity is 15,011 and its enrollment is 19,485, leaving SMUSD with a capacity shortage of 4,474.”

  • Kirk…no personal ties? Seriously? Tisk tisk tisk.

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