Tag Archives: City of San Marcos


You may have seen a sign on the property right next to the former landfill site (on San Elijo Road) for a project named “Copper Hills.” Copper Hills is a project that is being proposed by a developer (Stephen A. Bieri Company) to the City of San Marcos. The land itself is actually in the unincorporated County of San Diego. San Marcos does not have jurisdiction (though the developer could attempt an annexation). In the County of San Diego, the developer is also attempting to change the current zoning of that land in case they choose to pursue the project in County jurisdiction. This zoning amendment (General Plan Amendment) is being called SD15 in the County of San Diego. Click link for more information.

The City of San Marcos major developments project information available online

The City of San Marcos has major developments project information available online. Learn List view and table view of projects. Learn about Brookfield Residential Multi-Family on Twin Oaks and Copper Hills and the entrance to San Elijo Hills next to the old recycling plant.

City and school district partner in planning for the future (Press Release from City of San Marcos)

 Last July, the City of San Marcos and the San Marcos Unified School District established the Joint Task Force on School Development (Task Force) to formally partner in planning for the future of San Marcos schools.

With a decade’s long history of supporting one another, the city and district serve the community of San Marcos together and their destinies are intertwined.

While growth presents challenges, it also brings energy to the community and strengthens the local economy.  Growth has been instrumental in supporting a robust School District and is a key component in providing funds to build future schools.

The recently established Task Force is focused on sharing information with their respective elected bodies and the public, identifying possible locations for school sites, and planning for the future.

Already, the Task Force has taken numerous steps to understand school needs and growth trends, and to come up with solutions for the current challenges:

  • Data Sharing & Growth Projections: While the district regularly collects data regarding growth trends, the Task Force has further examined information on the City General Plan – a 20+ year long term planning document –and data regarding actual build out.By analyzing current and anticipated residential growth, the School District is better able to determine its needs to increase capacity at school sites and to locate and purchase land for new school sites.
  • Exploring Options for Schools: The Task Force continues to review options for addressing increasing student enrollment across the city.Options include ways to optimize existing schools to handle current and projected demand, and ways to increase resources for school infrastructure.
  • School Site Search: A focus of the Task Force has been to identify possible sites for new schools.The district is in the initial phases of exploring several potential sites.

A comprehensive update on Task Force progress will be shared during a joint public meeting between the San Marcos City Council and the San Marcos School Board on Thursday, March 29 at 6 pm at the San Marcos Community Center, 3 Civic Center Drive.

San Marcos City Councilmember Chris Orlando Announces Campaign for Mayor

Campaign to focus on reducing traffic, improving infrastructure and protecting quality of life

Three-term City Councilman Chris Orlando today announced his campaign for Mayor of San Marcos. Orlando, who has served on the San Marcos City Council since 2006, announced his intention to run for mayor through social media and an email to supporters.

“My priorities as mayor will be reducing traffic congestion, keeping city finances and infrastructure strong, planning for our future with a more thoughtful approach toward growth, and constantly focusing on improving the quality of life in San Marcos for families, students, and seniors,” said Orlando.

In addition to serving on the Council, Orlando has represented San Marcos on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Association of Governments as the city’s primary member and first alternate since 2014. From 2007 to 2012 he was a member of the North County Transit District’s Board of Directors, serving as chairman from 2010 to 2012 and vice chairman from 2009 to 2010. Before his election to the Council, he was vice chairman of the city’s Planning Commission, serving on the panel from January 2005 to December 2006. He has previously served on the boards of directors for the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Youth and Community Services.

Orlando has been an active part of the San Marcos community for 16 years. As a community member, he advocated for improved fire protection and smarter development, and worked to add the citizens’ voice to city decisions. Orlando has been a strong advocate for schools and improving infrastructure – opposing projects that add to crowded schools and bring more traffic.

“When I was first elected to City Council in 2006, my goal was to be a strong voice for the residents of San Marcos,” said Orlando. “In my time on City Council, I’ve tried to do exactly that – standing up when I thought residents’ voices were not being heard.”

Orlando was the lone “no” vote on the San Marcos City Council in two recent controversial development decisions. In November 2016, the Council voted 4-1 to approve the Highlands project, which annexed unincorporated county land into the city and up-zoned it for the development of 189 units. In January 2018, the Council voted 4-1 to grant Brookfield Homes a General Plan Amendment to build 218 units adjacent to an existing 346-unit project that is under development. A referendum is currently being circulated by residents to overturn the Council’s decision to approve that General Plan Amendment. Orlando voted against both projects based on their traffic impact and a lack of capacity in the schools that would serve the new communities.

The election for San Marcos Mayor takes place November 6, 2018.

San Elijo Hills Women’s Club -Harvest Market Saturday, November 18, from 10AM-3PM

Saturday, November 18, from 10AM-3PM, the San Elijo Recreation Center, 1105 Elfin Forest Road, San Elijo Hills, San Marcos, will be transformed into a fabulous holiday shopping experience guaranteed to put everyone in the mood for the season ahead. The event, formerly co-sponsored by the San Elijo Hills Women’s Club (SEHWC) and the City of San Marcos, is now hosted solely by the SEHWC, with all proceeds benefitting the SEHWC Scholarship Program.

This is a vetted event and several favorite vendors from past years will be available, in addition to many first-time participants — all offering a fun and diverse variety of holiday and non-holiday items for everyone’s shopping enjoyment. Don’t miss this great opportunity to do your holiday shopping in a relaxed, stress-free environment! RUSH Coffee Truck will be on site during the morning with specialty coffees and treats. Delectable home-baked goodies will be sold during the SEHWC Bake Sale, and seasonal favorites and fall-inspired snacks from Cafe Stoked will be served as shoppers stroll among the booths. Live music will help create a festive atmosphere, and children will have the opportunity to work off some of their energy in the KIDS’ ZONE. Be sure to buy Raffle tickets for a chance to win a Date Night Basket and Fitness Basket, each brimming with hundreds of dollars in gift cards and certificates–generous donations from San Elijo Hills proprietors and surrounding businesses.

The Holiday Market promises to be a wonderful family activity, a fun girlfriends’ Saturday get-together, and an opportunity for parents and grandparents to do some early holiday shopping. Make plans now to attend this exciting fall event!

San Marcos goes back to school -Traffic delays expected during daily commute

Traffic delays expected during daily commute

As the summer winds down, San Marcos students are headed back to school. With elementary, middle and high schools along with California State San Marcos and Palomar College back in session this week, 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.

Planned projects include Improvements to the intersection of Las Posas Road and Mission Road near Palomar College and the transit center; Construction of two new bridges to replace Bent Avenue and Via Vera Cruz between San Marcos Boulevard and Discovery Street; San Marcos Boulevard and Discovery Street intersection improvements; and construction of Twin Oaks Trail north of Borden Road.

During the school year and periods of roadway construction, motorists should drive with caution in and around work areas, and provide ample time to reach destinations safely and on time.

To learn more about capital improvement projects in San Marcos, visit www.san-marcos.net/cip.

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.

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.

City of San Marcos Boosting Its Economic Development Efforts

From tax-credit education to an easier permitting process, the city is striving to do business better

When it comes to economic development, the City of San Marcos is raising the bar and local businesses are taking note—like Cliniqa, a bio-techne company that just went through an expansion.

“What can be a lengthy permit process was made easier by the wonderful employees in the Planning, Fire and Building departments,” said Lisa Profeta, Facilities Manager at Cliniqa in San Marcos.

The city has always embraced entrepreneurship because it drives a high quality of life—but it took center stage in 2012 when the State ended redevelopment programming, which took a toll on local business growth. Coupled with the recession, San Marcos saw a need to be more proactive in its economic development.

“City Council quickly realized we needed to focus our energy there if we wanted to remain a thriving, leading city,” said City Manager Jack Griffin. “Given that, City Council created a vision for a more business-friendly San Marcos.”

That vision began to take shape in 2015, when the city’s first economic development division was created. Since then, significant progress has been made, including the hire of an economic development manager and the launch of the San Marcos Business Walk Program, a twice-a-year event where volunteers collect feedback about the challenges facing local commerce.

Staff has also worked to cut a lot of red tape from the development approval process—everything from making it easier to navigate the land entitlement process, to bolstering city and private sector collaboration on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) document preparation, to a City of San Marcos and Building Industry Association (BIA) pilot project  that is under development to allow for digital submission of project plans to save money on construction document printing costs, which can run $20,000 to $70,000 per on a typical subdivision during the entirety of the development approval process.”

“The city Development Services team, particularly Planning staff, are constantly working with the city’s Economic Development Manager to understand the needs of existing and prospective businesses,” said  Director of Development Services Dahvia Lynch. “Planning and Economic Development go hand in hand and our collaboration is crucial to our improvements, which are a work in progress.”

In fact, staff still sees plenty of room for improvements. For example, they are working to give business owners more opportunities to save time or money by streamlining and more clearly defining permitting process. There are also plans to standardize more reference materials for the permitting process, and to make more resources available online for business owners.

“Ideally, we would love to empower more business owners with the knowledge and resources they need,” Lynch said.

In that vein, city staff has also started to educate business owners about any benefits that they may qualify for. For example, Wholesale Shade was awarded a $500,000 California Competes Tax Credit, which Founder and CEO Patrick Howe learned about through the bi-monthly Council Business Visits. As part of the credit, the company intends to create 26 jobs over the next five years.

Likewise, the Council Business Visits, also led Cliniqa to apply, resulting in a $350,000 California Competes Tax Credit, with which the company plans to use to create 24 jobs over the next five years. Economic Development Manager Tess Radmill and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation worked closely with the two companies—along with other San Marcos businesses that hope to receive the credit in the future—to simplify the application process.

“Most business owners I know are focused on the daily challenges of keeping their doors open and are not experts at regulations or government programs,” Howe explained. “Knowing that the City of San Marcos is a partner in the success of our business is reassuring.”

Radmill says that’s precisely how she hopes the business community views the city: a partner in their success.

“We’re working to ensure our local businesses are empowered to reach their full potential because their success is part of what drives the high quality of life we all enjoy here in San Marcos.”

To learn more about the city’s economic development efforts, contact Economic Development Manager Tess Radmill at tradmill@san-marcos.net.

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.

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