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
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,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join thousands of people throughout the San Diego region as we GO by BIKE during Bike to Work Day on Thursday, May 18 from 6 to 9 am.
The City of San Marcos and local business Bike Vault will be teaming up to offer Bike to Work Day participants a unique San Marcos pit stop at the Civic Center Complex, 3 Civic Center Drive. During their visit, riders will receive, refreshments, tune-ups and other city swag. Those who pre-register will receive a free t-shirt.
“From the SPRINTER to miles of trail and bike lanes, Bike to Work Day is a great reminder that you don’t always need your car to get from point A to point B in San Marcos and the San Diego region,” said Public Works Director Matt Little.
Arranged by the San Diego Association of Governments in efforts to encourage alternative modes of transportation, the annual event will include more than 100 pit stops throughout San Diego County and expects to draw more than 9,000 riders.
“Not only does biking to work save you some gas money, but it also supports an active, healthy lifestyle,” said Community Services Director Buck Martin. “With a pit stop in San Marcos and others all over the county, we are encouraging residents to join fellow pedal pushers and GO by BIKE.”
To register and GO by BIKE, visit www.icommutesd.com/bike/bike-to-work. Resources include the San Diego Regional Bike Map, riding and safety tips, bike lockers, and information about taking your bike on transit. For more information on Bike to Work Day 2017, visit the Bike Month web page, call 511 and say “iCommute,” or email iCommute@sandag.org
Motorists should expect delays from La Mirada Drive to Security Place
Rancho Santa Fe Road makeover to continue through summer
After a brief construction pause, work on the $3 million Rancho Santa Fe Road makeover will continue through the summer.
Beginning the week of Monday, April 17, north and southbound traffic will be reduced to one lane along sections of Rancho Santa Fe Road as follows:
April 17 to April 21: La Mirada Drive to Linda Vista Drive
April 24 to April 28: Linda Vista Drive to 1st Street
May 1 to May 19: 1st Street to Security Place
May 22 to May 24: La Mirada Drive to Security Place
Delays should be expected during peak hours and prolonged lane closures will affect normal traffic. Heavy equipment will be on the street within constructions zones and flagmen, where needed, will be directing traffic to ease congestion. Although two-way traffic will be maintained, traffic delays are anticipated and motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes during construction. Commuters should plan ahead by leaving early to arrive at their destinations on time.
During construction, businesses will remain open and work will be coordinated to minimize obstruction to shopping center access. Residents and businesses directly affected by the street restoration will receive advanced notice of work.
“We appreciate continued patience from motorists, businesses and schools during these important repairs,” said City Manager Jack Griffin. “While this work will create temporary inconveniences getting around town, these much needed repairs pave the way for lasting improvements.”
As crews work to finish these major improvements, motorists can continue to expect intermittent southbound and northbound single lane closures through June. Delays in the schedule may occur due to inclement weather.
With an anticipated completion of summer 2017, the major facelift is restoring the roadway and extending the life of the driving surfaces along Rancho Santa Fe Road from Lakeridge Drive to Descanso Avenue. Some portions of the roadway require pavement removal and replacement, while other segments need surface grinding prior to the final pavement overlay.
“Traffic flow is important to our residents and keeping city streets in good condition keeps motorists moving and improves overall traffic safety,” said Griffin.
For more information, updated schedules and anticipated traffic impacts, visit www.san-marcos.net/roadwork or call Associate Civil Engineer Isaac Etchamendy at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3273. Traffic alerts will also be published to the city’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
children’s attractions and carnival rides; a showcase of local talent on the San Marcos Community Stage; varied and delicious food options and a stage with live music! All along Via Vera Cruz in San Marcos.
Bring your family and friends and enjoy a beautiful San Marcos day for fun in the sun!
Click Here to check out the stage schedule to see who’s performing and when. You don’t want to miss these great talents.
The City of San Marcos and the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce
Mayor Jim Desmond delivered San Marcos’ 2017 State of the City Address on Tuesday, Feb. 28 as part of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors’ Installation and Awards Luncheon program.
Presented to an audience packed with leaders, entrepreneurs, non-profits, local businesses, residents and others devoted to San Marcos, Mayor Jim Desmond’s talk highlighted the most significant accomplishments of the last year and outlined upcoming goals in the areas of public safety, parks and community services, community development, traffic and transportation and other quality of life issues.
“The priorities of the city are safety, management or resources and quality of life,” said Mayor Desmond. “In 2016, we had much to be proud of.”
Recent achievements included a 22 percent decrease in reported crimes, aggressive flood management, above average San Marcos Fire Department response times, maintaining and improving city infrastructure, the addition of fifteen new development projects in the pipeline, and a balanced budget of nearly $70 million. In 2017, residents can expect traffic relief as the city works with Caltrans to widen State Route 78 between Woodland Parkway and Twin Oaks Valley Road. By 2018, construction will start on two new bridges over the San Marcos Creek at Via Vera Cruz and Bent Avenue.
Mayor Desmond also applauded the city’s economic achievements and noted that San Marcos is the education hub of North County San Diego.
“In San Marcos, we continue to build upon our foundation as the education hub of North County; within that foundation is jobs and economic vitality,” said Mayor Desmond. “With education as our backbone, we are uncovering San Marcos’ economic potential together.”
In his address, the Mayor stressed the importance of the community partnerships to tackle the various issues facing the city—issues such as the move to by-district elections, increasing retirement costs, and re-calibrating the San Marcos Creek District plan to accommodate changing retail and housing demands.
Desmond stated, “We’re [the City of San Marcos] proactively addressing challenges ahead and leaning on our partnerships to drive overall regional success. We will not be the economic engine that could, or should, but the engine that will get the job done.”
The 2017 State of the City Address will be rebroadcast on San Marcos TV during the month of March on Cox Communications Channel 19, Timer Warner Cable Channel 24, AT&T U-Verse Channel 99 or on demand at www.san-marcos.net.
Vallecitos Board of Directors Declares Drought Over
Last night, the Vallecitos Water District’s Board of Directors voted to rescind the voluntary drought restrictions under its “Level 1 – Drought Watch.” Vallecitos customers may irrigate any day of the week with no limit on the number of watering days, and may irrigate their landscapes for as many minutes as needed. However, the Board continued to express their desire to sustain water conservation as a permanent way of life. Vallecitos’ ordinance permanently prohibits wasteful practices, such as:
Watering between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Watering within 48 hours of a measurable rain event
Hosing down hardscapes (patios, sidewalks, etc.)
Not using a shut-off nozzle when washing cars
Not fixing leaks within 48 hours of discovery
Restaurants only serving water on request
Vallecitos’ resolution was taken in response to the San Diego County Water Authority’s action on January 26, 2017, declaring the drought over in San Diego County. Neither the Water Authority nor Vallecitos are experiencing supply shortages due to drought. The San Diego region has invested approximately $3.5
billion over the past three decades to increase regional water supply reliability, including upgraded conveyance systems, additional water storage capacity and seawater desalination. Vallecitos has a direct connection to the desalination plant in Carlsbad and obtains more than a quarter of its annual supplies from this drought proof source.
Vallecitos met its mandatory savings target after the state imposed emergency regulations in 2015 to achieve the governor’s goal of an overall 25 percent cut in urban water use. In May 2016, the state updated its emergency regulation to a water supply “stress test” methodology that took actual levels of local supply reliability into account. Under that system, Vallecitos has sufficient supplies to avoid shortages even if it experiences three more dry years.
“Due to the record-setting winter precipitation in the Northern Sierra, coupled with heavy local rainfall and a significant snowpack in the upper Colorado River basin, we are able to rescind Drought Response Level 1 – Drought Watch,” said Vallecitos Board President, Craig Elitharp. “We applaud our customers’ efforts to conserve water and encourage them to continue to use water efficiently at all times.”
For more detailed information on the permanent prohibitions, go to www.vwd.org/drought.
About Vallecitos Water District: As an independent, special district, Vallecitos is dedicated to providing water, wastewater and reclamation services to approximately 97,000 people in a 45- square-mile area that includes San Marcos; the community of Lake San Marcos; portions of Carlsbad, Escondido and Vista; and other surrounding unincorporated areas. The public is invited to Board meetings, taking place at 5 p.m. the first and third Wednesday of each month at Vallecitos’ Administration Building – 201 Vallecitos de Oro, San Marcos. Board meetings are also televised on San Marcos TV. Visit www.san-marcos.net/smtv for a complete programming schedule.
City of San Marcos officials are encouraging residents to get involved and make a difference in their community by applying for open positions on the Community Services Commission, Planning Commission, San Marcos Community Foundation, Traffic Commission and San Marcos Creek Specific Plan Oversight Commission.
The deadline to apply for each of these openings is Friday, Dec. 16 at 5:30 pm. Appointments will be made after public interviews are conducted by the City Council during its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 6 pm. Candidates should be prepared to provide a brief presentation discussing their background and qualifications for the desired position.
Detailed eligibility requirements, application instructions and interview requirements are available online at www.san-marcos.net/commissions or by visiting 1 Civic Center Drive.
Two positions are open on city’s Community Services Commission, which has the responsibility of advising the City Council in matters pertaining to the creation, operation, maintenance, management and control of the community recreation programs, of playgrounds and indoor and outdoor recreation, activities, and facilities.
The Planning Commission has four openings for individuals interested in evaluating and making decisions on a variety of land use matters for both long-range and short-range planning within the City of San Marcos. The commission conducts public hearings on significant planning, zoning and land subdivision matters such as specific plans, subdivision maps, conditional use permits and rezones; and handling any other matters as required by the municipal code.
Four positions are open on the San Marcos Community Foundation, which serves to enrich the quality of life for the community of San Marcos by serving as a nonprofit public benefit corporation providing grants to other nonprofit organizations that assist the city or its residents.
The Traffic Commission has three vacancies for residents looking to seek ways to improve traffic conditions, operations and safety, and the administration of enforcement of traffic regulations.
Finally, eight positions are open on the San Marcos Creek Specific Plan Oversight Committee. This body was created for the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the San Marcos Creek Specific Plan as well as conducting a formal progress report on the San Marcos Creek Specific Plan
For more information about applying for a vacancy, please contact the San Marcos City Clerk at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3145 or email@example.com.