COUNTY PLANNING DIRECTOR SEEKS TO “BUNDLE” MULTIPLE BIG DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS TO BYPASS STATE LAW LIMITING GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENTS

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By Miriam Raftery

May 13, 2018 (San Diego) – California law restricts counties from approving more than four General Plan amendments a year, a law meant to prevent developers from pushing through excessive waivers.  But now a video reveals County Planning and Development Services Director Mark Wardlow proposing “bundling” together multiple projects far larger than current zoning laws allow.

By batching seven major housing and mixed-use projects into just three votes (one major development was already approved earlier this year), the maneuver could enable Supervisors to approve up to 10,129 housing units by year’s end in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County.

Grow the San Diego Way, a coalition of residents opposed to the action, states on its website that bundling, also called batching, is “a loophole that the County is exploiting and not to the benefit of the taxpayer who will be on the hook for the added infrastructure costs and fire risks associated with most of these projects.“

The organization notes that most of these projects are owned by out-of-town developers or land speculators who will not be here to contend with increased traffic congestion and fire danger.

At least four of the projects are in Cal Fire designated “Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones” and DO NOT address evacuation congestion. For example, Harmony Grove Village South project is on a dead-end road where 30 houses burned in 2014, yet the developer obtained an exemption from fire authorities and won’t be adding a secondary exit route. Some fear that in a major fire, residents in the new development could be trapped, unable to escape.

Advocates say bundling is needed to win swift approval of projects needed to help resolve the region’s housing crisis. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that an estimated 16,500 homes are needed in the next ten years to make up for a shortage of housing and meet demands fueled by future growth.  County spokesperson Jessica Northrup insists that the projects “have not been rushed through the process,” adding that all have been in the process anywhere from a year and a half to more than a decade.

But opponents of the projects suspect developers are pushing to get projects approved before the long-serving Supervisors are termed out, with two, Bill Horn and Ron Roberts, set to leave office after the November election. 

In addition, bundling projects could provide a slick means of getting as many projects as possible approved before voters could approve a ballot measure that would require General Plan Amendments for major projects be submitted to public votes.  Supporters are currently collecting signatures in hopes of qualifying the Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside measure for the November ballot.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob told the Union-Tribune that she’s never heard of bundling in her decades serving on the board.  She added, “I certainly want to make sure the process is respected and that there is plenty of time for planning group input and a public process.”

Three votes are needed to approve or block the bundled projects. It is unclear where the other Supervisors stand on the scheme, however at least one candidate running till fill Bill Horn’s seat, Jacqueline Arsivaud, has stated that she believes bundling erodes public trust.

Residents with concerns about the bundling process or the projects are urged to contact their supervisors as well as Wardlaw.

The bundled projects are set to be heard by Supervisors in three separate public hearings, after first being considered by the planning commission.

On July 25th, Supervisors will weigh three of the projects:  Harmony Grove Village South, consisting of 453 units west of Escondido, Valiano, a 377-unit project near San Marcos and Escondido, and the massive Otay 250 project, which would bring 3,158 units to the Proctor Valley area south of Jamul, including residential, commercial and office space.

On September 26th, Supervisors will hold a hearing on Newland Sierra, a 2,135-unit development west of Interstate 15 north of Escondido, similar to the Merriam Mountains project that was previously rejected by the board.

The third hearing is set for Halloween, October 31st, when Supervisors will consider Otay Village, a project with up to 1,530 units, Warner Ranch in Pala, a 780-unit housing project opposed by the Pala Indian tribe as well as environmentalists, and potentially also the controversial Lilac Hills Ranch project in Valley Center that the developer tried unsuccessfully to get voters to approve, so now the builder hopes to persuade Supervisors to approve what voters turned down.

Comments

Newland LLC is lying to everyone

I have read the EIR for this project personally, and attended all the meetings where this was talked about. Newland has lied to everyone using the media outlets to push them, over their opposition. The truth is that they will be buying carbon credits out of the country with no way to verify they actually are being used, and so in no way is it even a positive thing for California or even our country. They have lied about the mitigations their EIR which states: that there will be unmitigatable and unavoidable impacts to local schools all over capacity, it will give the I15 in this area an F rating by CALTRANS, CALTRANS stated that newland has been deceitful about road improvements to the I-15 non of which are in planning or represented in their EIR, the improvements to Deer Springs will disrupt large scale archaeological sites which will turn their 10 year time frame into a long drawn out process since they will be pulling bones and relics at every step, they will be destroying over 50 acres of endangered species habitat using a mitigation parcel past ramona that does not even contain the animals, they did not include a single fire evacuation plan or incorporate how it will affect the evacuation of other local communities they only have 2 roads in and out which will create a bottleneck for this community located centrally in a extreme fire danger area, they did improper studies for seasonal wetlands site located on their property containing possibly federally protected creatures, they will be blasting into highly dense silica granodiorite for at least 3-5 years which is proven to be extremely harmful for wildlife and the local community sending fine particulate that can travel for miles in the air and then settles to be kicked up by whomever disturbs it, they are locating their most affordable housing well over 500k in the cancer risk section of the I15 located near a known leaking underground gas holding chamber that has poisoned local groundwater, and the list goes on. The are extremely deceitful about their advertising of this community. They say it is affordable housing yet most homes will be above the 600k range up to and over the million mark. We all know once they get built the prices will only increase as their operating cost do. They claim to be fixing the I15, Caltrans said they lied about it. They say it is the most environmentally friendly, but the EIR shows it has significant unavoidable impacts on sensitive protected animals, and the wildlife corridors they use to avoid spilling over the freeway. Bill horn took 25k in campaign contributions from them and the San Marcos mayor has done a good job of keeping this development hush hush in his city. They will have the population density of Del Mar in less than 800 acres. They will add over 10,000 more cars to the local streets furthering the gridlock we experience locally. They will be sending a majority of their kids to local schools which will exacerbate this traffic problem because parents will be commuting through town to drop off the students. The county supervisors under Bill Horn changed the meeting times in September for discussion of this to the morning when most cant attend to mitigate the impact of local opposition. Bill Horn also has land in Valley Center which he stands to make a large equity gain by streamlining this project. He was abstained from voting on Lilac Hills because of this fact. Don’t believe the false advertising of this development, Rita Brandon the President of Newland has redacted video where she names opposition by name using derogatory terms and false slandering statements in her lobbying to the City Commerce Board in San Diego. They claim to be a San Diego company, however are not a California company. They are a national company which is actually partially owned by the largest developers in Japan, owning large shares of the company. These people only care about money, they are liars, and the media is willfully publishing their lies without educating themselves first on the facts don’t buy into it, this project is a terrible idea for San Diegans.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion

Looks like someone really wants to be heard. Mr. Rodgers is correct in that we need more housing. What he is not understanding is that these particular projects, because they have no infrastructure to speak of, will create about $1 billion in unfunded liabilities that we the taxpayer will have to pay for. That's right. Newland Sierra alone, will cost us $250 million just in road improvements over the next 20 years. And that is just one of the 7 projects they are discussing in the article. The tax base alone will not cover it. No, what it means is, yet another gas tax to cover infrastructure. Sprawl developments out in the boonies does not and has never pencilled out, which is why we are looking at crumbling infrastructure. These projects are simply outside investors getting a great return on investment by buying cheap land that is zoned for agriculture or low density (because there's no infrastructure) and then lobbying and buying off our government employees with large campaign donations and/or PAC contributions for a tenfold increase in profit. And that profit actually contributes to the higher cost of housing because the builders themselves actually don't make that much profit. Why else do you think the average cost for a newly built house in San Diego County is $650K? They are only building high end houses, which is great for those of us who can afford it. But for the rest... So, calm your rhetoric and realize this has nothing to do with MAGA or liberals or conservatives or any of that partisan garbage I hear on both sides of the aisle.

Stop the hate

A twisted saying that means you speak the truth and it hurts. Don't build build the houses for the poor but vote for the those that say they will but don't. Funny STOP THE HATE BUILD AND CREATE JOBS!

CONTRADICT MAN ONE PERSON RULE?

May 13, 2018 (San Diego) – California law restricts counties from approving more than four General Plan amendments a year, a law meant to prevent developers from pushing through excessive waivers. But now a video reveals County Planning and Development Services Director Mark Wardlow proposing “bundling” together multiple projects far larger than current zoning laws allow. THEN CHANGE THE LAW SO WE CAN GET MORE HOUSING AND JOBS INTO THE COMMUNITY FOR OUR KIDS! AND STOP PANDERING TO NIMBY PEOPLE. BUILD THE WALL OTHERWISE! By batching seven major housing and mixed-use projects into just three votes (one major development was already approved earlier this year), the maneuver could enable Supervisors to approve up to 10,129 housing units by year’s end in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County. BATCHING HOUSE AND JOBS? TO GET THINGS BUILT? (( PORK )) HECK YES GET THIS DONE! ON AVERAGE A FEW NIMBYS ARE THE ONES THAT DON'T LIKE GROWTH! TO PUT OUR KIDS TO WORK AND HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE. THAT SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD THING TO MOST OF US! Grow the San Diego Way, a coalition of residents opposed to the action, states on its website that bundling, also called batching, is “a loophole that the County is exploiting and not to the benefit of the taxpayer who will be on the hook for the added infrastructure costs and fire risks associated with most of these projects.“ YOU GOTTA LOVE THAT (GROW THE SAN DIEGO WAY!) 10 PEOPLE GET A NAME IN BACK OF THEM AND BECOME THE VOICE OF EVERYONE. The organization notes that most of these projects are owned by out-of-town developers or land speculators who will not be here to contend with increased traffic congestion and fire danger. THE ONLY DEVELOPERS THAT COULD BUILD AFFORDABLE HOUSING CAN'T BECAUSE OF YOUR LAWS. I DON'T SEE THESE BIG STORE DEVELOPMENTS GETTING CUT OFF? MONEY? At least four of the projects are in Cal Fire designated “Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones” and DO NOT address evacuation congestion. For example, Harmony Grove Village South project is on a dead-end road where 30 houses burned in 2014, yet the developer obtained an exemption from fire authorities and won’t be adding a secondary exit route. Some fear that in a major fire, residents in the new development could be trapped, unable to escape. ONCE THEY BUILD THE AREAS THEY WILL OT LONGER BE FIRE DANGERS, AND IF THEY ARE NOW WHY ARE YOU LIVING THERE? DO YOU GET SUBSIDIZE? TALK TO A PERSON FROM SANTA ROSA CA AND TELL ME THIS HOLDS WATER. Advocates say bundling is needed to win swift approval of projects needed to help resolve the region’s housing crisis. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that an estimated 16,500 homes are needed in the next ten years to make up for a shortage of housing and meet demands fueled by future growth. County spokesperson Jessica Northrup insists that the projects “have not been rushed through the process,” adding that all have been in the process anywhere from a year and a half to more than a decade. MY GOD! YOUR SAYING BECAUSE IT'S NOT ENOUGH DON'T DO IT? THINK ABOUT THAT?? MAN....THOSE ADVOCATES ARE TELL YOU YOU TO DO SO NOT TO NOT DO SO. But opponents of the projects suspect developers are pushing to get projects approved before the long-serving Supervisors are termed out, with two, Bill Horn and Ron Roberts, set to leave office after the November election. THE PUBLIC VOTES NOT THE FEW DO NOT WIN. In addition, bundling projects could provide a slick means of getting as many projects as possible approved before voters could approve a ballot measure that would require General Plan Amendments for major projects be submitted to public votes. Supporters are currently collecting signatures in hopes of qualifying the Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside measure for the November ballot. YOUR KIDS MUST BE LIVING WELL? IN ANOTHER STATE AND OR CITY? HUH? Supervisor Dianne Jacob told the Union-Tribune that she’s never heard of bundling in her decades serving on the board. She added, “I certainly want to make sure the process is respected and that there is plenty of time for planning group input and a public process.” ONE PERSON? Three votes are needed to approve or block the bundled projects. It is unclear where the other Supervisors stand on the scheme, however at least one candidate running till fill Bill Horn’s seat, Jacqueline Arsivaud, has stated that she believes bundling erodes public trust. SOUNDS LIKE THE VOTES DID NOT GO YOUR WAY MAYBE OTHERS THINK DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU? AND YOUR A MINORITY OR NIMBY? Residents with concerns about the bundling process or the projects are urged to contact their supervisors as well as Wardlaw. The bundled projects are set to be heard by Supervisors in three separate public hearings, after first being considered by the planning commission. On July 25th, Supervisors will weigh three of the projects: Harmony Grove Village South, consisting of 453 units west of Escondido, Valiano, a 377-unit project near San Marcos and Escondido, and the massive Otay 250 project, which would bring 3,158 units to the Proctor Valley area south of Jamul, including residential, commercial and office space. On September 26th, Supervisors will hold a hearing on Newland Sierra, a 2,135-unit development west of Interstate 15 north of Escondido, similar to the Merriam Mountains project that was previously rejected by the board. The third hearing is set for Halloween, October 31st, when Supervisors will consider Otay Village, a project with up to 1,530 units, Warner Ranch in Pala, a 780-unit housing project opposed by the Pala Indian tribe as well as environmentalists, and potentially also the controversial Lilac Hills Ranch project in Valley Center that the developer tried unsuccessfully to get voters to approve, so now the builder hopes to persuade Supervisors to approve what voters turned down.

Don't expect to find any logic here....

As I've stated previously, the current administration could single-handedly cure cancer tomorrow and they'd try and jail them for it. What the progressives fail to realize, is that they need us conservatives to protect them from themselves. This is a liberal site and a liberal forum falsely claiming to be "non-partisan" and when you make too much sense, they'll censor your posts. MAGA!

The liberal bias is always there

One doesn't have to look very hard. In this particular editorial, its right here: "It is unclear where the other Supervisors stand on the scheme" - Notice how she refers to the proposal as a "scheme? Tell me that's not biased!

WOW!

Are we having fun yet? Hiding behind the Internet spewing that long winded diatribe must make you feel powerful. Calm down with the 'us against them' attitude. It's not about party affiliation. It is however about humanity living cohesively together as human beings. Stop the hate.

Stop playing the vote game..

Democrats Get more vote numbers from the poor. Follow this..... Republicans get more money from employing the Democratic poor. Democrats create barriers on Republicans to create jobs for the democratic poor. The Republicans can't pay the Democratic Poor because of the barriers. As the democrats running the show want the monies off the low income the rely on. The democrats and republicans both rely on the low income. The troubles we have....

Low Income Housing (BS)

I've done work in the so called Democratic affordable housing give me a vote crap. We call them slums! Like the trash dumps we see in academy award movies of in India. It's the same here!.... Can we touch reality? For once? WE Need work! We need compassion that exposes the democratic way, people that have hope...and the Democratic world is not working... I've seen Roach infested rooms Kids rooms innocents with laundry covered in them actively during day time hours. It's not the way they live grandpa...It's the life they are forced into by low pay... to make you happy..( Your Car wash is cheaper! I Can go On.... Please folks it's not Democrats and Republicans ... It's not going to do a single thing this message, As it's sad...Just Sad.... Give a person work that pay's you give a person hope. You Know! Every person in this tragically we deprive them from, ARE HARD WORKERS with low pay.

COUNTY POPULATION INCREASES EVERY YEAR

We need more housing, particularly low income apartments for low paid people and seniors on fixed incomes. The ever increasing population (births, people moving here from other states / cities, immigrants, and refugees) in San Diego county dictates that the housing supply must keep up with the growth, or we will continue to have extremely high rents which are sure to rise even more.