September 30, 2004
Grading Issue Prompts
Meeting between San Marcos City, Developer and Media
In an apparent move to
head off any potential controversy concerning the development of San Elijo Hills
and its Cerro de las Posas project, the city called a meeting between the media,
the developer and city staff and elected officials.
“We’re here today to give
the media accurate information,” said City Manager Rick Gittings. “There have
been discussions and allegations that are simply not based on fact and we felt
it wise to give all the information we had to the media so you can respond based
on actual fact and not rumor or incorrect assumptions.”
The city maintains that
the grading presently going on is in conformance with the Specific Development
Plan and all subsequent EIR’s (Environmental Impact Reports). In spite of this,
the developer has indicated a willingness to mitigate any concerns the public
may have by landscaping the area when the road (which is the primary reason for
the present grading) is completed. The landscaping and installation of a berm,
together with lowering the house pads, should alleviate the visual impact
concerns said Curt Noland, San Elijo Hills General Manager, and agreed by San
Marcos officials, both staff and elected. “I voted against this initially,”
said San Marcos Mayor Corky Smith, “but I’ve seen the amendments, the EIR’s, and
am satisfied that everything is in conformance with our General Plan. I also
think the developer is showing his cooperation by attempting to respond to
concerns. Frankly, this is an election year, if it weren’t, we wouldn’t be here
today. Several candidates are pointing fingers and trying to make political
capital on something that should be a non-issue.”
Jerry Backoff, Planning
Division Director, pointed out that:
adopted Specific Plan preserved the primary ridgeline and established a
ridgeline setback for all residential pads/structures.
residential development areas comply with this ridgeline setback.
Specific Plan allows for grading for trails, regional park improvements, access
roads, and public improvements. The Specific Plan’s Conceptual Landscape Plan
also shows the regional park access road.
(Final Subsequent EIR) identified “limited portions of Planning Areas (which)
would be visible over the ridgeline from SR78. It further indicates that
visibility would be from over 1 mile and up to 5 miles.
drawn from the FSEIR were that project impacts would be unavoidable and
unmitigable, and orverriding considerations were adopted.
the 1997 San Elijo Hills Amendment was approved, the General Plan was also
amended, incorporating the San Elijo Hills Specific Plan standards for the
project site as part of the General Plan. This made the Specific Plan
internally consistent with the General Plan.
One of the more vocal
critics of the site plan and the grading is Bill Effinger, a candidate for the
Vallecitos Water Board. He lives in Discovery Hills and complains the visual
impact of the grading activity on top of the mountain disturbs him. Effinger
founded and headed up a website:
The website shows 13
members. Effinger says he will appear before the Vallecitos Water Board of
Directors on October 20th.
“I’m pissed,” he said,
“and you can quote me on that. . . . and there are a lot of others who are
pissed as well.” If necessary, he said, “we’ll file a lawsuit against the city,
but only as a last resort.”
Asked on what grounds he
would pursue a lawsuit, what legal theory he would employ, he responded,
“There's been enough public statements made in meetings by the council and the
past council that "they didn't know what they are doing." They have violated
their own EIR. We can bring things to a halt if we file suit. An injunction
would be immediately issued that would bring everything to a halt. Will it be
costly? Yes. It'll cost the developer. Should it cost the developer? Yes.
But I’d only file a
lawsuit as a last resort. I’m attempting to explain to Mike Preston and Corky
that I have a viable solution . . . I’m not interested in a moratorium, I’m not
interested in stopping the developer, I’m interested in restoring the
Gentry, a former Planning Director for San Marcos, former Council Member, and
also a candidate for the Vallecitos Water Board said, “Misrepresentations and
threats of lawsuits are not a workable or responsible strategy leading to
solutions. Those individual motives should be questioned. There must be
remedial solutions based on public debate, disclosure and actions, not lawsuits,
chest pounding and political motivations. All elected officials from all
affected agencies also should be involved in this process. What is needed are
reasoned, thoughtful strategies plus elected political leadership to forge new
regulatory guidelines and procedures to preserve ridgelines. A
ridgeline/hillside ordinance is one such new strategy to consider.”
Society Raises $45,000 at Annual Gala
The Escondido Humane
Society's annual "Tails at Twilight" gala Sept. 18 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn
drew a crowd of more than 200 and netted an estimated $45,000, the amount the
society had targeted as a goal.
The winner of the raffle
for a .58-carat diamond was Heidi McBride, of Escondido. She and her husband,
Tim, also purchased a South African Safari, as did Timothy Gillis of San Marcos;
Mike and Madeline Grerety, of Rancho Bernardo; and David and Suzanne Wilson, of
"We are extremely
appreciative of the support the community continues to provide to the EHS," said
Phil Morgan, the organization's president and CEO. "We could not continue our
mission without it. Our animal clients are grateful, too."
(left) and Jennifer Moody, event chairwoman and auction chairwoman, at the
Escondido Humane Society's annual "Tails at Twilight" gala Sept. 18 at the
Rancho Bernardo Inn. The event raised $45,000 for the organization.
Tikvah presents guest Rabbi Moshe Halfon.
Moshe Halfon will be a
guest Rabbi, leading services at Congregation B'nai Tikvah on October 2, 2004.
Rabbi Halfon, formerly
with Congregation B'nai Jacob in Bakersfield, is currently a director at Am Or
Olan Spiritual center in Long Beach and a Special Education Teacher in a Los
Angeles High School. He is an accomplished international singer, guitarist and
percussionist having performed in the US, Israel, Italy and Brazil.
Services start 10 AM. B'nai Tikvah is located at 1600 Buena Vista Drive, Vista.
further information please call 760-941-9858.
LSM Republican Women To
Lake San Marcos Republican Women will meet at ll:30 a.m. Ocotber 4, at the Lake
San Marcos Country Club, 1750 San Pablo Drive.
Bill Jones, wife of the Republican Senate Candidate will speak on
Captain Steven Braatz, United States Navy, will apeak about his experiences
caring for our troops in Iraq.
Miss Ashley Stewart, Chairman of the Republican Club at Cal State San Marcos,
will also speak.
Those interested in attending are asked to send their check to verify your
reservation by October 1st, to Mary Howard. Call 471-6746. Cost is
$13.00/members, and $15.00/ guests.