The city of Escondido has begun the process of possibly annexing land adjacent to the city —and to Valley Center—whose owner, the Sager family, is proposing the Daley Ranch Resort project.
At its September 20 meeting the city council approved a consulting agreement for planning services for the Sager Ranch Project (also called Daley Ranch Resort) and related budget adjustment.
The motion that was passed authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to enter into an agreement for professional services with Rick Engineering Company for not more than $171,375 to serve as an extension of Planning Division staff and manage the review of the Sager Ranch development proposal, aka Daley Ranch Resort.
A related budget adjustment was also passed increase the Planning Division budget adjustment for the same amount. Authorizing these requests does not have a legally binding effect on any possible future discretionary action by the city.
Two representatives of the Valley Center Community Planning Group (VCCPG) attended the meeting, Ashley Mellor and William Del Pilar. Mellor asked some questions about the timeline for the development. She noted that the developer had spoken before the VC Planning Group several months earlier—at which time he said that he planned to formally begin the process with the city.
Bill Martin, director of Escondido’s Community Development, replied, “We don’t have a project in hand yet.”
Martin explained that before the city can even consider annexation, the costs associated with processing the project must be planned for—which will all be done at the developer’s expense.
Martin and City Manager Jeffrey Epp, responding to an intense line of questioning from councilmember Olga Diaz, who was talking around a clearly impatient Mayor Sam Abed, explained that hiring the consultant at this point protected the city’s interests.
Diaz complained, “We are less informed than other people in the public [referring to the planning group.]
The mayor interjected, “This is for a consulting agreement only.”
“We are trying to get ahead of the project submittal. This agreement is for projecting the city’s position. We are trying to get a jump on the gun,” said Epp.
Diaz said she worried that she wouldn’t find out about the project until it was well along the process. She wondered why this process seemed different from other projects the city has looked at.
Epp explained they added a step to further protect the city’s position. That is why it seemed different, he said.