Escondido, CA

City seeks input on high density development to replace hospital

The city is seeking input from community members on what they would like to see on the Palomar Heights development, a multi-story project of about 510 units that is slated to replace the old Palomar Hospital.

Integral Communities seeks to redevelop the Palomar Hospital site and surrounding properties in downtown Escondido. The application to the city includes a request for a Specific Plan Amendment, Master and Precise Development Plan, and Tentative Map to construct a multi-family residential project. 

The is for 200 rental apartment units (and 224 row-homes and villas (for-sale), with accessory residential amenities and up to 5,500 square feet of commercial/office space on about 13.8 acres.

For many decades the hospital has been the most prominent landmark in the city, visible from every corner. Whatever replaces it is likely to be almost as iconic, so the city wants to make sure residents are able to express their preferences. 

But they don’t have much time to provide input.  Just until June 3.

The city kicked off the process with a workshop held Monday night at City Hall facilitated by Adam Finestone, principal planner for the city, and Kristin Blackson, contract planner.

According to Finestone, about 25 members of the public attended Monday.  This is the beginning of the process of approval for Palomar Heights. Getting general comments to include in the EIR is the first part of the process. 

“Once the EIR is prepared we will do a review of the entitlement application, “Finestone told The Times-Advocate. “I’m guessing it will take about twelve months to get approval the proposed project and engineering and construction drawings. I’d be surprised if you see anything break ground before 2021,” he said.

Mayor Paul McNamara commented on the workshop and project: “I’m glad that a workshop was held on the Palomar Heights project. This is a once in a generation build and serves as a bookend for Grand ave.  So we as a community need to make sure it is the project we want, and fits our collective vision of the future.  The initial workshop feedback indicates that some work still needs to be done. To me, that feedback is an indication that we have the transparency and community dialogue necessary for long term impactful projects like this one.” 

Visit the City’s Project website to review project-related documents that provide more information about the project. The Project website is:

Due to the time limits mandated by state law, responses from responsible agencies, other agencies and organizations, and interested parties must be received by the City of Escondido not later than 30 days following the publication of this Notice of Preparation (5:00 p.m. PST on Monday, June 3, 2019).

Project-related comments may be sent to:

Kristin Blackson,
Contract Planner City of Escondido
Planning Division 201 N. Broadway

Escondido, CA 92025

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