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City staff endorses Country Club project

The battle over New Urban West’s plans for a project in the old Escondido Country Club area heated up this week as the plan for 392 units was endorsed by the city staff and was scheduled to go before the Planning Commission for review on Tuesday, October 24. The city council, which has the ultimate decision-making power over the fate of the proposal, will hear it on November 15.

The developer is crowing about the staff’s endorsement while members of ECCHO promised to mobilize their community’s efforts to show up at the Planning Commission in force this week, and next month at the city council.

New Urban West Inc. (NUWI) argues that the number of homes in “The Villages” will be 35% Fewer than allowed under current city general plan and that 49 acres 45% of the property — will be preserved as open space with 4 miles of trails.

NUW Proposes what it says will be the largest solar powered project in Escondido history with all new homes going solar.

The plan, says NUWI, is a “revitalization effort [that] features a plan to address existing road issues and mitigate potential traffic impacts.”

The planning staff has been analyzing NUWI’s plans for more than a year.  The staff praised the project for its sustainable design and amenities, which, it said, “allows the City to become a model of context-sensitive development and provide for the long-term conservation and management of the natural resources that help to define the City’s identity, contribute to its economy, and improve its quality of life.”

The staff report also said, “The Project would activate an underutilized property and result in a new source of economic vibrancy in the ECC community, which would provide a stable and significant source of tax revenue for the City.”

Staff also notes the significant time spent developing a comprehensive plan to alleviate and address traffic, which will result in more than $4 million in infrastructure improvements throughout the neighborhood. According to the staff report, “The Project improves mobility through the development of a balanced, multimodal transportation network, focusing new development near existing services and infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, ECCHO (Escondido Country Club Home Owners) was preparing its battle plan with a major effort to be made at Tuesday’s Planning Commission hearing (which will have already happened by the time readers see this edition.).

In a message to members, ECCHO urged, “Even if you do not want to speak at this hearing, we need you there. This is our neighborhood and we must demonstrate our strength as voters.”

ECCHO instructed its members, “Speakers, please come early to complete and submit a speaker’s form. The Planning Commissioners do not answer questions. This is your opportunity to give your testimony about your ‘hot button’ issue against The Villages proposed project. We most likely will be limited to two minutes per speaker.

ECCHO added, “If your objection has been clearly voiced before you get to speak, it’s important to just stand and voice your agreement with the previous statement re. your topic (be it traffic, noise, too many dwellings, non-compatible with area, etc.). It’s valuable to get on record.”

It also advised its members to wear ECCHO buttons or shirts or something green.

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