Escondido, CA

Developers warn VC could have too much commercial

It is possible to have too much commercial property in Valley Center. That is the contention of two developers of a major commercial parcel in the North Village with a combined 140 acres.

Developers Napoleon Zervas of VCVP Ltd. (formerly VC View Properties), who is building Miller Plaza and Herb Schaffer of Weston Valley Center LLC, who are jointly developing the Weston Town Centre made that case at the June 8 Valley Center Community Planning Group meeting.

Both argued that too much commercial property is being allowed to develop, which will, they said harm their projects by saturating the market.

Zervas said it’s a bad idea for the County to process various projects that want to change General Plan 2020.

“We’ve had several meeting with the County and to my disappointment all that work has gone out the window,” said Zervas. “Projects are coming up all over the place. Pretty soon you will have too much commercial and the Villages will be destroyed.”

“Now is the time to do something,” said both men, who called on the planning group to defend the community from too much commercial. “We want everything to be done by the book,” said Schaffer. “I’ve been playing by the rules from day one. It’s not fair for people to come in later and get special treatment. I paid my dues. If all these projects coming through here get approved, forget of the vision we have for Valley Center.”

Planners sounded sympathetic, and some said it might be a good idea to ask the County to do a feasibility study. “We should ask how many square feet we’d need for twenty thousand residents and how much for thirty thousand. I think it would be useful for us to know,” said planner Jon Vick.

Jim Chagala, a land planning consultant who for many years was a senior county planner, was asked how many commercial acres there are in the Villages. He estimated 101 acres in the North and South Villages, or 1 million square feet. “Far more than VC will be able to absorb,” he said.

Zervas added that, “a second grocery store would put us out of business. How many drug stores can you have? How many markets can you have? You told us what you wanted to see from us. We had no alternative but to provide it. Now I see that everything is different. We played by the rules and listened to you. So now we ask you to stick by it.”

Schaffer added, “I’m working on our Town Centre in the only logical place. We need the residents to support a town center. There is a huge surplus of commercial property. I’ve been in this business for sixty years. If you let it seek its own level you are going to have mayhem. The only way you can stop it is at the approval level. I would not give any more commercial approvals.”

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