Friction continues to grow between the Escondido Country Club Homeowners Organization (ECCHO) and city officials over a decision to settle a legal dispute between the city of Escondido and the Beverly Hills developer Stuck in the Rough, LLC, which purchased the Escondido Country Club and plans to replace its golf course with homes.
Escondido Mayor Sam Abed believes settling the lawsuit has several advantages.
“We have to put the interests of the city first,” said Abed. “Protecting the city is good for everybody, including the country club community.”
The mayor said the advantages of the settlement include eliminating the cost of litigation which could take years. He called attention to the risks of losing the lawsuit, which could put the city on the hook for tens of millions of dollars that would not be covered by insurance.
“[Because] the developer is no longer dealing with the city, we will have two or three developers working with the city. And we should invite ECCHO to be a part of that process,” Abed said, adding that it was important that both ECCHO and the country club community be happy with the process.
Mike Slater, president of ECCHO, feels differently.
“We’re very disappointed. People are very angry because it was something that was done behind the community’s back,” said Slater. He said that decisions like these are usually made with community input and that the mayor and the city attorney also failed to inform city council members.
Proposition H, which would have allowed development in the Escondido Country Club area, was defeated by 61 percent of the voters. There is also distrust toward Stuck in the Rough because of an incident where they dumped five tons of raw chicken manure on the property in April 2014.