On October 28 the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will consider the approval of Accretive Investments’ proposed Lilac Hills Ranch development. An approval would include certification of the Environmental Impact Report and its finding of overriding considerations to unmitigable significant impacts.
The overriding considerations and thus the benefits of the project include not only tax revenue and employment economic benefits but also a school site, recreational benefits, and low- income and moderate-income housing. Other benefits include improved fire service and off-site road improvements for existing residents.
The unmitigable significant impacts involve cumulative impacts to Interstate
15 over which the county has no authority for Accretive to help contribute to mitigation. The off-site mitigation would, however, provide new traffic signals at the northbound and southbound off-ramps from Gopher Canyon Road to Interstate 15 as well as at Old Highway 395 and West Lilac Road and at Old Highway 395 and Camino Del Rey. Dedicated turn lanes would be added at the intersection of East Vista Way and Gopher Canyon Road.
Improvements would also be made to West Lilac Road itself. The hairpin curve on West Lilac Road is north of the project boundary, so Accretive would not realign that road but would grant the county an easement for future realignment of West Lilac Road.
Other infrastructure mitigation benefiting existing residents includes an increase in capacity at the Lower Moosa Water Reclamation Facility, and a new water reclamation facility would be added if additional capacity is needed. Accretive would either build a new fire station or remodel the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s existing Miller Station, and no phase of the Lilac Hills Project would be built until a five-minute response time can be provided.
Since the current response time from the nearest Deer Springs Fire Protection District station to the northern part of the project is seven minutes, the response time for existing residents would be improved.
Accretive would also provide land for an elementary school and build a K-8 school to serve the Lilac Hills Ranch children and likely additional nearby families. The 90,000 square feet of commercial area would also likely serve nearby residents and not just the new Lilac Hills Ranch community. The recreational facilities would include 13.5 acres of public parks in addition to 11.5 acres of private parks.
Although Lilac Hills Ranch would generate traffic, so would any other development which would attract residents and businesses. Lilac Hills Ranch could actually reduce traffic on Interstate 15 between Gopher Canyon Road and Temecula, since commuters to San Diego would be traveling from Lilac Hills Ranch instead of from southern Riverside County.
That would not eliminate new traffic between Temecula and Lilac Hills Ranch, since the development would include 468 age-restricted dwellings within a neighborhood designated for senior citizens and a 200-bed group care facility. North County and Riverside County residents would have a nearby site to visit parents or grandparents. Some Lilac Hills Ranch commuters would travel to work in Riverside County or North County. The commute from Temecula to North County is undertaken by many Camp Pendleton officers, enlisted Marines, and civilian employees. Lilac Hills Ranch would allow junior officers, enlisted servicemen, and civilians an opportunity to travel to Camp Pendleton from within the county while the senior housing would allow personnel stationed on base to see family members. A 50- room country inn would allow for visitors to the geriatric section to spend the night within the Lilac Hills Ranch community.
In addition to the 468 senior housing units, Lilac Hills Ranch would provide 375 units considered low-income or moderate-income. The Regional Housing Needs Assessment process has assigned 905 moderate-income and low-income housing units to Valley Center and 178 units to Bonsall. Lilac Hills Ranch, which is within both community planning areas, would provide 168 moderate-income units, 102 low- income units, and 105 very low income units. As of 2014 permits have been issued for only 10 percent of the county’s RHNA requirement which must be met by 2020.
Opponents of Lilac Hills Ranch note that it is not in compliance with the county’s general plan which was updated in 2011. The original application for Lilac Hills Ranch was filed in 2009, and while the general plan update did not assume approval it anticipated that projects in the pipeline might be granted general plan amendments. The general plan calls for 6,371 additional Valley Center dwelling units and 2,138 additional Bonsall units; Lilac Hills Ranch would add 1,541 units to the Valley Center planning area and 205 units to the Bonsall planning area.