By JAMES GORDON
This Friday, June 12th, the Planning Commission will be holding an unprecedented hearing on the Lilac Hills Ranch (LHR) Project. LHR is the only item on the Planning Commission agenda.
County staff and the County Fire Authority have “Determined that the (Lilac Hills Ranch) Project is unsafe and is recommending denial of the project.”
The Planning Commission has scheduled a hearing this Friday to hear a presentation by County staff and the San Diego County Fire Authority summarizing their findings as to why the Lilac Hills Ranch project should be denied!
County staff and the County Fire Authority have listened to the Community about the wildfire and evacuation risks the Lilac Hills Ranch project poses to the Community and are jointly recommending denial of the project.
It is unprecedented that both County staff and the County Fire Authority are recommending denial of a project due to evacuation and wildfire concerns. The Community needs to support County staff and County Fire Authority’s joint recommendation to end this project.
It is critical for the community to “virtually attend” this hearing to provide their thoughts and comments.
Details on key findings of the County report and how to participate are below.
According to public documents, the key concerns of County Staff and County Fire Authority are:
1. During critical fire weather, rapid rates of fire spread from the Valley Center/Pala/Pauma Valley area towards the Lilac Hills Ranch project could range from 18,000 to over 30,000 feet per hour with peak flame lengths of up to 60 feet. At that rate of burn, a wildfire could burn through West Lilac Road and the project in under an hour; an “extreme rate of wildfire spread.”
2. Over 5,000 residents from Lilac Hills Ranch may need to evacuate in case of a significant wildfire, significantly impacting West Lilac Road. It will take hours to evacuate the project with the potential for fire spreading faster than vehicles will be able to evacuate.
3. An additional 10,000 people who live between the Lilac Hills Ranch project and Valley Center/Lilac would need to evacuate in a wildfire and the traffic would “exceed road capacity.”
4. Road designs proposed for the Lilac Hills Ranch project are insufficient to mitigate development related evacuation and the project’s use of traffic circles for intersection control could reduce capacity for large vehicles, such as fire apparatus and horse trailers.
5. The County has identified 19 locations on West Lilac Road and Circle R Drive which present “a significant civilian entrapment potential.” The County has also determined that flame lengths of 40 to 60 feet are expected along parts of West Lilac Road, potentially “entrapping motorists” and “directly impinge flames on traffic.”
The County report concludes: “All Developer identified alternative, contingency, and emergency routes were found to be inadequate, and under certain circumstances even dangerous” and Primary access routes were determined “to have significant issues of potential entrapment.”
How You Can Participate!
The Community has the opportunity to end this project and stop the endless backroom politics that Lilac Hills Ranch has engaged in for the last 15 years. I encourage the Community to Oppose this project by submitting e-comment letters and also speaking via phone during the hearing.
Speakers need to sign in prior to 9 a.m. on the day of the hearing (Friday, the 12th) to speak and e-comment letters can be sent in now and are accepted up to the day of the hearing.
Pink Speaker slips OPPOSE the Project. Opposing the project will help end the project.
To submit e-comments online to the Planning Commission, go to: sdcounty.granicusideas.com/meetings/1360-planning-commission-hearing/agenda_items/5ed1641b7d796514670007b8-1-discussion-and-consideration-of-the-formation-o
To sign up to speak “virtually” by phone at the hearing, call 619.343.2539 before (9:00 am) and enter conference ID 130791029#
To watch the hearing live, go to www.sandiegocounty.gov/pds/pchearing
To review the agenda and County documents, go to: www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/pds/PC/200612-pc-hearing.html,
For specific questions about the process or with other questions, contact the Planning Commission Secretary, Ann Jimenez at Ann.Jimenez@SDCounty.ca.gov
Finally, please forward this information to friends, family and neighbors to get their support. Please encourage everyone in a family to make their voices heard by each sending in e-comments opposing the project. Please post these details on social media and to email lists. We need to show our support to end this project and end the project now!