Escondido, CA
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
54°F
 

No on Measure B – The Best Choice!

OPED

“Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.”  ― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

As a parent, I have tried to teach my son the benefit of being the best and not just settle as being better.   I will vote No on Measure B, as the best choice.

To a starving person, even rotten food is better than nothing.  To some City Officials and Bureaucrats, a flawed project like Newland Sierra is a potential solution to their cities housing crisis, no matter how much pain they cause for the current residents in the unincorporated area of San Diego County.  They fail to see that they are making matters worse.  Or maybe they don’t care since we cannot vote them out of office.   

When County and City officials banded together with developers and speculators who promote leapfrog development in the unincorporated areas of the County, they are promoting the same urban sprawl that like cancer has consumed many of Orange County’s open space.  

If Measure B is approved, it would fundamentally alter the Hidden Meadows, Bonsall and Twin Oaks Valley Communities forever and is contrary to the current rural community character.  The Project will place 2,135 residential units, 81,000 square feet of retail space, a school site and parks on top of a mountain and require many years of blasting and leveling.  It will result in a population of over 6,000 residents, larger than the City of Del Mar and more than 20 times what is zoned and allowed as residential density for that area under the SD County 2011 General Plan Update.  (The 2011 General Plan Update took 13 hard years to develop at a cost to taxpayers of $18 million dollars.)  

The Newland Sierra project is the wrong project at the wrong place at the wrong time.  The Community Planning/Sponsor Groups for 1) Hidden Meadows; 2) Twin Oaks Valley; 3) and Bonsall have each expressed their concerns and recommended denial of the project.  Residents from the area have pointed out the negative impacts on noise, traffic, aesthetics, water supply, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and wildland fire and smoke hazard and evacuation. 

As was seen when the communities of 4S Ranch and San Elijo Hills have been built, the amount of traffic along I-15 has not gone down.  The average commute time has not decreased, nor will it drop as promised by the pro sprawl groups.  The project will send over 29,000 vehicle trips per day onto already failing Deer Springs Road and Interstate 15.   There are no new freeway lanes or any new transit infrastructure.  The proposed new freeway interchange design has not been developed and an impermissible piecemeal analysis seems to be taking place.  If the Project is allowed, I-15 will be at Level of Service “F” from Riverside County to Rancho Bernardo.  Traffic will spill over onto the surface streets from Gopher Canyon Road all the way through the side streets of the Cities of Vista, Escondido and San Marcos.

Nowhere in the actual ballot measure is a requirement which includes Newland Sierra to provide an affordable housing component when requesting a General Plan Amendment.  In an effort to put lipstick on a pig, the developer recently added a 10-year covenant which self-imposes 60% of the residential units to be affordable which many points out is not legally enforceable or binding.

Water Supply.  The Vallecitos Water District projected a water supply deficit for the next 20 years in its own planning documents.  Vallecitos Water District and the County now admit the only way to resolve this water shortage is by forcing existing customers to cut their usage – by 36% and possibly more – in order to serve new customers on the Project Site.  

Fire Hazard.  The Project Site is located entirely within a “Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.”  Many of the current residents are concerned that the Project is already in a traffic burden area and does not provide enough emergency access routes in the event of a fire.   There are no proposed improvements along Buena Creek Road, a curvy two-lane road often backed-up with cut-through traffic in the morning and early evening for those commuters seeking to avoid the delays on the I-15 and I-78.

Noise.  Local residents and businesses will be subject to ten years of construction noise, including blasting (using thousands of tons of dynamite each day), on-site rock crushing, grading, and haul trucks.  The residents of the Twin Oaks Valley and Hidden Meadows communities will have to deal with an increase in the level of noise impacts as will the Hidden Valley Zen Center, established in 1968, a religious institution engaging in silent meditation.    

Housing Shortage.   Placing high density homes in a rural area where the infrastructure is lacking will do little to attract the Millennium home buyers.  This important age group does not want homes with yards or looking for long commutes.  They are looking to live close to where they work.  The I-15 freeway is not the proper infrastructure needed to support the scope and magnitude of problems that the Newland Sierra project brings into the current community.  

 The Golden Door Resort is a good neighbor.  They are being maligned.  I have observed their generosity and support to the community, 100% of their profits go to charity.  They are leaders against child abuse and contributed much to the forensic health program.

Urbanizing a rural area rather than placing a development in a location closer to existing jobs and transit is like taking a square peg and forcing it into a round hole.   Vote No on Measure B, the Best Choice!

Some of the No on B supporters include: League of Women Voters, League of Conservation Voters San Diego, Escondido Neighbors United, Buena Vista Audubon Society, California Chaparral Institute, Preserve Wild Santee, Environmental Center of San Diego, California Native Plant Society, Sierra Club, Endangered Habitats League, Cleveland National Forest Foundation and AFL-CIO Local 30.

Tom Kumura and his RN wife have lived in the Twin Oaks Valley for over 22 years and are proud SDSU Alumni Parents of business marketing major graduate, Michael.  Tom was chair of the Twin Oaks Valley Community Sponsor Group from January 2015 to December 2018 and member since January 2010.  He is currently member and Past President of the Lake San Marcos Kiwanis Club.  Tom was appointed to the Board of Palomar Health in August 2018 and elected to fill a two-year term ending December 2020.  Tom is a healthcare financial management consultant specializing in Fair Market Valuation and is a Fellow in the Health Care Financial Management.  He earned a Master’s in public administration from the University of Southern California and received his Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology from UCLA.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

2 responses to “No on Measure B – The Best Choice!”

  1. Curt bruce says:

    Please get this to the SDUnion as an OpEd.

  2. larry markey says:

    Spread the work, Yes on A, No on B!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *