Escondido, CA
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Our Christmas wish for the Escondido Country Club

~ Guest Opinion

It’s Christmastime again here around the Escondido Country Club.

Many of us will have friends and family over to celebrate the holidays, sip on some egg nog and perhaps indulge in some pumpkin pecan pie. And like a lump of coal being stuffed in our stocking – we’ll be asked once again, “Is anything happening? Is this place ever going to get cleaned up?”

Yes, the old club house remains boarded up and graffitied, and the former golf course is still surrounded by a lovely chain-link fence, behind it fields of dead brush and debris.

Pass the Peppermint Schnapps, please.

While our community still looks just as shabby as it did when everything closed down over three years ago, a Christmas miracle may be in the making.

There is now a proposal on the table that could finally end this nightmare.

For the last year, our community has been meeting with the developer New Urban West.

They have spent an extraordinary amount of time with us, listening to our thoughts and ideas, as well as our frustrations.

We accepted long ago that golf could not return, and that something would take its place. Therefore, we chose to take a seat at the table. We began our conversations with these objectives: preserve property values, maximize open space and recreational opportunities, and ensure privacy buffers for adjacent homeowners.

With all of our collective input, they have put together a plan. And it’s a good one.

The plan includes three new residential villages with large buffers to protect the privacy of existing homeowners, 46 acres of open space, and recreation opportunities including parks, and trails.

It also features a completely rebuilt, beautifully designed clubhouse that one would expect to find in upscale communities. And it includes our very own restaurant and bar – a public gathering spot for our entire community to make and maintain lasting friendships.

We can now imagine celebrating the holidays there, all decked out with Christmas lights, holiday music and a crackling fire in the background. We could even truck in our very own community Christmas tree and put it on display outside – and maybe even hold a tree-lighting ceremony with our kids and grandkids.

This IS the Community Plan we have all been waiting for.

Unfortunately, the Escondido Country Club Homeowners Organization (ECCHO) is apparently going to stand in the way of our community’s plan and is prepared to keep our neighborhood looking dilapidated for years – if not decades – to come.

“As one ECCHO board member recently stated, “Hopefully, our community will push this thing out for 294 more years.”

And now we hear from our neighbors that ECCHO is saying they are submitting a development plan to the City for a property they don’t even own. They know it would be illegal for the City to spend a single minute reviewing such a proposal. Obviously, this is just another attempt to distract our community and stall positive progress to keep the status quo.

This is hardly leadership. ECCHO was right to oppose the plan under Proposition-H a couple of years ago and deserve credit for helping to defeat it. But they’re wrong to oppose our new plan.

Having little confidence in ECCHO’s willingness to be a part of the solution, a growing number of residents – including us – have come together to create a new group, Renewal of the Country Club, or ROCC.

ROCC is focused on moving forward in a thoughtful way and wants to continue to have a positive working relationship with New Urban West.

The bottom line is – we can either continue to sit idly by and watch our community further deteriorate, or we can work cooperatively to reinvigorate it. In all, the current Community Plan developed in collaboration with New Urban West will greatly improve our neighborhood and our property values. And it will allow us to finally put the past behind us, and get beyond the anger and bitterness that has consumed us for far too long.

If we work together, by next December we could all be celebrating a Miracle on Country Club Lane.

We hope you’ll join us!

* * *

Finsterbusch and Tippett are founding members of ROCC. For more information, email ROCC at or visit the group on Facebook.

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

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