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Proposal for resort would put signal light in middle of grade

A proposal for a resort bordered by the Daley Ranch preserve and Valley View Ranch in Valley Center, and west of Ridge Ranch—on land in the unincorporated area seeking annexation into the City of Escondido would put a signal light about halfway down the Valley Center Grade—potentially bringing traffic to a standstill on some weekends.

A local family seeks to build Daley Ranch Resort. Jim Whelan of J. Whalen Associates presented the information on the project, which would be on land currently in unincorporated San Diego County, but which seeks annexation to the City of Escondido.

One of the project’s most salient points from a standpoint of affecting traffic patterns, is that it would put a signal light smack dab in the middle of the grade that leads out of the city and up into Valley Center, near the gate that leads to the Escondido police shooting range.

For years, Valley Center Road and East Valley Parkway,—near where it goes from a four lane to a two-lane road near Lake Wohlford Road—often becomes gridlocked on some weekends. The road widening project of the city of Escondido scheduled to begin this summer is supposed to end that problem. However, a signal light halfway up the grade might have the opposite effect.

The 1,800 acres is a former macadamia nut ranch the owner wants to transform into a resort that would be bound on the eastern side by Escondido’s Daley Ranch preserve and by the western side of Valley Center Road.

Whelan said the developer is taking its time with the project. “We are not in a hurry,” he said. He said they would be submitting their annexation proposal to the city in a month or so. “Because it is a family developing it they aren’t driven by the same pressures that a developer would be.”

The issues that most people are interested in, he said, are:

• What will it look like?

• Fire

• Traffic

“One thing I have noticed about this area,” said Whelan, “is the absence of housing for those who don’t want a large lot. This is for people who like the area but don’t want large lots.” The development will be about 400 feet above the nearest street. Its only entrance would be on Valley Center Road, except for a fire evacuation road that would empty into Valley View Ranch.

Asked if the project would have a golf course, Whelan indicated that golf courses are quite yesterday. “Golf courses don’t do it anymore,” he said. “We decided to be light on the land with lots of trails. It’s soft on the land. People will be able to move into it without giving anything up.”

Of the 1,800 acres in the project, 97% would be devoted to open space. “We are not asking for any changes to the existing density,” said Whelan.

The houses will be built so that, even when most of the landscaping hasn’t grown up much, they will be visible to a minimum of neighbors.

Moreover, much of the 97% that remains undeveloped will stay that way, says Whelan. “There will never be any development around it because we are putting everything around it into open space. It will be an enclave. It will have a minimum impact on the view shed,” he says.

Besides having its own trails system, the project will also have access to the neighboring Daley Ranch network. It will add a staging area at the entrance to Daley Ranch that can be used by the public to park horse trailers, he said.

The developer will be presenting soon to the city.

2 responses to “Proposal for resort would put signal light in middle of grade”

  1. George Dudash says:

    Most people in an area like Valley Center and rural Escondido, live there because they like the rural atmosphere. For that reason, they will generally oppose any additional development.

    If the traffic light is a “smart” light that doesn’t cause backups due to not sensing traffic flow, then it could be a non-issue.
    As a resident of Hidden Meadows, I just wish they had made the lights at the bottom of our grade, at I-15, “smart” lights and not the embarrassment and aggravation that they are to our community.
    Don’t “cheap out” on the equipment and I think everyone should be happy in the end.

    And please don’t create a community of whiners that start complaining about horse trailers being around or the Lake Wohlford Airpark and Paintball Park noise. These things have been in the area for decades and bringing “country club” attitudes to rural areas is not a good idea.

  2. Cindy says:

    This quote is what sticks out to me: “Because it is a family developing it they aren’t driven by the same pressures that a developer would be.” Somehow, I have the notion that developing a development qualifies this family as a developer!

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