Measure B: Lilac Hills Development

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Oct 13, 2016 (San Diego) The County faces a critical shortage in affordable housing. Supporters for Measure B claim that this would help solve some of the crisis. Why? It would create a community where starting home prices are in the $300,000 range. This is well within what working class and first time buyers can afford.

What the plan does is skip the review in the general plan and amends the zoning to allow the development in an agricultural dedicated zone. This is the view from the County General Counsel:

This measure would amend the County General Plan, Zoning Ordinance and Code of Regulatory Ordinances and adopt the Lilac Hills Ranch Specific Plan for the development of a 608-acre master-planned community (“the project”) located east of I-15, south and west of West Lilac Road, north of Mountain Ridge Road and west of Covey Lane in the unincorporated area of North San Diego County. Much of the project site is currently used for agricultural operations, and the surrounding area has low-density residential and agricultural uses. Under the current General Plan designation, up to 110 homes could be developed on the project site; no commercial uses are allowed. The measure is exempt from the normal environmental review process.

The measure allows development of a new community including 1,746 dwelling units (903 single family detached units, 164 single-family attached units, 211 mixed-use units, 468 single-family detached senior citizen units), and three commercial mixed-use centers totaling 90,000 square feet of space.

This measure would require amendments to the County General Plan including: (a) changing the project site’s land use designation from semi-rural to village; (b) exempting the project from the leapfrog development restrictions; (c) exempting the project from policies to protect agriculture and to maintain the existing rural life style; (d) exempting the project from the usual methodology for determining the maximum amount of time allowed for the fire agency to get to the project site and applying a separate methodology for the project. The measure requires the project to include 25.6 acres of parks, including a 13.5-acre public park, 10 private parks, and 16 miles of trails. Approximately 104.1 acres would be preserved on site as biological open space, 23.8 acres of which would be in active agriculture. This measure states its intent to provide a sustainable community that will introduce a variety of housing types across a range of affordability levels and create employment, retail and service opportunities in San Diego County.

The measure further states its intent to require all necessary public facilities and services to meet the needs of the community. The measure requires recreational facilities, a potential school site, an internal private road system, storm drain system, underground utilities, water lines, a site for a water reclamation facility and related distribution system, detention basins and wet weather storage ponds. It would also amend County Ordinances to apply the standards included in the project for improving public and private roads if those standards conflict with the usual County standards.

The measure incorporates design features and policies based on the National Green Building Standards.

The measure may be amended by a majority vote of the Board of Supervisors, based on a proposal submitted by the Lilac Hills Ranch applicant or the County, or a vote of the people.

The measure was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters.

“Yes” is a vote to adopt this measure.

“No” is a vote to deny this measure.

Supporters for this measure include  Mary Salas, Chula Vista Mayor, as well as Howard Windsor, former CAL FIRE Monte Vista Unit Chief.

The arguments in favor also come from the county booklet:

San Diego County faces a critical housing shortage, resulting in higher housing costs and pressure to build more homes in existing communities.

Measure B authorizes development of Lilac Hills Ranch, a pedestrian-oriented village in North County that includes housing priced to start at $300,000 – within reach of most working families and first-time home buyers – to address the County’s housing crisis and reduce development pressures near your neighborhood.

SANDAG calculated Lilac Hills Ranch reduces local traffic by giving existing residents nearby shopping, parks and a school, eliminating lengthy trips now required for these services. It also provides an alternative to lengthy commutes to San Diego employment centers from housing in southern Riverside County.

  • Measure B requires strict energy and water-efficient green building standards and a water reclamation facility that will reduce water consumption of the completed project compared to current use of the property.
  • Measure B requires the developer to provide a 13.5-acre public park and ten neighborhood parks, 23.8 acres of agriculture, 20.3 acres of open space with 18.3 acres maintained as orchards, preservation of 104 acres of biological open space, creation of 6 acres of wetland habitat, and a 16-mile trail network connected to County regional trails.
  • Measure B requires the developer – not the taxpayers – to pay for these facilities.

In addition, the developer is required to pay for a K-8 school to serve the project and nearby residents.

Lilac Hills Ranch conforms to the vision and guiding principles of the County’s General Plan, complies with fire safety standards of the local Fire Protection District, and significantly improves existing roads near the project.

Lilac Hills Ranch was thoroughly reviewed for over three years by the County’s Planning Department, including two comprehensive Environmental Impact Reports.

Housing advocates, local residents, business leaders and taxpayers urge you to vote

While it will ease the housing crisis, we fail to see how it will significantly ease it. This is a drop in that bucket.

Opponents state the following and include the former County Supervisor for Seat 3, Pam Salter Price.

Measure B is a developer attempt to build 1,746 houses and 90,000 square feet of retail space in a critical agricultural area where only 110 homes and no retail uses are allowed by law (a 1,487% density increase). An impartial County report demonstrates that Measure B exempts crucial fire safety and road improvements. Instead of keeping residents and their children safe, Measure B may require county taxpayers to pay for the improvements. The facts in the County report show that:

1. MEASURE B won’t meet the required 5-minute fire and emergency response time to protect the public and save lives. And, the developer chose not to construct an essential new fire station.

2. MEASURE B will create 19,428 car trips daily. And, MEASURE B doesn’t pay for all improvements to freeways or county roads. It will take far more than the developer’s proposed $5 million to fix the shortfall. It also removes critical road and intersection improvements the County required, creating unsafe road conditions for which county taxpayers will be liable

MEASURE B will exacerbate urban sprawl, which is inconsistent with the County General Plan.

MEASURE B supporters claim it would provide affordable housing for low income families and veterans. NOT ONE WORD OF MEASURE B MENTIONS AFFORDABLE HOUSING. If Measure B is approved, there is no enforceable requirement to provide affordable housing,

MEASURE B is a deceptive sweetheart deal for the developer at the expense of all San Diego County residents.

This is a project that has the who’s who of political leaders ins the county lined in favor and against. We gave the highlights from the voter handbook. There will be more, but it is one that requires careful thinking before voting.

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