Act Now to Keep North County Livable!

by Rolf vom dorp

                Whether you look north, south, east, or west it’s the same story.   North County is about to endure a massive housing and shopping center onslaught and it must be stopped.  Developers are threatening to crush our rural areas, bankrupt our cities, and destroy our way of life–all while ignoring the growing impact of climate change.  Many groups are girding for a fight in North County.  A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 6 pm at Hitzke Community Center, 251 Autumn Terrace Dr. in San Marcos.  Presenters from a several community groups who are resisting will share information about upcoming projects.  Diane Nygaard, who led the defeat of Prop A in Carlsbad will also be on hand to share lessons from that important community victory.

Even though San Diego County’s new General Plan already accommodates 70,000 more homes, developers want even more.  In inland North County along the I 15, they want 5,000 more houses.   By annexing property, running initiatives, and seeking upzone amendments to the General Plan, developers are on the attack.

The list includes:

  • Lilac Hills, 1746 home on 600 acres of open space and rural lands
  • Safari Highlands Ranch, east of Escondido, 550 houses threatens 1100 acres of sensitive habitat.
  • Newland Sierra is Merriam Mountain project back from the dead. It proposes 2135 homes on 1,985 acres of land just north of Escondido.

Yes, we need affordable housing. But these kinds of far-flung, sprawl developments will only worsen all of the problems we already have.  These projects propose neither the types of housing stocks the region needs nor do they propose them in the locations they are needed.

While the projects have different specifics, they all share the same problems.  They all represent bad planning, in many cases proposing to override years of comprehensive planning in the county.  They are based on the ever-widening- freeways solution. They all represent sprawl development which is known to damage the economy and environment. they are fossil fuel projects–even if beautified by solar energy. They will;

  • Further overload our, already massively congested, local roads and freeways without making progress on mass transit;
  • Worsen the impact of the climate change,
  • Not deal with the multiple impacts of climate change, such as looming water shortages, increased dryness and fire dangers
  • Degrade our air quality and increase respiratory illness risks;
  • Increase fire dangers for all in the region; and,
  • Bleed much needed funds out of the city centers where we actually need quality affordable housing and infrastructure development.

The only ray of hope is that there are many friends and neighbors who are working hard to protect our beautiful area.  Please consider joining one or all of these organizations, or asking representatives of these groups to come and inform at a local or house meeting.

  • San Pasqual Valley Preservation Alliance
  • Save our San Diego Countryside
  • Escondido Neighbors United
  • Escondido Chamber of Citizens
  • North County Climate Change Alliance or
  • Safari Highlands,

Please attend the public meeting on April 19 at the Hitzke Community Center at 251 Autumn Drive in San Marcos at 6 pm to learn more. Together we can do more to keep  our beautiful North County livable!

Rolf vom Dorp lives in Fallbrook, does organic avocado and pomegranate farming on the side, but devotes most of his time to grassroots organizing around slowing climate change.  He supports the North Coutny Climate Change Alliance.  He has also been a volunteer with Organizing for Action or its antecedents for  nearly 8 years. Rolf is a native of California, born in Pasadena. He grew up in La Habra.

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