Safari to nowhere

First a correction. In my last blog, the fifth and sixth line of the next to last paragraph reads: “but he couldn’t help noticing that the number of cases of code violation processed in 2008 was about half that of the present time.” It should read but he couldn’t help noticing that the number of cases of code violation processed in 2008 was about twice that of the present time.” Sorry, I made Mayor Sam Abed seem more illogical that he is. Not an easy feat.

Now I will write of my impression of what I called the main event, the “Initiation of an annexation and associated project processing for the proposed development of the ‘Safari Highlands Ranch Specific Plan.”

In the June, 2012 issue of Nature, “Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere”, the authors summarized:

Localized ecological systems are known to shift abruptly and irreversibly from one state to another when they are forced across critical thresholds. Here we review evidence that the global ecosystem as a whole can react in the same way and is approaching a planetary-scale critical transition as a result of human influence. The plausibility of a planetary-scale ‘tipping point’ highlights the need to improve biological forecasting by detecting early warning signs of critical transitions on global as well as local scales, and by detecting feedbacks that promote such transitions. It is also necessary to address root causes of how humans are forcing biological changes.

When the authors talk about ecological systems shifting abruptly from one state to another, they are talking about places like the Turkish Aegean that I described here The Dilek Yarmadas National Park ecosystem cannot ever be brought back to the rest of the Turkish Aegean. That “rest” is past the “tipping point”. Now, I’m not suggesting that the development of the Safari Highlands Ranch would be the “tipping point” for the chaparral ecosystems in San Diego County—but it would set a dangerous precedent. San Diego County is home to more endangered species than any other county in the USA. If a Safari Highlands Ranch is approved it sets a precedent. The owners of the Rancho Guejito might soon follow—proposing an annexation to Escondido if they are allowed to build some 10,000 homes. After all—the owners of land on which Safari Highlands Ranch were allowed to build—why not Rancho Guejito?

Twenty-six members of the public addressed the Council on this issue. All but one were against it. Several argued that this development had been proposed before, in a slightly different form, to the City, and was turned down by the Planning Commission in 2002. The proposed development is in the highest fire hazard area in the County, and the problem of ingress and egress during a fire were not met.

Several owners of property on or near Old Wagon Road in Valley Center were righteously indignant that their private road had been proposed as a northern exit for the proposed development. They avowed that they would never concede such access. One Old Wagon Road resident asserted that she would lay down in the road in front of bulldozer before such a concession. Another noted that widening of the road would require the demolishing of centuries-old Oaks.

Other speakers pointed out that the City’s own, newly passed General Plan would only call for 290 homes on the development parcel—while the developer proposed 550. Others pointed out that the proposal completely violated the principles of smart growth advocated in that General Plan.

One speaker, suggested that the City Councilmembers would be candidates for Escondido’s Mount Rushmore if they were to float a bond to acquire the property of the proposed development for preservation as a natural resource.

Jennifer Burrows, President of the San Pasqual Union School District, pointed out that the addition of 550 new homes in her school district would require the building of a new school—something that the developer impact fees would not come close to covering.

Laura Hunter had, I believe the quote of the evening “you cannot sprawl your way to prosperity.” Barbara Bell pointed out the obvious problem—where are you going to get the water for 550 more homes?

So when your water company asks you to conserve, ask: “how many building permits did you approve today?”


3 thoughts on “Safari to nowhere

  1. katherine fromm

    My family was involved in the Rincon District, although I recollect that it lays north and
    east towards Valley Center. How it would be involved in the Safari Highlands Ranch
    proposal is not clear to me. Other properties in the immediate vicinity sought development
    and were thwarted by the county’s mitigation requirements.
    Escondido’s hope for sustainability lies in the city plans for density in the center, NOT


  2. Pingback: The City of Escondido’s view: “A landowner has no right to develop…” | A Blue View for Escondido

  3. Pingback: ECCHO’s Shills for Developers | A Blue View for Escondido

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