Final Reminder: Council Meeting today 4:30.

Just a quick reminder that the final Council vote will be today at 4:30 at Escondido City Hall.

Here are some of the excellent letters that have been filed on this project

San Diego Audubon Society   and from our counsel Everett DeLano  DeLano for ENU
Thanks to all the people who have written and supported our efforts.
Our Media Release 
Escondido Neighbors United
An alliance of engaged residents working for the benefit of rural, urban, and natural communities in the Escondido Area.       
For Immediate Release:                                                      Contact:  Laura Hunter, 619-997-9983

Community to Oppose Oak Creek
Housing Development in Escondido

On March 4, 2015, members of Escondido Neighbors United (ENU) will join other residents and organizations to present their opposition to the proposed Oak Creek Housing Development at the final City Council hearing on the project.   They will urge the City Council, instead, to consider a less dense option called, Community Creek or defer decision until more is known about the environmental condition of the site.

Oak Creek is a 65-home, gated housing development proposed on farmland adjacent to Felicita Park and annexed from the County to the City.  The proposal will cause the destruction of hundreds of native oak trees and the dense development footprint adds to threats of erosion and runoff downstream where impacts are already severe.  County Parks Department’s concerns about potential impacts to Felicita Park have yet to be addressed.   
Escondido Neighbors United has been engaged on the Oak Creek housing proposal for many months.   ENU members have commented extensively on the project about impacts and concerns related to wildlife, oak trees, traffic, community character, waste contamination, air quality, water quality in the streams, water supply, and cultural resources, but improvements have not been made.  In fact, the project was changed to worsen the impacts  
Also troubling is that past sampling shows the Chatham plumes are under about a third of the Oak Creek site.  However, conditions cannot be fully known because the property owner refused access to technical consultants for scheduled testing of wells on-site.  One of the wells has measured multiple contaminants in the past so needs to be tested.  Soil vapors and groundwater pollution were found within the property lines and some of the new homes are proposed over plume areas.
ENU member and neighbor of the site Eva Salazar stated, “I request that no homes are built over the plume.  If this project is approved I don’t want my future neighbors to be in the same situation I am in, living on a plume of contaminated ground water wondering what toll this will take on my health”.
Although the State Department of Toxic Substances Control said the pollution is adequately characterized and will degrade given enough time, this contradicts facts on the ground.  The most recent monitoring shows pollution entering Felicita Creek at the highest levels to date, contamination has spread to new wells, and wells on the Oak Creek site were prevented from being tested.   A sister agency, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, disagrees that the contamination strategy is working.   
Oak Creek is also heavily reliant on constructed storm water features to address increases in runoff.  The City has stated that compliance with the storm water permit will ensure no downstream erosion.  However, on February 10, 2015 the Regional Water Board filed an official Notice of Violation against the city of Escondido for many failures to enforce the storm water rules. More information can be found here, http://escondidoneighborsunited.blogspot.com/2015/02/escondido-receives-official-notice-of.html
Escondido Neighbors United, will ask the City of Escondido to deny Oak Creek, require a less dense alternative, get serious about enforcing water runoff rules, and require remediation of pollution before annexation.
ENU members will also be advocating instead for consideration of Community Creek—A Balanced Option.  Community Creek proposes a reduced footprint and density alternative and appropriate conditions for consideration.  Community Creek achieves many benefits:
·         Protects more wetlands but allows development to occur,
·         Reduces negative impacts to the streams and avoids disruption of creek,
·         Reduces loss of native oak trees,
·         Better supports wildlife,
·         Protects clean water and prevents downstream erosion and impacts ,
·         Reduces traffic and needed infrastructure,
·         Enhances and integrates with existing neighbors, not isolates from them

Escondido Neighbors United (ENU) is a local community group active in the SW Escondido area working to protect the environment and local communities.  ENU is committed with preserving our community, environmental, cultural resources, Felicita Park, and quality of life of the neighborhoods in our area.   More information is at www.escondidoneighbors.org   

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