ENU tries to stop City land grab, Impacts to Felicita Park, Hearing on Oct 5th

On October 5, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO)
will determine the fate of the popular Felicita Park.  LAFCO is a little-known, state agency
designed
to provide assistance to local agencies in overseeing
jurisdictional boundary changes.  


We filed a letter with LAFCO last week urging them to deny the request for annexation of property planned for Oak Creek housing development.   ENU Letter to LAFCO opposing Oak Creek annexation. In addition, the County staff still have concerns. County July 10, 2015 letter to LAFCO.

The Commission goals, in theory, are good ones.  Any boundary changes should:
·        
Encourage
orderly growth
·        
Promote
logical and efficient public services for cities and special districts
·        
Streamline
governmental structure
·        
Discourage
premature conversion of prime agricultural and open space lands to urban uses. 
Unfortunately, the LAFCO staff recommendation is
to approve, with some tweaking,  the annexation of land for the Oak Creek housing development.  The Oak Creek project goes against all of the
stated goals of the commission. 

In order to do the development, land currently
in the County, must be annexed or transferred to the city of Escondido.  The Oak Creek annexation is not orderly, is
not logical, confuses local jurisdictions, and converts prime agricultural
lands and open space into development of houses.  It is unfathomable how this project can be
supported within compliance of LAFCO rules.

Further, it will remove part of Felicita Park to
accommodate flood control easements for the development and the developer failed
to provide city parklands in accordance with the city of Escondido requirements.   This
will leave a smaller Felicita Park being used by hundreds more residents.  The County staff has raised consistent issues
with the project related to the Park and transportation.

As you can imagine, we are strongly opposed to this project for reasons we have stated frequently in the past.  It has too high a density  for the area, will cut down or encroach on 200 oak trees (including
100 with ‘protected’ status), increase runoff into two branches of Felicita
Creek, has an unprecedented zero-foot minimum buffer between natural resources and development, and wall-off the neighborhood with a high wall around the project.

Once developed, negative impacts to the creek,
the park, the riparian forest, and the neighborhood can never be reversed.  In fact, once developed, the moniker Oak Creek will
just be a memory of what used to be there.

We understand that environmental and community impacts are not the primary purview of LAFCO.  Mayor Abed (who also
serves on LAFCO) and Councilmembers Morasco, Gallo, and Masson who are
apparently unconcerned with environmental or community issues have already
ruled in favor of the project.   



Again, we offer our gratitude to Councilmember Olga Diaz for trying to secure improvements and a less damaging alternative for the project.  

But, LAFCO is supposed to be our defense against
these kinds of city ‘land grabs’ merely to intensify development.  LAFCO is explicitly supposed to prevent the
creation of ‘islands’ of jurisdictions.

One look at the proposed annexation maps tells the story pretty clearly.   Map of Proposed Annexation Currently there are no ‘islands’ in this region.  If the annexation is approved, there will be two
jurisdictional ‘islands’ where none exist now.      
The
stated rationale that contiguity exists across the I-15 for the county island
(Monticello neighborhood) is not rational. 
There is no way to access the neighborhood physically from County land
after the annexation.   The new city development
will be surrounded by County on all eight sides of the annexed area. The
rationale that a ‘point-to-point’ is acceptable is more theoretical and is not
the basis of orderly development.
We hope that residents who live in the Monticello neighborhood are paying attention.   If this passes, they will now be an island in the city—making them a sitting duck for future annexation.
Once this mistake is made, it cannot be undone.  We are strongly urging the LAFCO
Commissioners to deny the annexation of Oak Creek and maintain the integrity of
our neighborhood, our creek, and our Park.

Please attend the October 5, 2015
LAFCO hearing at 9 am in
Room 310, County Administration Center, 1600
Pacific Highway,
San Diego
and oppose the Annexation
of Oak Creek.  



There are more reasonable
alternatives.








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