Jewel of Escondido: The Farm Stand Harvest Festival Saturday and Sunday Oct 24-25

If you haven’t been to The Farm Stand on Miller Ave you want to go right away!  A long-time family business sells locally grown and produced produce, jams, jellies, eggs, hydroponic greens, fresh squeezed juices, fabulous mustard, and other fun things.  For sure, you want to get your pumpkins there!  They even sell on the honor system when they aren’t open.  Who else does that??!!
A good way to check it out is to go for the Harvest Festival from 10am to 5pm this Sat and Sunday.  Enjoy this jewel of Escondido

Located at 2115 Miller Ave @Citradcado Pkyway and I-15.  (760) 738-9014
Follow them on facebook at FarmStandWest and Twitter FarmstandWest

ENU, Environmental Health Coalition, and San Diego Coastkeeper weigh in against Gregory Canyon Landfill

Escondido Neighbors United has filed the following letter ENU Opposition to Gregory Canyon Dump on the Gregory Canyon landfill issue.  Other leading environmental organizations have also filed multiple letters against this project. Environmental Health Coalition letter  and San Diego Coastkeeper letter.
Both group have previously filed extensive comments on the project.
EHC April 2013 comments on DEIS
SD Coastkeeper 2013 comments
These are both amazing organizations and all are urged to join and support them.
Everyone is urged to write their own personal letter as well.  As North County residents, we need to speak up and stop this unnecessary degradation of our region.

Urge Army Corps to DENY the Gregory Canyon Dump: Comments due October 24, 2015

It is important to weigh in personally against this unnecessary, damaging project.  Here are some excellent points to raise.  A BIG thanks to our friends at Environmental Health Coalition for this important and well researched information.


Please write your own letter or email by Saturday, October 24, 2015

to
Ms. Shanti Abichandani Santulli
Department of the Army
Los Angeles District, US Army Corps of Engineers
REGULATORY DIVISION
5900 La Place Court, Suite 100
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Mark your letter for Project SPL-2010-00354-SAS Announcement here
Points you can make:
  • Overall, there is no public interest or credible reason this landfill should be permitted.  It is not needed, threatens precious waterways, and destroys culturally important areas.
  • Since the project was started, the region’s need for reliable sources of clean drinking water has become ever more urgent and many rely on the San Luis Rey for water.  
  • New landfill capacity has been developed, including the expansion of Sycamore Canyon landfill – a project listed in the DEIR as an environmentally less-damaging alternative to Gregory Canyon. 
  • Cities in the region are actively pursuing zero waste policies and technologies.  There is no solid waste crisis either now or in the next several decades.  
  • However, there IS a continuing crisis of adaptation to a hotter, drier climate and a need to preserve existing water supplies. 
  • It has become ever more apparent that a landfill in Gregory Canyon, on the banks of the San Luis Rey River, is not needed, is not in the public interest, and constitutes a threat to the waters of the United States. 

Changes Since 2013: More Landfill Space, Less Water
Over the past several years, trends in the San Diego region have continued in the direction of  expanded landfill capacity, reduced trash
volumes, and deeper drought.  There is no need for the Gregory Canyon Landfill.
Landfill Capacity Now
More Than Adequate
Miramar Landfill. Miramar Landfill capacity now
extends through 2030, according to City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, as
quoted in a San Diego Union-Tribune
article of August 5, 2015.[1]  The article states that the City’s zero waste
policy, adopted in July of 2015, will divert 332,000 tons of trash each year by
2020, and has a goal of achieving zero waste by 2040. Additionally, a new trash
compaction method will increase capacity by 45%. 
Sycamore Landfill. Sycamore Landfill obtained a new
permit in May 2015, and now has an estimated closing date of 2042. This landfill
expansion was recommended as a less damaging alternative to Gregory Canyon in
EPA’s comments on the DEIS in 2013, and the expansion has now occurred.
San Diego Region. The San Diego region now has
capacity of 125 million tons, according to a July 19, 2015 Voice of San Diego commentary that cites CalRecycle as its
information source.[2]  The six-county region that includes San Diego
County has over a billion tons of landfill capacity, according to the same
source.
The region has sufficient landfill capacity for
many more years, and has ample time to implement newer alternatives, including
development of new markets for recycled and composted materials; continuing
reductions in construction and food wastes; phasing in of bans on plastic
shopping bags and excessive packaging materials; and continuing implementation
of newer trash compaction technologies.  
Drought and Water Supply
  •  The dire drought situation and climate change means the value of the San
    Luis Rey River as a precious local source of drinking water is critical. 
  • Currently, the river’s watershed supplies approximately 8% of the
    drinking water for the entire city of Oceanside. [3] 
  • Climate scientists predict
    that California will experience more of its precipitation in the form of rain
    rather than snowfall, as the climate warms. This means that less of the
    region’s water can be obtained from melting Sierra snow, which feeds the
    Bay-Delta, source of 30% percent of the region’s water. Consequently, the
    portion of the region’s water supply that will be supplied by local sources is
    expected to increase: according to the San Diego County Water Authority, 5,000
    acre feet of water is coming from local sources in 2015, but this figure is
    expected to rise to 48,000 acre feet by 2020.[4]
  • Given this long-term climate picture, the USACE has a duty to protect this river and deny this landfill. 

Urge USACE to deny this project
a permit.

Urge Oceanside City Council to Oppose Gregory Canyon Dump this WEDNESDAY, OCT 21 6PM

The Gregory Canyon Landfill is back from the dead.  A damaging and completely unnecessary project it also devastates areas sacred to local tribes.  The Oceanside City Council will be directing staff on Wednesday at their Council meeting.
Please attend or email Council members to OPPOSE the landfill in their comments to the Army Corps.

Oceanside Council Agenda   Council Agenda is here and it is item #27.

A lot more on this soon.

Please support Keepin’ it Rural!!!! Next SUNDAY, October 25th

Please support Keepin’ it Rural!!!!  Next SUNDAY, October 25th

The Elfin Forest/Harmony Grove Town Council (EFHGTC) announced today that it will hold its first Annual “Keepin’ it Rural” Hike and Trail Run at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve on Sunday October 25, 2015.

The communities of Elfin Forest and Harmony Grove (and adjacent Eden Valley) are hidden gems in San Diego North County. They are home to a diverse number of protected species, endangered and threatened plant and wildlife, scenic trails, abundant biological diversity, and some of the last stands of coastal sage scrub and chaparral, after which Elfin Forest is named.

According to the Conservation Biology Institute, “This area represents the only biologically viable core area for coastal sage scrub in north San Diego County, outside of Camp Pendleton. Here lie the last remnants of an imperiled coastal scrub habitat vital to the integrity of San Diego County’s open space network and to the persistence of some of Southern California’s most endangered species,
many of which occur nowhere else on the planet.”

The “Keepin’ It Rural” Hike and Trail Run is the first in a series of events to fund the cause of keeping the area scenic, rural and pristine, and to increase public awareness of its beauty and of the challenges it is facing.

The area’s unique habitat is under threat by major large-scale housing developments. A carefully constructed compromise embedded in the recently approved “land constitution”, the County General Plan, doubled the area population, but kept the density away from open space and from existing rural residences. Now out of town land speculators are attempting to modify this tenuous balance by asking for exceptions placing three-story high apartment buildings right next to preserved open space purchased with taxpayer funding.

“We are working hard to preserve Elfin Forest”, says Jacqueline Arsivaud, Chair of the EFHG Town Council. “We think it is anachronistic in these times of extended droughts and increased fire risks to build high density communities in the backcountry.”

The First Annual “Keepin’ it Rural” 5K and 10K hike and trail run will be held in the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, a 750- acre open space park with 12 miles of trails, and a very popular destination for hikers, runners and mountain bikers in North County. Scenic views all the way to Catalina on a clear day will be part of the reward of those outdoor enthusiasts who come enjoy pristine, undisturbed nature only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. For the trail running enthusiast,
the event will offer one of the best trails in San Diego County, with elevation changes up to 1,600 ft. on single dirt trails, completely surrounded by protected
open space as far as the eye can see.

Online Registration for the event is open and more details are available at http://www.letskeepitrural.com

The 10K run will start at 7.45 AM, the 5K run at 8.00 AM. The family-friendly event includes a 1K Fun Run and bounce house, free with adult admission.

Adults will enjoy a Beer Garden with Stone craft IPA and Mimosas, coffee and pastries, food, and a raffle with SPY Optics sunglasses for the winners.

For more information please contact:
Jacqueline Arsivaud or JP Theberge, Race Director
Phone: 760-855-0444 Phone: 619-884-2694

Jewels of Escondido: Visit Queen Calafia’s Magical Circle on Oct 10th

A most amazing sculpture garden is located in Kit Carson Park.  Queen Calafia’s Magical Circle is an art installation worthy of Paris or Florence.  But, we ar e so lucky that it is here is our community.  It is the last and only American installation of world-reknown artist Niki de Sainte Phalle.
The 12th “birthday” celebration of Queen Califia’s Magical Circle will take place on October 10, 2015, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Weather permitting,  this sculpture garden in Kit Carson Park (3333 Bear Valley Parkway) will be open to the public, with Queen Califia docents on site to answer questions. Free Mardi Gras beads will be given to the first 50 visitors. 


Learn more about the Queen here Queen Calafia’s Magical Circle

Meet the San Pasqual Valley Preservation Alliance! Please Join and help them oppose Safari Highlands Ranch

Another day, another sprawl development, and another new community group arises to fight back!  
Yes, yet another rural community in Escondido is under threat
from encroaching sprawl development.  This time, it’s called Safari
Highlands Ranch.
Neighbors have once again organized themselves against the
project.  The San Pasqual Valley Preservation Alliance is the newest community
organization in town.  Please check them out and sign up to stay informed. STOP SHR Website
The second Scoping meeting was held last night and it was
well-attended.  Once again, dozens of concerned residents came to learn
about the process of permitting a project that is outside the sphere of
influence of the city and exceeds the County General Plan densities by an
insane amount.  Another case of the city parachuting a high-density
development into a rural area.
This project is another example of a non-transit
oriented, non-sustainable, and habitat destroying project.  Its leap-frog pattern of development will threaten additional sensitive areas now and in the future.
What was clear to us Monday night was that the City intends to
fast track this project so that it is voted on by our current pro-development
City Council before elections take place in November 2016. 
We have lessons learned from our recent defeat regarding Oak
Creek and we look forward to sharing, neighborhood to neighborhood, with our
new allies at the San Pasqual Valley Preservation Alliance.

Please sign up and keep informed. Go here to sign up Sign up for updates It will take
all of us to save our community from development interests. 

LAFCO Ignores Community Concerns and Approves Oak Creek Housing Development

On October 5, 2015 LAFCO unanimously supported the annexation
of the Homeland property into the city of Escondido.
  This action will allow a high-density, walled
development to be constructed on existing farmland and open space, adjacent to
Felicita Park.  It will result in the destruction of hundreds of oak trees and the rural character of our neighborhood.

There are many concerns Escondido Neighbors United raised
about this project and few of them were ever addressed.  Reasonable development alternatives and protective
mitigations put forth by the neighbors were rebuffed.   

The Commissioners negotiated a while over the inclusion of 565
feet of Hamilton Lane that will remain in the County while the rest of the
street will be in the City.  In the end,
Supervisor Horn tried to secure commitment by the city to maintain the road
(which makes sense) but others didn’t support him.  It leaves only about 5% of the Lane in the County jurisdiction (rest in the City) and no one really willing to maintain the road.

Commissioner Abed, unfortunately, once again took aim at
Escondido Neighbors United accusing us of opposing ‘all development everywhere
in Escondido’.  This is not true.   ENU had proposed more than one reasonable alternative
to this project and there are many developments we have not opposed in the city.

What is true is that we oppose (or try to improve) inappropriate
and poorly planned development—like Oak Creek.  

At the hearing, there seemed to be an inability to distinguish between theory
and common sense reality on several issues.

For example, while in theory, the County General Plan allows more dwelling
units on the site (80), in reality, only up to a maximum of 20 units or less
could actually be built there due to sewage constraints.  The County does not offer sewer hook-ups in
this area so any housing would have to be on septic (like the rest of the area)
or the developers would have to build an on-site sewage treatment plant that
would take up a lot of land. 

No matter what the theoretical number is for the area, in
reality only around 20 could be built under County rules therefore, i
n
reality Oak Creek is a significant increase in density enabled by the sewer
services of the city.

ENU
expressed the point that what we really have here is another case where
developers are merely shopping around to see which jurisdiction can give them
the highest density and easiest permitting.  This is not good planning.
As another example, annexations are not supposed to create
jurisdictional islands.  In theory, the Monticello
neighborhood is shown on the map as linked to the County– across I-15.  The reality is that there is no way to access
the neighborhood physically from County land after the annexation because I-15
cannot be crossed.  

In reality, the annexation leaves this neighborhood completely surrounded
by the City.  The reality of the new city
development is that it is surrounded by the County on all eight sides.  The only link is the width of Felicita
road.  This annexation leaves a jurisdictional mess in the area.

We were very disappointed when City staff told the Commission
that the project’s “Proposed
stormwater management design creates a better situation for downstream property
owners along Felicita Creek by moderating peak flows.”
  We beg to differ.  One of our highest concerns is that increasing
the hardscape of an area by around 60% and widening the culvert will worsen the
situation for us downstream.  It may stop
the flooding of the road, but only by directing the water into the creek and down on us. 

We will be ground-truthing this claim over time.   Everyone who lives along the creek, is
encouraged to take photos and video of the creek during the rains this winter
so we have a baseline to compare future conditions once the project is
constructed.
 

In the ‘needs-better-information’ category, one staffer represented the Chatham
Brothers Barrel Yard as being a location where they ‘made barrels’.  Apparently,
we need to do more education of governmental staff about the Chatham site.  (Chatham Brothers took barrels of toxic industrial waste to ‘recycle’ in a still that didn’t work and then let it flow into an on-site pond–polluting the groundwater for over a mile from the original site.  This pollution plagues us today). 

In
the end, LAFCO easily approved an annexation that does not meet LAFCO basic
goals of orderly development and preservation of open space and prime
agriculture lands, does not resolve County staff concerns related to the park, has
not resolved many community issues.
It
was a sad day for all of us and for our rural community.
It
is also a warning for other neighborhoods about the damage this City Council
can do to your neighborhood and quality of life.

We
look forward to supporting other communities in their struggle. 







ACTION ALERT: October 5th, 9 am LAFCO to decide Oak Creek Housing Development- PLEASE ATTEND

As reported earlier,  LAFCO to Decide Oak Creek this Monday, October 5, is the final decision related to the Oak Creek housing development at the corner of Hamilton and Felicita.  If you have concerns, which many of us do, please plan to attend if you can.  

This is our last chance to speak out!

The time and location of the meeting is difficult for working people so, if you cannot attend, please write a letter or email and send to Chair Bill Horn bill.horn@sdcounty.ca.gov and LAFCO member Dianne Jacob dianne.jacob@sdcounty.ca.gov .
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.  
ENU’s letter of concerns and opposition to the project is here   ENU Letter to LAFCO opposing Oak Creek annexation

In addition, the County staff still have concerns. County July 10, 2015 letter to LAFCO.  


The Updated staff report is here Final LAFCO staff report


The city of Escondido’s request is still not in alignment with the LAFCO staff or County staff positions.  The project still needs to be revised to be supportable.  We are calling on the LAFCO commission to deny the project as not meeting essential LAFCO goals.  

This project as proposed does not meet basic LAFCO goals, especially that 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. 


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.  


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.  

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 and they have not, so far, been resolved.

ENU is strongly opposed to this project.  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.


There are more reasonable alternatives.  In the spirit of compromise, ENU  proposed a compromise alternative Reduced Density, Reduce impact alternative and we ask, again, that it seriously be considered.  Until New Urban West is will to engage in real dialog about a more reasonable alternative and sensible mitigation measures, we must continue to oppose this 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.
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.

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.  In the spirit of compromise, ENU  proposed a compromise alternative Reduced Density, Reduce impact alternative and we ask, again, that it seriously be considered.  Until any dialog occurs about a more reasonable alternative and sensible mitigation measures, we must continue to oppose this project.