"Can you imagine what would happen to a community like Scripps Ranch if suddenly all of the iconic, trademark eucalyptus trees inexplicably disappeared? Or if the Lake San Marcos Resort community was told by the State of California that because the toxin levels of the lake had become too high, it would be necessary to backfill the lake and build homes in it's place?"
In my book, I tried to point out that the ECC golf course was, and is, more than just a business failure. It's demise represents a economic and environmental disaster not unlike a tornado. When will our leaders recognize this and offer some help?
"...the property rights squabble is a reflection of some trends that can be felt all across the country.The Greying of America and how the Baby Boomer generation is finding itself caught in some gigantic social tidal waves of changes, from basic family structure, to the changing nature of our workforce, the digital revolution, and the destruction of the middleclass, to the nature of recreation, leisure time and retirement, to the near collapse of our direct representative form of government."
My book, The Neighbor Hood Hijacker; The Heroic Effort To Stop The Plundering Of Our Community is more than just a story about a golf course that went bankrupt.
A lot more...
Why is the ECC situation still unresolved?
John DeLong and Buddy Flemings, in their Letter To The Editor (Times Advocate/Feb 16 Opinion) suggest that if the Escondido Country Club Homeowners Association (ECCHO) wasn't holding out for a miracle return of the shuttered golf course business, the neighborhood redevelopment could move forward. They characterize the newest plan ("The Villages") submitted to the Escondido planning department as a 'good one'.
Then they complain that the Times Advocate article failed to mention the Renewal of the Country Club (ROCC) group that favors the New Urban West (NUW) proposal. That is a fair complaint, but the real issue that is holding back any progress is the unreasonable demands of the former golf course property owner.
His objective has always been transparent: He is attempting to turn a 4000% profit on his investment. The problem with this greedy hijacking of the community is that it forces any builder (such as New Urban West) to maximize the number of homes to pay for his king's ransom demands. To make any project pencil out at the outrageous price the owner is demanding, builders will need to include nearly 400 homes.
He has made it clear that no other alternative development solutions will be considered, so the owner is the reason this unnatural disaster continues to be unresolved, not ECCHO.
When the Country Club community was established in 1963, the plans called for a total of 1200 homes. There are currently 1600 in the impact area. Adding another 400 would totally overwhelm the neighborhood and destroy its character.
In 2014 the property owner floated a public initiative (Proposition H), which would have amended the Escondido General Plan to allow for 430 single family homes to be built on the abandoned fairways. A plan that was, in many ways, nearly identical to the new "Villages" plan. The citywide vote rejected Proposition H by a 2 to 1 margin. The people in Escondido made it clear that jamming hundreds of zero-lot-line houses into the well established retirement community was a bad idea.
The Country Club community is populated by retirees and empty nesters, but New Urban West's stated marketing plans are to appeal to first-time buyers, and young families. All of the new homes would be two-story, in a neighborhood that currently has few if any. "The Villages" plan is incongruous and incompatible with the nature of the existing housing stock, and offers no incentives or services for seniors.
Additionally, the new plans do nothing to anticipate or mitigate massive traffic increases, water and public service demands, or any preservation of the iconic eucalyptus trees or indigenous ecological plant and wildlife communities.
For the record, the main objective of our neighborhood organization has always been to preserve the original identity and appeal of the community, with or without a golf course. "The Villages" plans would fundamentally change the character of the 50 year old, settled, semi-rural, senior oriented, resort style neighborhood.
'Moving forward' should not be achieved by bulldozing the best aspects of what attracted people to the area in the first place. ECCHO is the only leverage that the people who live in the area have to negotiate for development that serves, and preserves, the legacy of the community.
The area may well need a facelift, but it doesn't need a head transplant.
"The idea that a business that had been so successful for nearly five decades could so suddenly become obsolete was just a ruse to build support for radically transforming our neighborhood into a personal ATM machine for a very determined property flipper with a well-oiled military-like force of lawyers, publicists and lobbyists supporting his financial ambitions."
An excerpt from:
The Neighbor Hood Hijacker; The Heroic Effort To Stop The Plundering Of Our Community
What Happened to Our Community?
The story of how a quiet corner of paradise has devolved into
To review the timelines of this ongoing saga, just <click> on any Month below....
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