Defined as a unified body of individuals such as:
- the people with common interests living in a particular area
- a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society ( i.e., a community of retired persons )
Or, a group bound by
a : a social state or condition
b : joint ownership or participation
c : common character
d : common social activity
As the battle over development rights and plans for the abandoned Escondido Country Club property winds down, and we have the 380 unit The Villages design by New Urban West in place to guide the process of rebuilding, let's look at similar infill projects that have occurred around Southern California.
Oh, that's right, there aren't any!
That means that we are venturing into new territory. There has never been a redevelopment project of this proportion in the history of our county. Please don't misunderstand, there have been plenty of new home developments, many involving hundreds more homes than the 380 proposed under this Special Planning Amendment that the Escondido City Council just approved.
But those new home projects were not built in the backyard of 600 other, long settled homes. None of them invaded an existing community to build another dissimilar community within it.
By doing that, the new community effectively destroys the old one (see above definition of 'community'). Especially when the stated marketing plans of the new homes are to attract young families into what has been for the past five decades a retirement community of senior citizens.
So the conflict has always been about integration; not racial but cultural and generational. The resistance asks, "Do we have to destroy the integrity of the existing community in order to build more homes?"
New home projects in Escondido, like Andalucia (Harmony Grove) and Pradera and Heritage Collection (Rincon Middle School area) are not woven into existing 'communities'. They are, like most new home developments, built on a contiguous parcel. They establish a new community on a large undeveloped plot that may have other homes around it, but the new development does not incorporate older homes winding throughout the newer ones.
They are not imposing a totally different neighborhood context on an already well established older one.
So when I read commentary that those opposed to The Villages, are just stubborn people who want to impose their simplistic and selfish resistance on the greater 'community' I wonder just whose definition of community are they using?
The plans designed by New Urban West will effectively deconstruct the Escondido Country Club community and transform it into a divided, high density urban area, unlike the semi-rural, resort-like community it once was. It will reconfigure the neighborhood demographic, and establish income and age barriers that didn't exist prior to this land use battle. That is a tough pill to swallow if you have spent the better part of your retirement years building a common interest community that will no longer exist.
I would implore the leaders of the pro-Villages people to stop blaming the decaying condition of the community on us, since that has always been a strategic design of the property flipper. And please stop slandering our good intentions. We just wanted to protect something we cherished and wanted to pass on to the next generation of retirees.
Now that your ambitions have prevailed, maybe it would help to extend an olive branch, show a little empathy, and offer to sit down and work on some solutions together. You say you want to 'move forward', but your antagonistic social media comments and newspaper editorials sound like you are all too eager to leave a lot of us behind.