Dear City of Escondido Council Members:
The continuing struggle by the homeowners in and around the Escondido Country Club is, once again, in your hands. Our collective community efforts, and they have been honorable and extensive, have gone for naught. We did everything that we could do to save our community from over-development and exploitation.
You agreed with our Citizens Property Rights Initiative, but the courts decided that it was flawed legislation. The courts did not disagree that we had followed the rules, only that retroactively applying the 70's era Conditional Use Permit zoning would be unconstitutional.
We defeated the property owners end-run initiative, Proposition H, by a 2-1 margin, overcoming a multi- million dollar promotional budget. Ever since your settlement agreement with Stuck-In-The-Rough was implemented, the people directly affected by this private property realignment assault on the community have been disenfranchised.
There is not now, and there has never been, any doubt about what the people of Escondido want done with the abandoned golf course property...their preference is to preserve the 'Country Club' retirement lifestyle nature of the Northwest Corner of our great city. They want to move into the future with enhanced redevelopment, not something that serves only the greed of the out-of-town property flipper. They have made it clear they do not want, and do not think it is necessary, to turn the whole property into a wall to wall, ultra high density, unattached condominium-style single family housing tract.
Here we are five years later, after suffering years of legal bullying, individual financial stress, and loss of community spirit, and after being assured that you, our elected leaders were in a unique position to escort the redevelopment process through the planning system to protect and enhance the next generation of citizens living in the Escondido Country Club Community, and what have we gained? The arguments over lot sizes, buffer zones, public access to amenities, and percentages of open space are red herrings. The overall 'concept' is what matters, and this plan misses the mark by a long shot.
After reading the just released Draft Environmental Impact Report, I am struck by how it totally dismisses all other potential development alternatives, marginalizes social, traffic and environmental impacts, and subtly endorses nearly every aspect of the New Urban West submittal. It is as if NUW wrote the report!
Mayor Abed was right when he said recently, that the NUW plan, with 392 homes, is an insult. So, please remember us, and those that will follow us, when you contemplate the future of our cherished neighborhood, and how redevelopment will either rejuvenate the appeal of the Country Club community, or bury it by overwhelming the neighborhood with discordant housing that has no resemblance to the iconic senior oriented, retirement community that drew us here in the first place.