Interview with Dean Nelson for San Marcos Council

We sent a few questions to Dean Nelson who is running for the San Marcos City Council on November 4th. Nelson, a longtime planning commissioner who ran for council in 2006.

What is your suggestion on school crowding in SEH as school district or SEH Developments sold off 2nd school parcel location to a now a stalled SEH fitness center project.

The question is more specifically directed to the school district since they are directly responsible for school crowding issues and conditions.  If student enrollment doesn’t support the development of a 2nd school site, it would be important for the City Council to work closely with the SM Unified to assure that crowding conditions don’t occur in the future as a result of an unintended consequence of surrendering the 2nd site to another project.  Since the City requires new developments to coordinate with SM Unified for the payment of school impact fees, it is important that close and coordinated work relationships exist between the District Board and the City Council.

How can the council help address aggressive cut through traffic in SEH that may increase with development projects like; Creekside District, and university area projects.

The City’s Circulation/Transportation Plan has always called for a street/roadway system that distributes traffic throughout the network.  That network is nearly complete.  Levels of Service have improved but there are still problem locations.  There is no such thing as cut-through traffic on a major arterial roadway that has always been a part of the Transportation Plan.

What the City needs to do with the emergence of San Marcos Creek Specific Plan and the University District projects is to:  1.  minimize the need for more vehicles by creating pedestrian friendly locations/developments as identified in the Creek Plan and is likely to be emphasized in the University plan and provide a local transit alternative that can be used by all SM residents and persons working in our community.

These days, there is more and more awareness of the need to provide longer range planning views and address sustainability in transportation, energy, water and environmental needs that meets today’s needs without sacrificing tomorrow’s future.

Are you supportive of the Ridgeline Proposition and Prop O?

I support the Ridge line Proposition, and I voted for it as a Planning Commissioner.

On Prop O, I am against it because I believe that ballot-box planning is bad idea.  I do, however, support the initiative process whereby citizens’ voices are heard.  This is much the same as the Walmart spot-zoning conflict, which directly affected the residents of San Elijo, a process where citizens were able to have their voices heard from the ballot box.  As the Chairman of the Planning Commission at the time of the Walmart issue, it was fascinating watching democracy in action as the initiative process ran its course.  I trust the voters to come to the right decision on Prop O as they did with Walmart.

What is your suggestion for applying pressure on SEH Development/Home Fed to complete the promised SEH towncenter development (center parcel that has no timeline)

The current national and global economic factors are likely to slow down the development of many projects until there is a restoration of public and marketplace confidence in our financial institutions.  I see 2009 as a year of ups and downs with slow, sluggish progress, but some progress will happen.   As the marketplace is restored, I will work with my fellow Council members as advocates pushing for completion of the town center area of SEH.  That being said, I believe the builders and developers should be held accountable for the promises that they made, including the towncenter.  Residents should “get what they paid for” and at this rate, it is not being delivered.  I have heard from many residents of San Elijo that they were sold a false bill of goods.  The downtown was a great selling tool, but has not come to fruition for the residents of San Elijo.  Albertsons is a good start, but the town center needs to be finished.  There should be a date certain for completion set with developers.

How can the City of San Marcos aggressively address forecloses that banks are not taking care of and are adding blight to San Elijo Hills?

As you may be aware Councilmember Chris Orlando brought this issue before the City Council recently, I support and will advocate for an ordinance that provides for bank-owned properties to be maintained so that future and existing residents are not affected by diminished property values due to poor property maintenance.   Several cities, like Chula Vista and others, have recently addressed this issue through an ordinance.  SM should do the same.  I would also advocate for an aggressive code enforcement (the stick) and an outreach/education program (the carrot) approach to be done for local and regional financial institutions, realtor organizations and the San Diego Building Industry Association to raise awareness of our enforcement authority and work to collectively resolve the problem before it worsens.

The other problem that is occurring with some foreclosed homes is the issue of the mini-dorms.  I support an aggressive City Attorney action to remedy any potential or existing problems before they escalate further.

Editors note all San Marco candidates are welcome to contact us to conduct an interview.