Author Archives: San Elijo Life
San Marcos students are saying goodbye to summer and heading back to school this week and next week. The start of the school year spells increased traffic congestion. Please plan ahead for delays, and know that the City has been working to implement multiple projects to improve traffic flow and safety on our roadways.
In July, we completed the installation of LED safety lights to increase visibility for motorists and pedestrians, increase energy efficiency and reduce maintenance costs. Additional traffic management system enhancements are on the way, including an upgraded traffic signal communication network and traffic controller replacements. Traffic signal improvements are also planned for Rancho Santa Fe Road and Grandon Avenue, along with intersection improvements at San Marcos Boulevard and Discovery Street.
Plans are also in place to reconstruct the State Route 78 overcrossing at Woodland Parkway, reconfiguration of on/off ramps, and the widening of Woodland Parkway, Barham Drive and Rancheros Drive.
Open House is every Weekend from 10 am to 1 pm.
The large dog park at San Elijo Hills Park, 1105 Elfin Forest Road, will be closed until approximately August 26 for turf repairs. The closure will allow the City to provide a better environment for pooches to play by installing new sod to repair a large portion of the park’s turf, which has deteriorated and exposed dirt and rocks. The new sod must be irrigated several times per day for approximately three weeks in order to establish roots and grow strong enough to handle foot (and paw) traffic.
We appreciate your patience during the repairs and hope that you will enjoy one of San Marcos’ additional dog parks, including Hollandia Park, Montiel Park, and Sunset Park.
Press Release-Vallecitos Water District Customers Launch New Website: Political Favoritism to Developers Cost Ratepayers $42 Million
Vallecitos Water District Customers Launch New Website: Political Favoritism to Developers Cost Ratepayers $42 Million
They are the Friendship of Vallecitos Customers and want to grow to thousands of members and send a message to Vallecitos Water District (VWD) elected officials. “San Marcos businesses and residents – we pay for water, not politics.” That’s the tag line seen on the home page of their newly released website.
At a VWD Board meeting in 2013, elected officials were deliberating on allowing more time for developers to pay fees. “The District’s interest has to do with providing basic services, sewer, and water, at the best price. That’s all it is. It has nothing to do with helping out developers,” said Former Board Member Jim Poltl. In response, then newly elected Board Member Hal Martin retorted, “I look at the bigger picture – economic stimulus. Smaller governmental agencies … make that happen.”
Since then, the VWD Board gave several breaks to developers that cost ratepayers more than $42 million, according to Former VWD CFO Tom Scaglione. “From July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2018, Vallecitos ratepayers paid $42.2 million, more than 15% of their water and sewer bill, to amass cash reserves, fund developer deficits, and continue to finance developer obligations with ratepayers’ cash rather than issue bonds. Vallecitos accumulated more ratepayer money than any other water district in San Diego County, and is the only district in the County with a deficit in developer funds.”
While building activity in San Marcos soared in 2013, money paid into VWD by developers plummeted to record deficits.
According to Scaglione, since 2013, water and sewer rates have increased 5.9% on average annually, while developer fees have increased just 2.6% on average annually for inflation.
“It all started in 2012 with a sewer density impact fee that I voted in favor of for developers to pay their impacts,” said Former Board Member Tim Shell. “We all [Board Members] voted for it, and we all had targets on
our backs ‐ management too. The developer‐backed politicians that unseated us were not from the water industry. I knew this would happen.”
One of the most egregious breaks is the current delay in implementing long‐awaited adjustments to developer fees. When the Board suspended and refunded the sewer density impact fee in 2015, they minimized the impacts by saying a study that is needed to raise developer fees and includes the sewer density impact, would be done that same year. Vallecitos has scheduled a Public Hearing to consider adjustments to developer fees for August 7 at 5 pm – four years late. According to the website, the delay alone saved developers $11 million.
The website, friendshipvallecitoswater.org, details the breaks given to developers, the impacts to ratepayers, and how the situation can be remedied.
“All the numbers on the website are from audited financial statements, board reports, meeting minutes, and budgets,” said Scaglione. “They’re all numbers generated by Vallecitos. You just need to know how to read the financials.”
The Friendship of Vallecitos Customers (FVC), a group of Vallecitos Water District (VWD) customers, potential
political candidates, past board members, and community leaders, formed to have a unified voice to influence the
VWD Board of Directors (the Board) to maintain a ratepayer focus. Since the 2012 elections, the development
community has had majority control of the Board. Developer influence and financial mismanagement have
resulted in ratepayers paying $42.2 million towards developer obligations. Ratepayers have not had either the will
or ability to financially contribute and therefore win favor, to the extent that developers have financially
contributed to the Board. Visit friedshipvallecitoswater.org
Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo
1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078
Join us for America’s night out against crime on August 6, 2019, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at San Elijo Hills Park Picnic Gazebo, 1105 Elfin Forest Road. This free event for parents and kids will feature games, fingerprinting and more. Come out and meet your neighbors, local sheriff deputies and learn about the city’s crime prevention program. For more information, please call (760) 744-1050, ext. 3111.
Volunteer to Help Preserve North County Land and Provide Outdoor Education!
Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, CA (August 1, 2019)
Who: The Escondido Creek Conservancy (Conservancy) is partnering with Olivenhain Municipal Water District (OMWD) to recruit volunteers to help protect Escondido Creek and the Escondido Creek watershed. The Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust. Since 1991, the Conservancy has helped preserve over 4,000 acres of land for wildlife habitat and provides outdoor education to more than 5,000 children and adults annually. OMWD is a public agency providing water, wastewater services, recycled water, hydroelectricity, and the operation of Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve (EFRR). The two organizations first partnered in 2009 to build the beautiful Elfin Forest Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty, and have been working together since then on many watershed protection projects and education programs.
What: Join us at our next Volunteer Open House and discover the many ways you can give back and get in touch with local nature. Volunteers can choose to hike and monitor trails, assist with school field trips, staff the interpretive center, perform trail maintenance with park rangers, or work with the Conservancy’s land managers to restore sensitive habitat.
Why: EFRR is almost 800 acres with only three rangers to monitor the land, while the Conservancy manages over 3,000 acres with a small staff of land managers, supplemented by volunteers. Volunteers are crucial in helping protect and restore these fragile open spaces so plants and wildlife can continue to thrive. Our volunteers have also been a vital part of the Conservancy’s education programs which provide outdoor experiences to local elementary and middle-school students.
Our volunteer network is a community of like-minded people who enjoy backyard barbecues, in-service meetings followed by “Conservation Conversations” on a wide variety of topics, and unique tour opportunities throughout the year. Recent tours include an EDCO Recycling Center, a Native American Eco-Village, and the California Wolf Center.
Where: The Volunteer Open House will be held at EFRR’s Interpretive Center, but volunteer opportunities are available throughout various preserves in Escondido. Limited parking will be reserved for those registered, and arriving early is advised.
When: The Volunteer Open House will be held on Saturday, August 10, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Please visit www.natureiscalling.eventbrite.com for more information or to register.
Choosing which formula to feed your baby can be overwhelming and often confusing. Which brand should I buy? Does my baby need a special type? In Dr. Jaime Friedman’s latest blog, she breaks down everything you need to know to feed your baby with confidence.
Children’s Physicians Medical Group (CPMG), in partnership with Rady Children’s Health Network, is dedicated to offering outstanding healthcare for your kids, from birth through age 18. Have you checked out our new and updated website? We can help you find a doctor, explain why CPMG is right for you and allow you to view videos on our doctors and other health topics.
New batch of San Marcos eateries raising the bar on kid-friendly dining
San Marcos is steadily ranked as a great place to raise a family, thanks to its top-notch schools and high quality of life. Look around town and you’ll see that affirmed. Children 9 or younger make up about 15 percent of the city’s population. That’s higher than San Diego County’s rate, which is closer to 12 percent.
The local dining scene has taken note, too. A fresh crop of family-focused restaurants has sprouted in recent years. And these aren’t the kiddie chains most of us remember from our childhoods. At these spots, parents can still enjoy a quality meal while their kids can—well, be kids.
The newest to open its doors is My Yard Live, 288 Rancheros Drive, which serves family-style food with a backyard vibe (think smoked brisket by the pound and picnic tables). Billed for the “young and young at heart,” it aims to entice folks to linger awhile—much like you would at a neighborhood party. Live music, lawn games and lots of lounge areas underscore that comfy vibe.
For example, families can relax on a large patio that features a play area and treehouse for kids to explore. Months of research went into perfecting this treehouse, and the company that built it has created similar structures for Disneyland.
Because My Yard Live brews its own beer, parents can sample its in-house program—or one of the many guest brews it has on tap. There’s also a full bar offering all sorts of craft cocktails and wine.
Many dishes can be served family-style, including roasted chicken, St. Louis-style ribs, smoked brisket and a sausage platter. Adults can also pick from salads, sandwiches, burgers and entrees—while kids can take their pick from staples such as mac-and-cheese, hotdogs and chicken tenders.
Just across Interstate 78 is URGE Gastro Pub & Common House, 255 Redel Road, a sprawling eatery serving up family fun with a hip twist. For starters, there’s a bowling alley with a Big Lebowski theme. And yes, parents can order a proper White Russian at the bar—there are nine varieties, in fact. Parents with younger kids will appreciate the gutter guards and bowling ball ramps to make the game easier. Because there are just eight bowling lanes, everyone is encouraged to reserve one online at sm.urgegastropub.com/bowling—and check rates, as they vary.
The back patio also feels more like a backyard thanks to a large, grassy area, which was recently added with kids in mind. In fact, this space offers all the makings of a family game night—including giant sized chess, Jenga, Connect Four, cornhole and bucket ball. This back patio is dog-friendly, so families can bring their four-legged children, too.
Urge also houses its own brewery, Mason Ale Works. Those in-house brews are on tap, along with dozens of other local craft beers. There’s also a hefty whisky list with more than 70 varieties, plus a full bar and sophisticated wine list.
Most of the menu can be summed up as classic pub food, which includes burgers, fish and chips, schnitzels and meatloaf. There are also several salads, flatbreads and shared plates. The kids’ menu includes crowd-pleasers, such as mac-and-cheese, chicken tenders and sliders.
The past couple of years has also ushered in Landon’s East Meets West—formerly Landon’s Gourmet Kitchen—1020 West San Marcos Boulevard. As the new name indicates, the restaurant recently pivoted its concept to feature a more Asian inspired menu. That comes through in dishes like kimchi fried rice and tandoori chicken. Fans of the original menu will still find burgers, flatbreads and stuffed avocados—and many of the other dinner entrees will return soon.
A good selection of wine and craft beers also remains, though some imports have been added to pair with the Eastern-inspired entrees. The kids’ menu includes crowd-pleasers such a grilled cheese and gluten-free chicken nuggets.
Lucky for parents, one thing that hasn’t changed here is the supervised playroom, which truly sets this restaurant apart. Here, attendants will happily entertain kids for a reasonable rate ($8 per hour for one child or $12 per hour for two children). Kids can make crafts, play games or enjoy the treasure trove of toys, including a life-sized stuffed pony, dollhouse and musical instruments.
The playroom, however, is not open every day: It is now only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays—though there are plans to eventually open it on Sundays.
Also, worth noting: Dining is allowed in the playroom, which a gamechanger for parents who want to enjoy some uninterrupted adult conversation over dinner—while still giving their kids a fun night out.