Heart’ of town nearly full in San Marcos after slow growthby Stephanie StangNovember 14, 20190189SAN MARCOS — The city of San Marcos continues to see record growth especially in one development that is nearing completion. The community of San Elijo Hills is blossoming, especially around the heart of its community known as the San Elijo Town Center.Two new restaurants will be opening in the next couple of months and next year construction will begin to offer a variety of office spaces. One restaurant will offer Spanish cuisine inspired from Barcelona while another will feature traditional American food with recipes from Colorado. The restaurateurs are looking to provide more upscale, finer cuisine compared to the casual dining currently offered on the town square according to Duncan Budinger, director of retail development from Ambient Communities.“It will have a completely different cuisine and will be a completely different experience too,” he said. “This is going to be date night. You are going to take your wife or significant other. You can sit on the patio.”Plus, more options for small retail businesses will be coming soon too when construction begins on a lot owned by Ambient adjacent to the square. Some of the options for the space include a fitness center, veterinary office, cryotherapy and physical therapy.
San Elijo Hills’ Oktoberfest in San Marcos draws record crowd by Stephanie Stang October 17, 2019
— The annual Oktoberfest in San Elijo Hills in San Marcos proved to be the community’s most popular event yet. Although 2,000 people attended the festival every year, folks say it still has a small community feel. Alpana Patel says she brings her family every year and loves seeing all of her neighbors in one place. “It’s a great way to run into people.”San Elijo resident Mike Adams says he enjoys bringing all five of his children to the fair because of “all the rides, all the fun, all the food, great for the community. All the kids can hang out with their friends.” “There is just an incredible sense of community here,” realtor Ed Philbrick said. “I think it’s an amazing value compared to other surrounding communities. I mean with this event for example, you probably have an event per month when you look at it, and the events are pretty elaborate. There is a lot going on. Here you have a climbing wall, a (Ferris) wheel, food, beer (beer garden). There’s always something going on in San Elijo and so it’s hard to complain about the value that you are getting. People aren’t always happy with HOAs but that’s not really the case here.”
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.
Hopefully, you’ve all taken a moment to review the email we sent out early this week and the embedded links about the large electrical transmission lines that have been slated to be constructed throughout our community.
Hopefully, you’ve all scheduled your sitters, blocked your calendars, and are making carpool arrangements with your neighbors.
Hopefully, you’ve signed up on the Google Form to commit to showing up for your community on April 30th.
While we wait for the 30th to approach, we need you to make your comment personal. Review the attached talking points and develop your comments, your story, and find your voice. Once you have your comments prepared consider sharing them on the 30th. You don’t have to speak at the hearings, headcount is most important, but reading your comments/story aloud at the meeting will help us in our show of force and makes the biggest impact. A judge who will preside over the final decision will be in attendance, so your voices will be heard, and what you say matters.
1: Attend 1 or both CPUC hearings
April 30th from 1 pm – 3 pm at the SEH Rec Center (Terrace Hall)
1105 Elfin Forest Road, San Marcos, CA 92078
April 30th from 6 pm – 8 pm at the San Marcos Civic Center
3 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos, CA 92069
Bring a neighbor, a friend, and pack these hearings. Forward this email to your local networks, copy/paste to social media, and encourage participation in your neighborhood. Your community needs you!!
Join our FB page to stay up to date on event details.
Northbound Elfin Forest Road to close beginning April 1 for storm drain improvements
Beginning Monday, April 1 through Friday, April 12, all northbound lanes along Elfin Forest Road between N. San Elijo Road and S. San Elijo Road are scheduled to close to accommodate the installation of a new storm drain system.
Working hours will be Monday through Friday from 9 am to 2 pm. Crews expect to complete the majority of the work during San Marcos Unified School District’s spring break to minimize traffic impacts to the surrounding schools. Delays in the schedule may occur due to inclement weather and unforeseen construction obstructions.
Standard traffic control measures with advanced warning signs and pedestrian detours will be in place. Residents and motorists should be advised that vehicular detours will require drivers to use Stephanie Court. Traffic signals will be synchronized to allow more time for detoured traffic to cross through the intersection at Stephanie Court.
Associated with the San Elijo Town Center Phase II East project, these improvements are funded as a private development project through Ambient Communities.
For more information, contact the developer’s construction manager Randy Valles with Centre Builders at (714) 906-1135.
Changes are coming to Cafe Stoked and owner, Charity Abelardo, a long-time resident of San Elijo Hills, wanted you to hear about these changes directly from her so you aren’t surprised next time you stop by.
Beginning Friday, October 5, we are closing our daily cafe operations. We will still be offering catering and special events services, but the daily cafe will be closed until we identify a new owner/operator. We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes, but hope you will understand and support our transition.
There are a lot of reasons for the change and it’s hard to put it all into a quick article, but I want you to know that I have given it much thought and consideration and this is the most feasible way to make the required transition. Closing the daily operations will give me more bandwidth and resources to devote to getting a new establishment in the space that will make sense and be good for our community.
Please know this has nothing to do with the new businesses in the town square or lack of community support. You have all been wonderful. So much has changed in my life in the last five years. When we opened our doors, it was very much a family operation. My sister, Chris Vulovic, and I were partners in the endeavor. She brought her passion for food and hospitality to the space. My kids and husband, Kim, were all part of the adventure. We poured our heart and souls into it – together. Since that time, my sister passed away, two of my kids are now in college, and I have two other businesses that demand much of my time and energy. I simply can’t give the cafe operations the kind of energy and financial resources it needs.
While it’s difficult to make this decision, knowing the impact these changes will have on our employees and customers, I also know that it will open new doors and opportunities to bring something fresh and vibrant to our community.
I am so grateful for the past five years and all of the memories we have created together at Cafe Stoked – from community service projects to special events and fundraisers. I hope you will continue to use us for your birthdays, weddings, recitals, receptions and other special events in the interim. I am not going anywhere and I will be working diligently behind-the-scenes with our catering and event services while seeking the right establishment to occupy the space moving forward.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. And, please keep following us on Facebook, Instagram and our website to hear about special events and ongoing news and updates. Again, thank you for everything you have done and continue to do to support me and my family. I appreciate it more than I can possibly put into words. I truly love our community. Thanks for making it so special.
Op-Ed opposing County rezoning of 69-acre lot west of the landfill (sent to San Elijo Life by Friends of Copper Creek)
Urgent Appeal to Save San Elijo Hills Quality of Life:Deadline September 12!
A huge increase in zoning is currently being proposed that, if approved, will permanently change San Elijo Hills.The 69-acre property is just west of the closed San Marcos Landfill, south of San Elijo Road.This project is called SD15 in the County and Copper Hills in the City of San Marcos.
The developer could have named this project “Toxic Hills” as this land never produced copper and County reports document (1) on site signs of landfill leachate and/or landfill gas intrusion and (2) possible health risks to future residents and tenants.
This will change the community forever by
harming the character of the community;
dramatically increasing traffic;
impeding emergency evacuation and diverting fire resources; and
causing environmental harm to Copper Creek and neighboring habitat preserves.
Right now, this property is in the unincorporated County.An amendment to the County General Plan proposes increasing SD15’s maximum density almost six-fold from 61 dwelling units (SR-1 zoning) to 362 dwelling units plus a large amount of commercial space (C-1, SR-0.5, VR-10.9 zoning).
This project will be heard at a Board of Supervisors meeting on September 12 and will be approved unless San Elijo Hills and other neighbors vocally protest.While the San Dieguito Planning Group voted against this project, County staff and the Planning Commission are recommending approval.Nonetheless, this project can be stopped by our elected representatives if residents speak up.
If this property is rezoned, County studies report there will be an additional 16,231 average daily trips.That is approximately a 27-fold increase over the number of trips allowed under current zoning.This will negatively affect the quality of life.
Impedes Emergency Evacuation
Existing roads and connectors are already inadequate to provide a safe exit from San Elijo Hills.In the 2014 Cocos fire, there was traffic gridlock causing people to wait hour(s) to evacuate.The proposed residential and commercial density will make this problem much worse.
Diversion of Fire Resources
This property will primarily rely on the San Marcos Fire Department and will divert fire protection resources from San Elijo Hills.This property will be very difficult to defend on up to three sides from a fire.Because of the proposed density concentration, fire departments would likely prioritize this property over single family homes.
Harms to Copper Creek/Escondido Creek/San Elijo Lagoon
Copper Creek (leading to Escondido Creek and San Elijo Lagoon) is already suffering from siltation, sedimentation, scouring and flooding from projects such as this that did not adequately mitigate the impacts.The intensity of this proposed development/hardscape will only increase the harms to the Creek and property downstream.
This project is opposed by the Escondido Creek Conservancy.
This Project Is Harmful to Habitat, Including Nearby Preserved Lands
This property serves as an important connector/corridor from the County Core to the San Marcos habitat areas.Development of this property as proposed will fragment the habitat and decrease habitat connectivity between the County and San Marcos.Edge effects will harm neighboring habitats and fuel modification arrangements will cut into the habitat.Light and glare effects will affect neighboring preserves and decrease resident’s quality of life.
This project is opposed by neighboring land managers, including the Center for Natural Lands Management.
County Neighbors were Held to a Double Standard
Before the County’s 2020 General Plan Update, this property and its neighbors were all zoned 1 dwelling unit per 2 acres.As a result of General Plan 2020, this property was already doubled in density to 1 dwelling unit per 1 acre while its County neighbors lost their density and are now zoned 1 dwelling unit per 10 acres.That means this project will have 52.5 times the density of its County neighbors.This just isn’t fair!
There have long been concerns with the San Marcos landfill.The landfill is mostly unlined and took 18.75 million tons of material between 1979 and 1997.The landfill reportedly accepted residential, commercial and agricultural waste including paint and paint thinners, oil, treated sewage sludge and medical waste.No laws prevented “certain types of low level radioactive waste, known as decommissioned materials” from disposal in the San Marcos Landfill.
A 2017 letter from the County about SD15 states, “While the San Marcos Landfill has closed, it can be expected to remain biologically active and generate landfill gas and leachate for more than 30-50 years after closure.”Monitoring may need to continue forever.
The County writes that “Landfill gas represents a health and safety issue” and gas can “migrate off-site.”Landfill gases “can pose an explosion and human health threat.”
SD15’s onsite groundwater monitoring wells are detecting toxic chemicals of concern (“COCs”).According to the County, there are two likely sources: landfill leachate and landfill gases. Per County documents, “[t]he source of COCs outside the waste area is likely due to migration of [landfill gas] and, to a lesser degree, leachate.”County letters concerning SD15 state that “Landfill gas has been documented to travel in the subsurface 1,000 feet or more from the source.The underlying geology of [SD15] is fractured rock, which adds another layer of complexity to potential gas migration.”
County maps show that most of the groundwater from the landfill flows towards the west, towards SD15/Copper Hills.
News articles report that the San Marcos landfill “is leaching chemicals known to cause cancer, reproductive harm and other health problems.”It continues, “officials said that because these chemicals don’t occur naturally, any leak exceeds standards set for those sites” and “[a]ny volatile (organic compound) that’s detected in groundwater is an indication of release from the landfills” (emphasis added).
Unfortunately, the County has limited ability to protect residents/tenants from landfill gases and landfill gases.The County has stated that the Solid Waste Local Enforcement Agency “has no regulatory authority to require [this] Project to be constructed with measures to mitigate the effects of the landfill” (emphasis added).
The County has only the power to request Department of Environmental Health monitoring of residents, resident notification of landfill proximity, and installation of landfill gas mitigation measures such as explosion-proof conduits/sealing, use of a gas migration barrier with passive venting and hard-wired methane detectors.Will this developer follow the County’s requests?
In 1999, eighty acres of San Elijo Hills was condemned by the County as a landfill buffer.News reports state the condemned land was located 1000 feet to 1.5 miles away from the landfill.SD15/Copper Hills is within 1000 feet of the landfill.
This property should not be aggressively developed and this project should be stopped.
Doesn’t this project include a Boys and Girls Club?
As the property is currently zoned for 61 homes only, with no commercial zoning, it is highly unlikely that there is any definite plan for any specific commercial tenant. I have seen real estate developers frequently make big promises to push through their projects.Often these promises are not kept and communities disappointed.
Real Estate Speculators Should Not Benefit at the Expense of Neighbors
This property was purchased by the developer, Steven A. Bieri, for only $48,755 per acre.That price reflects that this land is not suitable for intensive development.Now, these real estate speculators want to benefit themselves at the expense of the San Elijo Hills, Harmony Grove and Elfin Forest communities.
We can build a better world for our families and children by speaking up because every voice matters in local politics.The more public input, using different communications methods, the greater the likelihood that we can preserve the community:
Oppose this in person at the Board of Supervisors Meeting on September 12, 2018 at County Administration Center (CAC), Room 310 (Board Chambers), 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego;