Category Archives: San Marcos News

4th of July Fireworks

Dear Resident of San Elijo Hills:

Please be advised the City of San Marcos has canceled the annual fireworks show and will be closing Double Peak Park at 5:00 PM on July 4th, 2020. We encourage residents to make other accommodations in order to watch any local fireworks. Residents can visit https://fox5sandiego.com/news/big-bay-boom/where-to-watch-fireworks-this-year-in-san-diego/ to locate alternative places to view fireworks, which include the City of Vista.

Please contact the City of San Marcos Parks Department at (760) 744-9000 ext. 3500 if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you,
San Elijo Hills Community Association-HOA Management

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**Since 2006 SanElijoLife.com provides community news, photos, videos, and a directory of resources for residents of San Elijo Hills. The site is independent of the developer and the HOA and is run by local homeowners.

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A COVID Education

COVID-19 certainly surprised us all. As public health mandates were implemented and businesses responded, it became clear that no industry was safe from COVID – even the ones we traditionally think of as “recession proof.” Instead, many organizations had to adapt quickly (very quickly) to ever evolving protocols because, pandemic or no pandemic, people needed them.

Educational institutions in San Marcos did just that.

San Marcos is a hub of education with eight institutions of higher learning, so when COVID-19 impacted campuses mid-semester, our educational leaders had to adjust quickly. California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) and Palomar College, for example, both pivoted to online learning offerings in a just few days, which is no small feat considering the adjustments necessary to evolve experiential classes (laboratories, student teaching, art studios, internships, performances, community engagement, group projects, etc.) to an online setting.

“We were able to transition to distance learning in four days,” said CSUSM President Dr. Ellen Neufeldt. “So much credit needs to go to our faculty and staff for adapting so proficiently. Of course, some classes were easier than others, but I am really proud of how quickly we were able to respond to the realities of COVID-19 and maintain our level of student support.”

Similarly, Palomar College’s acting Superintendent/President Dr. Jack Kahn remarked at how the challenge of transitioning to distance learning provided some collateral benefits that can be applied to future semesters. “We have seen several instances of improved practices, innovations and collaborations across the campus,” said Dr. Kahn. “We have also provided an incredible amount of professional development to faculty and staff over the last months which has also helped us prepare [for future semesters].”

Both institutions strongly emphasized their commitment to fostering continued student success efforts, even with new dynamics resulting from online courses, and they see a potential for online education to reach new students in the future.

“As faculty are learning more and getting excited about opportunities we believe there will be more online options in the schedule in the future,” continued Dr. Kahn. “By increasing these options, we will increase access to education, especially for our students who typically hold down one or more jobs in order to make a living in San Diego County.”

Dr. Neufeldt echoed the value of blending online with in-person pedagogy and noted the need for “innovation for all.” “We stand ready to serve and support our students find a sense of community during COVID,” said Dr. Neufeldt. “Our campus has been committed to serving the needs of our community since the beginning, and the adjustments we’ve made in response to COVID are inspiring us to innovate our way forward.”

As public health restrictions are rolled back, CSUSM and Palomar College are looking forward to striking the appropriate balance between online and in-person learning to the benefit of students and the greater San Marcos community.

“By opening up access to education through our online delivery, many residents will find they are able to attend college while continuing to work in their current fields, raise a family, and continue to meet their obligations while improving their marketability through advancing their education,” said Dr. Kahn.

Cal State San Marcos also appreciates that by exploring new methods for making courses accessible remotely, it can strengthen its ability to provide a multitude of learning modalities that could potentially reach non-traditional students who are not recent high school graduates.

Planning for the fall semester is well underway and both institutions are currently offering robust online summer sessions with full enrollment numbers.

As COVID relief efforts continue and businesses reopen, San Marcos’ higher education leaders offer a reminder that they are here to serve the business community. “We always invite businesses to be our partners, so we can best serve our students and the City of San Marcos,” said Dr. Neufeldt. “We’re here to support our community now and beyond COVID.”

SAN MARCOS FARMERS MARKET NEW LOCATION – NEW VENUE

The San Marcos Certified Farmers Market re-establishes operations on Tuesday, June 30, in a new location and new venue – North City San Marcos. 

The beautiful open-air Market will feature a collection of amazing vendors offering local fresh fruits & vegetables, baked goods, fresh-cut flowers, local honey, bread, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, yogurt, Kombucha, artisan packaged foods, and specialty prepared hot foods. We are excited to announce that J.R. Organics Farm will be joining the lineup with a wide arrangement of fresh, nutritious, organic produce. 

The market will serve the community year-round, Tuesdays, 3 PM to 7 PM, spring and summer, and  3 PM – 6 PM, fall, and winter. The new North City location is conveniently located at 251 North City Drive, off Hwy 78, and Twin Oaks Valley Road. 

To maintain social distancing protocol and follow County health guidelines, the market will be monitoring the number of people allowed inside the market at one time and monitoring to make sure that shoppers adhere to social distancing rules. Facial coverings required. We will be the safest, tastiest grocery shopping in town!

The San Marcos Farmers Market is proud to support local farmers and small businesses.

For more information please contact San Marcos Chamber of Commerce Event Director Melanie Jamil 760-744-1270 or melanie@sanmarcoschamber.com

COVID-19 Update from The City of San Marcos: Public Counters and Parks & Recreation

Cities in San Diego County have been granted permission to start slowly reopening businesses, parks and a variety of other services. In response, the City of San Marcos is making the following updates:

Public Counters

  • Public counters at City Hall and Public Works will reopen on Monday, June 1. Hours will be Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Public health and safety measures will be in place.
  • In addition, residents can continue to take advantage of our “Virtual City Hall” by engaging with the City online, and via phone, email and the San Marcos City App. Visit www.san-marcos.net/covid19 to learn more about the wide variety of services that are available online.

Parks & Recreation

  • All City parks and parking lots will reopen on Monday, June 1, at 9 a.m.
  • Dog parks will also reopen Monday.
  • Pickleball and tennis courts will reopen on Wednesday, June 3. The County is allowing play at these courts if used by members of a household or others who can maintain social distance. Please check in with the facility attendant to be assigned a court and follow the rules that are posted at each court. You can view the rules for each court at www.san-marcos.net/courts.
  • Athletic fields will open, but no organized sport play or games will be allowed.
  • Playgrounds, skate parks, restrooms, splash pads, basketball courts and volleyball courts will remain closed.
  • The Corky Smith Gymnasium and the Senior Activity Center (SAC) will remain closed. For information about the senior nutrition program, call (760) 744-5535.
  • You may go outside for exercise if you can keep six feet away from people who are not members of your household.
  • Park visitors are allowed to sit, lie down, and picnic if they practice social distancing.
  • Please avoid groups and crowded outdoor spaces.

Health and Safety Guidelines

  • All State and County public health-related measures will remain in effect at all City facilities and parks.
  • Please maintain six feet of social distance and wear a face covering when you come within six feet of anyone outside your household.
  • You can learn more about all of the guidelines in place at www.coronavirus-sd.com.

Thank You

As always, the health and safety of the San Marcos community is our top priority. We appreciate your continued efforts to protect yourself and others in our community by making smart, safe choices during this time.

City of San Marcos eases rules to allow businesses to temporarily expand outdoor uses

Some restaurant, retail and other activities now allowed in parking lots, sidewalk patios.

The City of San Marcos is here to support businesses through COVID-19 as they gradually reopen under the State’s orders.

With new social distancing requirements, many businesses want to move some activities outdoors. In response, the City has temporarily changed our rules regarding outdoor uses and is now allowing restaurants, retail and other activities in parking lots, as well as sidewalk patios in some cases. This can be done with a fast, easy, no-cost permit process.

We’ve also changed our regulations to allow some signage without permits and an array of additional changes to help businesses and community organizations.

The temporary modifications to the San Marcos Municipal Code include:

  • Drive-thru or Designated Curbside Pickup: Temporary Outdoor Business Permit Required. Businesses will be allowed to designate their customer parking spaces for curbside pickup. This will be permitted in commercial centers and other locations provided that businesses work with neighbors and property management companies to minimize conflicts. ADA stalls and fire lanes may not be used for this purpose. The City may require operational changes or disallow drive-thru or curbside pickup based on complaints and/ or traffic or other health/safety or applicable regulatory compliance issues. The number of spaces used would be decided by the business owner in terms what works for their business provided it does not exceed the number spaces allocated for their suite.
  • Signage: No permit required for on-site temporary banner signs of prescribed sizes. No new permanent signage or off-site signage is permitted. Business owners must coordinate with property management regarding site specific sign restrictions.
  • Outdoor Dining: Outdoor dining will be permitted in various locations provided that ADA access, ingress/egress requirements and other health and safety requirements can be met and that existing occupancy is not exceeded.
    • Public right of way or private sidewalks. Special Event Permits and other permits may be required (Right of Way, Encroachment, Traffic Control).This applies only in University District/ North City and along non-arterial roads only. This may include street closures with appropriate plans and permits.
    • Private parking lots. Temporary Outdoor Business Permit Required. Applicable to certain location types with required timeframes to be determined (i.e., sites with shared uses such as breweries in industrial areas may have staggered hours to avoid conflicts). Individual approvals required. Other permits may be required in some cases (Special Event Permit, Right of Way, Encroachment, Traffic Control).
  • To-go and On-Site Outdoor Consumption of Alcohol: Allows for consistency with the Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) Notices that provide that bona fide eating places (i.e. restaurants) selling beer, wine and pre-mixed drinks or cocktails for consumption on the premises pursuant to an ABC license, may sell alcohol for off premise consumption in conjunction with meals prepared for pickup or delivery. These businesses may also allow on-site outdoor alcohol consumption with appropriate permits as outlined above (see “outdoor dining”). This modification is effective only for the duration of the ABC notices.
  • Personal Services (Instructional/ Fitness): Temporary Outdoor Business Permit Required. When public health orders permit such uses, would allow for instructional/fitness facilities to deviate from their Conditional Use Permit or Director’s Permit conditions and allow for outdoor activities on site in a parking lot or other open area. Allows for indoor activities provided safe reopening and any other safety requirements are followed.
  • Retail Businesses: Temporary Outdoor Business Permit Required. Allows for all retail sales businesses to open with interior sales under safe reopening plans. Allow for curbside pickup if desired by business. Also allows businesses to designate their customer parking spaces for curbside pickup. The number of spaces would be decided by business owner in terms what works for their business, provided it does not exceed the number spaces allocated for their suite. Allows for outdoor sales in parking lot if desired by business.
  • Home Occupation: Temporary Outdoor Business Permit Required. Allows for on-site customers, employees, and stock in trade on site at home occupations.
  • Group Assembly: Temporary Outdoor Business Permit Required. When public health orders permit such uses, would allow for assemblies in and outdoors in various locations provided that ADA access, ingress/egress requirements and other health and safety requirements can be met. Requires individual plan approval. Other permits may be required (Special Event Permit, Right of Way, Encroachment, Traffic Control).
  • Retail Expansion in Industrial Buildings: No permit required. Allows for an expansion of retail uses from 10% up to 50% of building square footage within buildings or on sites zoned as Industrial. Retail sales must be for the sale of a product(s) produced on site.

These provisions apply throughout the Stay at Home order. They are only applicable as allowed under the State or County public health orders in effect at the time.

Learn more

For more information, contact Economic Development Director Tess Sangster at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3120 or tsangster@san-marcos.net.

Stay informed

Visit the City’s COVID-19 Response webpage for information about City’s response to COVID-19 at www.san-marcos.net/covid19.

Discover Our Recovery Business Safety Promise

At the City of San Marcos, the health and safety of our community is our top priority. The COVID-19 crisis is impacting everyone in San Marcos, including our local businesses that are currently open or preparing to reopen when public health guidelines allow.
The City is happy to support and assist with the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce’s Discover Our Recovery Business Safety Promise. The Chamber’s program is designed to help business owners communicate their commitment to following all public health orders and guidelines from the State of California, the County of San Diego, the City of San Marcos and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help protect their employees, customers and the community.
Business owners that make the Discover Our Recovery Business Safety Promise below can display the decal in their windows to let customers know that the businesses has committed to take all the County’s recommended precautions to help provide a safe environment.
Let’s help our community move forward safely together.

Make the Promise and Download the Toolkit

You can learn more about the program, make the Promise and download a multimedia toolkit on the Chamber’s website here. By downloading the toolkit and/or using the graphics, you are promising to follow the guidelines.
Window decals for businesses that make the Promise will be available soon! Please stay tuned for details.

Stay Updated

For the most up-to-date information, please visit the City’s COVID-19 Response webpage: www.san-marcos.net/covid19.

San Marcos extends temporary eviction moratorium to protect tenants impacted by COVID-19

On May 12, the San Marcos City Council voted to extend the City’s temporary eviction moratorium to June 30, 2020. The moratorium was initially enacted as an urgency measure on March 24, 2020, to protect residential and commercial tenants from the possibility of eviction by reason of financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and imposed a temporary moratorium against such evictions.

The time period within which tenants need to provide written notice to their landlord that they have experienced a substantial decrease in their household or business income, or have experienced substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, due to COVID-19 has been shortened to 7 days from the previous 30 day notice period, to be consistent with Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-37-20.

For Tenants

If there has been a substantial decrease in your household or business income caused by layoffs or significantly reduced hours, or if you have incurred substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, and if the decrease in income and/or the medical expenses were caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Council’s action temporarily prohibits your landlord from filing or pursuing an eviction action.

This does not mean that you do not owe the rent to your landlord – it means that the rent will be deferred until after June 30, 2020. If your rental agreement provides for a late payment fee, that fee will still be owed to the landlord if you defer your rent payment.

What should you do if you are in this situation? For those tenants taking action from and after May 12, within 7 days after the date rent is due, NOTIFY YOUR LANDLORD IN WRITING that you have suffered a substantial decrease in your household or your business income (whichever is applicable), and provide your landlord with documents that show your substantial decrease in income is due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Try to negotiate a mutually acceptable repayment period, and retain copies of the notice, your documentation of the COVID-19 cause of your financial circumstances, and all communications with your landlord. If your landlord has initiated or threatened such an action during the moratorium period, and you can show that your inability to pay rent was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, please go to the City of San Marcos website (www.san-marcos.net) and click on the “Report A Concern” button, or select “Departments” and then “City Attorney,” and email the City Attorney from a link on that page. Your claim will be investigated and, if found to be substantiated, action will be taken against your landlord.

For Landlords

If you receive timely notice from a tenant that they have experienced a substantial decrease in their household or business income caused by layoffs or significantly reduced hours, or if they have incurred substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, and if the substantial decrease in income and/or the medical expenses were caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Council’s action prohibits you from filing or pursuing an eviction action against that tenant until after June 30, 2020.

This does not mean that the rent is not owed to you – it means that the rent will be deferred until after June 30, 2020. If your rental agreement provides for a late payment fee, that fee will still be owed to you if your tenant defers their rent payment.

If your tenant provides you with notice within 7 days of the date their rent is due that they have suffered a substantial decrease in their household or their business income (whichever is applicable), and provide you with documents that show a substantial decrease in income is due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you are PRECLUDED from initiating or pursuing an eviction action against that tenant until after June 30, 2020.

If the City learns that you have initiated such an eviction action and it is substantiated on review, you will be subjected to an enforcement action which will include the imposition of fines and orders. Please avoid this situation and work proactively with your tenants; in these difficult times it is important to work together to come to a mutually acceptable alternative payment schedule. If you have any questions, please go to the City of San Marcos website (www.san-marcos.net) and select “Departments” and then “City Attorney,” and email or call the City Attorney with the information provided on that page.

Women-Owned Businesses Make Their Mark in San Marcos

Pictured: Goverre founders Regan Kelaher and Shannon Zappala launched their successful portable wine glass company in San Marcos where they’re part of a thriving group of female entrepreneurs.

Being an entrepreneur is not easy. Dedication and determination are a must, and a supportive network of investors, customers, peers and family certainly helps, too. In San Marcos, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, and in a certain corner of the City – La Costa Meadows to be exact – there is a cluster of women business owners who are trailblazing their way to success.

In honor of Economic Development Week, May 4-9, we’re highlighting five of these dynamic female founders.

“The San Marcos area is a really well-kept secret. It’s a great place to manage your overhead, and we are close to everything we need to manage our business,” said Kerri Leslie of Verity, a sustainable packing company, and Noniko, a clean beauty company. “Our location in particular is a buzzing entrepreneur community. It’s a different energy, and it’s fun to be a part of that.”

Verity and Noniko are not alone. Women-owned businesses, including Boobie Brands, Goverre, and Wander & Perch, also chose to open up shop in San Marcos. They are founded by women, and each advances a unique facet of wellness and responsible, healthy living. Inspired by their own experiences and expertise, these business owners are addressing market needs while advancing their personal passions.

Leslie’s background in the medical device industry was the perfect primer for creating Verity because she was familiar with how to bring products made from metal from concept to market.  She also has a lot of experience working with durable materials that can be sterilized and reused like stainless steel, and highly recyclable materials like aluminum. Being in San Diego, and centrally located in San Marcos particularly, helps her tap into a pool of likeminded talent who share her commitment to reducing single-use plastics.

“Our location makes it easy to recruit talent,” said Leslie. “We live in a community and focus our business in Southern California because people here care about ridding our oceans of plastic.” She continued, “We find it starts on a personal level for our community. Our employees, customers, and wholesale partners really care about the issue.”

Wendy Colson, founder of Boobie Brands and the Boobie Bar that started it all, wanted to help her lactation patients get the nutrition they needed without the hassle of teas and multidose supplements.

“Boobie Brands focuses on making women, specifically mothers, healthier. The fact that we are a woman-owned business is important in the marketplace,” said Colson. “I started helping my lactation patients by baking nutrition bars packed with the herbs and vitamins moms need. Using my experience as a nurse and lactation consultant, I’ve been able to grow the business by identifying new ways to assist moms in finding nourishing and convenient products.”

Colson has three distribution warehouses in San Marcos to meet the demand of retailers like Target, Buy Buy Baby and Walmart. When asked about the value of these locations, Colson replied, “I think the vibe in San Diego County, including San Marcos, is so rich in embracing the entrepreneur. It’s perfect because there are so many of us, especially in our complex. You get inspired by the community around you. We have one of the best business vibes.”

Like Boobie Brands, Goverre was founded by Shannon Zappala and Regan Kelaher when they noticed a market gap they wanted filled – along with a nice glass of wine on the go. They were the first to create a portable wine glass made of actual glass. Based on their research, drinking wine from a glass container is preferred by most wine enthusiasts (including Zappala and Kelaher!), and is far better for the environment than plastic. But unprotected glass is not particularly ideal for an outdoor lifestyle, so they invented a new type of glassware – thicker with a silicon sleeve and lid.

“After having success on Shark Tank, we realized we had to change our mindset from ‘what if we fail’ to ‘what if we succeed,’ and that has really shifted how we approach our business,” said Zappala. Kelaher says their dual roles as working moms help their business perspective, too. “As business owners, we have to balance everything and handle the unexpected. As moms, we’re already good at that.”

Eileen Zimmerman of Wander & Perch was inspired to create her line of eco-friendly waterproof travel tote bags after living in San Francisco and Encinitas. After experiencing the start-up culture in the Bay Area and the healthy living ethos of coastal San Diego, Zimmerman could not find a stylish waterproof bag for transporting her wet post-beach and workout gear, so she created one herself.

“I take a lot of pride in how much I do locally,” Zimmerman said when asked about how her location in San Marcos benefits her business. “We manufacture our products in San Diego County, and I try to employee San Diego county people. It can be hard to make sustainable choices, in the materials you source and keeping your product ‘local,’ but I think customers reward companies who make the right decisions.”

Zimmerman noted that the community this group of female entrepreneurs has created in San Marcos feels special and unique. “There is a level of support for one another,” Zimmerman said. “We are all local, and we are all connected to our community. It’s a rarity.”

If you would like to join this community of businesses in San Marcos, contact Tess Sangster, economic development director for the City of San Marcos at tsangster@san-marcos.net or (760) 744-1050, ext. 3120.

San Marcos Fire Department Achieves Class 1 Public Protection Classification Rating

The distinction places SMFD among the top fire departments in the nation.

The City of San Marcos Fire Department (SMFD) has achieved a Class 1 Public Protection Classification rating, the highest level of recognition available from the Insurance Service Organization (ISO). The top rating places SMFD among the ranks of only 37 fire departments in California and 348 nationwide that have earned the distinction.

The ISO ratings are designed to evaluate a fire department’s ability to protect local communities. Cities use the data to help measure the effectiveness of their fire-protection services, and insurance companies use it when establishing premiums for fire insurance. A Class 1 rating generally represents superior property fire protection and can lower the price of insurance within a community.

The Class 1 ranking reflects the City’s commitment to public safety, along with the shared effort and responsibility among the fire department, local leaders, business owners and residents.

“This achievement represents years of ingrained systems and processes, along with the accountability of programs and personnel,” said San Marcos Fire Chief Daniel Barron. “It also reflects SMFD’s steadfast adherence to the City’s core values and our commitment to protecting life and property and serving the community.”

How Fire Departments Are Evaluated

A Fire Department’s capabilities are evaluated using nationally accepted standards developed by organizations including as the National Fire Protection Association, the American Water Works Association and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International.

Four key areas of a community’s fire suppression capabilities are evaluated, including:

  • The fire department
  • Emergency communications (911 call center)
  • Water supply
  • Community risk reduction, including community efforts to reduce losses through fire

    prevention, public fire safety education and fire investigation Additional evaluation elements include:

  • Response capabilities (deployment analysis), which includes adequate staffing of fire service personnel on engine crews and ladder companies
  • Fire station distribution (location and coverage)
  • Appropriate apparatus and equipment
  • Training of all personnel
  • Water supply throughout the city
  • Organizational structure
  • Communications and call procedures
  • Building/Fire Prevention Codes and their enforcement

    About the San Marcos Fire Department

    The mission of the San Marcos Fire Department is to provide the highest level of customer service by protecting life, property and the environment, through the delivery of innovative, fiscally responsible and ethical emergency services in our community. For more information, visit www.san-marcos.net/smfd.

San Marcos named 25th safest city in California The City earns a spot on 2020 Safest Cities report

The City earns a spot on 2020 Safest Cities report.

The City of San Marcos was ranked #25 in SafeWise’s sixth annual Safest Cities in California report.

The comprehensive safety report was created using FBI crime
statistics and U.S. Census population data to rank the safest
cities in each state and across the country. According to
SafeWise, the rankings are based on violent and property crime
numbers, including the number of reported violent crimes
(aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) in each city and
the number of reported property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft).

“The City of San Marcos has committed to investing in the necessary resources to keep our community safe, and this report reflects that commitment,” said City Manager Jack Griffin. “Keeping San Marcos safe takes hard work from everyone in our community. We especially appreciate the dedication of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department San Marcos station.”

In addition, the latest data from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) released in November revealed that San Marcos has some of the lowest crime rates among the 18 incorporated cities in San Diego County.

When compared to the county’s incorporated cities, San Marcos had the lowest overall property crime rate, which includes non-violent crimes such as burglaries, auto thefts and vandalism. San Marcos also had the second lowest overall crime rate, which includes all violent and nonviolent crimes. To learn more, visit www.san-marcos.net/Home/Components/News/News/5019/.

You can read the full SafeWise report at www.safewise.com/blog/safest-cities-california.

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