Category Archives: City of San Marcos

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.

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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.

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.

Stay Active with Virtual Recreation from The City of San Marcos

At the City of San Marcos, we appreciate everything our residents are doing to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We also understand that staying indoors can be tough, especially with beautiful spring sunshine peeking through the clouds.

The health and safety of our community is our top priority, and it is more important than ever for us to stay engaged, active and connected.

That’s why we created a virtual recreation page and virtual recreation video series to bring some fun into your home and help kids and adults beat boredom and stay physically and mentally healthy.

Head over to www.san-marcos.net/virtualrec and connect with us on the City’s Parks and Recreation Facebook group, along with our Twitter and Instagram channels, to join in the fun. You can find the entire Virtual Recreation Playlist on our YouTube channel.

We designed these resources to provide information and support to help our residents achieve their health, wellness, and educational goals through this unprecedented time. We are all in this together. Stay healthy and strong, San Marcos!

For more information about the City’s response to COVID-19, visit. www.san-marcos.net/covid19.

COVID-19 Update: City and Recreational Facility Closure Information

The following City facilities, parks and amenities are closed until further notice. Trails are currently open. As the situation changes or persons don’t observe the social distancing requirements, more aspects of our parks may close. Please use caution and maintain social distancing of at least six feet.

  • All public counters
  • Basketball courts
  • Community Center
  • Corky Smith Gymnasium
  • Dog parks
  • Double Peak Park
  • Lakeview Park
  • Las Posas and Woodland Pools
  • Park restrooms
  • Pickleball courts
  • Playgrounds
  • Ridgeline Park
  • Senior Activity Center (SAC). For information about the senior nutrition program, call (760) 744-5535.
  • Skate parks
  • Splashpads
  • Sunset Park
  • Tennis courts
For questions, concerns or to report issues related to City of San Marcos parks, please call the City of San Marcos Park Ranger Hotline at (760) 744-9494, ext. 3707.
For the most up-to-date information, please visit the City’s COVID-19 Response webpage: www.san-marcos.net/covid19.

City of San Marcos enacts temporary eviction moratorium to assist residential and commercial tenants impacted by COVID-19

San Marcos, CA – On March 24, 2020, the San Marcos City Council took action to protect residential and commercial tenants from the possibility of eviction by reason of financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and approved a temporary moratorium against such evictions.

Here’s what that means for tenants and landlords:

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 May 31, 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? Within 30 days of your rent being 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.

If your landlord has initiated or threatened such an action, 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 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 May 31, 2020.

This does not mean that the rent is not owed to you – it means that the rent will be deferred until after May 31, 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 30 days of their rent being 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.

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.

City of San Marcos launches Business Sustainability Program in response to COVID-19

Up to $3,000,000 of the City’s General Fund Reserves will be set aside for short-term business loans

At the City of San Marcos, the health and safety of our community is our top priority. We are working around the clock to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and address the needs of our residents.

The City also recognizes the significant negative impacts of the COVID-19 emergency situation on our local business community, particularly our small and independent local businesses. Many of the owners and employees of these businesses live and work right here in San Marcos.

At its March 24 meeting, the San Marcos City Council approved the City of San Marcos COVID-19 Business Sustainability Program. The program will set aside up to $3,000,000 of the City’s General Fund Reserves for short-term business loans.

The program will offer loans ranging in size up to $50,000, with fixed interest rates ranging from 0% to 3% based on the amount and duration of the term. Priority will be given to businesses with 10 or more employees for loans between $25,000 to $50,000.

“The COVID-19 emergency will undoubtedly have negative budgetary impacts on the City itself, and we will need to find ways to address them,” said City Manager Jack Griffin. “At the same time, we fully recognize the need to maintain a diverse and fiscally sound business community.”

Griffin added that, through decades of sound fiscal management, along with an entrepreneurial and business-friendly operational style, the City has developed and maintained reserves that can be used to carry the community through emergencies and economically stressful times.

Loan applications will be prioritized based on numerous factors, and applicants will be divided into three tiers based on the type of business and the extent their business has been affected by government mandates and public health guidelines related to COVID-19.

“Even in difficult times for the City, we believe that the right thing to do for our businesses and citizens is to invest in our businesses so that as many of them as possible can exit this emergency in as close a fiscal condition as when it started,” said Economic Development Director Tess Sangster.

All loan applications must be received prior to the City’s official declaration of the end of a local emergency due to COVID-19 or the expenditure of the $3,000,000 allocated to this Program, whichever occurs first.

For detailed information or to apply for the program, please visit www.san- marcos.net/businesssustainability or email Economic Development Director Tess Sangster at tsangster@san-marcos.net.

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