ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • Two Façade and Property Improvement projects were completed earlier this month:  A chiropractic office located at 556-560 South Escondido Boulevard received a grant in the amount of $6,000, and a fast food restaurant located at 1707 East Valley Parkway received a grant in the amount of $14,000. Combined, these properties invested over $85,000 in their projects overall. Both are major improvements to their previous exteriors and to two important business corridors in the City.
  • Registration has been strong for the Small Business Seminar and Expo scheduled for March 7, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.  Approximately 236 have already registered with still more than a week to go.
  • The annual Cougar Classic High School girls softball tournament is from March 4 to March 8, with Bracket play on March 9 and 11.  This is a very large High School tournament played at Kit Carson Park on the EGSL fields.  There will be 40 High School teams competing from all over San Diego County.  Please note that parking will be limited with all of the teams, school buses, and normal activities at the park during these time frames.   Games will be on all four fields starting at 3:00 pm and finishing by 9:30 pm Monday through Friday.  Saturday games are scheduled from 9:00am to 5:00pm.  Monday the 11 games are scheduled from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

Planning:

  • On 2/26/13, the Planning Commission considered the proposed municipal code amendment to allow mobile food trucks on a limited basis. The commission was supportive of the amendment and, based on testimony from food truck businesses, felt the ordinance should be broadened to allow “route truck” businesses to operate in the City. Route trucks go to construction sites and other locations by invitation on a regular circuit, and stay for a short period (typically 15 minutes) to serve employees in areas where no other food service is readily available.
  • Staff continues to receive numerous calls from Escondido Country Club residents concerned about the proposed redevelopment of the property. Staff has asked the developer’s consultant to provide documentation supporting their assertion that the property has development potential. No formal application has been received however staff is developing a mailing list for future communication.

Housing:

Escrow closed on the sale of three of the six mobile home lots in the Mountain Shadows and Escondido Views Mobile home parks.

Building:

The Building Official was called out on Saturday to conduct a post-damage assessment at 1225 E. Pennsylvania Avenue. The three-story building operates as a residential care facility for mentally disabled individuals. One of the clients damaged a fire sprinkler, injuring herself and causing extreme flooding of the second floor. The building was evacuated and the clients have been temporarily relocated. Restoration work is underway. Building Official Tim Draper and Deputy Fire Marshal Mari Hill are commended for their responsiveness to this emergency.

CAPITAL PROJECTS

Maple Street Award

The Maple Street Pedestrian Plaza project has been selected by Walk San Diego for a 2013 Golden Footprint award for Pedestrian Placemaking.  The award will be presented to the City of Escondido and the project Architect, Schmidt Design Group, at the 2013 Gala to be held on April 4 at the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.

Benton Burn Site Remediation:

The site construction is complete. The contractor is scheduling a paving contractor to make repairs to the private street affected by the construction staging area.

Oak Hill Street and Modular Site Improvements:

Preparation of the roadway subgrade is continuing along the Oak Hill frontage. The contractor is planning on installing the concrete curb and gutter by weeks end.

Dos Cabazos Retaining Wall Project:

The wall is complete with the contractor installing the steel fence posts along the back of wall. The project is set for completion on next Wednesday.

Private Development

Wal-Mart:

Construction of the building is progressing with the exporting of dirt continuing.

Mission Avenue 69 KV Electrical Line:

The three underground crews are continuing with the installation of the conduit package along the designed route. Crew 1 is in front of Mission Grove Park at Ash Street and Mission Avenue. Crew 2 is crossing Escondido Boulevard in front of Holiday Wine Cellars. Crew 3 is crossing Alvarado Drive in front of Lowes Home Center. There is no word on the two redesigned sections holding up the final cable installation. The last week’s rains postponed the finishing paving contractor from starting this past week. This item will be discussed at the Wednesday safety meeting.

Broadway & 8th Avenue

No activity to report.

Adopt a Lot @ Grand Avenue and Juniper Street:

The installation of the remaining landscaping wall is being installed this week along the interior portion of the project.  

PUBLIC SAFETY

Police:

The Department of Motor Vehicles Investigations Division and EPD Traffic Division had a meeting last week (DMV investigators are recognized as peace officers).  The DMV requested help on Saturday, February 23, with a Cars Parked for Sale Sting Operation.  Lt. Albergo assigned an EPD liaison for the DMV staff to help them identify areas of Escondido frequently used to sell cars- areas that are not recognized as legitimate car dealerships.   The DMV investigated about a dozen locations where cars were parked for sale.  They posed as potential buyers and found some of the sellers were legitimate; however, that was not the case with every person contacted.  DMV issued two citations to people that were identified as having multiple cars and operating as a car dealer. DMV is interested in continuing these operations periodically.

Grape Day Park/Downtown Task Force

The Police Department continues its enforcement details several times a day in the park and surrounding areas.  Since the start of the increased focus, the police department has conducted 457 extra patrols in the park,  97 field interviews, 58 citations and made 49 arrests. 

Captain Benton met with representatives of the La Mesa Police Department regarding their successes in their downtown area with similar problems.  Many of the same strategies are being employed in La Mesa as in Grape Day Park area to deter the same issues. 

Police officers continue their enforcement efforts in the park but focus primarily on the Signature Pavilion, Maple Plaza and CCAE due to recent increase in activity by the Juggalos.  Patrol officers did make another two arrests near the  Maple Street Plaza for narcotics violations and one by Signature Pavilion for a warrant subject. 

Maple Plaza - The installation of the no smoking signage has helped displace some of the problems that were happening in the plaza as well as decreasing the amount of trash and litter associated with smoking.  However the plaza continues to be tagged with graffiti.  Officers continue to focus on the area until the cameras are installed.

Signature Pavilion -  Eddie Goldberg, the property manager reported that he has checked the property several times the last couple weeks and have found no “sleepers” or graffiti on the property.  He spoke again to security about enforcing the no smoking, skateboarding and bicycling at the plaza area, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights.  He will be meeting again with security regarding these complaints from his tenants and continues to work toward installing the cameras in the plaza shortly. 

CCAE-  Reported no graffiti or vandalism since the last meeting.  No trespassing and no smoking signage was installed in the Rose Garden area which was frequented by the Juggalos and homeless. 

Classical Academy- Dana Moen, the principal of Classical Academy has noticed an increase of possible gang types walking by their campus on Woodward.  The likely result of these persons no longer cutting through CCAE or Grape Day due to the increased focus.  The bike officers will continue to monitor Woodward as well as the other areas around Grape Day.

Boys and Girls Club/ Children’s Museum/ of Classical Academy and Boys and Girls Club reported no problems. 

Theresa Collins, City Special Events Coordinator, continues to work on Amgen and incorporating Grape Day as one of the focal areas for these events. 

The next Task Force meeting will be Tuesday March 5, 2013. 

Fire:

The first group of 12 non-safety paramedics started work with the City on Monday, February 25. They will spend their first week in an EMS Orientation Academy and then begin a 16 shift Paramedic Mentor Program. Each of the new paramedics will be assigned to a Firefighter Paramedic for their training. The paramedics will complete their mentorship during the week of April 15. After that time they will be assigned to Medic Ambulances at Fire Station 7 on Ash Street neat El Norte Pkwy.

On April 19, our 7th Fire Engine will go into service at Fire Station 6. This will allow us to provide a fire engine in each of the seven fire districts to better serve the community. The seven engines provide an all risk, all hazard capability to each district and will help the department better meet the Quality of Life Standards as outlined in the City’s General Plan. The next objective is to hire the second group of 12 non-safety paramedics to increase our ambulance transport capabilities as approved by Council in November, 2012. The second group of paramedics will begin their careers at the end of April.

LIBRARY UPDATE

Someone broke into the Technology Center on in the early hours of  Monday, February 25. They broke one of the small ground level windows allowing them access to the center.  A print release station was stolen valued at approximately $700. 

QUESTYS UPGRADE

The City Clerk’s Office has launched the new Questys CMx and LSx system.  The CMx component is used for scanning, storing and retrieval of permanent City documents.  The LSx component is used for the production, storage and retrieval of the Council Agenda packets.

In 2011, the Council approved funding an upgrade to Questys, the software that is used in scanning and storing permanent City documents. Staff members in all departments use Questys to search for historical documents and the Clerk’s Office, specifically, uses Questys for Public Records Requests and for agenda production.  The new software allows for a more technologically advanced method of agenda preparation, a more organized method of storing documents and the ability to retrieve these documents more quickly.