January 20, 2016


  • An iconic Escondido restaurant, Champions Family Restaurant, will close the end of this month after operating in Escondido for the last 44 years.  The owner, Annette Champion, has decided to retire.  More information about its closing can be found at http://escondidograpevine.com

  • Dine Out Escondido!
    Escondido’s Restaurant Week Offers Diverse Specials At 28 Local Eateries
    January 24 – 30, 2016

    Escondido is hosting its third annual “Dine Out Escondido!” culinary tourism program promoting 28 local restaurants. Ten restaurants are located around town, such as Vintana Wine + Dine and Cocina del Charro, and 18 restaurants are in the heart of historic downtown, walkable to art galleries, theatre, shopping and museums.

    In partnership with California Restaurant Month, Visit Escondido produces the successful annual Dine Out Escondido! Restaurant Week during the last week in January. “With 28 local eateries offering diverse specials, our restaurant week gives everyone a chance to visit their favorites and create delicious new experiences,” said Katherine Zimmer, Tourism and Marketing Administrator for the City of Escondido. And the timing is perfect, immediately following San Diego Restaurant Week.

    The culinary scene in Escondido has exploded with many new restaurant openings and nine new participants in this year’s Dine Out Escondido! program, including The Wooden Spoon, Cute Cakes, Burger Bench, Hacienda de Vega, and the newly opened Black Angus Steakhouse.

    For details of participating restaurants and their specials, go to VisitEscondido.com  

  • State Cup tournament season has arrived at Ryan Park!  This weekend Saturday, January 23rd and Sunday, January 24th is the first weekend of many exciting weekends for youth tournament soccer.  Ryan Park will be the host of teams and families from all over Southern California.  This weekend we will have teams in the boys and girls u9 & u10 divisions.  We can expect close to 2,000 families in the park over the weekend.  Teams have multiple games over the weekend and will be dining, shopping and lodging in the area.  


No major special events scheduled this weekend. 


On Feb. 8, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Congress Duncan Hunter will hold a Town Hall meeting in the Council Chambers.  



Major Projects Update:

  • John Paul the Great Catholic UniversityNo change from the following update reported last week: A Conditional Use Permit to expand the campus and student enrollment at 155 W. Grand Avenue was approved by the Planning Commission on December 8, 2015. The proposal includes improvements to the former H. Johnson Building at 131 S. Broadway for studio and classroom space, and the former bank at 200 W. Grand Avenue for administrative offices and a student resource center. The proposed expansion would also increase the student enrollment from 300 to 1,200 students over the next several years. Staff has confirmed the availability of water and sewer connections. 
  • Escondido Research Technology Center – A 72,000 square foot medical office building is proposed on the east side of Citracado Parkway across from Palomar Medical Center. Building plans have been submitted for plan check. Grading and landscaping plans are in plan check for approval. On November 4, 2015 the City Council approved a 10-year extension to the previously adopted Development Agreement for ERTC that involves 20 lots in ERTC owned by JRMC. 
  • Oak Creek (NUW)No change from the following update reported last week: This project is a 65-unit single family development located at the southeastern corner of Felicita Road and Hamilton Lane. The LAFCO Board unanimously approved the annexation on October 5, 2015. Staff has returned documents to LAFCO memorializing their action that included final paperwork to be completed prior to annexation recordation. 
  • Amanda Estates (NUW)No change from the following update reported last week: This project is a 22-unit single family development on Amanda Lane. The LAFCO Board approved the reorganization (annexation) at their meeting on August 3, 2015. Staff has returned documents to LAFCO memorializing their action that included final paperwork to be completed prior to annexation recordation. 
  • Centerpointe 78 CommercialNo change from the following update reported last week: This project is a 45,650 sq. ft. Supermarket and restaurant located at 925 N. Broadway. The project was approved by the Planning Commission on November 10, 2015. The project was approved by the City Council meeting on December 9, 2015 and filing fees were paid to the County for the EIR. 
  • Pradera – This project consists of a 70-unit single family development located at the northeastern corner of Ash Street and Lehner Avenue. Grading is underway. Staff is reviewing improvement plan and the final map submittals, as well as the precise grading plans and landscaping plans. Building Plans for three, two-story model homes have been completed and the units are currently under construction and are undergoing building inspections. A fourth single-story unit will be marketed with this development, but no model home for the single-story unit will be constructed. Conversations with the developer indicate the project will begin construction of production units in early 2016. 
  • Zenner – The project is a 40-unit single family development at the northeastern corner of Lehner Avenue and Vista Avenue. Staff received concept building elevations from the homebuilder, KB Homes, and conducted Design Review evaluations with comments forwarded back to the architect. The annexation was approved by LAFCO on Sept. 14, 2015, and has been recorded by the County Recorder’s Office. 
  • Stella Park Condominiums – The project is a 65-unit townhome Planned Development located at 2516 S. Escondido Blvd. The applicant has prepared draft CEQA documentation. Staff is reviewing information prior to completion of the Mitigated Negative Declaration. 
  • Wohlford – The project is a 55-unit single family development located on Bear Valley Parkway east of Encino Drive. Staff has reviewed revised submittals and technical reports from the applicant. A Specific Alignment Plan for Bear Valley Parkway detailing the roadway is under review. Staff concluded interviews with four consulting firms and has contacted the consultant selected for preparing the EIR who has submitted a draft scope of work. Tribal consultation meetings have been completed. 
  • Latitude II – The 112-unit multi-family development, located at the northeastern corner of Centre City Parkway and Mission Avenue, was approved by the City Council on August 19, 2015. A Final Subdivision Map has been submitted for review. Rough grading plans have been approved. Comments have been provided regarding the architectural plans that have been submitted for plan check. 
  • Canyon Grove Estates (Tract 932) – This project is a 179-lot single family residential development on the north side of Vista Avenue east of Conway Drive. Staff approved the substantial conformance determination for the revised tentative map and continues to coordinate with the applicant on the proposed grading plan. The applicant has concluded the mitigation credits at Daley Ranch, and pursuing acquisitions needed for offsite improvements. The project is in its third grading plan check review; all bods and fees have been posted. 
  • Safari HighlandsNo change from the following update reported last week: A 550-unit single family development located east of the Rancho San Pasqual community and north of the San Diego Safari Park. This project involves 1,100 acres including annexation and Sphere of Influence update for a master planned community with parks, trails, recreation center, fire station, open space, on-site sewer facility for treating a portion of the on-site wastewater for irrigation purposes. Planning and Engineering extensions of staff have been funded by the applicant and retained to assist the city in processing the project. Staff met with a representative of the Fish and Wildlife Department to discuss the project. Other outreach efforts have included City of San Diego, Safari Park representatives, public agencies and surrounding residents. A Request for Proposals was issued to solicit bids for the preparation of a consultant-prepared Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and submittals are due on January 8th. More information about this project is on line at: http://www.escondido.org/safari-highlands-ranch-specific-plan.aspx 
  • Felicita Development, LLC – This project is a 140-unit hotel, and a gas station or office/residential care facility at the southeast corner of Felicita Rd. and Gamble Lane. The applicant and staff met with the architect to discuss building elevations, 5-story height limitations and site design issues given the existing wetland constraints on the property. Additional technical analysis and coordination is needed to address traffic, biology, water and sewer service, geotechnical and storm water concerns, along with a market study for the proposed uses. The applicant has met with the wild life agencies and is responding to technical studies needed to complete the application. 
  • Escondido Disposal Inc. – The CUP modification to expand the existing facility was approved by the Planning Commission on August 25, 2015. The project has completed its post-approval plan check process. Staff has approved the grading and landscape plans. Demolition has commenced on a portion of the site where redevelopment will occur. Revised site plans have been submitted reflecting previously unknown constraints, which do not affect the approved CUP. The County has notified the City that the applicant has made their application to the State permitting agency. Staff has resolved storm drain issues involving the subject site and adjacent properties. 
  • Westfield TheaterNo change from the following update reported last week: This project is a 10-auditorium movie theater totaling 57,600 sq. ft. located on the north side Westfield Shoppingtown. The project was approved by the City Council on November 4, 2015. 
  • Paseo EscondidoNo change from the following update reported last week: This project is a mixed-use 122-unit multi-family planned development at the southwestern corner of Ash Street and Washington Ave. The proposed project consists of 26 one-bedroom and 96 two-bedroom apartments in three four-story buildings, and two 5,000 SF commercial buildings (10,000 SF total) oriented around an outdoor plaza. Additional submittals required to complete the application. 
  • High Pointe (Palos Vista Neighborhood 3) – No change from the following update reported last week: This project is a custom-home development with 39 estate lots accessed from Mesa Rock Road. Staff has prepared a bond and fee letter based on the proposed grading and landscape plans, and has sent it to the applicant. 
  • Springhill Suites – This project is a 105-suite hotel totaling 73,300 sq. ft. located at 300 La Terraza Drive involving 4 stories, a small conference room and an enlarged lobby for serving continental breakfast. The project has undergone two building plan checks for this planned development. A revised set of grading and landscaping plans were submitted involving the hotel site and the parking lot of the adjacent property for review, and department comments are being finalized. 
  • Del Prado (former Woody’s site) – This project is a 113-unit Planned Development located at the southwestern corner of Brotherton Road and the Centre City Parkway frontage road. The project includes a recreational facility, pool, and open space areas Staff has met with the applicant to address sewer and emergency access and engineering issues. A revised set of plans was submitted responding to staff comments. The Fire Department met with the applicant regarding emergency access. Staff is working with the applicant to develop street striping plans around the project’s frontages for ensuring safe traffic movement. 
  • BMW Dealership – A Precise Plan application to expand the existing dealership showroom an additional approximately 4,000 square feet and enhance the building façade at 1557 Auto Park Way was approved by the Planning Commission on October 13, 2015. A demolition permit to remove portions of the existing structure has been issues. Building plans have been submitted and are in plan check process. 
  • Solutions for Change – The project is a Planned Development application for 33 affordable multi-family units was approved by the Planning Commission on October 13, 2015, and by the City Council November 18, 2015. Building plans have been submitted for review and a comment letter is being prepared. Staff authorized payment of Housing Division funds for reimbursement of applicant’s consultant invoices. Staff met with the applicant to discuss engineering plan corrections. 
  • Escondido Auto Park AssociationNo change from the following update reported last week: The association is proposing to upgrade the existing electronic message sign along I-15. On September 23, 2015, the Economic Development Subcommittee considered a request by the association to enter into an agreement with the City for reimbursement of a portion of the cost of the upgraded sign and expressed support for a five-year agreement based on anticipated public benefit of additional sales tax revenue. Staff has confirmed with the applicant sign application and submittal process. 
  • 701 San Pasqual Valley RdNo change from the following update reported last week: A 19-unit single family development located at 1201 E. 5th Avenue (formerly Tract 898) on 7.2 acres. The application is under review and a letter detailing additional comments and submittal requirements was forwarded to the applicant. 
  • Ford-Hyundai Dealership Expansion – An expansion involving approximately 13,000 sq. ft. of showroom buildings and 6,700 sq. ft. wash/detail building at 1717-1919 Auto Park Way was approved by the Planning Commission on June 23, 2015. Grading plans and building plans have been submitted; staff anticipates building plans to be submitted in the next several weeks.

Building Division: 

  • The Building Department issued 67 permits for the week with a total valuation of $157,621. 
  • 19 photovoltaic permits were issued for the week. Building has issued 46 solar permits this year compared to 37 issued for the same time last year. 
  • Our building inspectors had a very busy week, averaging 41 inspections per day with 33 inspections on Friday. Counter contacts averaged 31 per day with 28 sign in’s on Friday. 11 inspections were held over on Friday due to low staffing levels. 
  • City Council approved an increase in the budget amount for outside plan review services. This increase was requested due to the necessity to have our in-house plan reviewer conduct field inspections due an increase in inspection request and low staffing levels. 
  • In addition to the expedited solar permitting now available, residential roof top solar projects that qualify to be expedited, can be accepted electronically through e-mail. More information is provided on the city’s website. 
  • The 76-unit condominium complex at 2412 S Escondido Blvd will be calling in for framing inspections this week for building #3. 
  • The new 24 Hr. fitness at the North County Mall is requesting rough framing inspection for their tenant improvement. 
  • The Pradera single family tract has submitted plans for their second phase of construction for 8 new single family dwelling production units. The 3 models are preparing for final inspection. 
  • The new Taco Bell restaurant and office building are now preparing for final inspection. 

Code Enforcement: 

  • As of January 18th, the total number of open code enforcement cases is 363 cases. During the prior week, 50 new cases were opened, and 50 cases were closed, with a backlog of an additional 13 cases not yet opened for assignment and investigation. 
  • There were 85 illegal signs confiscated during the weekend. Two Public Records Requests (PRRs) were processed, for a total of 3 PRRs processed during 2016 to date. 
  • Last week the Business License Division issued 56 new licenses and received 26 new applications in addition to 100 renewals. 


Storm Drain Inlet Filter Basket Project    
No change from the following update reported last week: A second Public Service Agreement was approved on November 30, 2015 for an additional 21 inlet filters to be installed within existing storm drain structures. The unit installations began on January 4, 2016 with a completion date set for January 22, 2016. The objective is to retain function and to allow ease of maintenance through the manhole opening. 

Kit Carson Park D-75 Concrete Ditch Stabilization
In December 2015 staff was notified of a failure of the concrete ditch that parallels the bike path between North County Fair and Kit Carson Park. A solution was designed and bids were solicited to local contractors through a Public Service Agreement contract, As part of the design process, the City was required to contact the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the application of a minor permit for work along this section of ditch has been processed. The City is awaiting confirmation. Once the bid is awarded the work will take approximately 2 weeks to perform, barring unforeseen weather which will also be considered prior to issuing a start date.   

Private Development 

Bear Valley Parkway between Boyle Avenue and San Pasqual Valley Road (County Project):
On-site storm drain construction along with roadway structural section is being constructed between Birch Avenue and Boyle Avenue. 

2412 South Escondido Boulevard:
No change from the following update reported last week: On-site construction of new homes is continuing this week. 

Pradera - Lennar Communities:
The retesting of water lines is continuing prior to connecting a new segment of the water main to the City’s infrastructure which likely will be scheduled for next week. 

Future Capital Improvements 

15/16 Street Maintenance Project:
Staff continues to trim the street list to fall within available project funds.  The City will be combining two annual projects into one to minimize delay between rehabilitation and surface sealing, and to eliminate the need for re-striping between projects.  The project is anticipated to go out to bid this Spring. 

Ease Valley Parkway/Valley Center Road Widening Project:
Draft Notice to Utility Owner letters to move/relocate conflicting utilities were approved by Caltrans.  Once SDG&E’s final design becomes available, these notices will be formalized and sent to AT&T, Cox Communications, and SDG&E requiring them to complete project-related work within the provided timeline.  Staff’s last correspondence with SDG&E was the week of 1/11 – 1/15/16 to provide information that would help finalize their plans.  Staff is seeking a date that the final plans will be completed. 

Grape Day Playground Equipment:
This project is out to bid.  A pre-bid meeting for the project was held on January 20th, and bids will be opened on January 28th.  Staff will be seeking City Council approval to authorize award of the project at the February 10th meeting.  This project is funded by a Housing-Related Park Grant. 

Washington Park Pool Re-surfacing:
Bids were opened on 1/7/16.  The contractor determined to be the low bidder was under $100k, so only City Manager approval is required to award the contract.  Staff is working with the contractor to submit required contract documentation toward an executed contract.  Work is anticipated to start in mid to late February and last for six weeks.  This project is funded by a Housing-Related Park Grant. 



  • On 01/17/16 officers responded to a call of a subject standing on the Highway 78 and Centre City Pkwy overpass who “looked depressed.”  Lt. Owens and Officer Craig responded to the scene and discovered a white male adult with his feet over the railing saying he wanted to jump.  Both Lt Owens and Officer Craig talked the subject off the ledge without incident. 
  • On 1/16/16 officers responded to the main parking lot of Palomar Medical Center to investigate a report of a serious vehicle collision involving a vehicle and a pedestrian. On arrival, officers found that two pedestrians had been struck by a full size pick-up truck being driven by an elderly male.  A short time later, one of the pedestrians succumbed to his injuries. The Traffic Division was notified and responded to conduct the investigation.
  • On 1/15/16 officers responded to a fight at Jilberto’s, 1300 block of E. Valley Pkwy.  Officer Guerrero was the first to arrive and encountered a drunk male.  The male rapidly approached Officer Guerrero.  The drunk male threw his food on Officer Guerrero and began to fight with him.  Officer Villanueva arrived on scene and the two officers were able to take the subject into custody. The subject was charged with assaulting a police officer.
  • On 01/14/16 officers responded to a robbery at the 7-Eleven store, located at 1334 W. Valley Pkwy.  Witness statements gave a clothing description and direction of travel.  Officers arrived on scene and quickly established a perimeter.  Officer Pizzuti located the suspect in the area of Harmony Grove and Hale.  The suspect was identified by the victim.  Due to a thorough search of the area, all of the money and the weapon used in the robbery were recovered. 
  • On 1/13/16 the Regional Auto Theft Taskforce and Escondido Police Department’s Gang Enforcement Unit conducted a traffic stop in the area of 700 Rocksprings Rd. The suspect was a parolee-at-large and is a suspect in a stolen vehicle out of Grover Beach, California. During a search officers found two pounds of marijuana, 22 grams of methamphetamine, and a Honey Oil Lab.   
  • On 1/13/16 officers responded to a welfare check in the 600 block of Begonia St. reference a 16 year old female who told the reporting party she had taken pills in an attempt to hurt herself. Officer Holtz established communication via texting.  After several hours Officer Holtz established voice and text communication.  Officers were able to establish the juvenile’s location through the pinging of her phone.  Officers, Park Rangers, and the San Diego County Sherriff’s Department helicopter (ASTREA) were sent to the Daly Ranch area.  ASTREA located the juvenile about 2 miles from the ranch house and dropped off the observer until ground units could arrive.  The rangers used their 4-wheel drive vehicles and gator to get to the victim and the officers.
  • On 1/11/16 officers were dispatched to the area of County Club Lane and Broadway regarding a serious injury collision. Officers arrived on scene and found a Dodge Caravan had collided into a tree. The preliminary investigation indicates the van was traveling west on Country Club Lane at a high rate of speed, drifted off the roadway and impacted a tree in the center median. The 21 year old driver died at the scene. There were no passengers in vehicle.
  • On 1/11/16 police and fire personnel responded to the 1400 block of S. Escondido Blvd reference a fire of a vacant business.  Officers arrived on scene and provided traffic control.  An arson case was taken as it appeared the fire had been deliberately set.  


On 1/11/16 the Escondido Police Athletic League (PAL) awarded scholarships to former PAL and Family Intervention children who have excelled and moved on to college. Ana Ojeda is a senior at Cal State San Marcos with a 3.93 GPA and George Rodriguez attends Palomar College and is on the college wrestling team. Attached are photos of both Ana Ojeda and George Rodrigues.