January 21, 2021

Senior Nutrition Program
The City of Escondido is home to the Park Avenue Community Center; a place for seniors to gather, socialize, receive daily meal service, and much more. When COVID-19 changed the way we gather, City staff had to quickly reinvent the Senior Nutrition Program into a meal delivery and grab-and-go service.

The City partnered with the California Center for the Arts, Escondido for food preparation, and the program has been a win-win for both organizations. The video below highlights the Senior Nutrition Program and the value it brings to our community.

Escondido Company’s New Rapid COVID-19 Testing
Escondido Based company Menon is in the process of developing a "game changer" Rapid COVID-19 test. The company is partnering with UC San Diego to test this technology as quickly and effectively as possible, and could end up processing 100,000 samples per hour. Check out the 10News – ABC San Diego coverage here.

SR-78 Corridor Upgrades to Begin in Escondido
Cal Trans construction crews will begin a $19 million multimodal project to upgrade approximately five miles of State Route 78 between North Broadway and Flora Vista Street, beginning January 25.

Initial work will improve curb ramps for pedestrian access in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Following phases of construction include removal and replacement of the pavement, high visibility striping, utility upgrades, and a shared bike lane. To minimize traffic impacts and increase worker safety, work will typically take place between 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., Sunday through Thursday. This project is expected to be completed in Fall 2021.

Nearby residents may hear construction noise related to the work, including backup alarms, jackhammering, and saw cutting. Every consideration will be made to minimize impacts during the course of this much-anticipated project. Detour signs will direct motorists and pedestrians around closures. More information can be found here.

POLICE DEPARTMENT UPDATES:

On January 10, a man was sitting in his parked car in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 800 block of E. Mission Ave.  He was approached by another man who claimed to be from a gang across town.  As the man drove away out of the parking lot, the suspect fired a shot that struck the rear window of the car.  Fortunately, the man was not injured and the police are investigating the shooting as a gang motivated crime.

On January 10, two women were driving their car on Valley Pkwy near La Terraza Blvd. when the car drifted off the road and struck a tree.  Escondido Fire units performed an extrication using hydraulic tools. Both women were transported to the hospital where the passenger, a 35-year-old Escondido woman, tragically died.  It is unknown at this time if alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in this crash.  Escondido Police traffic investigators responded to conduct the investigation.

On January 13, police were called as a man was seen driving a stolen truck pulling a flatbed trailer.  Officers caught up to the truck on southbound I-15 in the Rancho Bernardo area.  The truck failed to stop for the officers.  With assistance from the CHP and Sheriff’s helicopter, the truck was finally stopped and the man was arrested on northbound I-15 near Escondido.

Community Tools:

  1. arjis.org For crime data/mapping, Megan’s Law info, etc.
  2. myneighborhoodupdate.net Search for Escondido, CA to see radio call information.

Tip of the Week:
As the winter months are prone to rain and wind events, you should never approach or attempt to drive over downed power lines.  Keep your distance and dial 911 immediately.  Do your part to help keep Escondido safe.

FIRE DEPARTMENT UPDATES:
On Tuesday, January 12, at 12:01 p.m., the Fire Department was dispatched to a vehicle fire in the parking lot of Emmanuel Faith Church. Crews arrived and found a trash truck and large trash pile on fire. When the driver realized that there was a fire in his truck, he pulled into an open parking lot and dumped its contents. Additional resources were requested to extinguish and overhaul the fire. Escondido Disposal and Escondido Public Works responded to clean up the extinguished trash and contain any water runoff. Escondido Disposal and Escondido Public Works also worked with Emmanuel Faith Church to ensure all remnants of the incident were removed and the affected surfaces area were sanitized.

On January 13 at 9:08 a.m., the Escondido Police and Fire Communication Center received a report of a fire in an apartment located at the 300 block of W. El Norte Pkwy. The resident, who was not home at the time, observed smoke inside his apartment via a home security camera and called 911. When firefighters arrived, there was no evidence of fire or smoke. However, once they made entry into the apartment they found heavy smoke inside a ground floor apartment. The fire was contained and controlled the fire in approximately 20 minutes. The apartment sustained major smoke damage from a smoldering fire on the first floor. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians. One family dog was rescued without injury and cared for by neighbors.

On January 15 at 9:45 p.m., Escondido Firefighters responded to two small arson fires in the area of Mission Ave and Escondido Blvd. Soon thereafter at 10:38 p.m., an additional fire started in the bushes and trees in front of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car on West Washington Ave, which crews were able to rapidly extinguish. Fire Prevention Officers and the EPD arson detective are working together to identify the suspect.

BY THE NUMBERS

Fire:

Police:

Public Works:

Code Enforcement:

Business Licenses:

Graffiti Restitution:

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & ENGINEERING

Building Permits and Inspections:

  1. Last week, the counter staff conducted in person meetings with 126 applicants and were able to process 104 applications and issue 98 permits.
  2. The total permit valuation for the week was $1,813,359.00
  3. It was reported last week that Building Inspections experienced one of the highest counts of inspections in the past several years (248 inspections). This week there were 321 inspections completed. 

Development and Capital Projects Update:
Curious what’s happening with development projects around the city? See below for milestone activities that have happened since last week. Skip to the bottom of this section for a list of projects that are in progress but do not have an update this week. To learn about previous applications for residential and commercial development permits, please visit the Development Project Information Archive page or contact the Planning Division.

County of San Diego Projects:

  1. The County of San Diego (“County”) has been processing a land use application for a new recycling facility, just north of the City of Escondido. The project site is located west of Interstate 15 (I-15) along Mesa Rock Road. The project, called "North County Environmental Resources," includes a 12,000-square-foot steel building, a 100,000-gallon water tank, and a recycling facility for wood, construction debris, and concrete and asphalt.  The City of Escondido (“City”) previously submitted comments to County staff on October 14, 2019 expressing some concerns about the project, its operation, and its potential impact on the environment.  A second letter was sent on June 24, 2020.  Despite project opposition, the City was notified that the County approved the project on November 3, 2020, which started the 10-day appeal period. The City filed an appeal of that decision to the County of San Diego Planning and Development Services Department on November 12, 2020.  This week City staff was notified the City of Escondido appeal will be considered by the County of San Diego Planning Commission on February 5, 2021.

Commercial / Office / Industrial:

  1. 7-Eleven Gas and Convenience Store – (Developer: Golcheh Group) 900 W. Mission Ave. – A proposal to relocate a 7-Eleven from the northeastern corner of Mission/Rock Springs to the northwestern corner and add a gas station. The request includes a new 4,000 square foot convenience store with eight (8) fuel dispenser pumps that can accommodate up to sixteen (16) vehicles.  The Planning Commission reviewed the application on December 16, 2020 and voted to recommend approval to the City Council.  The City Council approved the project on January 13, 2021.  City staff is working with the applicant to bring in grading, landscaping, street improvement, and building permits.      
  1. Carvana – (Developer: Jo Ryan, Carvana) 559 N. Hale Avenue – An approved vending machine car dealership.  The project consists of an approximately 5,800 square feet, eight-(8) tier glass and steel tower structure up to 75 feet in height. Demolition of the old Talone’s Meat Market has started.  It is anticipated that building permits will be issued next week.  After it is completed, site improvements will be made to implement the project. 
  1. Raising Cane’s Restaurant – (Developer: Ada Fermin, PM Design Group) 1280 W. Valley Parkway – An approved demolition of vacant, former Coco’s restaurant building and construction of new 3,744 square foot drive-through restaurant for Raising Cane’s.  The applicant is looking to pull demolition permits and will likely be able to do so within the next couple of weeks. 
  1. Burros and Fries - (MPA Architects) 1107 E. Valley Parkway – An approved 5,224 square foot commercial building, with associated landscaping and parking.  The building includes a 1,850 square foot drive-through restaurant (Burros and Fries) and 3,374 square feet of additional retail space. The contractor has started to complete the off-site curb gutter and new turn lane on Valley Parkway. 

Housing:

  1. Oak Creek (Builder: KB Homes) – this is an approved residential project for 65 single-family residential lots on approximately 44 acres at Felicita Road and Hamilton Lane. KB Homes has started the road widening improvements for the section of Hamilton Rd between Felicita and Miller along with a section of Hamilton east of Miller. The scope of work will include new sidewalk, curb and gutter along with road widening improvements. Work will be completed in two phases.  KB Homes has started the road widening improvements for the section of Hamilton Rd between Felicita and Miller along with a section of Hamilton east of Miller. Last week the contractor completed the rough grading, placed concrete for the new curb and gutter and paved one half of Hamilton Road.  Phase I of the asphalt placement is complete.  Phase II will focus the south side of Hamilton. Concrete is scheduled to be placed next week, with paving to follow. Hamilton will be restricted to a single lane east bound travel with west bound traffic detoured. Work is schedule be completed by mid-February. Message boards have been placed notifying residents of the road work, closure and detours.

  1. Henry Ranch (Builder: Joe Martin, Trumark Homes) - An approved development of 97 single-family residential homes on 74.35 acres at the eastern terminus of Lincoln Avenue. The developer, Trumark, has nearly completed onsite water, storm drain and sewer utilities and is working on pedestrian ramps and sidewalks.  The contractor has completed the video detection camera installation at the intersection of El Norte and Lincoln Avenue.  The contractor is now focusing on new home construction.
  1. Habitat for Humanity 10-Unit Condominium Development (Developer: San Diego Habitat for Humanity) – This is a Tentative Subdivision Map and Condominium Permit for a residential project involving 10 condominium units at 245 E. El Norte Parkway.  All units will be for sale to low-income households.  The project was taken to the Planning Commission hearing on November 10, 2020.  The Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the project, with the addition of a condition requiring the unit garages to be sized to accommodate individual trash bins in addition to vehicles (as an alternative to a common trash enclosure at the center of the site).  The project was reviewed and considered by the City Council on December 16, 2020. The project was unanimously approved.  The next step is to process and approve engineering and building plans before construction can begin.
  1. Nutmeg Condo General Plan Amendment (Developer: Jim Simmons, CCI) - 137 townhome condo units on both sides of Nutmeg between I-15 and Centre City Parkway. The northern portion of the project was approved by the City Council in November 2019.  The applicant is now requesting plan approvals for the southern portion.  The southern portion was reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission at their meeting on October 13, 2020.  The City Council conducted the public hearing for this project on November 18, 2020 and approved the project.  The second reading of the ordinance was approved on December 16, 2020.  The next step is to process and approve engineering and building plans before construction can begin.
  1. Jack’s Creek TR 951 and SUB 17-0026 – (Developer New Pointe Development). A 12-lot, single-family residential subdivision on 3.31 acres.  The site is located at the westerly terminus of Jack’s Creek Road, north of El Norte Parkway, addressed as 640 Oakwood Creek Glen, formally 2888 E. Washington Avenue. The contractor has completed the grading for 10 of the 12 new home pads.  Framing has started for six of the homes. 
  1. Palomar Heights (Developer: Ninia Hammond, Integral Communities) – Demolition and redevelopment of the old Palomar Hospital site with 510 multi-family units with 10,000 square feet of commercial. The project was reviewed and considered by the Planning Commission at their meeting on September 22, 2020. With a 4-2 vote, the Planning Commission is recommending City Council approval.  City Council is the final decision-maker for this project.  The City Council will review and consider the project on January 27, 2021.  A project webpage containing draft documents and plans can be accessed at the following link: 
    https://www.escondido.org/palomarheights.aspx
  1. The Villages at Escondido Country Club (Builder: Lennar Homes) 380 residences located on the former golf course off of Country Club Lane, north of El Norte Parkway. In Village I, Lennar has opened the model homes to the public. Many of the homes built are now under contract.  The Plot Plan for the new commercial center was approved on January 5, 2021 and new construction should commence in the next couple of weeks.  Curb and gutter was placed last week on the east side of Country Club, east of the traffic circle to Lorraine Place.  In Village II, final clearing and grubbing, along with rough grading has been completed.  The contractor is working with the Vista Irrigation District to complete the realignment of their water main that crosses the project site.  In Village III, rough grading is nearing completion and the contractor is installing the storm drain, private water, and sewer lines.   

City Projects or Other Capital Improvement Projects:

  1. SDG&E 16” Gas Main Replacement – In January 2019, the CPUC’s Safety Enforcement Division approved SDG&E’s test or replace plan for Line 1600, a 16-inch natural gas transmission pipeline which was not strength tested in 1949 when it was constructed. This next phase of PSEP projects will include 19 separate projects that will take place in the cities of San Diego, Escondido and Poway, as well as the County of San Diego. As part of these projects, approximately 37 miles of existing pipe in more populated areas will be replaced and approximately 13 miles of existing pipe in less populated areas will be strength tested. Approximately 5.4 miles of replacement and 2.7 miles of strength testing is expected to occur in Escondido from 2020-2024.  Phase 1 is complete.  SDG&E is looking to initiate Phase 2.  Construction is scheduled to conclude in July 2021.  Potholing for the new gas main has started in the County section of the project along Bear Valley Parkway.
  1. Spruce Street/Transit Center Pedestrian Bridge Project – The contractor, Palm Engineering, has completed two of the three channel reaches with planting remaining in one reach. project has entered the final punch list phase for completion.
  1. Storm Drain Pipe Lining and Rehabilitation Project Phase II - This project was awarded at the September 16th, 2020 City Council meeting. The work consists of construction including: storm drain cleaning, inspection, CCTV, repairing and grouting of voids, point repairs, grouting of existing flow line, cured in place piping lining, storm drain structure floor repairs, post CCTV and inspection, overall rehabilitation of existing corrugated metal pipe storm drain systems. The pre-construction meeting for this project has been held. The Notice to Proceed was issued for work to commence on January 25, 2021.
  1. Multi Neighborhood Street Light L.E.D. retrofit Project Phase II - This project consists of the removal of approximately 725 non-LED street light fixtures and safety light fixtures, and the replacement with specified LED street light fixtures and LED safety light fixtures at various locations within the City of Escondido. A pre-construction meeting will take place in the upcoming weeks.
  1. Creek Trail Crossing - At the January 14 Transportation & Community Safety Commission meeting, the final design for the Creek Trail Crossings project that improves all seven Creek Trail intersections between Juniper and Citrus was approved. Improvements include a signal at Midway and rapid flashing beacons with bulb-outs, and where the roadway width permits at other locations. The project also fills in sidewalk gaps along Citrus and Midway. Final plans will be reviewed by the granting agency in February construction funding will be programmed by the California Transportation Commission in May with construction to begin by late summer.

  1. School and Traffic Safety Projects - Each year the Traffic Commission prioritizes and funds traffic safety projects focused on improving pedestrian and vehicle safety. Projects are nominated by each School District, COMPACT, residents and staff. This year four priority projects were completed, including crosswalk improvements at Oak Hill and Citrus, crosswalk improvements on Lincoln Avenue near Pioneer Elementary, pedestrian countdown timers at five intersections and an Audible Pedestrian Signal at El Norte and Centre City Parkway that serves the sight impaired.

Ongoing Projects - No Updates This Week:

Projects that do not have any changes or updates this week will be listed here to indicate that they’re still in progress. When an update occurs, the project will appear above in the Development and Capital Projects section.

Commercial / Office / Industrial:

  1. Mercedes Benz Expansion – (Developer: Jody Stout, Integrity Design and Construction) 1101 W. 9th Avenue – A Master and Precise Plan modification to demo the existing dealership showroom and construct a new showroom, office, parts storage and service building.
  1. ERTC/Palomar Health Parking Structure (Developer: McCarthur Construction). An application request was received on October 21, 2020 to build 1,906 parking spaces at the new hospital campus. The proposed parking garage is six stories. 

Housing:

  1. Villa Portofino – (Developer: Chris Post, ATC Design Group) 15 apartment units in a three-story building with parking garage at 2690 S. Escondido Blvd.
  1. Hacienda De Vega Redevelopment – (Developer: Tony Cassolato) An approved proposed residential condominium development consisting of 42 three-story attached townhomes on 1.75 acres.
  1. Harvest Hills, formerly called Safari Highlands Ranch (Developer: Jeb Hall, Concordia Homes) - 550 residential subdivision, east of Rancho San Pasqual. A project webpage containing draft documents and plans can be accessed at the following link:
    https://www.escondido.org/safari-highlands-ranch-specific-plan.aspx
  1. North Avenue Estates (Developer: Casey Johnson) – This is an approved residential project for 34 lots at North Avenue/Conway Drive.
  1. Sager Ranch/Daley Ranch Resort Specific Plan (Developer: J. Whalen Associates, Inc., Sager Ranch Partners) - 203 housing units and 225-room resort hotel on 1,783-acres, just north and east of Daley Ranch. A project webpage containing draft documents and plans can be accessed at the following link:
    https://www.escondido.org/daley-ranch-resort-specific-plan.aspx
  1. Del Prado (Developer: Kerry Garza, Touchstone Communities) – An approved 113-unit townhome-style Planned Development located at the southwestern corner of Brotherton Road and the Centre City Parkway frontage road.
  1. Pradera (Developer: Moses Kim, Lennar Homes) – This is approved project consists of a 70-unit single-family development located at the northeastern corner of Ash   Street and Lehner Avenue. 
  1. Casa Mercado Apartments (Developer: Paul Mayer, Pemcor) – A four-story, 120-unit apartment complex on 2.31 acres on Second Avenue and Pine Street.
  1. Fig Apartments (Developer Claude Marengo) – A 15-unit, three-story, multi-family residential apartment complex consisting of three stories on 0.59 acres.
  1. Reed Road Assisted Living Facility (2525 Reed LLC) – A new residential care facility is proposed on a 4.2-acre site on 2525 Reed Road.
  1. Iwashita Apartments (Developer: Iwashita Development) – A seven-story, mixed-use project at 322 S. Escondido Boulevard for 172 units.
  1. Interfaith Recuperative Care Facility/Hotel – (Developer: Interfaith) 555 North Center City Parkway – Conversion of the existing lodging facility (America’s Best Value Inn) and construction of new residential care facility designed to provide quality emergency housing, services, and supervision to at-risk individuals, homeless, etc. The application proposes to conduct this service, and be permitted, as a hotel.
  1. Apollo Residential Care (NOAA Group) – An approved Conditional Use Permit for an assisted living and memory care facility, with 78 units accommodating 99 beds at 3141 East Valley Parkway.
  1. East Valley Parkway Apartments (Developer: John Wurster) – A 50-unit mixed use affordable apartment complex consisting of four stories situated on a 21,000 square foot vacant parcel in the historic District of the Downtown.
  1. Membrane-Filtration Reverse Osmosis Facility/MFRO (Developer: City of Escondido Utilities Department) 901 W. Washington.
  1. Lake Wohlford Replacement Dam – the project involves a new dam downstream (west) of the existing dam and partial deconstruction of the existing dam. The replacement dam would feature an outlet tower that is integrated into the dam’s upstream face; the top of the existing outlet tower would be demolished, and the bottom of the existing outlet tower and the outlet pipe would be filled with sand and abandoned in place. The project would entail improvement and extension of an existing unpaved access road located west of the Lake Wohlford Marina, extending it to the right (north) abutment of the replacement dam.