July 30, 2020

Business Visit with Mayor McNamara
This week, Mayor Paul McNamara visited a local salon, ROCKnHAIR Lounge to see how they are safely serving their clients. You can watch the video here.

To learn more about how Escondido is keeping our community safe and supporting local businesses visit: https://www.escondido.org/covid-19.aspx

Economic Development Updates
City Business Grant Program
Escondido established a grant program utilizing $1 million in CARES Act funding to assist small local businesses in their efforts to comply with COVID-19 requirements. Financial awards up to $15,000 are available to make commercial rent payments, maintain payroll, buy protective equipment and supplies and/or to make physical improvements to business space. The City is partnering with the San Diego North Economic Development Council to administer the program and has a team available to assist applicants in English and Spanish.

The Program commenced on July 17, 2020; the City received a total of 194 applications to date, and fourteen (14) businesses were awarded grant funding in the amount of $141,222. 

Applications in English are available online here. Support and assistance with helping to get the word out to the Spanish-speaking business community are appreciated. The Spanish version of the website may be accessed at: https://www.sdnedc.org/escondidosubvencionesdenegocio/ and questions may be submitted to EscondidoNegociosSubsidios@sdnedc.org.  The City will be using CARES funding to advertise this grant program with Univision to help increase awareness in Escondido’s Hispanic/Latino community.  Contact Business@escondido.org to share ideas for more targeted outreach. The deadline to submit applications is August 28 and the online application website will automatically close once this deadline has passed.

California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC)
On July 29, the City, Chamber, and Downtown Business Association co-hosted two CA Competes Tax Credit Zoom info sessions with Special Guest Todd Walters, CCTC Committee Member.  In addition, the state will be hosting two more info sessions, more information below.  We encourage Escondido businesses to apply for this state income tax credit program.

The following is additional information about the program and helpful guidance for any business owners who were unable to attend these information sessions:

  • The next California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) application period started 7/27/20, with $80 million in available tax credits. The deadline to submit applications is Monday, August 17, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Time) and the online application website will automatically close once this deadline has passed.
  • See the announcement for this fiscal year and $231m available here.
  • See what past awardees have requested here.
  • Use the Application Guide to have a sense of application questions before the application is live.
  • Applicants or interested parties can also always connect directly with the CalCompetes team at 916-322-4051 or email at calcompetes@gobiz.ca.gov.

GO-Biz California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) Webinars

  • Thursday, 8/6 | 4:00PM |
  • Tuesday, 8/11 | 11:00AM |

Business Recovery Temporary Use Permits
The City has received and approved 24 Business Recovery Temporary Use Permits for the following industries throughout the City, with more in process. This is a great example of the speed and efficiency with which the City team is able to review and approve these permits.

  • Nail/Hair Salons and Barbershops – 4
  • Restaurants – 12
  • Breweries – 2
  • Gyms – 3
  • Art, Museums, and Retail – 3

Additionally, 26 of the City’s fitness related recreation classes have been moved to outdoor locations, utilizing the hockey arenas at the Escondido Sports Center, the Amphitheater, and the dome area at City Hall. These classes are scheduled to run throughout August and September, and registration is currently open. Check out the Recreation Guide for details. 

Staff will continue to work on adapting programs and services in creative ways, until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and regular programming can resume. 

New Edition of Escondido Magazine!
The newest issue of Escondido Magazine, a collaboration between the Escondido Chamber of Commerce and the City of Escondido, is now available!

Read it online here or pick up a hard copy at the East Valley Community Center, City Hall, or at a local storefront near you. 

Escondido Sports Center Turf Project is complete!
The Community Services Department is excited to announce the installation of two beautiful new turf arenas. This long overdue improvement will allow for expanded use of our facility and improve the comfort and playability for all users. Staff are working on adapting programs and services to utilize these spaces in creative ways until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and regular programming can resume. This project was funded through the 2019-2020 Capital Improvement Program.

Please contact the Sports Center at 760.839.5426 or visit www.sportscenter.escondido.org for updates on programming and availability.

COVID-19 Updates:
You can get up to date information about the City’s response to COVID-19 at:
www.escondido.org/covid-19.aspx

POLICE DEPARTMENT UPDATES:

Resident Attacked by Man with a Large Chain
On July 23, a resident was near his house in the area of Howard Ave and Harmony Grove Rd when he was approached by an unknown man armed with a large metal chain.  For unknown reasons and unprovoked, the man attempted to attack the resident with a large chain.  The resident was able to duck the attack and ran away to call 911.  He observed the man walk into a nearby residence.  The resident directed officers to the house where the man came out to confront the officers.  The man resisted officers in attempting to detain him and began fighting with the officers.  They were able to subdue him and he was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and violently resisting arrest.  Two officers and the man sustained minor injuries.  Fortunately, the victim was not harmed.

Suspicious Vehicle Call Yields Drug Sales Arrest
On July 24, officers were dispatched to the 1100 block of Delight Way regarding two subjects inside of a parked car.  Officers were familiar with one of the occupants who had prior arrests for drug possession.  As a result of the contact, it was discovered that they were involved in drug sales.  They were found to be in possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, pills, and marijuana and were arrested on drug sales charges.

Community Policing:

Escondido Police Featured in Community Based Crime Reduction Bulletin
In October of 2018, the Escondido Police were awarded with a 3-year federal grant to help increase community engagement and reduce crime in east Escondido.  The police department, while partnered with the Escondido Education COMPACT, have been administering the Community Based Crime Reduction (CBCR) grant.  The COVID-19 pandemic created numerous challenges in engaging with the community.  The anti-police protests have also added to the tensions within the community.  The police and COMPACT worked to overcome these challenges and further strengthen our relationships with the community.  These efforts were highlighted in a recent CBCR bulletin:

Chief Varso and City leaders participated in the “Taking a Knee for Community Unity” event at City Hall where community leaders discussed police interactions with the community.  Chief Varso hosted several Facebook live talk forums where community members could ask questions and hear the police department’s outreach message.  One teen girl commented that it completely changed her perception of the police department after speaking with Chief Varso.

Since the closure of schools, many residents in east Escondido have suffered from the lack of resources that were traditionally coordinated through the schools.  COMPACT Community Organizer Carlos Lopez responded by connecting with resident leadership groups, apartment managers, and residents to establish the following resources:  training on distance learning, virtual tutoring, Internet access, Internet payment assistance, meal vouchers, housing/rental assistance, and food/diaper distribution.

Community Tools:

www.arjis.org -  Use for crime data/mapping, Meghan’s Law info, etc.
www.myneighborhoodupdate.net  - Search for Escondido, CA to see radio call information.

Events:

Flag Ceremony Honoring Officer Laura
On July 23, Chief Varso presided over a ceremony at the flagpole in front of Escondido Police & Fire Headquarters to remember Officer Laura. Officer Laura was tragically murdered by her husband in 2014 cutting short a career she’d always admired.  Six years later, officers and family gathered to remember the service she provided to this community.  Her daughter (Suzeth), her sister (Alondra), and her mother (Susana) were all in attendance.  There is an engraved rock at the base of a tree near the fountain dedicated to Officer Laura and all victims of domestic violence.

Tip of the Week:

Interested in joining the Escondido Police Team?  Learn more by visiting www.police.escondido.org and click on Careers or call 760-839-4880.

FIRE DEPARTMENT UPDATES:

On Tuesday, July 21, the Fire Department responded to vegetation fire at 2608 S. Escondido Blvd. (Hacienda De Vega). Upon arrival the first Engine Company reported a small grove of palm trees on fire that was threatening nearby buildings. The fire was quickly knocked down but there was extensive overhaul needed to ensure that all hot spots and embers in the trees and on the building roof were completely extinguished. 

On Friday, July 24, the Engine and Ambulance from Station #7 responded with the Battalion Chief and EPD officers to an injured cyclist in a remote location in Daley Ranch. A San Diego Sheriff’s Department ASTREA (Aerial Support to Regional Enforcement Agencies) helicopter was already in the area and advised of the best access and recommended a rescue helicopter. San Diego County Copter 11 (CAL FIRE/SDSO) was requested to short haul the patient to an ambulance at a nearby landing zone. The Fire Department rescue staff coordinated with Park Rangers to access the patient and begin treatment and packaging for the air lift. Copter 11 flew the patient to Ryan Park where he was then transported to Palomar Hospital by ambulance.

BY THE NUMBERS

Fire:

Police:

 

June Abandoned Vehicle Data

Public Works:

Code Enforcement:

Business Licenses

Graffiti Restitution

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & ENGINEERING

Building Activity Status Update:
The Building Department has begun to accept online applications for solar permits using our new plan review system.  The counter staff conducted in person meetings with 102 applicants and staff was able to process 75 applications and issue 82 permits. The total permit valuation for the week was $4,831,061.00.  The inspection staff completed 149 inspections including continuing framing inspections on Phase I and Phase II of the homes at the Villages.      

Major Land Development and Capital Projects Update:
The following major projects are being reviewed and/or coordinated for completion by Planning, Engineering, Fire, Building and Utilities Divisions.  The list of projects below encompasses recent project updates and/or milestones from last week.  

Commercial / Office / Industrial: 

  1. Raising Cane’s Restaurant – (Developer: Ada Fermin, PM Design Group) 1280 W. Valley Parkway – Demolition of vacant, former Coco’s restaurant building and construction of new 3,744 SF drive-through restaurant for Raising Cane’s. The project was approved by the Planning Commission on July 14, 2020.
  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. The application was submitted on November 20, 2019.  The applicant is pursuing a redesign to meet the most recent generation of Mercedes design specifications for dealerships.  Staff is awaiting resubmittal of the plans.
  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 applicant submitted a traffic study on December 17, 2019, and the latest staff comments were returned on February 11, 2020.  The comments identify anticipated traffic impacts as well as suggested mitigation.  The applicant met with Engineering on February 19, 2020 to discuss traffic issues.  Staff is awaiting resubmittal of the plans. 
  1. Interfaith Recuperative Care Facility – (Developer: Interfaith) 555 North Center City Parkway – Conversion of the existing lodging facility (i.e. America’s Best Value in) and construction of new residential care facility designed to provide quality emergency housing, services, and supervision to at-risk individuals, homeless, etc. A preliminary application meeting was conducted on June 16, 2020. As of this writing, a formal application has not been filed with the City. A CUP application would have to be submitted for the City to learn more about the scope of services and to formally review the application request.

Residential Projects:

  1. Harvest Hills (Developer: Jeb Hall, Concordia Homes) 550 residential subdivision, east of Rancho San Pasqual –  The Draft EIR and appendices have been posted on the City’s website at the following link:  
    https://www.escondido.org/safari-highlands-ranch-specific-plan.aspx
     A second revision to the Draft Specific Plan was received on January 14, 2020.  The most recent revised tentative map was received on February 24, 2020.  Staff is awaiting additional submittals to complete the entitlement package and final environmental document and then will schedule the item for public hearings.  
  1. The Villages at Escondido Country Club (Builder: Lennar Homes) 380 residences – Building permit applications for the model homes have been approved and a surety bond has been received. The Final Subdivision Map is scheduled for City Council approval on May 13, 2020.  Most of the final engineering permit review for Village 1 is complete.  A comment letter on a Plot Plan application for the neighborhood park was provided in April and the City is wrapping up its review of the commercial center.  Comments on the commercial center were sent to the applicant on May 22, 2020.  Comments on final engineering for Villages 2 and 3 were sent to the project applicant in January and April 2020.  Country Club Drive improvement plans are nearing approval.  The developer, Lennar, has started the construction of the model homes and first phase of development.  In-track work is continuing for the storm drain, sewer, curb, gutter and sidewalk. Work has started for the new round-about, located on Country Club and Golden Circle. The sewer main installation on Gary Lane has been completed.  Work is continuing for the storm drain, water and street lighting. Work is ongoing for the new storm drain box culvert at Country Club and Golden Circle.

The approved tentative subdivision map, Final EIR and appendices, Specific Plan and other related information can be accessed on the City’s website at the following link: 
https://www.escondido.org/ecc.aspx

  1. North Avenue Estates (Developer: Casey Johnson) 34 lots at North Ave./Conway Dr. – The City Council approved the project on January 10, 2018. LAFCO approved the annexation application on October 1, 2018. and the annexation has recorded, which effectively incorporated the site into the City’s jurisdiction. The applicant is working on storm water comments and a resubmittal of plans is expected this week.  Engineering has provided comments on a proposed joint-use agreement with the County Water Authority. 
  1. Escondido Gateway, also called Rowan (Developer: Carolyn Hillgren, Lyon Living) 126 condo units at 700 W. Grand – This project is a mixed-use development involving 126 residential units within three, 4-5 story buildings with indoor and outdoor recreational areas and an opportunity for a small (1,000 sq. ft.) commercial/flex space on 2.6 acres (48 dwelling units/acre) located on the same premises as the former Police Station across the street from the Escondido Transit Center.  The City Council approved the project on October 12, 2016.  Much of the work has been completed.  The inspection staff is starting the final inspections for the “Building C,” the final building.  The contractor, Rockwood, is working to complete the onsite bio basins.  All off site work has been completed Construction is nearing completion.
  1. Pradera (Developer: Moses Kim, Lennar Homes) – This project consists of a 70-unit single-family development located at the northeastern corner of Ash Street and Lehner Avenue.  Much of the work has been completed.  Final conflict crossing issues are being design and submitted for review. The water main work included the construction and installation of 779’ of a 12” water main along Conway Drive, between Lehner Drive and Rincon Avenue. The installation is now complete. The contractor is tying the new line to the Cities potable water system.   
  1. Canyon Grove Estates Tract 932 (Developer: John Vance, Shea Homes) – This project is a 179-lot single-family residential development on the north side of Vista Avenue east of Conway Drive.  The project is currently in the punch list phase. 
  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 – Fire, Planning, and Engineering staff met with the applicant team on May 29, 2019 to discuss the fire-related information. No activity since that date.
    A project webpage containing draft documents and plans has been added to the Planning Division’s website at the following link: 
    https://www.escondido.org/daley-ranch-resort-specific-plan.aspx 
  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 City Council approved the portion of the project on the northern side of Nutmeg on November 20, 2019. Submittal of the southern portion of the project site was received on June 8, 2020. The project is currently under review.
  1. Oak Creek (Builder: KB Homes) 65 single-family residential lots on approximately 44 acres at Felicita Road and Hamilton Lane – KB Homes has constructed model homes and is interested in filing the final map as soon as possible to continue construction. However, several items remain incomplete including revisions to improvement plans, final map and drainage study. In June 2019, the County of San Diego provided KB Homes a checklist of items that should be submitted with a watercourse permit application required to construct a storm drain under Felicita extending onto County land.  KB Homes has since filed a lawsuit against the City regarding this issue on the project.  Further updates will depend on that litigation.
  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. – Revised elevations for staff design review were received on February 21, 2020. Staff has returned comments and is now awaiting resubmittal of the project.
  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 SF of commercial – Utilities met with the applicant on February 20 to discuss sewer and water issues. The applicant filed a resubmittal on May 28, 2020. The resubmittal is under review.
    An Environmental Impact Report (or EIR) was prepared to inform the public and decision-makers of significant environmental effects of the project, identify possible ways to minimize those effects, and describe reasonable alternatives to the project.  Public review of the Draft EIR concluded on May 19, 2020.  The City is currently reviewing and responding to public comments.  Once the Final EIR has been prepared and published for public review, the item will be scheduled for a Planning Commission public hearing. The non-emergency demolition of historical resources onsite was reviewed and considered by the Historic Preservation Commission on July 16, 2020.
    The development proposal and other related information can be accessed on the City’s website at the following link:
    https://www.escondido.org/palomarheights.aspx
  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, is continuing to work on the onsite utilities as well as starting the vertical construction for the model homes. The Final Map was approved by City Council on June 24, 2020. Mass grading has been completed with finish and pad grading remaining. Installation of the new sewer main on Lincoln Avenue is completed up to the new storm drain.
  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 - Staff comments on the grading and improvement plans were provided the week of February 3, 2020. Staff is aware of easement issues regarding the SDG&E access easement and are still working with the applicant on that driveway design.
  1. Hacienda De Vega Redevelopment – (Developer: Tony Cassolato) A proposed residential condominium development consisting of 42 three-story attached townhomes on 1.75 acres – The project would demolish the vacant restaurant building and redevelop the entire site with residential townhomes. Fire is working with the applicant on fire flow and circulation issues through the site. A proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) was prepared and the review and comment period began on March 16, 2020 and ended on April 6, 2020.  City staff is working with the applicant and coordinating a response to comments.  The non-emergency demolition of historical resources onsite was reviewed and considered by the Historic Preservation Commission on July 16, 2020. 
  1. Casa Mercado Apartments - (Developer: Paul Mayer, Pemcor) A four-story, 120-unit apartment complex on 2.31 acres – Project design was submitted on January 21, 2020. Staff comments were provided back to the applicant on February 21, 2020. Intake of a resubmittal occurred April 14, 2020.  City staff provided a review letter to the applicant on May 21, 2020.  The applicant resubmitted the plans, responding to all remaining staff comments.  The project is tentatively scheduled for Planning Commission review and consideration on August 11, 2020.
  1. Iwashita Apartments - (Developer: Iwashita Development) A seven-story, mixed-use project at 322 S. Escondido Boulevard for 172 units.  An application for a Plot Plan was submitted on April 22, 2020 for new development on the north side of 4th Avenue between Escondido Boulevard and Maple Street.   The project would provide approximately 7,000 SF of retail space on a portion of the ground floor, as well as 172 apartment units across all seven floors.  Apartments will range in size from efficiency units (approximately 328 SF) to two-bedroom units (approximately 832 SF).  A parking garage containing 317 spaces would also be provided.  The proposal includes a density bonus in exchange for reserving 20 percent of the proposed units for low-income households.  Waivers from some development standards (such as building height) will likely be requested as part of the density bonus request. City staff issued a city review letter on June 22, 2020. City staff is working with the applicant and coordinating a response to comments.
  1. Fig Apartments – (Developer Claude Marengo) A 15-unit, three-story, multi-family residential apartment complex consisting of three stories on 0.59 acres. The site is located at 664 N. Fig Street, which is between Washington Avenue and East Mission Avenue. The proposal includes a density bonus.  The project was submitted on June 26, 2020.  City staff issued a city review letter and is working with the applicant and coordinating a response to comments.
  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 SF vacant parcel in the historic District of the Downtown.  The site is on the corner of Ivy and East Valley Parkway. The ground floor of the building will include office space, as well and common areas and uses appurtenant to the apartment complex, which are located on levels two through four.  The site is located on the corner of Valley parkway and Ivy, and will provide 16 total parking spaces accessed from the rear alley.  The proposed building will front on valley and Ivy and provide naturally interior courtyard for its residents. City staff issued a city review letter on April 17, 2020.  City staff is working with the applicant and coordinating a response to comments.
  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. The subject property is zoned Residential Estate (RE-20), and has an existing 8,597 SF residence.  The existing home operates as a care facility with 15 beds. The applicant proposes to build a campus with three (3) new buildings totaling 21,190 SF.  These will house 45 new residents and accommodate 12 to 15 employees.  The project is currently under review.
  1. Accessory Dwelling Units – Planning staff is currently working on eleven (11) applications for accessory dwelling units. Twenty-seven (27) accessory dwelling units have been approved so far this year. Thirty-even (37) accessory dwelling units were approved in 2019.  Twenty-four (24) accessory dwelling units were approved in 2018.  Three (3) accessory dwelling units were approved in 2017.

City Projects or Other Capital Improvement Projects:

  1. Membrane-Filtration Reverse Osmosis/MFRO (Developer: City of Escondido Utilities Department) 901 W. Washington – A Plot Plan application was submitted for review on October 14, 2019. The second draft of the proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) is expected to be submitted this week.  A 60 percent design meeting occurred on December 9, 2019, and a follow-up meeting to discuss architecture occurred on January 30, 2020.  The Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) was adopted by the Zoning Administrator on April 30, 2020.
  1. Lake Wohlford Replacement Dam (Developer: City of Escondido Utilities Department) – Utilities and Planning staff met with the environmental consultant on February 24, 2020, to discuss biological mitigation and recirculation of the Draft EIR. A teleconference meeting with the wildlife agencies occurred in April to confirm the path forward.  Revisions to the draft EIR are in development and a recirculation of the document for public comment is expected to occur in June.
  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.  Work is continuing with installation of the new 16-inch gas main along the Midway corridor.  Installation of the 16” gas main along the Midway corridor has been completed. The contractor is currently working in the County portion of the line along Bear Valley Parkway.
  1. El Norte Parkway Improvements – The project includes widening of El Norte Parkway at the flood control channel by the installation of a new bridge, construction of new median islands from Valley Parkway to Washington Avenue, landscaping and a drip irrigation system, a bike/pedestrian signal at the flood control channel, along with roadway resurfacing. The project has been completed.
    A project webpage is here: at the following link: 
    https://www.escondido.org/el-norte-parkway-bridge-and-median-improvements-1.aspx
  1. 2019 Street Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project Rebid – This year’s project resurfaced approximately 71-lane miles of pavement, replace 0.59- miles of sidewalk, and restripe 2.5- miles of bike lanes, install 51 pedestrian ramps, and replace 90 street trees that damaging concrete improvements. The contractor, Eagle Paving, has completed all of the surface treatment applications. Final striping and the installation of the vehicle detection loops will be ongoing for the next several weeks.
    This year’s project is Maintenance Zone W. More information can be found at the following link:
    https://www.escondido.org/city-of-escondido-street-maintenance-program.aspx

  1. Spruce Street/Transit Center Pedestrian Bridge Project – The contractor, Palm Engineering, is grading the Grand Avenue ramp to accept the drivable flex mat for channel access. The contractor is continuing to grade the channel bottom between Valley Parkway and Grand Ave. Hydro seeding of the channel slopes between Grand Ave. and Spruce is scheduled for this week.