June 25, 2020

Message from Mayor McNamara:
This week, Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara has a message for the community regarding COVID-19. Watch by clicking the video below. 

Public Works Coordinates Donations for Rose Elementary:
The past few months have presented new challenges to many, including the families of students at Rose Elementary. When the school closed on March 13, continued support for the families was provided through meal programs and donations from local companies in the form of gift cards, breakfast and lunch "to-go bags" and free internet access.
The City of Escondido’s Public Works Department stepped up and raised donations for the school to purchase laundry cards to assist with the families laundry needs.
Thank you to everyone who came together to support Rose Elementary! 

New Digital Signs Around Escondido:
Keep an eye on the electronic billboards around Escondido for new signage. Now that restrictions are easing up and we are going back out to shop and dine, remember to support our local businesses when you can.

June Economic Development Newsletter:
The June edition of the Escondido Insight, which features local business news and stories is out now. This issue covers how a few local businesses are handling reopening and restrictions as well as the City’s Business Recovery Strategy. Check it out and subscribe here. 

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:

Vehicle / Pedestrian Collision in the 1500 block of E. Grand Ave.
On June 16, Dispatch received a call of a traffic collision involving a pedestrian and a vehicle that occurred in front of 1501 East Grand Ave.  On arrival, the 34-year-old male pedestrian was in the roadway and unresponsive.  The male was transported to Palomar Hospital for head injuries and numerous fractures.  The EPD Traffic Investigation team responded and handled the follow-up investigation.  The 26-year-old driver remained on scene and was cooperative with ongoing investigation.  Driver impairment does not appear to be a factor.

Male stabbed in the 400 block of Beaumont Glen
In the early morning hours of June 17, 18-year-old Escondido resident Troy Hernandez, broke into the residence of his ex-girlfriend in the 400 block of Beaumont Glen armed with a knife in order to attack his girlfriend.  Another male at the residence intervened and Hernandez stabbed the male.  Hernandez’s ex-girlfriend received minor injuries.  The male was transported to Palomar Hospital.  On June 20, Hernandez was located in the 500 block of N. Centre City Pkwy and arrested.  Hernandez was booked into Vista Jail for burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, and vandalism.

Officer Attacked by Man with Crowbar
On June 19, at 3:37 a.m., Officers responded to a restraining order violation occurring in the 300 block of Park Avenue.  The reporting party told Escondido Police and Fire Communications that her ex-husband, 44-year-old Rosendo Sandoval Quezada of Escondido, was at her residence in violation of a restraining order.  She identified her ex-husband and gave a description of his vehicle. At 03:45 a.m., an EPD officer located the suspect’s vehicle near the intersection of Washington Ave. and Broadway and initiated a traffic stop.  The suspect exited his vehicle holding a 3-foot long crow bar and ran toward the officer.  The officer fired several times at the suspect striking him in the abdomen. Officers at the scene provided first aid to the suspect prior to Escondido Fire personnel arriving.  The suspect was transported to Palomar Hospital for additional medical treatment.  Quezada is currently listed in stable condition.

Community Policing:

Students Receive Scholarships form the Police Athletic League (PAL)
On June 9, a PAL scholarship was awarded to John Velez at City Hall.  John will be attending UCLA. Retire d LT. Al Owens, PAL volunteer Lori York and Deputy Mayor Consuelo Martinez were present when he received his scholarship.  

On June 15, the Escondido Police Athletic League presented three students with PAL Scholarships to help with their college educations.  Chief Ed Varso, Captain Eric Skaja, Captain Justin Murphy, Captain Dave Cramer, LT. Kevin Toth, Detective John O'Donnell, retired LT. Al Owens, and PAL volunteers Dee Russell, Rick Hernandez and Jessica O'Donnell attended the short ceremony at the Escondido Police Department.  Scholarships were awarded to Andres Velez, Zachary Padilla and Tiara Zarate.  Andres will be attending Universal Technological Institute, Zachary will be attending Fresno State and Tiara will be attending Palomar College. The Escondido Police Athletic League is proud of all these students.            

Events:

New Officers join the Escondido Police Department
On June 15, Wayne Bernard, Robert Brossart, and Jacob Livingston started their careers with EPD as police officers.  They will be attending the 124th San Diego Regional Police Academy starting on June 22.  

Tip of the Week:
The California Victim Compensation Board (www.victims.ca.gov) is a state program dedicated to providing reimbursement for many crime-related expenses for eligible victims who suffer physical injury or the threat of injury as a result of violent crime.   Examples of covered expenses include crime scene clean up, funeral and burial expenses, income loss, medical and mental treatment, and relocation.

Grant Applications:
The Police Department has completed a Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program application.  The goal of this program is to improve forensic science services, including services provided by laboratories operated by states and units of local government.  Awards of up to $250,000 are competitively awarded.  With this grant funding, the Escondido Police Department Forensics Unit is requesting an Evofinder Automated Ballistics Identification System.  This system is a compact, lightweight, portable system that can scan a 3D image of the side of a bullet, or the bottom surface of a cartridge case in less than 3 minutes.  It has a powerful firearms and tool marks comparison microscope that analyzes ballistics and cartridge casings.  The Forensics Unit could quickly match bullets or casings and connect them to other cases.  The goal is to connect cases that detectives are working on, provide valuable information in a timely manner, and as a result, remove firearms from the streets.  The total cost of this system, including needed training, is $250,000.

FIRE DEPARTMENT UPDATES:

Over the last several weeks, all of our firefighters conducted Rapid Intervention Training (RIT) at our fire training facility at Station #1. This activity, also known as firefighter survival training, provides hands-on instruction and practice for the skills necessary in rescuing firefighters that have become trapped or injured during an incident. The crews also spent time working together performing hose evolutions, ladder evolutions, and other basic firefighting skills. 

On Wednesday, June 17, the Fire Department responded with the Police Department to a vehicle accident call at 2700 E. Valley Pkwy. Upon arrival, they found a single-wide mobile home that had been knocked off of its foundation by a vehicle that had fled the scene. The home’s utilities were secured, the City Building Department was requested and the Red Cross worked with the family for temporary housing. Fortunately, there were no injuries.  

On Friday, June 19, the Escondido based Top Dollar Fundraising Company donated 45 boxes of their World’s Finest Chocolate bars to the Escondido Fire Department. World’s Finest Chocolate has a goal to donate 10,000,000 chocolate bars nationwide to frontline workers, healthcare workers, first responders and military personnel. The generous donation of chocolate be distributed to all City employees on Employee Appreciation Day June 30th.

BY THE NUMBERS

Fire:

 Police:

 Public Works:

 

Code Enforcement:

Business Licenses

Graffiti Restitution

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & ENGINEERING

Development Services:                 

The City of Escondido offers a variety of programs and services related to land development, neighborhood improvement, etc.  Our development services team is committed to providing excellent customer service and meeting customer’s needs during these difficult times to keep entitlement projects and construction moving forward. 

Building Activity Status Update:

The Building Department continues to adjust to the new public interface process, looking for ways to reduce wait times and provide more efficient service. The counter staff conducted in person meetings with 122 applicants and staff was able to process 107 applications and issue 82 permits. The total permit valuation for the week was $261,893.00.  The inspection staff completed 149 inspections including the underground plumbing and foundation inspections for a group of the Phase I 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.  A CUP application was filed on October 30, 2019.  Department comments on the traffic study were provided on January 10, 2020, and revised traffic info was received from the applicant on February 21, 2020.  Most of the traffic issues have been resolved.  As of this writing, the applicant is targeting the July 14, 2020 Planning Commission meeting to consider approval of the project. 
  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 informed Planning during the week of January 27, 2020 that they are 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 made. A CUP application would have to be filed for the City to learn more about the scope of services and to formally review the application request. 

Residential Projects: 

  1. Harvest Hills (aka Safari Highlands Ranch) (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 revised tentative map addressing previous staff comments was submitted on November 6, 2019.  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.    
  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. Work is ongoing on Country Club Drive for the new gas main.
    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 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. 
  • Escondido Gateway (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 contractor has placed the traffic signal poles for the Grand Ave pedestrian crossing.  Striping of the cross walk on Valley Parkway and Grand Ave. was completed this week.  Work on Grand Avenue improvements, including the pedestrian crosswalk, will start within the next two weeks.
  1. Pradera (Developer: Moses Kim, Lennar Homes) – No change from the following update reported last week:  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.  The contractor has completed final signage and striping for the development.  The roadway connection between Vista Avenue and Vista Verde Way is scheduled to be opened to all traffic. This opening will connect El Norte Parkway to the south and Ash Street to the west.    
  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. A financial feasibility study for the proposed resort was submitted on July 8, 2019. The project has not had any activity since then. 
    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.  To date, KB Homes has not provided the application materials to the County.  The City is working with the developer to allow the project to continue to move forward while the developer obtains the County watercourse permit and constructs all necessary drainage improvements. 
  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.
    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 project site is currently being graded. Model home permits have been issued. CC&Rs for the entire project and a road maintenance agreement for the upper agricultural lots are in for review.  Improvement plans are ready for approval.  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.  
  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.
  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.
  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. The project is currently under review.
  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. The project is currently under review.
  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. Construction activity is currently between Oak Hill Drive and Bear Valley Parkway, east of Glenridge.
  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 contractor has completed the final striping, signage, and landscaping on El Norte Parkway.  The new pedestrian crossing signal was completed and activated on June 17, 2020.
    A project webpage containing draft documents and plans has been added to the Engineering Department’s website 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 will resurface 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 ARAM surface treatment has been completed. The contractor is on fifth and final week of the slurry surface treatment and is currently working on the Dixon lake access road.
    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 has backfilled for the new wing walls at the Spruce Street box culvert and has placed concrete for the east side ramp wall at the Valley Parkway location. Slope grading of the channel is ongoing for the area between Grand Ave. and Third Ave.