Update from Mayor Paul McNamara:
This week, Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara would like to share another update with the community. You can watch it here.
4th of July Update:
One of our largest community celebrations is our 4th of July Fireworks display and festival. We were really hoping to be able to continue that tradition this year on July 4th, but after many thoughtful and some very difficult discussions we have concluded that the pace of re-opening is just not going to allow it to be safe or possible. Our event involves an impressive crowd of residents that usually fills up Grape Day Park. Because health and safety of our community are the top priority, we cannot safely gather as we typically do to celebrate Independence Day. We look forward to sharing this annual tradition with our community next year. Thank you for your understanding and continued adherence to the County of San Diego orders.
The Park Avenue Community Center Receives 2 Generous Donations:
- Thank you to VFW Post 1513 who generously donated much needed items for senior citizens in our community. They donated over $200 worth of supplies!
- A big thank you to The Escondido Senior Housing Corporation. Their generous donation of $15,000 will go a long way to support senior programs and services!
Neighborhood Graduation Parade:
The Hidden Trails Community in Escondido held a graduation parade last weekend to celebrate more than a dozen of their seniors. The parade also honored Jonah Staebell, a would-be graduate of Escondido's Classical Academy High School, who passed away earlier this year in a car crash. Mayor Paul McNamara read the graduates names and participated in the parade. Check out NBC7’s coverage of the event here.
May Escondido Business Newsletter:
The May edition of the Escondido Business Newsletter is out now. Be the first to hear the latest Escondido business news by subscribing here.
In addition, our Economic Development team welcomes your feedback for story ideas and themes. If you hear of a new local business opening they would be happy to give them some love; you can submit these ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. Local businesses are the backbone of Escondido’s economy and community, we will get through this together. #StrongerTogether
With City facilities still closed to the public please remember there are many ways to do business online with the City by using our Online Services Portal.
You can also get preparedness tips, the latest details and a host of resources (videos, fact sheets, etc.) on the County’s website at coronavirus-sd.com.
POLICE DEPARTMENT UPDATES:
The following health procedures are still in place at the Police Department:
- The use of facial coverings inside police facilities is required when social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained.
- Our Police employees will wear facial coverings inside residences or businesses when in contact with the public, unless not practical for officer safety reasons.
- Personal Protective Equipment will also be worn when interacting with known or suspected COVID-19 persons when feasible.
Gunfire Strikes Residence, Suspect Arrested
On May 10, a gunshot was reported in the area of 1380 Oak Hill Dr. and one victim noticed a bullet hole through the wall of her residence. Fortunately, no one inside the home was harmed, but the bullet lodged into a child’s bed. Officers tracked down the location of the gunfire and contacted the suspect. The suspect intentionally fired the gun out of anger, but he did not specifically target anyone. He was arrested for multiple charges, including being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Two Suspects Passed Out in Cars, Two Guns Recovered
On May 11 and May 13, police were dispatched to two separate incidents where suspects were passed out in a vehicle. During the first incident, drugs and a handgun were recovered. In the second incident, officers located a stolen handgun. Both suspects were under the influence of drugs and were arrested for multiple charges.
Victim Stabbed Multiple Times, Suspect Outstanding
On May 14, officers responded to the 1300 block of E. Grand Ave regarding a stabbing that had just occurred. A victim was located with multiple stab wounds, but none were life threatening. The suspect is known to the victim and police are attempting to locate him.
Attempted Homicide Arrest Ends Crime Spree
On May 16, an Escondido Police supervisor heard a male yelling “stop” near the Sprinter Station in Escondido. The supervisor discovered a victim had been stabbed in the neck and was bleeding profusely. The supervisor rendered medical aid and the victim was transported to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. The victim is recovering and is listed in stable condition. The suspect, Timothy Alvarado, was detained by police within minutes. He was ultimately arrested for attempted homicide. He had previously been arrested for auto theft and other charges four times in the previous two weeks.
Officers Help Four-Legged Community Members
Apparently, a few sheep still believe that Escondido is an agriculture town. Officers helped wrangle up a few loose sheep in the area of 15th Ave and Juniper St. The sheep were taken in by the Humane Society until they can be reunited with their owners.
Focused Enforcement Efforts in High Call Volume Areas:
- 1 Arrests
- 18 Citations
- 82 Extra Patrols / Calls for Service
Officer Completes Field Training
On May 16, Officer Cristian Rudisell completed his field training program. After a six-month academy and approximately four months of field training, Officer Rudisell will now be out patrolling the streets of Escondido. Congratulations Cristian and welcome to the team.
Tip of the Week:
Did you know that you can receive information and alerts from the Police Department? The City of Escondido has partnered with Nixle to provide a community notification system. It’s free to join. Sign up at www.nixle.com or text EscondidoPD to 888777 for news and alerts from @escondidopolice.
The Escondido Police Department applied for the FY 2020 Coronavirus Supplemental Emergency Funding Program. Grant funds are provided by the Department of Justice. Funding is available to law enforcement agencies that participate in the Local Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.
Grant funds must be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. The Police Department is eligible to apply for $125,276.
The Escondido Police Department proposes to use this funding to pay for coronavirus-related overtime; personal protective gear; disinfecting supplies; and new software technology that will allow the Police Department to keep the public informed of vital information and updates via emails and texts.
FIRE DEPARTMENT UPDATES:
The Fire Department is continuing normal operations and fully staffed. We continue to monitor our personnel daily and continue heightened sanitation practices for our equipment, vehicles and facilities.
On Tuesday, May 12 at 7:55 PM, the Engine crew at Station #3 (Nutmeg) responded to a reported fire at a convenience store in the area of W. El Norte Pkwy and Bourbon Road. Upon arrival the Captain confirmed that there was an extinguished fire in the restroom trashcan and requested EPD and a Fire Investigator. The store’s video surveillance system showed an adult male entering the restroom before the fire started. Thanks to great teamwork, the suspect was identified and EPD made an arrest.
On Thursday, May 14 at 2:03 PM, the Fire Department responded to a reported fire in a mobile home at Valley Parkway MHP (1721 E. Valley Parkway). On arrival, the Station 2 (Midway) Engine Captain reported light smoke coming from a single wide mobile home. The fire was contained quickly with minor damaged limited to the laundry room, appliances and exterior coverings. The City Building Department, a Fire Investigator and SDG&E also responded. The cause of the fire appeared to be electrical in nature and is under investigation. The Red Cross and the mobile home park manager aided the residents. The firefighters observed that the mobile home did not have working smoke detectors and fire prevention staff installed three new smoke detectors donated through the Red Cross’ “Sound the Alarm” campaign. As a reminder, anyone can request smoke detectors installed in their home at no cost by following the links available at fire.escondido.org.
Fire & Water Expo Postponed:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fire & Water Expo and Open House that is normally held at Station #4 (Bear Valley) in June each year has been postponed. We hope to reschedule this fun and popular event this fall.
BY THE NUMBERS
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Governor Newsom has determined that construction is an essential service that is not subject to the current shutdown. The Community Development Department remains committed to serving our customer’s needs during these difficult times to keep entitlement projects and construction moving forward.
Although City Hall is temporarily closed to the public, the Planning Division is accepting project entitlement and permit submittals by appointment. Please call the Planning Division at 760-839-4671 to be directed to the appropriate planner for your project. All plan review services are continuing as before and public hearings have been shifted to an electronic format to maintain critical project timeframes.
Major Projects Update:
The following major projects are being reviewed and coordinated by Planning, Engineering, Fire, Building and Utilities. The list of projects below encompasses recent project updates and/or milestones from last week.
Commercial / Office / Industrial:
- 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. The applicant is currently trying to coordinate early design feedback on proposed improvements within the CALTRANS right-of-way.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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% design meeting occurred on December 9, 2019, and a follow-up meeting to discuss architecture occurred on January 30, 2020. The MND was adopted by the Zoning Administrator on April 30, 2020.
- 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.
- Harvest Hills (aka Safari Highlands Ranch) (Developer: Jeb Hall, Concordia Homes) 550 lots east of Rancho San Pasqual – The Draft EIR and appendices have been posted on the City’s website at the following link:
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. The revised tentative map and exhibits will be posted on-line at the link above.
- 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. It is expected that additional earth work and vertical construction will commence immediately.
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:
- 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.
- 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:
- 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. Staff is now awaiting resubmittal of the southern portion of the project.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Public review of the Draft EIR concluded on May 19, 2020. The City is now reviewing and responding to comments.
The development proposal and other related information can be accessed on the City’s website at the following link:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 is wrapping up comments from referral departments.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Accessory Dwelling Units – Planning staff is currently working on fifteen (15) applications for accessory dwelling units. Eighteen (18) 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.
The Building Department continues to receive a large number of online applications - 70. The counter staff concurrently assembled the fees to issue the next group of model homes for the Villages and service smaller building permits. The total permit valuation for the week was $542,598.00. The counter staff was able to process 70 applications and issue 53 permits and responded to 280 contacts from the public. The inspection staff completed 159 inspections.
The City is accepting permit applications by appointment. Some staff are working remotely to continue processing plans for proposed development projects. To make a submittal appointment please contact email@example.com
- El Norte Parkway Improvements – Median concrete infill along with the planting of the median landscaping is scheduled for this week. 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. More information can be found at https://www.escondido.org/el-norte-parkway-bridge-and-median-improvements-1.aspx.
- 2. Spruce Street/Transit Center Pedestrian Bridge Project – The contractor is forming for the new wing walls at the Spruce Street box culvert. Dredging of the channel bottom between Valley Parkway and Grand Ave has been completed. The contractor is continuing to place reinforced steel and wall forms for the Valley Parkway access ramp.
- 2019 Street Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project Rebid – Contract Asphalt road work is scheduled to be completed at the end of the month. The ARAM and slurry surface treatment is scheduled to start May 26th in the Rancho Verde Estate area. 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 are damaging concrete improvements. This year’s project is Maintenance Zone W. More information can be found at https://www.escondido.org/city-of-escondido-street-maintenance-program.aspx
- Tract 932 - Canyon Grove Shea Homes Community –No changes from that reported last week. The Project is currently in the punch list phase. 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.
- Henry Ranch Tract 920 –The contractor is testing the new in track sewer main. The contractor will be staring the off track wet utilities installation on Lincoln. The project is located at the intersection of El Norte Parkway/Lincoln Avenue.
- The Villages – The water quality testing of 2400 linear feet of new in-track water main has been completed. Work is ongoing on Country Club Drive for the new gas main. Village 1 is between Country Club Drive to the south, David Drive to the east and Golden Circle Drive to the north. A total of 111 homes are to be constructed in Village 1.
- SDG&E 16” Gas Main Replacement – Work is continuing with installation of the new 16” gas main along the Midway corridor. Construction activity has passed Valley Parkway and is working south to Grand Avenue.
- 700 Grand-Rowan-The contractor is working on the Grand Avenue traffic signal foundation for the pedestrian crossing. Final striping of the cross walk on Valley Parkway will take place later this week.
- Pradera by Lennar –No changes from that reported last week. The contractor has started the Conway street restoration work. 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 City’s potable water system.