November 19, 2020

Thanksgiving Holiday
To minimize the spread of COVID-19 and ensure families stay safe during the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday, the County of San Diego has provided guidance about celebrating safely here.  City of Escondido facilities will be closed on November 26 and 27, with emergency services always available. The Weekly Activity Report will resume on December 3. Happy Thanksgiving, Escondido!

Mountain View Park Fitness Court Now Open!
On November 18, City leadership unveiled Escondido's new outdoor Fitness Court located in Mountain View Park. The court is now open and is a great spot for a socially distanced workout!

This project is part of the National Fitness Campaign that aims to help cities build and fund healthy infrastructure. This court is part of a larger network of courts that will be installed throughout the region, including four more in Escondido.

The fitness court is a seven-station system that has an accompanying free mobile app to help guide your workouts! There will also be free workout classes held at the court guided by our Fitness Court Ambassadors. More information about the court and ambassador program can be found here: https://recreation.escondido.org/fitness-court-1.aspx

Escondido Businesses Stick Together
On Saturday, November 14 local artists and creators utilized unused outdoor space along Grand Avenue for a Second Saturday Art Walk. This socially distanced event followed all County guidance and was a success; restaurant patios were busy, local art was displayed along Grand Avenue, and retail businesses saw an uptick in sales. Check out the 10News coverage of the day here.

Church of RB “Serve Day”
Last Saturday, November 14, members of The Church of Rancho Bernardo gathered at Kit Carson Park and Grape Day Park for their annual “Serve Day.”  The Church of Rancho Bernardo is a faith-based organization committed to being good neighbors in North County and wanted to volunteer for park improvements in Escondido.  Over 200 socially-distanced and “masked-up” members gathered at Kit Carson Park and painted signage, removed trash and replaced mulch in planter boxes to stop erosion.  Another group of 65 members worked concurrently at Grape Day Park and planted roses, mulched planter boxes and placed flowers in areas near and around City Hall.  We are incredibly thankful for their efforts!

Volunteer Hub Wins Golden Watchdog Award
The San Diego County Taxpayers Association has awarded Escondido their Metro Golden Watchdog Award for our use of technology with the Volunteer Hub. Since the launch of the Volunteer Hub in 2019 the City has received over 7,500 visits to the site, and overall their volunteer efforts have resulted in taxpayer savings of over $800,000. More information about the award can be found here. Great job team!

Small Business Saturday – November 28
Supporting our local small businesses is more important than ever this year. The City of Escondido, Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown Business Association have partnered this year to support our small businesses. Let’s “Shop local, support local” every day and especially on Small Business Saturday, November 28.
Merchants and consumers can learn more about Shop Small, Small Business Saturday and how to get involved by visiting www.ShopSmall.com.

Escondido Eats
Great news! Escondido Eats will be continuing through the holidays with “Escondido Eats, 25 Days to Go!” Promotions will run from December 1-25 to encourage curbside pickup and to-go of gifts and food leading up to the holidays! Stay tuned for more information.

POLICE DEPARTMENT UPDATES:

Traffic Pursuit Ends with Driver in Custody
On November 7, an officer attempted to stop a car that was driving extremely fast on Valley Parkway.  The car failed to stop and a police pursuit was initiated.  The car led officers to Valley Center where the four occupants eventually abandoned the car and ran away on foot.  With the help of other law enforcement agencies, the driver and two of the passengers were apprehended.  All three were juveniles.  The driver had handgun ammunition in his pocket and there was more ammunition found in the car, but no gun was located.  The driver was arrested and booked into Juvenile Hall and the two passengers were released to their parents.

Stolen Car Leads Officers on a Pursuit
On November 11, officers attempted to stop a stolen vehicle in the area of Valley Parkway and Lake Wohlford Rd.  The car fled up the Lake Wohlford grade where the driver abandoned it near Oakvale Rd.  The four occupants all fled on foot from the officers.  The three passengers were apprehended and later released.  The driver was identified and officers are on the lookout for him.

Suspect from Library Vandalism Arrested
On October 30, a suspect vandalized the inside of a bathroom at the Escondido Public Library.  A Park Ranger interrupted the crime as it was happening, but the suspect ran away.  The police were able to identify the suspect from video surveillance and he was arrested later that day.

DUI Driver Crashes into House
On November 12, officers responded to the corner of Ash St. and Brookwood Ct. regarding a truck that crashed into a house.  A man inside the home was injured when the dishwasher was thrown across the room by the impact of the collision.  The house suffered structural damage and the residents had to be relocated until repairs can be made. The driver of the truck was arrested for DUI.

Community Engagement:

Escondido Boy Gets a Birthday Surprise
Escondido resident Jair was getting ready to celebrate his 9th Birthday on November 12.  Leading up to the big day, Jair’s grandfather was concerned because he seemed to be depressed and despondent over the isolation from the COVID restrictions.  His grandfather reached out to the police department for a little help.  Officers lent a helping hand and gave Jair a birthday drive by procession of police cars ablaze with lights on to hopefully bring him some birthday cheer.  Happy Birthday Jair and hang in there!

Community Tools:

Events:

Escondido Police Children’s Christmas Party
Each year, the Escondido Police Department hosts an annual Christmas party to give kids who have been victims of abuse, neglect, and violent crimes a time of joy and celebration that they might not otherwise be able to experience.  Although our annual Children’s Christmas Party will have to be modified from the large scale events we have had in previous years, we have come up with a way to still provide toys, gifts, and other necessities to children who have been victims of crime, while still practicing social distancing and abiding by all public health orders. This year’s event will be a drive-thru style Christmas event, which will take place in early December. We are asking for the community’s help to make this Christmas a little bit brighter for these kids by donating a new unwrapped toy for a boy or girl ages newborn to 18 years old. We are also in need of donations in the form of gift cards for the older children who will be attending the event. Ideas/suggestions for gift cards are for coffee shops, department stores, and restaurants.  We will be collecting gifts until Friday, December 4.  Please contact Cecilia Gonzalez at 760-839-4931 with any questions.

Drop off locations are:

  • Escondido PD Front Lobby – 1163 N Centre City Pkwy, Escondido 92026
  • Escondido Federal Credit Union – 201 N Broadway, Escondido, 92025
  • Escondido City Hall – 201 N Broadway, Escondido, 92025
  • Blue Mug Coffee & Tea - 1882 W El Norte Pkwy, Escondido, 92026
  • CrossFit Point A – 985 Woodland Pkwy #119, San Marcos, 92069

Tip of the Week:

Starting this week and continuing until the end of the month is the national Click-It or Ticket campaign to improve driver safety.  Please remember to buckle up and make sure all car seats are properly installed.

FIRE DEPARTMENT
On Friday November 13, the Fire Department was dispatched to a rescue call at Citrus Ave and Birch Ave. Upon arrival, Firefighters found a female who had been performing maintenance on a tractor and became pinned underneath it. The victim was extricated using rescue tools and equipment, and she was transported to Palomar Hospital.

BY THE NUMBERS

Fire:

Police:

Public Works:

Code Enforcement:

Business Licenses:

Graffiti Restitution:

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & ENGINEERING

Building Permits and Inspections:

  1. The counter staff conducted in person meetings with 131 applicants and were able to process 95 applications and issue 86 permits.
  2. The total permit valuation for the week was $2,588,156.
  3. The inspection staff completed 174 building inspections.

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 appeal of that decision to the County of San Diego Planning and Development Services Department on November 12, 2020.  

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.  An initial study/mitigated negative declaration (“IS/MND”) was prepared to assess and its impacts on the environment.  The public review period was from October 31, 2020 to November 19, 2020.  Staff is currently coordinating final review of the project and will docket the item to the Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission would be reviewing the project and make a recommendation to the City Council.  The City Council is the final decision-maker for this project.   

Housing:

  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.  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 is tentatively scheduled for the City Council hearing on December 16, 2020.
  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.
  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 of the project, with the added condition that inclusionary housing be considered as part of the project.  City Council is the final decision-maker for this project.  A public hearing date has not been set.  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. Work is continuing for the new round-about located at Country Club and Golden Circle, the scope of work includes new road realignment, curb, gutter, driveways.  Concrete will be poured this week.  Electronic message boards have been placed to alert the public of work activity and a new alignment.  In Village I, Lennar has opened the model homes to the public.  In Village II, final clearing and grubbing, along with rough grading has commenced.  Rough grading is ongoing for Villages III.  The contractor is installing the main storm drain, private water, and sewer lines.  Work is ongoing for the south storm drain box culvert located on Country Club. Electronic message boards have been place alerting the public of the new alignment.  
  1. Pradera (Developer: Moses Kim, Lennar Homes) – This approved project consists of a 70-unit single-family homes located at the northeastern corner of Ash Street and Lehner Avenue.  The water main work included the construction and installation a 12” water main, 779 feet in length, along Conway Drive, between Lehner Drive and Rincon Avenue. 
  1. Escondido Gateway, also called Rowan (Developer: Carolyn Hillgren, Lyon Living) This is an approved residential project involving 126 residential units on the same site as the former Police Station across the street from the Escondido Transit Center at 700 W. Grand.  All contract work has now been completed.  The applicant recently approached staff to install new vehicular access gates to control resident and guest access on to the property.  This request requires an amendment to the Master and Precise Development Plan.  The Planning Commission reviewed and approved the request at their meeting on November 10, 2020. 
  1. Iwashita Apartments (Developer: Iwashita Development) – A seven-story, mixed-use project at 322 S. Escondido Boulevard for 172 units. A resubmittal of the application was received on October 14, 2020. The request is invoking recent changes in State Density Bonus Law to allow for an additional density and building height concessions.  The new proposal includes 290 units and nine-stories, with a ground floor day care use.  City staff is currently conducting a review of the resubmitted application. 
  1. Interfaith Recuperative Care Facility – (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. A resubmitted application was filed on October 26, 2020, under the cover of the proposed motel/hotel operator, rather than a licensed care facility. City staff is currently conducting a review of the resubmitted application.

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.  SDG&E is looking to initiate Phase 2.  Construction will begin in November 2020 and 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 the grading of the channel walls and planting of slopes. Planting in the final channel reach is being completed.
  2. 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.

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. 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.
  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. 
  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. The Ritz Theater “The Grand” (Developer: New Venture Church) 301 E. Grand Avenue – An approved renovation of the existing Ritz Theater and adjacent commercial building to provide for a variety of assembly uses including performing arts, religious services, café, offices and classroom studios.
  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.
  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. Canyon Grove Estates Tract 932 (Developer: John Vance, Shea Homes) – This is an approved residential project for 179-lot single-family residential development on the north side of Vista Avenue east of Conway Drive. 
  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. 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.
  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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Membrane-Filtration Reverse Osmosis Facility/MFRO (Developer: City of Escondido Utilities Department) 901 W. Washington.
  1. Lake Wohlford Replacement Dam – With the Environmental Impact Report certified by the City Council on September 23, 2020, City staff is coordinating additional permit review by the responsible agencies (e.g. California Department of Fish and Wildlife). City staff had a meeting with the respective agencies on October 19, 2020 to provide a project overview and to discuss the permitting process.
  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. 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.