Integral Communities has submitted an application for the redevelopment of the former Palomar Hospital site and surrounding properties in downtown Escondido. The application includes a request for a Specific Plan Amendment, Master and Precise Development Plan, Tentative Map, General Plan Amendment (Circulation Element), and Development Agreement to construct a multi-family mixed-use (commercial/residential) project. The current proposal shows 258 apartment units (for-rent), 90 senior apartment units (for-rent), and 162 row-homes and villas (for-sale), with accessory residential amenities and up to 12,000 square feet of commercial/office space on approximately 13.8 acres at the east end of downtown.
How the City is Reviewing the Application:
Escondido plans and regulates the use of land to protect the public health, safety and general welfare of our community. There are many ways to regulate and implement land use, such as through a general plan, zoning map and zoning code, along with the subdivision code and design review guidelines. Existing area- or site-specific regulations may also be created for a property, including a Specific Plan. Because the use of land is regulated, the City must review all projects against this policy and regulatory framework before any buildings can be constructed.
There have been many discussions about building on the former hospital site over the past several years. An application filed by Integral Communities in December 2018 represents the latest effort to examine options to build mixed-use commercial/residential development on the property. To ensure that the site specific solutions are implemented for the site, new standards will be prepared for the Project as part of an amendment to the Downtown Specific Plan. The proposal also includes an amendment to the Circulation Element of the Escondido General Plan to modify the roadway classification for a portion of N. Fig Street, and other actions necessary to implement the redevelopment of the project site. At this time, the City is in the process of reviewing various aspects of the project, including plans and environmental documents.
This portion of the Project website will be used to post Project-related information from the applicant or other Project material.
A Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was prepared for the project and made available for public review for 45 days, beginning on March 20, 2020, and ending May 4, 2020. The Public review period was subsequently extended by 15 days, and ended on May 19, 2020, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor's stay-at-home order. A link to the Draft EIR and associated documents, including the public comments received, is provided below.
A Final EIR has been prepared which incorporates responses to comments received on the Draft EIR. The Final EIR also includes revisions to the Draft EIR as a result of the public comments, and other revisions as determined necessary by the City due to modifications to the Project. The Final EIR indicates that the modifications to the Project are minor in nature and do not cause any change in significant impacts that were analyzed in the Draft EIR. None of these revisions resulted in significant changes to the Project Description or findings of the Draft EIR that would require recirculation of the Draft EIR.
A link to the final EIR is provided below. The Final EIR will be presented to the Planning Commission for consideration concurrently with the project application at a public hearing on September 22, 2020. The Planning Commission is anticipated to provide a recommendation to the City Council on the Final EIR and the Project at that meeting.
Planning Commission Consideration:
The Escondido Planning Commission acts as an advisory body to the City Council on the Palomar Heights project. The Commission is scheduled to consider the proposed Project at a duly noticed public hearing on September 22, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. and make a recommendation to the City Council.
City Council Consideration:
The City Council considered the proposed Project at a duly noticed public hearing on January 27, 2021, at 6 p.m. At that hearing, the Project was approved through the adoption of City Council Ordinance No. 2021-02(R), and City Council Resolution Nos. 2021-16 and 2021-17(R).
If you have any questions, please contact:
Adam Finestone, AICP
City of Escondido
201 North Broadway
Escondido, CA 92025