September 24, 2020

Economic Development
Last week, Economic Development visited with Stone and Glass.in downtown Escondido. They got to see the master himself, James Stone, working on next month’s edition of the Collectors Club (pieces that are delivered directly to a customer’s door) and a live preview of this month’s edition. 
Carol and James explained that pivoting their business to launch the Collector’s Club during COVID-19 has been instrumental in saving their business.  They are immensely grateful for the community’s support and the customer demand to keep the flames going in the studio.

Annual Financial Report Wins Award
The City was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the year ending June 30, 2019.  The award, presented by the Government Finance Officers Association, recognizes state and local governments who go above and beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment.

September Business Newsletter
Learn how Classical Academy has shifted to online learning, and how the City’s Small Business Grant Program is helping one local business after a challenging few months. Read it here.

Visit Escondido Newsletter
The September issue of the Visit Escondido newsletter is out now. This issue features a spotlight on Wine Month. Learn about our Escondido wineries and some tips for a day trip here.

Mountain View Park Tennis Courts
The resurfacing of the tennis courts at Mountain View Park is completed and the courts are now re-open for use. All courts have been striped with regulation tennis and pickle ball lines. You can sign up for recreation classes and other activities here.

Fall Recreation Guide
The new 2020 Fall Recreation Guide is out now! This issue covers October and November and registration for classes and activities is open. Classes and programs are now available in person as well as online. Click here to browse the offerings the new interactive guide and register for classes.

Feedback Needed: Potential Fitness Court Locations
The City will be installing four additional fitness courts throughout Escondido that will be part of a greater network of Fitness Courts across the County and Southern California. We are currently exploring locations and would value your feedback.
Please click here to explore the locations and submit your preferred rankings.

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

For the latest test numbers, tier information, and phases of reopening visit the County of San Diego’s website at: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/coronavirus.html

POLICE DEPARTMENT UPDATES:

Fight at Hospital Leads Officers to Stolen Vehicle
On September 15, officers were dispatched to Palomar Medical Center when security called to report that there was a fight in the parking lot.  The primary suspect in the fight got into a car and attempted to leave as officers were on their way.  Palomar security gave police the vehicle description and officers were able to locate it as the suspect was attempting to leave the scene.  Officers discovered that the vehicle was stolen and the driver was arrested without incident.

Serial Shoplifter Arrested After Fleeing from Police
On September 16, officers were dispatched to The Home Depot at 1550 W. Valley Pkwy regarding a theft in progress.  Store employees reported that a known thief was loading power tools into a trashcan inside the store and they believed that he was going to steal the items.  While officers were responding, the suspect exited the back of the store with the tools and got into a waiting vehicle with two other suspects.  The vehicle left the parking lot as officers were arriving.  The officers attempted to stop the vehicle and all three suspects fled on foot.  Two of the suspects were apprehended and arrested.  The suspect is responsible for at least three other thefts from Home Depots in the North County and thousands of dollars in lost merchandise.

Suspect Passed Out in Vehicle With Drugs and Stolen Police Gear
On September 17, officers were dispatched to the 7 Eleven at 522 W. 9th Ave regarding a subject passed out in his vehicle.  The responding officers immediately recognized the suspect as Thomas Vann, a known felon.  Vann was wearing a ballistic style vest and loaded rifle magazines were visible on the front seat.  He was detained and officers recovered drugs, ammunition, and stolen law enforcement gear.  The gear was stolen from a law enforcement vehicle the previous day in San Diego.  In total, Vann was in possession of 392 grams of meth, 78 grams of heroin, 20 Xanax pills, 126 rounds of rifle and shotgun ammunition, and the stolen law enforcement gear.  He was arrested on numerous charges and booked into jail.

Knife Wielding Subject Peacefully Disarmed
On September 17, an officer was patrolling the Escondido Transit Center when he encountered a mentally ill man creating a disturbance.  The subject was known to the officer who attempted to contact him.  The subject then produced a knife and began swinging it wildly through the air.  The officer was able to de-escalate and allow for other officers to arrive on scene.  Two officers were then able to safely disarm the subject and detain him.  A PERT officer responded to the scene and was able to place the subject on a mental health hold at the hospital.

Shooting Occurs on a Residential Street
On September 19, officers responded to the 900 block of Daisy St regarding suspects shooting out of a vehicle.  The suspects were gone when the officers arrived, but they located a shell casing in the street.  No one was injured and the suspects have not been located at this time.  Witnesses reported 3-4 shots being fired and the suspects left in a dark colored SUV.

Community Update:

It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of one of our true community heroes in the death of Cathy McLennan.  Cathy conducted forensic interviews at Forensic Health Services, part of Palomar Health, for child victims of sexual or physical abuse.  She served our community for 33 years and worked with countless children suffering from the worst traumatic experiences.

Cathy became one of the foremost experts in the country on interviewing children who had suffered abuse.  Since children are often reluctant to disclose abuse and are susceptible to leading questions, it takes great skill and training to extract information from them.  Cathy was one of the best.  She put kids at ease and overflowed with empathy.  One of our Family Protection Unit detectives who worked on countless cases with Cathy stated of her:

 “It seems people throw a lot of powerful words around without giving much thought to their meaning.  I have given this much thought and I believe I speak for every child she had ever spoken with when I say, Cathy truly was a hero!  She invested in the lives of countless children and her investment will continue to have an impact for generations. Rest in Peace Cathy.”

To read more about what Cathy meant to this community, an article was written about her just after her retirement a few years ago.  Cathy, you will be missed, and thank you for your dedication and service to our most vulnerable victims.
https://www.baltimoresun.com/sd-no-mclennan-retirement-20170517-story.html

Community Tools:

Tip of the Week:
When an emergency vehicle is responding with lights and sirens, state law mandates that you pull over to the right side of the road and stop.  Not doing so can endanger other motorists and delay the emergency response.  Just remember, if an ambulance was coming to help you or your loved one, you’d want them to get there as quickly as possible.

FIRE DEPARTMENT UPDATES:

Eleven Escondido firefighters continue to assist with several large fires in Northern California.

BY THE NUMBERS

Fire:

Police:

August Abandoned Vehicle Data

Public Works:

Code Enforcement:

Business Licenses

Graffiti Restitution

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & ENGINEERING

Building Permits and Inspections:

  1. The counter staff conducted in person meetings with 129 applicants and were able to process 101 applications and issue 72 permits.
  2. The total permit valuation for the week was $1,675,454.00 $4,664,762.00. So far, the weekly average valuation is $3,410,303.00 in this fiscal year.  The weekly average over the same ten week time period last year (2019) was $820,405.00. 
  3. The inspection staff completed 152 building inspections, and increase of 15 percent from last week.   

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.

Commercial / Office / Industrial:

  1. Carvana – (Developer: Jo Ryan, Carvana) 559 N. Hale Avenue – A Conditional Use Permit for the development of a proposed vending machine car dealership.  The project consists of an approximately 5,800 SF, eight-(8) tier glass and steel tower structure up to 75 feet in height.  A proposed Specific Alignment Plan for Hale Avenue is requested to modify the design of the street frontage and intersection of Hale Avenue and Tulip Street. The project was reviewed by the Planning Commission on September 8, 2020, and was approved with a 4-2 vote.  The Planning Commission’s recommendation was forwarded to the City Council on September 23, 2020 and approved.

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 completed 90 percent of the onsite water, storm drain and sewer utilities. Construction of the model homes is ongoing. Mass grading has been completed. The contractor is currently working on the bio-retention basins, to control run-off.  Offsite work for the new traffic signal is on-going.
  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.  Off-site work is nearing completion for the new sewer main. 
  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 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.  City Council is the final decision-maker for this 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. 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 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. 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 and driveways. Work has restarted on the south side storm drain crossing on Country Club. Rough grading is ongoing for Villages III.  Lennar is looking to receive phase 4 building permits and begin model home construction in Village III soon.  Plan check review of the proposed commercial center is complete, and comments on Village 2 and Village 3 parks have been delivered.  (City staff has approved of the park in Village 1.)
  1. Pradera (Developer: Moses Kim, Lennar Homes) – This approved project consists of a 70-unit single-family development 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.  SDG&E and their contractor has started isolating, blowing down/purging and installing isolation caps on the newly installed 16” gas main. The area of the work is along the Midway corridor and at the intersection of La Honda and El Norte.   

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.  Installation of the 16” gas main is currently in the county portion of Bear Valley Parkway. SDG&E and their contractor has started isolating, blowing down/purging and installing isolation caps on the newly installed 16” gas main. The area of the work is along the Midway corridor and at the intersection of La Honda and El Norte.
  1. Laurel Valley Wall Replacement - A preconstruction meeting was held for the Laurel Valley Wall Replacement. This wall is located in the City’s LMD Zone 9. The scope of work will include the removal of the existing damaged stucco wall and the placement of a new vinyl fence.  Fencing material is schedule to arrive the first week on October, once confirmed the Notice to Proceed will be issued.
  1. Spruce Street/Transit Center Pedestrian Bridge Project – The contractor, Palm Engineering, has started final slope grading in the area between the channel and Valley Parkway. Once completed the contractor will complete the landscape planting. This project is nearing completion.
  1. Lake Wohlford Replacement Dam – A workshop has been scheduled with the City Council for mid-September. City staff is also working to finalize the Environmental Impact Report and tentatively bring it forward to City Council for certification at their meeting on September 23, 2020. 
  1. Storm Drain Pipe Lining and Rehabilitation Project Phase II - Bids were accepted and are being reviewed for this project. The work consists generally 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 – Nothing New 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 – Demolition of vacant, former Coco’s restaurant building and construction of new 3,744 SF drive-through restaurant for Raising Cane’s. 
  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.
  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 – A 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 was approved by the City Council on December 5, 2018.
  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.

Housing:

  1. Escondido Gateway, also called Rowan (Developer: Carolyn Hillgren, Lyon Living) This is an approved 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. 
  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. Canyon Grove Estates Tract 932 (Developer: John Vance, Shea Homes) – This is an approved project for 179-lot single-family residential development on the north side of Vista Avenue east of Conway Drive. 
  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.
  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 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. 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.
  1. Oak Creek (Builder: KB Homes) – this is an approved 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. Iwashita Apartments (Developer: Iwashita Development) – A seven-story, mixed-use project at 322 S. Escondido Boulevard for 172 units. 
  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 SF 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.

City Projects or Other Capital Improvement Projects:

  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. This year’s project is Maintenance Zone W. Zone W is our western zone that is located west of Interstate 15 between State Route 78 and Felicita Avenue. More information can be found at the following link:
    https://www.escondido.org/city-of-escondido-street-maintenance-program.aspx