City of Escondido


South Centre City Area Plan

Project/Study Overview:

South Centre City planning area is located in an area that is described by the General Plan as a future growth area (also called Target Area). The South Quince Street Target Area, South Escondido Boulevard Target Areas, and the Centre City Parkway Target Area are identified in the City's General Plan (Target Areas C, D, E, and F). These interconnected Target Areas comprise approximately 420 acres of Escondido’s more established and older sectors of the city and extends 2.25 miles along Centre City Parkway and Escondido Boulevard.

The overall effort to create a South Centre City Area Plan, called Envision South Centre City, culminated into something that is called a "specific plan." A specific plan is a planning document that consists of new zoning standards and design guidelines for a specific area of the city. Zoning standards define the allowable uses and bulk or scale of development, while design guidelines address the appearance and quality of development.

The City worked with various residents, businesses, and community members over the past two (2) years to develop the plan and tailored approach to best facilitate new residential, commercial, and industrial development. The far-reaching outreach and engagement campaign, which also engaged the City's youth through a partnership with Central Elementary School, was recently recognized by the San Diego Section American Planning Association, winning an award of excellence for public outreach. 

The new Specific Plan was presented to the City Council for adoption on March 21, 2018.  The new plan effectively establishes a link between implementing policies of the General Plan and the future, individual development proposals within the South Centre City planning area. With a focus on the neighborhoods surrounding Quince Street, South Escondido Boulevard, and Centre City Parkway in southwest Escondido, the South Centre City Specific Plan brings together detailed regulations into a focused development scheme to improve community health, safety, sustainability, and economic prosperity, while respecting the unique character of South Centre City and preserving the community values of southern gateway character.  Because the Specific Plan was adopted by Ordinance, it will become effective in mid-May. 


Draft Specific Plan (dated January 25, 2018, prepared for City Council consideration)

The final adopted Specific Plan will be posted soon, which will reflect final changes adopted by Ordinance. 

Environmental Review:

In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act, the City has prepared an Initial Study and Negative Declaration for the Project.  The City has prepared a Notice of Intent to inform responsible agencies and other interested parties about the intent to adopt a negative declaration for the South Centre City Specific Plan.

As specified by the State CEQA Guidelines, a 20-day public review period for the Negative Declaration will commence on November 20, 2017 and end on December 11, 2017.   

Notice of Intent (issued on November 16, 2017)

Draft Initial Study and Negative Declaration (IS/ND)

Final Initial Study and Negative Declaration (IS/ND)

How is the City Reviewing the Specific Plan 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."

The South Centre City Specific Plan was prepared to meet the minimum requirements of State law, while reflecting local community values. The Specific Plan includes an introduction, land use and development regulations, design standards, architectural standards, circulation system plan, infrastructure plan, community services and facilities plan, an implementation program, and other items to make the plan statutorily complete. The plan promotes a more functional and livable setting in the planning area, which will offer the sense of place commonly envisioned in the General Plan.

The planning area, as it currently exists, is a function of past decisions and policies. Similarly, the development of the Specific Plan, which serves as the basis for decision-making in the future, is a function of the existing social, economic, and physical environments; albeit with an eye on the future. The community’s values and views of the existing planning area strongly influenced the direction and focus of the plan and its future implementation.

Public Engagement:

Phase 2 Outreach Engagement Flyer 

To learn more about the planning process, please contact Assistant Planning Director, Mike Strong at or 760-839-4556.

Project Progress:

The overall effort to develop the Specific Plan was a significant planning effort based on meaningful public input.  After a far-reaching public outreach effort in 2015 and 2016, significant progress was made to develop the draft Specific Plan.  With that in mind, this portion of the Project website documents the more recent efforts and key milestones of the City’s review process.


Where We Have Been:

  1. August 15, 2017: City release of the Envision South Centre City Public Participation Plan for Phase 2.
  2. August 15, 2017: Outreach flyer created.
  3. September 12, 2017: Original Draft Specific Plan released for public review and comment.
  4. September 12, 2017: Planning Commission informational presentation and outreach kick-off for related outreach.
  5. September 28, 2017: Informational Open House at City Hall.
  6. October 5, 12, 19, and 26: Office Hours at City Hall (talk one-on-one with City staff during your lunch hour, 11:30am to 12:30 pm in the Mitchell Room).
  7. November 20, 2017: Start of public review of the Initial Study and Negative Declaration.
  8. November 30 and December 1: Tailored outreach, art, and visioning exercises to Central Elementary School.  (Art Visioning exercise notes.)
  9. January 4, 2018: Update Draft Plan released in preparation of Public Hearings.
  10. January 9, 2018: Planning Commission recommends approval of project to City Council (staff report)
  11. January 22, 2018: Updated Draft Plan, incorporating Planning Commission changes, uploaded to Project website.
  12. March 21, 2018: City Council approved the Project proposal, adopting the resolution and introducing Ordinance.
  13. March 28, 2018: City receives award of excellence announcement from the SDAPA for public outreach. 
  14. April 4, 2018: Second reading of the Ordinance.

What’s Next:

  1. May 5, 2018: Effective date 

Press Coverage:

  1. "New buildings bring feeling of life to South Escondido". J. Galant. The Coast News Group (August 11, 2017). 

  2. "City asks residents to envision South Centre City". News Desk. Times Advocate (September 21, 2017).

  3. "Students asked about what they want for the city’s future". News Desk. Times Advocate (December 15, 2017).