Friday, August 6, 2010
A major new housing development that would put almost 2,000 new homes in Valley Center will have to wait before getting permission to move ahead.
County Planning Commissioners listened to hours of public testimony before deciding to delay a decision until after the County Board of Supervisors has voted on a new General Plan for future growth this fall.
The Accretive project would urbanize an agricultural area between Valley Center and Interstate 15 in unincorporated north San Diego County.
Hans Bridge, a third generation farmer from Valley Center, begged the commissioners not to allow the developers to begin the process of applying for a general plan amendment.
"Our community has worked hard and spent many sleepless nights worried about this," he said. "Please help our farming community stay intact so we can preserve it and share it with future generations of San Diego residents."
Dozens of people also spoke in favor of the project, including some who said the region needs to create more housing and more jobs.
Sandy Smith is a Valley Center resident and a member of the local Planning group, which opposes the project. She said they have been working on plans for more housing in a different part of Valley Center, and the Accretive project is unnecessary to meet future growth needs.
"This would be an additional 5,000 people on top of the growth that's already planned, in an area that's our last buffer zone between the urban area of San Diego County and Riverside County," she said.
Randy Goodson, CEO of Accretive Investments, says the project deserves to be given the chance to study the options.
"Agriculture is on the way out," he said, "and this land is right next to Interstate 15."
He said the location does not need additional water supplies and a new water recycling plant would allow existing golf courses to be irrigated. The project would include a new school he said, and would construct new roads in an area that has developed in a patchwork fashion until now.
Another major development in Supervisors Bill Horn's district, the Merriam Mountains Project, was rejected by the County Board earlier this year. Like the Accretive project, it did not comply with the county's new plan for future growth, which has been over a decade in the making. The Board is due to vote on that update in November.
Goodson says even if his project doesn't comply, he will seek authority to amend it.