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Lilac Hills Initiative To Go On November Ballot

The site of the proposed Lilac Hills Ranch, a master-planned community of 1,700 homes near Valley Center, March 8, 2016.
Matthew Bowler
The site of the proposed Lilac Hills Ranch, a master-planned community of 1,700 homes near Valley Center, March 8, 2016.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday decided to put a controversial housing project near Valley Center on the November ballot.

The Lilac Hills Ranch development would allow 1,700 homes to be built where only 110 homes were planned for.

Map showing location of proposed Lilac Hills development.
San Diego County
Map showing location of proposed Lilac Hills development.

Developer Accretive Investments collected enough signatures to put its plan on the ballot.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob was the only supervisor to reveal that she would not have approved the project if it had come before the board for a vote.

"There are some issues that give me grave concern: Is this a classic example of 'leapfrog' development which could lead, if passed, as precedent for other projects to follow?" Jacob said.

RELATED: Lilac Hills Project: ‘Leapfrog’ Development Or Smart Growth?

Supervisor Bill Horn, who represents the district where the project is located and is widely known to support it, had to reluctantly recuse himself because of potential conflict of interest.

San Diego Supervisors To Vote On Lilac Hills Initiative
San Diego Supervisors To Vote On Lilac Hills Initiative GUEST: Alison St John, North County reporter, KPBS News

The next step for the proposed Lilac Hills development is before the County Board of Supervisors. We will discuss the problems with money, donors and disclosures in politics. This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. It's Tuesday, August 2. Our top story on midday edition, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors are expected to vote about putting the Lilac Hills development on the November ballot. That project would allow 1700 homes to be built near Interstate 15 your Valley Center. The supervisors have been hearing from speakers and Bureau chief Allison St. John has been listening to the proceedings. County staff just came out with a report on Lilac Hills, is this what the talk is been about? Yes. Exactly. The issue is the fact that the fire regulations might have to be modified, so response time would decrease from 10 minutes, they should really respond in five minutes, but they might take as much as 10 minutes. There was question about the school that developers had volunteered to build Forge school children in the project, that was debated by the developer. There are exemptions on the roads, which are very narrow, if you put in five held -- 500 extra people, traffic will be different. The development was recommended by the planning commission to be approved, has been modified in the initiative to the developers benefit. This report is an attempt to help voters realize the difference. What stood out for you today and what some speakers had to say? Some speakers who were for it said we need houses, we need to be welcoming developers to San Diego County with open arms, so they build more homes and we can bring down the price of housing. There were others who said, we've spent years deciding where we want to build out here in the backcountry, we passed a general plan and the developers are coming up with different plans to put those houses in different places from where we decided. There's quite a bit of debate in the community. What we know about the level of support this project has on the board itself? The board has not come out and said where they stand. It's clear that Greg Cox who is in the South Bay would probably vote for it. Bellhorn is recused himself because of conflict of interest. Dave Roberts might vote against and Ron Robertson and Dianne Jacob, it's hard to know. The main issue is even if they voted in favor they would've set conditions and now there is no opportunity for any conditions to be set. You have to either vote as is or not. As I understood, this was to be the only time each supervisor could express his or her opinion on the Lilac Hills project. Are we expected to hear those opinions later today? Dianne Jacob did ask the General Counsel, can we comment, and he said you will be voting on some aspects of the plan in the future. It would be better that you don't take an active role in the campaign. He did not say that they shouldn't take a position. We will get some sense of where they stand on this when they speak later today. What options do supervisors have in today's vote? They don't really have much option at all. They can either put it on the ballot or they can approve it as is. There is no wiggle room. Think none of them want to just give it a green flag, without conditions. They are sending it to the voters. That's the idea, the outcome that we expect from today's vote? It's clear from the comments that's what's going to happen. If it does go on the November ballot do you expect lots of campaigning around this issue ask is there any organized opposition? Yes, there will be a huge amount of campaigning. The opponents won't have the same level of support, as the proponents. Today, it emerged that there are two kinds of groups of opposing it and they are competing to be the voice on the ballot. There may be a variety in the reasons why groups are opposing it. I think the complexity of the issues are going to be hard to communicate to voters who haven't been following this. The main issue is, it is setting a precedent and making an exemption to the general plan. It would allow developers to do just that. Allison will bring us the results on the life -- Lilac Hills project later today on KPBS. I've been speaking with North County Bureau chief Allison St. John.

Supporters of the Lilac Hills project told county supervisors San Diego’s need for housing is so great the board should have approved the plan outright rather than put it on the ballot.

Paul Schumann of Fallbrook said the supervisors should have approved the project outright.

“We need houses!” he said. “We need a place for our kids. Now it’s up to you to send a clear message to the developers, to the country, San Diego welcomes you.”