San Diego County Supervisors Approve New Development In North County
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to approve a Newland Communities plan to build housing in North County. The vote was 4-0, with Supervisor Dianne Jacob absent.
The development, Newland Sierra, would feature 2,100 homes on 600 acres of land a few miles north of Escondido, west of Interstate 15.
Dozens of residents came out to voice their opinion about the project in a public hearing before the vote. Supporters of the developer say it could provide much needed affordable housing in the area.
"I'm 32 years old and I'd like to settle down and have a house with a yard and raise a family. Many of my peers feel the same way, but we've found that there are very few desirable homes to buy, especially for middle-income households," one woman told supervisors during the hearing.
Those against the plan say the schools and roads in their community can't handle an influx of people.
"This project is going to cause gridlock traffic on the I-15 and in San Marcos... They have no plan for a district school on site. It's going to destroy irreplaceable wildlife and habitat in that area such as the bobcat and other wildlife in the region," said Erin Veit, a San Marcos resident.
The San Diego Association of Governments said North County will need to increase the number of houses by 26 percent in the next three decades to meet the needs of the growing population. Representatives for Newland Communities said they believe the proposed project will help bridge that gap.
"We're only proposing 2,100 homes. We're proposing a broad range of homes, broad price point and broad types to potentially house some of that workforce that has to commute in now," said Rita Brandin, an executive with Newland Communities.
Some current residents have said the supervisors are abandoning the General Plan passed in 2008 outlining policies for development in the area.
"That rural dream of having a home in a nice quiet area where you could still see the stars is just going to be annihilated by this development and it's just not a good fit for San Diego," one man told the supervisors during the hearing.
The first homes are expected to be built in four years.