The latest version of the specific plan for Accretive Investments’ proposed Lilac Hills Ranch development was submitted to the county’s Department of Planning and Development Services on Feb. 11, and on March 5 the Bonsall Sponsor Group unanimously recommended denial of the project.
“We’re just pointing out major errors in all of the submissions,” said Bonsall Sponsor Group chair Margrette Morgan. “They do not have all of their studies even available, so this submission has been piecemeal.”
Lilac Hills Ranch has gone before the Bonsall Sponsor Group twice before, and it was unanimously rejected both other times. The 608-acre project has also been rejected on more than one occasion by the Valley Center Community Planning Group. Part of the project east of Interstate 15 is within the Bonsall Sponsor Group area while the majority is within the Valley Center group’s planning area.
The specific plan includes 1,371 single-family lots, 375 multi-family residential units within the Town Center and two smaller Neighborhood Center areas, 90,000 square feet of commercial and office space within the 25.8-acre commercial and mixed-use area, a 12-acre school site, a 12-acre public community park, private neighborhood and pocket parks, a recycling facility to provide waste recycling for project residents and businesses, an on-site water reclamation facility, and active orchards or other agricultural uses.
Morgan said that the latest version of the plan added apartments but did not specifically outline modifications from the previous plan. “They don’t tell us what the changes are,” she said.
Morgan also noted that the documentation didn’t include a traffic study. She added that the hydrology study did not take structures into account, which would render runoff information inaccurate. “Their hydrology is just their land,” Morgan said.
Accretive seeks an amendment to the county’s general plan which was updated in August 2011. Lilac Hills Ranch was considered during the general plan update process, which did not render a decision on the project itself but removed the proposed Road 3A from the Circulation Element. Road 3A would have provided a direct route from the project to Interstate 15, although it would have required off-site eminent domain. Morgan notes that some of the internal roads cited in the Lilac Hills Ranch plan are actually private roads to which Accretive doesn’t have access.
The Environmental Impact Review process often includes a scoping meeting at which citizens or organizations can request information to be studied. The Bonsall Sponsor Group and the Valley Center Community Planning Group have provided questions, but no draft EIR has been submitted. “They don’t have it together enough to have an EIR,” Morgan said.
The project will be heard by the county’s Planning Commission, which will make a recommendation to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, although there is no timetable for a Planning Commission hearing. “I doubt if it’s even this year,” Morgan said.
While the Bonsall Sponsor Group and the Valley Center Community Planning Group, among others, opposed the recommendation of the county’s Red Tape Reduction Task Force to restrict planning and sponsor group authority, the planning and sponsor groups were supportive of other internal efficiency improvements recommended by the task force which was convened in 2011.
The task force was part of the county’s business process re-engineering initiative which in February 2006 included a policy change intended to streamline the process for discretionary permit projects. That change sought to identify major issues early in the process, resulting in a more complete application when the project is initially submitted and thus fewer review cycles and revisions.
“This is not in compliance, as far as I’m concerned, with what the Board of Supervisors worked on in the Red Tape task force,” Morgan said of the Lilac Hills Ranch project. “One wonders how this got through.”