Attendees of the Sept. 19 meeting of the Fallbrook Community Forum heard an update on one of Fallbrook’s most popular topics of conversation – the projects proposed for the town’s Interstate 15 corridor area. Jack Wood, chairman of the Land Use Sub Committee of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group (FCPG) briefed the group on the status of the major projects on the drawing board.
“This is going to be a whole new community,” said Wood. “The push has been coming for 25 to 30 years to use that area for ‘smart growth’ and all (the FCPG) can do is try to guide it to get the best possible result.” In his official role, Wood has followed the progress of this cluster of projects for the past 10 years.
There are four major projects under heavy discussion at this time.
Horse Creek Ridge
Horse Creek Ridge is a future residential development of approximately 750 dwellings (multi-family and single-family) to be built by D.R. Horton. D.R. Horton purchased the residential development property from former owner, Passerelle LLC. Passerelle still owns the light industrial and commercial portion of their property in the corridor.
Since this project has passed through all phases of the County process, it is now “almost ready to build,” Wood said, when the developer chooses.
Meadowood is a future development by Pardee Homes consisting of 397 single-family homes, 447 multi-family units, an elementary school (Bonsall Unified School District), and a wastewater (sewer) treatment plant. Water and sewer service will be provided by and managed for this development by Valley Center Water District.
Wood said Meadowood is also “almost ready to build” and has completed all requisites to begin.
Campus Park West
Pappas Investments plans to build Campus Park West, a mixed use project on the 116 acres it owns bordering both Interstate 15 and State Route 76 and a smaller parcel on the south side of 76. Plans show 500,000 sq. ft. of retail/commercial, 120,000 sq. ft. of light industrial/office, and 283 multi-family residential units.
Pappas has filed a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for its commercial/residential property, so the process still continues in seeking governmental approval for their plans. The developer is also currently applying for water service.
In explanation of Pappas filing its paperwork a while after the first two developments were well along in the process, Wood said, “[Pappas] was waiting to see what happened with the other projects.”
One hurdle Pappas may have to resolve is their plans include some structures that would exceed the 35-foot height limit that is in place by North County Fire Protection District.
“North County Fire isn’t equipped currently to handle fire protection for structures over 35-feet,” said Wood. “There may have to be an agreement between Pappas and the fire district to provide the equipment needed to handle that.”
In exceeding that height, it also lends suspicion to whether residents can expect to see big box stores inhabit the space.
“[The FCPG] would rather have neighborhood shopping, not regional shopping; we don’t want to see big box stores,” Wood said.
For those who have always wondered what the future holds for the “Bridge to Nowhere” (a bridge put in off Old Highway 395 by former property owner Hewlett Packard leading in the direction of the empty land), Wood said it will lead to the Pappas development.
Palomar Community College
The college district has plans to build a north campus on 81 acres they purchased from Passerelle.
“The college has indicated they have a 20-year phased-in building plan,” said Wood. “They plan to start by accommodating a student body of up to 2,500; then they want to work their way up to 7,500 to 8,500 students.”
The college has already paid to have their part of Horse Creek Ranch Road, off State Route 76, constructed. The completed roadway installation and expense is being shared by the college and DR Horton.
Pala Band of Mission Indians
According to Wood, the Pala Tribe has purchased 90 acres near the southeast corner of Interstate 15 and State Route 76. The Tribe has not made their full intent public in regards to any plans it may have for that property, other than one item.
“They have indicated they may put in a cultural center on the property,” said Wood. “Our concern is that if that property is submitted into and accepted for inclusion in the federal trust, it means [the tribe] won’t contribute any local tax money on it and can do whatever they want with the property.” Concerns include casino promotion, etc., that some might find unbecoming for the rural atmosphere.
A project that does not appear to be as imminent as those above, Warner Ranch is a future development slated for further out State Route 76 (across from Pala Casino) containing 550 acres. Currently Wood said there is talk that 780 homes might be built on 87 acres within that property.
While some area residents favor the idea of development of the corridor, others distinctly don’t. Members of the FCPG hear both of those opinions.
Wood said that since the FCPG is “just an advisory group,” it does not have the power to approve or deny a project, but try to advise direction to the developer and county in order to make it as amenable as possible to the area and its existing residents. Since multiple developers are presenting plans for the corridor, Wood said the FCPG has been trying to encourage communication.
“We have tried to encourage everyone working on all these projects to work together; to look at the whole picture of what we are dealing with here,” said Wood.
One of the potential challenges will be that due to existing boundaries, Fallbrook schools will serve students in the northern part of the development area and Bonsall the southern.
“It complicates things that there are two school districts involved,” noted Wood.
The residential numbers planned by D.R. Horton, Pardee, and Pappas combined look like a possible 1,877 dwellings. That, coupled with retail traffic, means heavy impact on the roads.
“We are very, very concerned about the cumulative effect on traffic, even with the improvements already planned to State Route 76,” said Wood.
While the construction of this new part of the Fallbrook community will undoubtedly bring significant change to the corridor, many also ponder what effect it will have on the downtown area of historic Fallbrook.
“There is definitely concern over how this will affect existing Fallbrook proper,” said FCPG member Roy Moosa.