Public meeting Mon., Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. will focus on fate of San Luis Rey Downs and whether it will become wetland habitat – Discussion about turning golf course into riparian habitat to be discussed at public meeting Feb. 24

The fate of the San Luis Rey Downs golf course, which has been the subject of rumors that it will be sold to a mitigation bank management company and turned into riparian habitat, is uncertain. What is known is that a public meeting will be held February 24, at 6 p.m., at the San Luis Rey Downs clubhouse.

What is also known is that the public comment period for the proposed Moosa Creek mitigation bank has been extended to March 9. The comment period was to have closed February 13, but the Army Corps of Engineers determined that insufficient notice to neighboring properties had been provided and the proposal was re-released for public comment on February 7.

“At this point it’s very preliminary,” said Army Corps of Engineers senior project manager Shanti Santulli.

“We don’t know what the outcome is. No decision’s been made at this time. We just want to make sure that we have all the pertinent information,” said Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Greg Suderer.

Conservation Land Group, Inc., (CLG) has filed an application with the Army Corps of Engineers for the Moosa Creek mitigation bank. The mitigation bank proposal for approximately 185 acres, including approximately 38 acres of wetlands and 5.75 acres of non-wetland waters, would rehabilitate and re-establish riverline and depressional wetlands and restore wetland and non-wetland riparian habitat.

“It is the restoration of flood plain, riparian, and wetland habitat along Moosa Creek and the San Luis Rey River,” said WRA, Inc., biologist Amanda McCarthy.

WRA, Inc., is working with CLG on specific restoration and mitigation plans. Approval of the land as a mitigation bank would allow developers of property elsewhere to purchase mitigation credits from the mitigation bank which could be used to fulfill off-site mitigation requirements for those projects.

The decision whether to authorize the land as a mitigation bank will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact, including cumulative impacts, to the public interest, and the reasonably-expected benefits must be balanced against reasonably-foreseen detriments. The factors which will be considered include conservation, economic, aesthetic, general environmental, wetlands, cultural value, fish and wildlife value, flood hazard, flood plain, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, and food production impacts as well as the general needs and welfare of the public.

The proposal was originally released for a 30-day public comment period on January 14. Some of the comments received involved the lack of notice, so the Army Corps of Engineers made the decision to recirculate the proposal for public comment. “We want to make sure it’s distributed to everybody,” Santulli said.

“I’ve never received an official notice from the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) or the Corps of Engineers,” said Jeff Johnson, who lives next to the land being considered. “There may have been some official notice to somebody, but I don’t know where it went. It wasn’t to me.”

Johnson indicated that most of the neighbors learned of the proposal through word of mouth, often from golf course users.

“The people living around it haven’t been notified as they should be,” said Jon Frandell, who has golfed at San Luis Rey Downs for more than 20 years.

When Frandell moved to Fallbrook as a 12-year-old in 1963, San Luis Rey Downs and the Fallbrook Golf Club were the area’s golf courses. “They’ve both been very beneficial to the community,” he said. “I hope the community comes together and tries to save a very viable economic option that’s part of our community and part of our culture.”

Although Frandell is the current president of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce, he emphasized that the chamber had not taken an official position as of February 7 and that his comments were his personal opinions. “The highest and best use is as a golf course,” he said. “There’s better land use of that area by keeping it a golf course than by turning it back to wetlands.”

McCarthy remarked that restoration to natural habitat was the preferable option. “This is the best use of the land,” she said.

McCarthy and Frandell both agreed that the land is in a flood plain and that homes could not be built on it. Frandell noted that banks were built on the golf course to protect it from flooding and that such protection would not exist in the land’s natural habitat. “It would be flooding in,” he said.

“The golf course as it is today is a wildlife preserve. We see large numbers of species out there enjoying the golf course,” Johnson said.

Johnson noted that the restoration would be a multi-year construction process. “I’m not sure what good that does for the wildlife,” he said.

“It is open space,” Frandell said. “As a golf course it could be used as a land bank anyway.”

Most mitigation plans for the area involve acquisition of land for the future San Luis Rey River Park which is planned to have active recreation, passive recreation, and biological open space within the park. The river park and the existing golf course could coexist; the Morley Field golf course in San Diego is part of Balboa Park and the Riverwalk golf course in San Diego is adjacent to the San Diego River trail. “It’s an excellent complement to the future park and to the river. I sure hope somebody listens to us,” Frandell said.

Colt Vessels, whose family owns the golf course, hopes that the public understands that the family has not made a decision to sell the golf course or to close it. “As of right now there are a lot of questions people are asking,” he said.

“We are entertaining different ideas,” Vessels said. “As of right now there are no plans in concrete.”

That includes the land remaining as a golf course. “We could keep it as a golf course, we could sell it as a golf course,” Vessels said. “We don’t know exactly.”

Vessels also acknowledged that a sale is a potential option. “Anything’s possible,” he said. “We aren’t leaning towards anything in particular.”

Vessels refuted claims that the golf course is not economically viable. “If the golf course wasn’t viable it wouldn’t be open right now,” he said.

“We see many golfers come every day and play the course,” Johnson said. “The golf course is being used.”

Johnson lives above the tennis courts. “I think both of these athletic facilities are being used,” Johnson said.

“We’re not actually tied to the golf course or the ownership,” McCarthy said.

“We have to arrange access to the site when we go to do our biological studies,” McCarthy said. “We really aren’t associated with the golf course at all.”

“I think clearly the neighborhood is concerned about losing a very pleasant view of the golf course,” Johnson said.

Johnson noted that the golf course would be replaced by brush. “It will probably become overgrown in a few years,” Johnson said.

“These areas that go to wetlands also become fire danger hazards,” Frandell said.

“The biggest concern I personally have is why is this happening,” Johnson said. “We have a big government program that’s coming into our community and forcing a particular transaction to go in a particular direction.”

Johnson explained that EPA regulations make mitigation banks desirable for developers. “The Federal regulations have made it an option for wildlife preserves to outbid recreation,” Johnson said. “The Federal government is making this thing happen and it’s not to the benefit of the community of Bonsall.”

Frandell noted that the San Luis Rey Downs golf course is used by high school and college teams for practices and matches and is also the site of numerous tournaments whose proceeds are donated to local charitable organizations. “The loss in use is just quite mind-boggling,” he said.

The mitigation plans also include taking a portion of Golf Club Drive, which Johnson uses to access part of his property. “It kind of creates an easement question,” he said.

The February 24 public hearing will allow CLG to provide additional details about the proposal’s intentions. “CLG will go ahead and present what their tentative plan and intention is,” Suderer said.

“Hopefully the public meeting will be helpful and help the people understand what’s going on,” McCarthy said.

The hearing will also allow for public questions and comments. “We’re looking for any sort of input that they may have, what their concerns are, if they have any historical knowledge of the area,” Suderer said.

“Hopefully any and all questions will be answered then,” Vessels said.

51 Responses to "Public meeting Mon., Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. will focus on fate of San Luis Rey Downs and whether it will become wetland habitat – Discussion about turning golf course into riparian habitat to be discussed at public meeting Feb. 24"

  1. Ray (the real one)   February 13, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Where will all those illegal aliens go? our communities.

  2. How sad   February 13, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    How very sad that SLRD will be destroyed. What is our community coming to?

  3. Robert Sommers   February 13, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    You want a golf course Frandell, then raise the money and buy it. It’s called private property and if the new buyers want to go riparian I say good for them. Golf courses take an inordinate amount of water and use a lot of pesticides. Don’t really think the public needs to subsidize your hobby.

  4. Ron   February 13, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    If given a choice between a deteriorating golf course and resort and a thriving wetlands (where no development will ever occur), I’ll take the latter. I will attend the public hearing with an open mind.

  5. Bonsall Resident   February 13, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    The Vessels’ have slowly run San Luis Rey into the ground. 15 years ago, the place was beautiful. A hotel, restaurant, bar, a golf course, and wedding venue that would rival any in North County. They must be getting a pretty penny for the land or a nice tax deduction/break. Any smart business person could take that place, and turn it into a gold mine… Shame on the Vessels for not leasing or selling to an investment company. As least give back to the community in which you reside. So sorry for your loss Bonsall….

  6. Former Fallbrookian   February 14, 2014 at 7:11 am

    I agree, closing the golf course would definitely affect the local economy. I’d so much rather have a view of a golf course that a bunch of knurled twisted brush that houses illegals in migrant camps and who knows what else…… Hopefully the course can be saved.

  7. Must attend the hearing   February 14, 2014 at 10:11 am

    I am an avid golfer and want the course saved as well. Wetlands? Really? Sounds like a mosquito and bug problem for those residents that are close, no thanks.

    The only way that will happen is if all in favor get to the meeting! You took the time to comment on here so get in your car and attend the meeting. The Vessel’s don’t need anymore money, they are doing just fine.

  8. Lee   February 14, 2014 at 11:41 am

    This is a great thing IF it is done right, the definition of which being that there are absolutely no ulterior motives. If this land is returned to a natural habitat, and natural habitat ONLY, then this is absolutely wonderful; if not, it’s not. Time will only tell.

    For those of you who are concerned that a natural habitat will lower your precious property values, it will not. It’s like saying that the natural property that is adjacent to yours when you first bought it was the cause of your property’s low asking price; it was not. In fact, it is in large part due to Fallbrook’s natural beauty that we all live here, AND why Fallbrook’s home prices are what they are. Psst, nature is a good thing . . . for you wallet-concerned folks.

    Furthermore, good riddance to a water-guzzling golf course! In this drought, we all clearly see just how irresponsible it is for (A) Fallbrook to have as many golf courses as we have, and (B) perhaps to have golf courses here at all. We continue to forget — and deny ourselves — the fact that we are in a semi-desert region. We simply do NOT have an infinite water supply, so let us please stop fooling ourselves and once and for all do the right thing and DRASTICALLY cut down on water use. Closing a golf course is an excellent step in the right direction.

    Last but certainly not least, to my fellow commenters who express the almighty dinero concern, is there anything that you do NOT see in terms of dollars and cents? Do you not see beyond the dollar sign in your eyes to realize that nature is precious and MUST be preserved . . . at all cost? PLEASE forget the silly notion of money when it comes to nature. If we deal with nature in terms of nature AND money, this planet has zero chance of making it; if we deal with nature in terms of nature only, it has. It’s that simple. PLEASE stop being prostitutes when it comes to nature but cherish her for her sake ONLY and her infinite glory.

  9. reality check   February 14, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    1. Vessels getting 4x the property value over than just selling as a golf course.
    2. The migrants live in the non native species which will be removed and with them their hiding spaces
    3. No plans have been approved so this is a long way off unless they just sell and close it down
    4. Water costs are forcing the hands either way

    Go to the Bonsall Sponsor group meetings and you can here more details from our representatives.

  10. Pink   February 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I appreciate nature Lee, but I do not worship it. I worship the God who created it.

  11. ERIN   February 14, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Scoop is rolling over in his grave right now. Ever since his death. The family in fighting has spiraled out of control.

  12. DR DR   February 14, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Please tell Lee when and where this meeting is so he can express himself and vote.

  13. Seriously??   February 14, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I agree with you DR DR, maybe if Lee attends the meeting and finally sees for himself how our form of government works, the light bulb will go on…

  14. ZZZ   February 14, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Do you not know several acres were sold already $10mil. The area behind the fire station, by the church, behind the school. This will all become housing. Down the road on Old River Rd., by Little Gopher Cyn has all sold…housing…These will all be nice homes, Bonsall will stay beautiful.

  15. Woodrow   February 14, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    The meeting on the 24th is not a public hearing. It is only an information sharing session. There will be no vote that night.

  16. Route 66   February 15, 2014 at 2:45 am

    …yeah. where will those illegal CANADIAN immigrants go…as local and commercial farmers hire them to harvest BILLIONS$$$ in agricultural crops…do you can have your guacamole and eat it too…!?!?! Darn Canucks, they jus look different, and I hear some bring low-cost Social (-ist) Pharmaeopia.

  17. Route 66   February 15, 2014 at 2:51 am

    Isn’t it testimony to our madness asa species that we build thousands of miles of pipelines for economically feasible OIL – IN A HEARTBEAT- but not for the most essential elemental compoud on the planet?!?!

  18. Robert Sommers   February 15, 2014 at 9:56 am

    It sort of amazes me that commenters with such an aversion to open space would choose to live in our community. Knurled twisted brush that houses illegals in migrant camps and bug infested wetlands are two of the more pithy comments. I would advise buying the property in question and then paving or concrete it over if you want to get that nice hygienic and antiseptic feel that you are craving. Or move south to Carmel Mountain Ranch, it’s tight, compressed and there’s nary a tree in sight.

  19. NIMBY   February 15, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Golf courses have a tendency to be very thirsty. I wonder how many Fallbrook farmers would love to have some of that golf course water to irrigate their food crops? Save the Delta Smelt and let some of the California golf courses dry up.

    I’m sure this will not be popular with the avid golfer crowd, but hey, you can always wear your snazzy retro golf outfits to a throwback Chargers game?

  20. Deb   February 15, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    If we can convince the Vessels to keep the golf course, the rest including this next February 24 meeting, is moot. There would then be no proposal to discuss concerning the mitigation bank and army corp of engineers.

    This is about money and more housing development already under way in Bonsall. We moved here to get away from huge housing developments and hoards of people. If the golf course is sold that is one price. Developer credits connected therewith are another huge price. Huge tax dollars spent enlarging an existing river under the guise of preservation of wetlands is baloney. And additionally, can you name one project the army corps of engineers has done at astronomical tax dollars to you and me, that hasn’t screwed up the environment? Who concreted the sides of the L.A. River under the guise of "protecting the river banks by slowing down the water?" In fact, water moves faster over concrete than dirt, not slower. We cannot believe one word uttered by the Army Corp of Engineers. There is no benefit to you and me in any project they propose. This project is a hidden agenda to obtain more money for the golf course for the Vessels through the sale of developer credits at a cost to us we can never recoup.

    Please wake up people who live here and try to keep our golf course. Jobs, beauty, junior golf programs for our youth, traffic free roads, and roads that don’t flood every time it rains due to an enlarged river, not to mention reduced property values because nobody wants to deal with flooded roads getting home every time it rains! I am a realist and so should you.

  21. Cimarron   February 15, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    In a typical winter, that golf course is often flooded (this winter, so far, is an exception). They’ve given up trying to repair & maintain the access road off of Camino del Rey because of that. This course hadn’t been well maintained for at least two decades. There are two other golf courses within five miles. I don’t golf, but I can’t imagine it will be missed by many.

  22. reality check   February 16, 2014 at 9:58 am

    @ZZZ Not sure how just a few acres were sold for 10 million when the entire golf course is only 12 million. Sounds like you prefer Bonsall to look more like OC. Hundreds of homes in open space will not make Bonsall more beautiful, just more crowded. How do you know they will be so nice and I have only heard rumors of any new housing near the school and Gopher Canyon area. Do you have references for us to look at?

  23. Open Mind   February 17, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    The article failed to state the time of the meeting. Can someone supply? It would have been nice if some actual experts on habitat mitigation had been cited, instead of simply neighbors and golfers (who are entitled to their opinion, but certainly don’t represent the whole picture). I’m pretty sure there is a more nuanced picture of the pros and cons to the community, if only some could suspend their dogma long enough to hear it presented (why, oh why, must some people turn everything into an immigration debate??). I would like to know: what are some other similar examples of conversion of private to public lands in the county? What was learned in the process? What was the effect on the community? Wildlife? Water quality? Property values? People should go to the meeting with an open mind and make their decisions based on facts.

    VILLAGE NEWS REPLIES – The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the San Luis Rey clubhouse on Monday, Feb. 24.

  24. Joe Naiman   February 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Open mind – the reason I minimized my quotes from WRA biologist Amanda McCarthy is that her quote about the golf course not being economically viable and closing regardless was contradicted by the Vessels family member I could reach that day. As for similar examples, I’m checking with golf experts to see if any other golf courses in San Diego County have been closed; so far the only one cited to me was the Escondido Country Club.

  25. windrider   February 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Several commenters have noted that there are two other local golf courses and suggested that that means that San Luis Rey Downs would not be missed. I disagree. Those commenters do not consider the quality of the course or the value for money of the playing experience. In my opinion, SLRD sits neatly between what the other two courses have to offer, being a reasonable quality and moderately challenging course at a reasonable price. Of the other two courses, one is semi-private, good quality, well maintained with an excellent practice facility but quite expensive (out of budget for many local golfers), whilst the other is of a lower quality, being quite short, with limited tee options, a mediocre practice facility and only averagely maintained. It is very affordable though. SLRD provides an affordable golfing challenge that I feel will become used much more as all the numerous nearby housing developments move beyond the planning stage and bring in many more potential customers. It would be a sad loss of a community asset if SLRD were to close.

  26. For a free America   February 17, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    This sure smells like another Agenda 21 inspired deal to me. For those that are unaware, this article pretty well sums it up for you…….

  27. GRUNT   February 17, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Wouldn’t house use up as much if not more water than the golf course?

  28. Bogey   February 18, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Most golfers are clueless to the fact that the golf industry has been in decline for a decade or more. Too many courses, not enough golfers. High cost, low (if any) margin business model. That translates to a lot of risk for the owner. If there are too many donut shops then one disappears quickly in our free market. Not so with golf courses as everyone wants to chime in on land use. Because of this a better measure of the industry is the number of ownership changes versus closures. Somebody goes broke, a bottom feeder comes in to have a go. At the end of the day it’s private property and the owner shouldn’t have to go broke if the land is worth more for another use. Other than Escondido CC, I believe Rams Hill and Warner Springs are currently closed.

  29. Robert Sommers   February 18, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Golfing is not a healthy industry at the moment. At least according to the National Golf Foundation:

    More golf courses closed than opened in the U.S. in 2013 for the eighth straight year, according to the National Golf Foundation.

    A total of 14 18-hole courses opened last year, up from 13.5 in 2012, while 157.5 courses were closed during the year, three more than a year earlier, the Jupiter, Florida-based organization said in a statement on its website. The organization counts every nine holes as 0.5 of a course.

    Windrider, I have lived in Fallbrook for well over thirty years. I look at the prospect of these new housing developments with horror. even if they allow us to keep the oft flooded golf course open. Your vision of the area seems contrary to that of many other inhabitants but you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

  30. JD   February 20, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Real golfers dont golf at that course anyways…its not good! Survival of the fittest, supply and demand…etc. Let the owners do what ever they want..its a free country.

  31. Ray (the real one)   February 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Let a 3.5000 unit housing development built there….. it`s their property.

  32. Ray   February 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Why don’t you feel like this towards fpud and rainbow merging keep the historical memories alive for our kids

  33. Ray (the real one)   February 21, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I feel the same way about FPUD but I do know what private property means. Vessels died, his heirs now own the land, it`s their right to do with it as they please.

  34. Carla   February 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Development issues affect all of our futures and therefore should be subject to the will of the community. We can not continue to endlessly pave over land and devote water and publicly paid for infrastructure (roads, schools, etc.) to sprawl development. We as a society must come to the realization that what we do as individuals or as individual property owners have profound impacts on us all. The world will be an ever more crowded place and we’ve got to prepare for this reality.

  35. Joeitall   February 21, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Since when is the view of a golf course a nature view and the view of a riparian wetland not a nature view?

  36. grunt   February 21, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    @Carla …zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  37. deb   February 21, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    For further information regarding this "privately funded" change of USE and ZONING from golf course to river for the financial benefit of the Mitigation Bank by way of creation of conservation credits to be sold to future Bonsall developers which would be otherwise unavailable under the guise of conservation and benefit to Bonsall residents:
    please go to:

  38. deb   February 21, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    San Luis Rey Downs Golf course uses its own well water, not city water. The Army Corps of Engineers are just hired to do the dredging for the "private party." This is not a federal project. It is a private project for the financial benefit of creating potential conservation development credits which are necessary to max out future real estate developments in Bonsall. There is no benefit to Bonsall residents. Why else would a private party use his own millions to dredge a golf course to create a river? Because a river creates credits and a golf course does not! We will be saddled with more stinky wetlands, mosquitoes, attractive nuisance affecting the safety of our children, huge environmental impact once the credits are sold affecting congestion on our roads, more water and utility usage and pollution.

    Please attend the meeting Monday, February 24, 2014 at 6:00 PM at the San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course and voice your NO opinion before it is too late.

    This project will change the face of Bonsall forever.

  39. Who are you kidding   February 22, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Earth to Carla and Reality Check: No homes can be built on mitigation bank land and nothing can be paved over. Just the opposite in fact

  40. ZZZ   February 22, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    @reality check: The land surveyor man for the property on behalf of the Vessels.

  41. Carla   February 23, 2014 at 12:45 am

    @39. First of all, my comment was about development in general not specifically about this particular site. That said, you are seemingly aware that this is still in the negotiation stage and that this has not yet been turned into mitigation land or permanent open space, right? Despite the opinions of two individuals in the article (one a biologist and another a golfer) that the property would be unsuitable for housing, there’s no mention as to what the property is actually zoned for or definitively how it could be developed in the future if this proposal doesn’t come to pass.

    @26. Doesn’t Glenn Beck advise that freshwater riparian habitat is THE perfect place to hide from the evil big black United Nations helicopters? l

  42. believe what you want   February 23, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    while some understand what is really going on many don’t. the reality is that this has been in the works for several years – golf course isn’t profitable and all local ones are struggling regardless of what anyone admits to. this deal provides the mitigation land required for the last part of the 76 project and works into the river park planned. didn’t you get the hint over the years when no upkeep or improvements were made? its been a longterm plan and a done deal. this meeting is required but won’t affect anything. this isn’t a new idea that was just developed in a few weeks folks. that’s what private property rights are all about. like commenter robert sommers said – if you don’t like it – buy it for a better price than what they will get out of this which is a lot. otherwise stop your whining cause its not going to matter.

  43. deb   February 24, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Earth to who you are kidding – You are right in thinking no developments will be built on wetlands – duh!! These credits will be used for development of surrounding areas. That reminds me of how wet the lands can become. Do you remember the year we had so much rain, the water was lapping over the old 76 bridge? Do you know how high that is? Only a fool would think we need another river in which to collect water. The river is about them, not us. The river is about potential tax credits for sale for them, not us. The river is just a vehicle for them to get there.

  44. deb   February 24, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I do believe one should be able to do with his property as he chooses, BUT not at the expense of his neighbors. I’m not talking about money, I’m talking about quality of life. Temecula here we come

  45. Pink   February 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Since every time the big rains come this whole area flood, I don’t see how anyone can object to keeping it as wetlands. I have seen the roads wash out by SLR any number of times. We need more open space, and we need more wetlands, what we DO NOT need are more housing projects. I am a supporter of private property rights, but sometimes you just have to do the right thing. My husband and I own property that was recently rezoned to keep it open, which means we will never be able to split it up into small parcels as we had hoped to do one day. I am not crying the blues over it though, because I honestly believe it will, in the long run, be more beneficial to the habitat. I like rural.

  46. joe vaquez   February 24, 2014 at 6:50 pm





  47. steve   February 25, 2014 at 9:07 am

    the water for the golf course has been randomly pumped from SLR river for three decades. (free) The golf course has not been maintained, the family has treated it like all other business they run, poorly. I hope a situation occurs when the Vessels have to produce financial statements and have to be accountable. This alone would probably be the end of all this. It is very interesting this land and the former stallion farm were worth soooo! much when Cal Trans was writing checks for the freeway. It simply appears the Vessels family once again needs money. Too bad so many people are affected by their GREED. Maybe there is a HALL OF FAME for this.

  48. Birdman   February 25, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Gee steve, it’s too bad not everyone can be a brilliant businessman and generous philanthropist like you.

    So what if these people are selling property they own. If you don’t like the mitigation bank, complain to the environmentalists who are the ones making the rules these days.

  49. LooseJob&PropertyValueWillCrash   February 25, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    On a personal level, I’m against this transaction. Firstly, my wife works for the course and no longer will have a job if this goes through. I’d rather see SLRD change ownership and remain a golf course and at least a lot of people we know and love will still have jobs. Secondly, my house backs up to the property. Not only am I concerned about my home value decreasing drastically, the golf course contracts with a pest control company that manages the pests in the area that used to decimate our landscaping. Will the new owners manage the gophers and ground squirrels like SLRD does? Will they hire landscapers to make sure the brush doesn’t become a fire hazard? Will they clear the areas and at least maintain a fuel modification for weeds, maybe a greenbelt along the housing units to semi separate the wildlife from our homes and make it less easy for people to just simply come into our yards? I don’t like the idea of someone just being able to hide out in the brush and stock my family. SLRD has been a good neighbor. I really would hate to see the ownership change, but if they can’t make finances work, at least try to think about the community, our homes, our jobs. We have given so much, please keep us in mind in your business proposal.

  50. Howard Townsend   February 27, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Copy of letter sent to Army Corps of Engineers:
    Dear Shanti Santulli:

    Why here – – – why now? Title 33 encourages huge step-ups in land value to any landowner that can get you to approve it’s sale to a mitigation bank. Is this fair to existing surrounding residences and other entities? This is a zoning change and major shift in land use and should be negotiated with and approved by affected parties. We have another "mitigation bank" property in Bonsall owned by the Moody Ranch. It is located one mile upstream from the golf course on the north side of Camino del Rey and does not directly affect any existing property owners. The Moody people have been working with surrounding owners for the last 2-3 years (to include those up in the hills that don’t even view the property). They made presentations at all the local homeowner associations and made a number of modifications to address the concerns of Saratoga Estates. They plan on starting the earthmoving this year and then will transfer the new wetlands to their mitigation bank. All this was done professionally with a lot of face-to-face with locals. This will also create a large recessed flood plain that should greatly alleviate flooding downstream (the golf course). Whether the Moody project goes ahead or not, it’s the process they used that should be followed by any landowner.
    There is another stark comparison between Moody and Moosa. Moody’s property would be converting existing open-space flood plain farmland that has no other use and does not affect existing properties, but Moosa would be converting human high use parkland property surrounded by residences and a school to inaccessible marshland. Can you believe that?! Not only that, but most of the people that have bought property there in the last 50 years did so because of the golf course. There was no development there before the resort.
    Needless to say, I am totally against this project for two reasons. The "stealth" process involving no local input and literally keeping this secret for two years shows very bad faith and is confirmation that they really thought this is not right for Bonsall, but is right for their pocketbook. And second, this is not right for Bonsall. There should never be a mitigation bank at this site, ever! This location just does not fit the criteria for wetland conversion.
    Do you want Bonsall to be known as Bonsall, the Mitigation Bank City – – – all developers, please come one, come all? As they all say – – – follow the money.

    Howard Townsend

  51. UN PLAN   April 9, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    What you are seeing in a smaller scale is the beginning of what I believe President Obama said when he promised change. In this talk of creating mitigation land they use words such as Restoring or wetlands.
    All these words are buzz words used by the united nations. go to the following Web site to see a map generated to show just what he powers that be have for you and me:

    I suggest you do your own investigation an this issue and do not write this off as Myth or conspiracy theory.


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