Supervisor Bill Horn
For the Record
June 10, 2008
have been newspaper stories and television news reports about
a proposed road project in Valley Center. The focus of the
reports is a proposed road (3A) that would connect West Lilac
Road to Old Highway 395.
Here are the facts:
Fifteen years ago, before I was elected Fifth District
Supervisor, I served on the Escondido Union School District
Board. While selecting a site for the new Valley Center High
School I made it clear to the community that Valley Center
needed another road out of the area in the event of an
It is difficult for me to understand how
people can say that they were “blindsided” with news of the
proposed road when you look at public records associated with
action on the project. Here is a timeline, beginning almost
three years ago:
September 29, 2005
Circulation Subcommittee adopts responses to County’s
Road Network Planning presentation. The Subcommittee
recommends that the Valley Center Community Planning Group
forward four comments to the County including:
that three principles guide local connectivity planning:
- Create local connections that reduce local traffic on
Valley Center, Cole Grade, and Lilac Roads, while retaining
- Increase the number
of escape routes for use in emergencies
- Plan for the future; establish routes for roads needed
20 and 30 years from now.
October 17, 2005
Staff presents Preliminary Road Network based upon
meetings with the Circulation Subcommittee, which includes a
road from Cole Grade to West Lilac Road, but stops short of
connecting with Highway 395.
March 13, 2006
Chair announces that Circulation Subcommittee is
working with the County on GP2020 Circulation Plans. Planning
Group is expecting to receive a presentation in April of
April 10, 2006
Valley Center Planning Group is presented with the
Preliminary Staff Recommended Road Network for GP2020, a list
of additions, deletions and widening of roads for the future
planning of Valley Center. The need to create alternative
routes for residents during emergencies and the need for
additional routes to I-15 is discussed.
April 24, 2006
Staff presents a road network based upon April 10, 2006
comments including westerly connection from Cole Grade to West
Lilac Road connecting it with Old Highway 395 at Nelson Way.
Previously titled New Road A is broken into three sections,
from Cole Grade to Lilac, from Lilac to West Lilac and West
Lilac to Old Highway 395.
VCCPG votes 10-0-1 in favor
of new road, including extension to Old Highway 395.
July 10, 2006
VCCPG votes 13-0-0 in favor of the Proposed Circulation
Element Network for Valley Center including the Cool Valley
Extension, through the Lilac area, to I-15 via Old Highway
July 28, 2006
San Diego County Planning Commission agrees with the
Valley Center Community Planning Group and staff and approves
the Circulation Element including New Road, broken into two
sections, from Old Highway 395 to West Lilac (3A) and from
West Lilac Road to Cole Grade at Cool Valley (3B).
August 2, 2006
County Board of Supervisors votes unanimously to
approve Circulation Element including the road. Comments as
- On 3A, this
new road is critical for Valley Center.
- Direct County staff to develop a cost estimate for the
road and meet with any willing property owners to develop a
Specific Planning Area for the Board Alternative with land
use designations necessary to pay for the construction of
- Direct staff to meet with
the property owners, Steve Flynn and Bell Family Trust, to
work on a road alignment that does not preclude their
May 1, 2007
A Circulation Element Matrix is
published that includes a discussion about the new road and
direction to work with the community to get consensus.
* * * * *
As you can see
the timeline shows community support for the road goes back
almost three years. Now that the proposed road is on the
Circulation Element, I’d like to discuss a few other
- Accurate quotes are critical in journalism,
and I don’t believe that is the case in recent newspaper
stories. In a North County Times article May 25, 2008, Devon
Muto, a county project manager for the County Department of
Land Use and Planning was quoted as saying, “’Changing
land-use designations on the map to support the road is
unique,’ said Muto, the county planner. ‘It’s usually done
the other way around.’”
- When my land
policy advisor, Dustin Steiner contacted Mr. Muto about the
quote, this was his response on May 26, 2008: “Dustin, I
believe that the two quotes are taken out of context. I was
asked specifically if the proposed new west Valley Center
Specific Planning Area is unique. I explained that it was
unique to the General Plan Update in that we did not add any
other new Specific Planning Areas but the concept in general
is not unique. I said that we frequently have developments
that fund specific road improvements. I gave Harmony Grove
Village and 4S Ranch as examples. I also said that in
general, it is not unusual to develop plans in this manner
due to the balance that must be achieved between your land
uses and infrastructure.
“I was also asked if
it was unusual to designate a Specific Planning Area before
an application by a developer was submitted. I said that we
have some examples of this in our existing general plan and
we do have a couple County initiated Specific Plans.
However, recently it’s been more common that developers
initiate the planning.
“I believe that the
reporter pulled those quotes from two different discussions.
Having commented on the newspaper
report, here are additional thoughts:
- We all saw
what happened during the 2007 fires and the danger of people
not being able to evacuate Valley Center during an
emergency. As it turned out, more than a thousand people
were stranded at Valley Center High School.
- I have great concern over the impact of legally
required Transportation Impact Fees (TIF). Right now, those
fees are $2,568 per unit for Valley Center local roads. If
this proposed local road (3A) is paid for by TIF, it would
further burden residents of Valley Center and could more
than double the current TIF.
- I have
always thought that developers should pay for new roads
instead of the taxpayers. In the case of the proposed 3A
road, the estimated cost is $40 million.
- One way we can provide for the future is to manage
“smart growth” with housing near transportation nodes such
- This remains a proposal.
Over the next couple of years it will undergo extensive
environmental review and the public will be able to make
comments according to the Department of Planning and Land
Use during several General Plan Update hearings. I encourage
all residents to participate in those hearings.
- Finally, I am convinced that Valley Center needs a
road that connects Old Highway 395 to Cole Grade Road, and
that road needs to be a part of our General Plan