The Rancho Santa Fe Post

On June 5 Make the Right Choice for Board of Supervisors: Your Quality of Ranch Life Depends On It

County ready to approve nearly 800-Home Development North of RSF

Recently the San Diego County Planning Commission recommended approval of the General Plan Amendments (GPAs) for the 326 dwelling unit Valiano development in Eden Valley and the 453 dwelling unit Harmony Grove Village SOUTH development in Harmony Grove. Both rural and equestrian, Eden Valley and Harmony Grove are very small unincorporated communities located directly north of Rancho Santa Fe. The next step in the approval process is for these project GPAs to come before the Board of Supervisors later this year. Covenant residents need to realize the negative effect and impact this change will have on their community. Developers are trying to do the same in the Covenant, Del Dios Ranch to the north and Rancho Librado to the south as examples, and even if they're not able to, County decisions regarding developments bordering the Ranch will be just as impactful.

As a member and current Chair of the San Dieguito Community Planning Group, I witnessed at recent meetings the overwhelming disapproval by hundreds of residents, property owners, and taxpayers of Eden Valley and Harmony Grove of these two proposed projects. Other than the applicant’s representative, no one at the meetings ever spoke in favor of the proposed projects.

In both cases, community representatives proposed financially sound alternative development plans conforming the County’s General Plan that support the community’s desire for growth to the General Plan. Yet the County Planning and Development Services Department did not present them as viable alternatives.

Lack of infrastructure to support dangerous high-density growth

Public safety is the communities’ biggest concern, with a lack of road infrastructure to support such exponential growth, particularly in the advent of a massive wild fire such as the Cocos Fire of 2014 which burned nearly 40 homes in Harmony Grove – Eden Valley. Also, the currently under construction 747 dwelling unit Harmony Grove Village master plan community (an earlier approved GPA from over ten years ago) has been very slow in selling. After several years, at best about 50% have been sold in a housing market that is supposed to be ‘red hot’. We must address the true housing shortage through a thoroughly vetted County General Plan that discourages land speculators from applying for high-density GPAs in underserved rural areas and put high-density development within established transit corridors.

In over 20 years of community involvement, both on the Elfin Forest/Harmony Grove Town Council and San Dieguito Community Planning Group, I have observed time and time again a disconnect between the desires of the community to SUPPORT General Plan growth but NOT Amendments and what actually occurs, General Plan Amendments are approved. And again, we have a bumper crop of GPAs this year before the County Board of Supervisors for approval.

Elect a BOS that cares about the public good, not special interests

I believe it is time, in this election cycle for a new Board of Supervisor, that we in the San Dieguito Valley communities consider a candidate that weighs the concerns of the residents, property owners, and taxpayers. A candidate that wants to address the true housing shortage without burdening rural communities that lack infrastructure to support the growth caused by high-density General Plan Amendments. I want a District 5 Board of Supervisor that is not beholden to special interests, that is looking out for the public good – the noblest motive. And that's why I'm voting for Jacqueline Arsivaud.


Douglas Dill is the current Chair & Member of the San Dieguito Community Planning Group.