Why Lilac HIlls Ranch Should Be Approved

    — Published by the Valley Center RoadRunner, October 1, 2015. Republished by Lilac Hills Ranch, October 8, 2015.


On September 11, 2015, the County Planning Commission voted to approve Lilac Hills Ranch by a 4-3 vote. During Planning Commission deliberations, Lilac Hills Ranch was praised for its forward-looking design and community character.

I have lived next to Lilac Hills Ranch for over 15 years. Since we moved here, my family and I have always anticipated development would happen in this area given the proximity to the I-15. Now, having participated as a resident in the 10 year process, Lilac Hills Ranch will not only improve our community, but will raise the bar for sustainable communities in the County of San Diego. It's been approved by County Staff, the Deer Springs Fire Protection District and the County Planning Commission.

However, some of the opponents continue to misrepresent the project. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, certainly this is mine, but not everyone is entitled to their own set of facts. Here are the facts:

Opponents claim Lilac Hills Ranch increases wildfire risks. Fire experts from the County of San Diego, Firewise 2000, CALFIRE and the U.S. Forest Service have all endorsed this project, stating it's not only safe, but it actually improves fire safety and evacuation in our entire area by improving local roads and connecting six dead end roads through the project. The Deer Springs Fire Protection District has confirmed that all roads are designed to meet both the County Consolidated Fire Code and the Deer Springs Fire District road standards.

Opponents say Lilac Hills Ranch is "leapfrog" development that is located in the wrong place for new growth. The truth is County Staff and the Planning Commission confirmed the project is not leapfrog and is in great place for development. The project is smart growth and is located less than a half mile from the I-15 freeway, one of our region's major transportation corridors, where growth should be planned. Does it make sense to build homes closer to the freeway system, or further away? Our freeways are congested every day as commuters travel home from their jobs in San Diego to their homes in Riverside County.

Lilac Hills Ranch meets the housing needs of many of those commuters and will keep jobs and paychecks from leaving San Diego. A home is where a good job sleeps at night.

Opponents say this project doesn't fit the county's new General Plan. The fact is, County Staff and the Planning Commission confirmed that Lilac Hills Ranch conforms to the General Plan's Vision, Guiding Principles, Goals and Policies.

Lilac Hills Ranch is not only a model for environmentally-sensitive master planned villages, but helps to implement the kind of smart-growth envisioned by the new General Plan.

The bottom line is this: Our county's population is growing, and recent economic reports by the Construction Industry Research Board have confirmed that the San Diego region has a 50,000 unit deficit due to population growth exceeding supply. There are just not enough homes being built to satisfy that need, forcing families to make the long trek to Riverside County to get home. The new County General Plan calls for compact villages to accommodate this growth with smartly designed, walkable, family-friendly mixed-use communities. This is exactly what Lilac Hills Ranch will be.

Accretive Investments should be praised for following all the County's rules, spending over a decade working with and addressing the community's concerns, and creating a model village that will provide badly needed infrastructure upgrades and services for our community.

It's time to follow the County Staff recommendation of approval, the Planning Commission recommendation of approval and support Lilac Hills Ranch for the many necessary benefits it will bring to our local communities and region.

I have lived at 30818 Rodriguez Rd., Valley Center, adjacent to Lilac Hills Ranch since 1999.

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