Meadowood project denied again


Last updated 6/21/2007 at Noon

Attendees of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group (FCPG) meeting Monday night, June 18, held their breath as they awaited what would be a unanimous 14-0 vote declining the Meadowood development proposed by Pardee Homes.

Though FCPG member Harry Christiansen acquiesced that the revised plans for Meadowood were an improvement, it was still far from being perfect for this board.

“The overall appearance of the project is that it is entirely too congested,” said Christiansen. “We believe that if the project were to be built as presented, it would potentially become an initially good-looking slum.” This scorching statement was supported by a factual analysis supported by Christiansen.

In the beginning stages, Pardee Homes proposed a plan to build 1,150 dwelling units east of Interstate 15 and north of SR76. These units were a combination of single-and multi-family units. After being rejected by the Planning Group, Pardee downsized the plan to 867 dwelling units. As far as Christiansen was concerned, it was still far too large.

“We propose that the 867 dwelling units should be reduced by 25 percent to about 650 total units,” he said.

Another item in the proposal that concerned Christiansen was the size of the 20-foot by 20-foot garages.

“They are too small for many vehicle models,” Christiansen said, adding that many of these vehicles would have to find outside parking. Guest parking would inevitably be taken by homeowners, resulting in congestion on the neighborhood streets. The developer, it appears, made no provisions for additional vehicles. Likewise, small garages would not provide storage room.

Other members of the planning group supported Christiansen’s recommendation.

“I also have a concern about the traffic,” said Bill Bopf, who suspected the current level of service at the intersection of I-15 and SR 76, during peak hours, was at an ‘E’ level or worse. Bopf suggested the developers not proceed with their project until they work with CalTrans to determine that this particular intersection would function at a level ‘C’ at peak hours.

“I don’t want to just let this go without some comment, because I think it is very critical,” said Bopf, whose main concern was a constant traffic gridlock in the area.

FCPG Chairman Jim Russell sided with Bopf and agreed that a traffic study and resolution should be resolved before the developers proceed with the next stages. Russell made Bopf’s suggestion an official guideline and recommendation on the project agenda.

Member Jim Oenning shared his point of view regarding the Meadowood Development, saying he was against the current design. He claimed that there were far too many homes in the revision and was troubled that the area would morph into a “ghetto.”

It should be noted that during the public testimony portion of the meeting, not one speaker supported the proposed Pardee development. Though Pardee was complimented for the design of trails, a new recreation room and landscape design, it was not enough to garner approval of the project.

The theme of density and small projects trickled onto the unanimous denial of building 13 dwelling units on the northeast corner of East Elder Street and Morro Road. The primary goal of constructing these units was to provide low-income housing. The primary complaint voiced by residents and planning group members was the density of the project. Once again, parking would be a significant issue.

“There will be no adequate aprons for another car,” said one Fallbrook resident.

Russell admitted that low-cost housing is being mandated by state law. “I think that we can all agree that it is a reasonable thing to do,” he said. However, under the guidelines, low-income housing is generally built and located within a town center, where facilities would be available to those residents.

“I don’t think anyone in their right mind would say that this project is compatible with the adjacent neighborhoods,” Russell said. “Therefore, it is in violation of the Fallbrook Community Plan and in violation of the General Plan of San Diego.” While Russell’s comment resonated within the room, attendees applauded his commentary.

Later, the Fallbrook Community Planning Group approved an additional sign proposed by the Fallbrook Village Association to aid visitors. The sign is to be placed on the southeast corner of East Mission Road and Alvarado Street. The spokesperson, Jeri Patchett, told the group this would be a temporary sign, because in the months to come, she would have a more comprehensive plan in regard to directional and gateway signage for visitors.

Eileen Delaney opposed the additional sign, stating that there were already enough signs welcoming visitors.

“It is in conflict with our county regulations and zoning,” said Delaney. She went on to say that she could not justify that this sign was the ‘entrance’ into the community.

Bopf disagreed with Delaney, saying since this sign was being sought under an Administrative Permit, giving the request more leeway. He claimed that there was room to approve this additional sign under this particular permit.

“The community we are trying to identify is the downtown community,” he said.

Russell interjected that an Administrative Permit does work like a variance. And under this unique circumstance, he, along with eight other members, approved the sign.


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