Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Planning group reviews River Park proposal, Monserate Winery

The Fallbrook Community Planning Group approved recommendations relating to a portion of the long-planned San Luis Rey River Park and the planned Monserate Winery on Gird Road at its Dec. 16 meeting.

Presented with two potential options for a section of the park planned for an area near the Rancho Monserate Country Club mobile home park, the group voted to endorse the proposal with the least amount of active uses like soccer and baseball fields.

Planning group members also endorsed moving along the Monserate Winery owner's application for a major use permit to the San Diego County Planning Commission, where it's expected to be heard in January.

San Diego County officials have planned to develop San Luis Rey River Park along an eight-and-a-half mile stretch of the river from Oceanside to Interstate 15 since 2005.

Nina Pisano, park project manager with the San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation, told the Fallbrook Community Planning Group, assembled in the multi-purpose room of Live Oak Elementary School, which officials are in the final planning stages for Rio Prado Park and Bonsall Community Park, two "parks in a greater park," and expect to request funding for the projects from the county's general fund sometime next year.

Bonsall Community Park is drawn up to be developed in an area near Bonsall Elementary School. Rio Prado Park, the primary subject of Pisano's presentation, straddles the Bonsall/Fallbrook boundary along Dulin Road west of Old Highway 395, about 6 miles east of the Bonsall park.

That park is expected to take up approximately 68 acres, Pisano said. After a community outreach meeting in April, the county returned to the community in October to share Concept A – which would include, among other things, almost a dozen sports fields – and Concept B, which would have a handful of basketball and tennis courts with no sports fields.

Pisano said neither of the concepts represent the final form the project will take; the Parks and Recreation Department simply wanted to gain input from the community as to which concept was closer to what residents would like to see.

"Part of the exercise with plan A is just to see how much we could fit out there," Pisano said. "Seven soccer fields are a lot but it's a blank canvas, so we just wanted to see how different pieces would fit together and how the community would respond."

Both concepts include a dog park, a community center building, a community garden and a playground.

Planning group member Mark Mervich asked Pisano who the county envisions will use the park, which is several miles from downtown Fallbrook.

Pisano said the county has heard from residents of the nearby Rancho Monserate and Lake Rancho Viejo communities who have expressed a desire for more recreational activities in their area.

"We've had a lot of people from that community come in support, wanting things to do with their kids and wanting more active recreation," Pisano said. "In this side of Fallbrook, and Bonsall especially, there's no fields and courts; there's no active recreation whatsoever, so we're really trying to provide that to this area."

Roy Moosa and other members of the planning group preferred Concept B and its fewer sports uses.

"The reason is, plan A has seven soccer fields, three baseball fields, four basketball courts, six tennis courts, et cetera – I just don't think this community will fill that," Moosa said. "So what I foresee is elements from other areas coming and using this park, which can also bring negative elements, which can also bring more crime, more drugs, and certainly affect the people who live off Dulin Road, whereas the more passive one ... is more of what I think represents this community."

The planning group voted unanimously to recommend Concept B, with the added recommendation of one baseball and one soccer field.

Jade Work, owner and developer of Monserate Winery – which sits on the site of the former Fallbrook Golf Club – told the planning group that the final engineering phase of the winery project, which involves determining all aspects of drainage and utility locations, was underway and expected to be complete by the summer of 2020.

Grapes are already grown on the 116-acre property, he said.

"We harvested this year. We sold all the white grapes to wineries in Temecula," Work said. "We have actually made red wine, and it's in the barrel as we speak. So, it's waiting for you."

There are four pre-existing wells on the site, Work said, but they had been poorly maintained over the years; Work opted to drill two new wells, and the winery is expected to operate entirely on well water, he said.

Work also said he had cleared alcohol licensing-related hurdles on the project.

The planning group voted, again unanimously, to send an application to develop the winery as a venue for weddings and other events, with portions to be used for vineyards, on to the county planning commission.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at [email protected].


Reader Comments(0)