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By Joe Naiman
Village News Reporter 

Bonsall Sponsor Group defers recommendation on TK-8 school


Last updated 2/11/2021 at 10:26am

An entity called “Friends of Willow Tree” has submitted an application to the county for a major use permit to build a school in the 6800 block of West Lilac Road, but a lack of information provided caused the Bonsall Sponsor Group to postpone a recommendation.

The sponsor group voted 6-0, Tuesday, Feb. 2, to defer a recommendation pending receipt of additional information.

“There are shortcomings relative to the project description,” sponsor group chair Steve Norris said.

The school would be located on a 6.41-acre site just west of Sullivan Middle School. The campus would educate students from transitional kindergarten through eighth grade, although the application did not specify whether it would be a charter school or a private school.

The application specified a maximum of 216 students, and nine buildings covering 41,000 square feet would be constructed. The school grounds would also have 85 parking stalls.

“We don't have a concept grading plan. We have a concept site plan,” Norris said.

One topographical element is known, he said.

“We’ve got a drainage that flanks the south side of the site,” Norris said.

The San Diego County’s Planning Commission can approve a major use permit in the absence of a rezone or general plan amendment. A major use permit decision can be appealed to the county Board of Supervisors. A review by county staff along with the sponsor group recommendation will determine the Department of Planning and Development Services staff recommendation for the school.

County staff will make a decision before the recommendation.

“The county will determine the level of environmental study necessary,” Norris said.

In addition to whether an environmental impact report or a mitigated negative declaration is required, the county will also determine what is included in the environmental study. Traffic, biological and geological impacts are likely to be considered.

“We don’t have any of that information. The application was put in in January,” Norris said.

The sponsor group was asked to review the application for completeness and adequacy of the project description.

“We’re lacking information on how the facility is going to function on a day-to-day perspective,” Norris said.

The application did not provide information on hours of operation, manner of operation or lights.

“The project description should describe hours of operation, so we can address things like traffic congestion, noise, et cetera,” Norris said.

The concept site plan was sufficient for the sponsor group to identify one flaw, he said.

“The architecture is not generally consistent with the Bonsall design guidelines,” Norris said.

A design review committee meeting preceded the sponsor group meeting, and the committee also voted to defer a recommendation pending receipt of additional information.

“We didn’t have enough information,” Norris said.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected]


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