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Supervisors approve option on 76/15 property

Sheriff's station planned use

The County of San Diego has taken an option to purchase an 18.49-acre parcel near the intersection of State Route 76 and Interstate 15.

A 4-1 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote July 13, with Nora Vargas opposed, authorized the director of the county's Department of General Services to execute an option agreement with the California Department of Transportation for the parcel. The county will provide a $321,000 non-refundable deposit.

"I think this is much needed," said Supervisor Jim Desmond.

The 2005 Sheriff's Department Facilities Master Plan recommended that a new Sheriff's station be constructed on the Interstate 15 corridor by 2019 to provide service to the population north of State Route 76. An additional planning study was conducted last year and confirmed the need for such a Sheriff's station.

After Caltrans declared the 18.49-acre site excess to their needs, county Department of General Services staff identified that site as a desired location for the new Sheriff's station. The land is on the south side of State Route 76 west of Interstate 15.

"It has immediate access to I-15, SR-76, and Highway 395," said Department of General Services director Marko Medved.

The new Sheriff's station would not replace any existing facilities. "We are not going to close the Fallbrook, San Marcos, Valley Center, or Vista substations," Desmond said.

San Marcos and Vista are classified as stations. Fallbrook and Valley Center are designated as substations. All four are currently overcrowded, and the new facility would absorb staff from those existing stations and substations and thus eliminate the need to expand the existing facilities.

On May 13, Caltrans formally offered the County of San Diego the opportunity to purchase the parcel. The offer included a one-year option with a non-refundable payment of $321,000, although if the county exercises its option to purchase the land the $321,000 will be applied towards the purchase price. The one-year option agreement will allow county staff to perform due diligence work on the site. The county may also be able to enter into a second one-year option if more time is needed prior to a decision whether or not to purchase the property.

"I think this is a great feature for North County," Desmond said.

On March 16, the Board of Supervisors approved the updated Capital Improvement Needs Assessment for the County of San Diego which covers facilities projects slated for improvement between fiscal year 2021-22 and fiscal year 2025-26. The county plans to locate a Sheriff's station near the junction of Interstate 15 and State Route 76, and that is scheduled to be built during fiscal year 2025-26.

The CINA estimated the Sheriff's station to have approximately 25,000 square feet of space and an estimated $49,500,000 cost for land acquisition, design, and construction. The five-year plan calls for spending of $5,000,000 in 2024-25 and $44,500,000 during 2025-26, although the total estimated acquisition cost is $3,214,000 so some of the spending will take place earlier if the county purchases the land from Caltrans.

"I think that's a lot of money," said Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer.

The other four supervisors agreed to Lawson-Remer's suggestion that a review of all potential uses of the site be conducted prior to the purchase. "I'm not convinced that is the biggest need we have in our county," she said of a Sheriff's substation. "I'm not convinced we're going to build the density in that region."


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