Village News Reporter
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved easement adjustments for the Bonsall Oaks subdivision.
The supervisors voted 4-0 Jan. 11, with Terra Lawson-Remer absent, to approve the proposed easement adjustments. The adjustments vacated 243 acres of a 252-acre biological open space easement but dedicated a new 277-acre open space easement, which increases the total open space easement area by more than 30 acres.
The project was called the Polo Club in 1999 when the Board of Supervisors approved a final map to subdivide the 449.54-acre parcel on the north side of Gopher Canyon Road at Vista Valley Road into up to 165 dwelling units with two open space lots.
The development was conditioned to obtain permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board before construction could begin.
The ownership negotiated with the regulatory agencies, and the project has undergone multiple design changes so that the required permits could be obtained. The subdivision was renamed Bonsall Oaks when Bonsall Oaks, LLC, agreed to purchase the project from Vista Villas Development, L.P.
Bonsall Oaks will be constructed in phases. Phase 1 consists of a winery, a tasting room, and a bed and breakfast off of Oak Bridge Drive. The tasting room and bed and breakfast will be across Gopher Canyon Road from the entrance to the Vista Valley Country Club. Phase 2 will include 59 residential lots; Phase 3 will provide 57 residential lots; Phase 4 will build 41 residential lots, and Phase 5 will construct seven custom homes.
The county’s Department of Planning and Development Services has the authority to approve minor deviations to an approved subdivision map. PDS has approved map modifications including boundary adjustments, and the revised lot layout will reduce biological impacts with an open space easement larger than that dedicated for the previous configuration.
The new open space easement overlaps with much of the easement which was vacated. A drainage easement vacation replaces an existing highway drainage easement with a new easement in a new location. The open space in the previous easement would have been within the backyard of planned residential lots while the new easement utilizes separate open space lots which create a larger open space easement. The revised design also reduces the proposed development footprint from 213 acres to 140 acres.
The easement replacement does not change any other biological conditions of wildlife agency approvals. Those conditions include installing open space fencing and signage to protect the open space, processing a Resource Management Plan to ensure ongoing maintenance and management of the open space, establishing a funding mechanism to ensure ongoing funding for the perpetual management, and biological monitoring during construction.
No in-use utilities or other public facilities exist within the area of the vacated highway drainage easement. The easement area would not be needed for that purpose because of the relocated easement, and that land is not authorized for non-motorized transportation uses and thus would not be useful as a non-motorized transportation facility.
The redesign including the easement modifications will not affect the road improvement conditions for Bonsall Oaks. Those conditions require paving all proposed roads within the subdivision. Bonsall Oaks will also install 14 feet of additional grading, asphalt concrete paving, and new striping for a minimum length of 25 feet to accommodate a left turn lane along Gopher Canyon Road.
Gopher Canyon Road will be widened at the project entrance and an additional 14 feet of paving and striping will accommodate a dedicated right turn lane into the project entrance. Bonsall Oaks will also provide 30 foot radius curb returns and transitions at the intersection of Oak Bridge Drive and Gopher Canyon Road.
Bonsall Oaks is on the border of the North County Fire Protection District and the Vista Fire Protection District and is in both districts. Secondary access will be provided through a private road which will connect to Dentro De Lomas.
Neither fire department expressed concern with the revised map or the easement modifications, and Bonsall Oaks is working with both districts to obtain approval of a fire protection plan for the updated design.
The changes will not create significant new environmental effects, so the Environmental Impact Report which was certified when the Board of Supervisors approved the tentative map in November 1993 will be adequate upon completion of an addendum.
On Aug. 2, the Bonsall Community Sponsor Group voted 5-0 to recommend vacating the drainage easement and did not request any conditions for that vacation. A 4-1 vote that day recommended approval of the open space easement vacation while expressing concerns about traffic, infrastructure, road improvements, and the remaining area.