Proposed 608-acre Lilac Hills Ranch would be two miles east of Interstate 15 and Old Highway 395, bordered by West Lilac Road to the south and west along Shirey Road and Standell Lane, north of Rodriguez Road, Nelson Way and Circle “R” Lane.
When, if ever, the project comes to a San Diego Board of Supervisors vote is a good question.
Accretive Investments LLC, the developing company owned by developer Randy Goodson behind Lilac Hills, pulled the project last week, ostensibly over concerns related to a Nov. 30 California Supreme Court ruling.
The court ruled 5-2 that an environmental report for a massive master-planned community along the Santa Clara River north of Los Angeles failed to explain properly its conclusion that the project wouldn’t significantly affect greenhouse gas emissions, which have been linked to global warming.
Goodson said he wanted to determine what that meant for Lilac Hills before proceeding with the project.
Or maybe it was the loss of Horn’s vote…
No, no, no, Bill Horn can’t go there no more. Left hanging fire in his wake is the huge, and hugely controversial, Lilac Hills Ranch project, a proposed 1,746 homes in rural North County around Bonsall and Valley Center.
As hard as San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn has tried, he still couldn’t vote on proposed Lilac Hills Ranch leaving a divided Board of Supervisors and project with nowhere to go.
About one-third the size of San Elijo Hills at San Marcos, and from the same originating developer, the project has aroused howls of community opposition even as it has navigated successfully, and some said surprisingly, through the Byzantine San Diego County development process.
Poised on the precipice of approval, with many looking for a final Lilac Hills decision by supervisors this month, a New Year’s Eve re-ruling by the state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) that Horn can’t vote on the project has thrown the matter into doubt overdrive.
A final verdict on the project was believed ready to go this month, should Horn have been allowed to vote. Now, battle lines are drawn — as Chuck Woolery used to say on “Love Connection” — back in two and two.
FPPC last year already had ruled once that Horn’s 36-acre ranch on the outskirts of the project just off Interstate 15 made his vote potentially one of self-interest. Two miles down the road from the project, Horn’s ranch could benefit in value, FPPC said.
Just before Thanksgiving, Horn asked for reconsideration of that ruling. He said prohibiting him from voting disenfranchised 620,000 residents he represented.
“Considering the significant size of the Lilac Hills Ranch project, the existing use of the project site, and your substantial holdings in the region, we confirm the findings,” FFPC General Counsel Hyla Wagner said, adding Horn’s vote in favor of the project “would have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect on the market value of your property.”
Wagner added: “We confirm the original advice that you have a conflict of interest in the Lilac Hills Ranch decision.”
Horn said through a news release that he was “disappointed once again with the FPPC’s recommendation.” He said would consult with the San Diego County Counsel to determine his next move.
Over six years in planning stages, Lilac Hills Ranch is the brainchild of developer Randy Goodson and his Accretive Group. Jon Rilling is president and project manager. It’s a down-sized version, about one-third the size of Goodson’s award-winning San Elijo Hills set in a more urban setting straddling San Marcos and Carlsbad.
Opponents said the project violated San Diego County land use regulations and General Plan requirements. Other criticism centers of the project’s need for eminent domain confiscations and unwillingness to expand roads to account for greatly increased traffic in the rural setting. This would cause safety and evacuation problems in an area prone to deadly wildfires, opponents said.
Each local community planning group within shouting distance of the project voted nearly unanimously in opposition of the plan. Bonsall, Valley Center and Pauma Valley groups actively opposition with the five year plan. Opponents call it leapfrog development prohibited by county General Plan provisions and citizen preference.
Accretive CEO Randy Goodson, the developer, maintained Lilac Hills conformed to the General Plan and will provide much needed housing in North County, while promoting a pedestrian friendly, green environment. Even opponents have praised the design of the housing development, but say the location is inappropriate.
Existing zoning would allow for 110 homes on the property. Goodson and Accretive propose 90,000-square feet of commercial, office and retail space, including a 50-room country inn. Plans calls for around 900 traditional single-family homes; 164 single-family attached homes; 211 residential units surrounding retail shops.
The project calls for 468 single family homes for seniors in its 1,706-home configuration along with a senior community center, residential care facility and memory care center for Alzheimer’s patients.