Escondido Country Club & Community Homeowner Association members appeared this month to be on board and in approval of the recently announced agreement to have a new developer take the lead in the controversial redevelopment of the 110-acre property.
“ECCHO’S Board of Directors recently learned that New Urban West, a respected community developer, entered into an agreement with Michael Schlesinger and Stuck in the Rough regarding the possible development of the Escondido Country Club property,” officials said, announcing a community meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 22 at Life church, 1001 W Country Club Lane to review the agreement.
“Under the agreement, Michael Schlesinger and Stuck in the Rough will have absolutely no role in the design or development of any project,” officials said. “New Urban West is in the process of contacting local residents to determine what kind of development will best serve the Escondido Country Club community.”
Long opposed to various plans by Stuck in the Rough to add homes to the area, ECCHO officials added: “The ECCHO Board is pleased with this change of direction, and respects New Urban West’s promise to work with us to restore and revitalize the Escondido Country Club property in a responsible manner. ECCHO continues to serve as your independent community organization whose mission is to preserve green space, expand recreational opportunities for the community, and protect the values of all homes in the Country Club area.”
Housing developer New Urban West Inc. of Santa Monica issued a statement saying it had entered into a feasibility review to develop the controversial property owned by Schlesinger, a Beverly Hills-based developer who has clashed repeatedly with community members and the homeowners association.
Schlesinger ““will have no role in the design and planning of the project, and New Urban West will now have the opportunity to approach the community with a blank canvas,” New Urban West said in a statement. ““We’re going to listen to the community closely, and respond with a thoughtful proposal that is both desirable and economically viable.”
Schlesinger bought the Escondido Country Club in 2012 and shut down the golf club in early 2013. He proposed building 600 homes on the property outraging existing homeowners The Escondido City Council designated the property as permanent open space.
Schlesinger sued and financed a November 2014 ballot measure to overturn that designation. The effort failed. With lawsuits flying back and forth A Vista Superior Court judge ruled the City Council had violated Schlesinger’s property rights by the zoning designation.
Escondido officials and Schlesinger settled on a plan allowing 270 new homes on the property so long as Schlesinger was not the developer. He withdrew the request for homes and entered into the agreement with New Urban West, which as planned or built over 1,000 Escondido homes including Harmony Grove Village, Ranchos at Vistamonte in San Pasqual Valley, Amanda Estates in Southwest Escondido and Brookside at Reidy Creek Golf Course.
Escondido Mayor Sam Abed said he was very pleased with the development, calling it the beginning of a process to bringing a project everybody could be proud of to the area.