Citracado expansion one step closer

Citracado expansion one step closer
A commuter is forced to turn left onto Andreasen Drive at the end of Citracado Parkway. The proposed link will connect the parkway between Harmony Grove Village Parkway and Andreasen Drive. Photo by Ellen Wright.

ESCONDIDO—The city received approval from the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) to annex two parcels of land near Harmony Grove Oct. 6.

The annexation of the land allows the city to move forward with the Citracado Parkway Extension between Harmony Grove Village Parkway and Andreasen Drive.

The proposed project cuts over the Escondido Creek so a bridge will be needed.

“The approval of the annexation by LAFCO will allow the city to finalize design plans, since the entire alignment (of the parkway) will now be within Escondido’s jurisdiction,” Julie Procopio, assistant director of Public Works/Engineering said.

The parcels combined are about 30 acres and were a part of the County of San Diego, the Harmony Grove Volunteer Fire Protection Department and San Marcos Fire Protection District.

The city still lacks funding to complete the extension but Procopio said the city plans on reapplying for funding from the Economic Development Administration in spring 2015.

While the city is waiting to apply for funding for the Citracado Expansion, officials will finalize design plans, work on environmental permitting and begin right of way acquisition, according to Procopio.

Citracado Parkway is a notoriously confusing road in southern Escondido that was meant to serve as a major connector road between state Route 78 near the Nordahl exit in San Marcos with Interstate 15 in Escondido.

The extension project’s Environmental Impact Report was completed in 2012 although the construction is dependent on funding, which the city is still working to secure.

The extension will provide a direct link to planned developments like the Escondido Research and Technology Center and the Nordahl Road Sprinter Transit Station.

It will also cut down on emergency response times to the Palomar Medical Center West because ambulances will no longer need to take a long circuitous route from the south.

Some groups have voiced their concerns about the annexation, including the San Dieguito Planning Group, which represents residents in Harmony Grove, the residential community surrounding the annexed lands.

“The concern was that there be some sort of physical buffer between where the eventual industrial park development (goes) and where the rural residential community starts,” Douglas Dill, vice-chair of the San Dieguito Planning Group said.

At the LAFCO meeting Oct. 6, Mayor Sam Abed said the group’s concerns would be addressed further down the line.

“To develop a master plan prior to the annexation is premature,” Abed said.

The public will have the opportunity to voice their concerns as each individual project goes through the approval process.

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