ESCONDIDO — After 13 years, an annexation and residential development project is moving forward.
The City Council voted 4-0 on Jan. 10 to approve an extension of a tentative subdivision map for the North Avenue Estates, which is 34 residential lot developments and five open space lots on 17.2 acres on the north side of North Avenue, between Laurashawn Lane and Kaywood Drive.
Three additional nearby properties would also be annexed into the city, since the owners of these properties have previously connected to city sewer services and signed Irrevocable Offers of Annexation as a condition of connection.
“We are going to have a lot of benefits from this project,” Mayor Sam Abed said. “People are willing to have a good project that is good for the community and provide open space.”
The plan was originally conceived in 2004 when the city initiated annexation of the site.
A survey to neighbors about annexing into the city came back with a majority, 16 of 23, against it. The majority surveyed also voiced numerous concerns with the project, specifically with possible septic failures.
Cathy Jones, who resides on Laurashawn Lane, said the neighborhood has significant concerns about the septic tanks, environmental issues and build-ups with the new homes.
Jones said the build-ups will present a wall of concrete and the open space offered as part of the project as an alleyway for transients, gang members or neglected landscape.
“We still feel threatened somewhat,” she added. “The build-ups are a concern. We are the existing neighborhood. I doubt the city of Escondido would treat new homeowners like that.”
Those residents against the project had concerns with drainage, traffic, privacy, public safety and environmental, to name a few.
“I think we have a better project than we had in 2008,” Developer Casey Johnson of North Avenue Estates countered. “We’ve addressed a lot of issues regarding septic systems. Our intent has always been to be good neighbors.”
Lot sizes would be adjusted slightly from 11,684 to 22,777 square feet. The map would include a 12.5-foot-wide open-space easement along the rear property line of several residential lots within the development
“They’ve worked diligently with staff to get these issues fixed,” said North Avenue Estates representative Dave Ferguson. “The entire periphery will have a drainage collection system.”
On Nov. 28, 2017, the Planning Commission voted 7-0 to recommend that the council approve the series of actions related to the project.
For the current proposal, the applicant has provided a letter from Geocon, a geotechnical engineering firm, that states that in the firm’s professional opinion, the grading proposed in conjunction with the residential development will not cause or contribute to a failure of the adjacent septic systems, according to the city report. Geocon has conducted exploratory trenching showing that groundwater flow below the development site and Laurashawn Lane moves in such a direction that grading on the development site would not cut off groundwater flow from and beneath adjacent properties, thereby causing a rise is groundwater and affecting percolation from septic systems.
Councilman John Masson abstained, disclosing his engineering company provided services with developing the tentative subdivision map.