OCEANSIDE — Residents opposed to the controversial North River Farms development turned in their petition challenging the project on Dec. 20, after collecting more than enough signatures from fellow residents.
Council approved North River Farms, commonly referred to as NRF, by a 3-2 vote in early November.
For more than a month, a team of residents stood outside stores in Oceanside to collect more than 10,000 signatures to place a referendum on next year’s ballot that could potentially overturn the project’s approval.
According to resident Arleen Hammerschmidt, one of the leaders collecting signatures, only 9,609 were required but the team wanted to collect 12,000 to make up for any invalid signatures collected. That tactic apparently worked.
“We did the NRF prima facie petition count and counted 10,088 signatures based on the prima facie count which is above the threshold of 9,609,” said City Clerk Zeb Navarro via email.
As previously reported by The Coast News, North River Farms proposes to build 585 units on 214.5 acres of land with additional space used for parks, retail, restaurant and potentially a 100-room hotel in South Morro Hills. Integral Communities, the developer, has also offered to make street infrastructure improvements, install traffic signals, to construct a recycled water main and to develop a trail network.
Residents have voiced much concern over the loss of agricultural land, urban sprawl, fire hazards and environmental impacts due to the project.
“These changes will negatively impact all Oceanside residents, particularly by increasing congestion along (Route) 76 and all connecting city streets, but also in terms of our quality of life, since this means expanding services that we are already challenged to pay for,” Hammerschmidt said via email.
Now it is up to residents to decide the fate of North River Farms.
Samantha Nelson covers Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. She earned her journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and has previously reported for The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio, and USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter: @samm1son