Second ‘scoping’ meeting set for North River Farms development

OCEANSIDE — A second scoping meeting will be held Jan. 16 to gather community input on what the North River Farms development Environmental Impact Report should study.

An initial scoping meeting on Dec. 13 drew about 70 participants. Due to the Lilac fire precluding some residents from attending, a second meeting has been scheduled.

“It’s not to discuss the merits of the project it’s to collect testimony and comments on the EIR,” Robert Dmohowski, city associate planner, said.

City staff said the scope and size of the 720-unit housing project may present significant environmental impacts. An EIR is required, and will look at just about every CEQA category. This includes agriculture resources, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, land use and planning, public services, traffic and transportation, and utilities and service systems.

Environmental concerns brought up at the December meeting included traffic impacts, emergency access to main roads, project impacts on roadways, potential flood exposure and loss of agricultural land.

Dmohowski said the January meeting will follow the same format as the earlier meeting and include an overview of the project and time for input on the EIR.

Mailed notices to the second scoping meeting were increased from 632 to 900 to include agriculturally zoned properties in South Morro Hills and Arrowood homeowners beyond the standard notification zone.

In addition to the city-led scoping meeting there has been a neighborhood meeting on the project. Additional monthly neighborhood meetings will be led by the developer.

Dennis Martinek, gentleman farmer, proponent of the SOAR initiative to protect farmland, and city planning commissioner, attended the December outreach and scoping meetings for the proposed development.

“Most people felt they shouldn’t be putting in sprawl development without sufficient infrastructure,” Martinek said.

He said there are strong concerns about increasing density, and changing allowed housing on the 177-acre site from 72 to 10 times that amount. The parcel is also prime agricultural land.

The project did not receive support of city staff or the Planning Commission during an initial screening.

Martinek said the Planning Commission’s recommendation was to put off development for a few years until a city agritourism plan is in place.

He said the council majority subsequently encouraged the developer to move forward with plans despite city staff, commission and citizen objections.

Dmohowski said the project failed to meet city screening criteria, which includes development in smart growth areas, provisions of retail services, improving the jobs to housing ratio and having existing infrastructure.

Dmohowski added City Council provided feedback, but did not vote to support or deny the project.

The proposed North River Farms development is still in the review process. The next step for the applicant is to prepare a draft EIR for the city and public to review. At that time city staff will weigh in on the merits of the project and any environmental impacts that need to be addressed.

If the project moves forward it would require a general plan amendment and zone change by City Council.

Martinek said the January scoping meeting is a critical time for residents to provide their input.

“It gives everyone an opportunity to share the environmental issues that they see as important for the EIR to address,” Martinek said.

The scoping meeting will be held 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at Melba Bishop Recreation Center, 5306 N. River Road, Oceanside. Comments can also be emailed to rdmohowski@ci.oceanside.ca.us.

16 Comments
  1. Itzamm 10 months ago

    Do NOT sign the SOAR Petition! It would encumber privately owned farms for 20 years! The initiative would prevent working farms from selling or repurposing even an acre of their land without first obtaining a city-wide vote. Would you want Oceanside voters telling you if and when you could sell your home or what to do with your land? Despite what proponents are saying, farmers already struggling to stay afloat in this economy would have difficulty obtaining loans to buy equipment, pay workers or keep their farm business going. What if a farmer needs to sell or take out a loan on an acre or two to pay a medical bill or a family emergency? What bank wants to risk loaning money on land whose value is contingent upon the whim of voters, possibly 2 years down the road? Though the petition says it would “save open space” or “save green space,” there is NO designated “open” or “green” space in Morro Hills. These are all privately owned working farms. How would requiring a vote help the next land buyer afford to farm it? No. There are problems with affordable water, operating costs, global competition, but SOAR is the WRONG solution. And isn’t it a conflict of interest for an Oceanside Planning Commissioner to be voting on issues pertaining to his own land? Mr. Martinek does not depend on his land for his livelihood; the other farmers do. Ask Nagata Bros., the Mellanos, etc. why they oppose SOAR.

    • Oside Concerned 10 months ago

      How about you personally pay for the expansion of the 76. TRAFFIC SUCKS! This way when it comes time for you to repurpose your land for god knows how many apartments for your own private profits, the rest of us struggling with our insane property taxes wont have to contribute into the inequality of you profiting off of our socialism.

      The uneven distribution of taxes that go towards projects that enable private profits for people like you is what’s WRONG. Besides who’s going to clean your added wastewater; it already smells like crap for miles in this darn valley. Fix the wastewater treatment plant… IT SMELLS!

  2. Karma 9 months ago

    EVERY person that bought property in South Morro Hills bought knowing it was zoned 2.5 acres per one single
    dwelling (house) it’s been that way for the past 40 years! Our 3 Council members Lowery, Kern and Feller want to change the zoning
    for North River Farms (manchester) so they all can make MILLIONS at our expense. There’s a reason our City staff, Planning, Chambers of Commerce, ACTION (Alliance of Citizens To Improve Oceanside Neighborhoods – Representing 42 neighborhoods)
    Council member Sanchez and Mayor Wood all said NO to this project. Negata Bros and Mellano can sell their properties..the same way they bought them…2.5 acres per dwelling! Itzamm…you have NO idea what you are talking about! SOAR is the BEST thing for Oceanside so that the people who live here can decide if the zoning should be changed for an out-of-town developer and 3 greedy council members to make millions and what’s in it for you?

  3. Symtrnr 9 months ago

    And here is where the lies begin to replace reality.

    If you believe what “Karma” has written, then you believe the deal is done, the vote was taken and it’s all over. The facts are: the council suggested at a workshop (where Mayor Wood was not present) the South Morro Hills Association get together with Integral Communities (not manchester) and work out a solution to joining together the two different visions. Louise Balma – Chair of the Planning Commission – told the council there was a plan in place which shared all the elements of the plan Integral proposed. The council said for the two to get together. There was no vote, there was no approval, there was no zoning or general plan change.

    The proponents of the SOAR initiative want people to believe Agricultural Land, Open Space and Parks are in danger from the council and they must be stopped. That’s a bunch of hooey! As “Itzamm” stated, correctly, there is no Open Space or parkland in Morro Hills. There is nothing to protect. The burden which SOAR would place on the agricultural lands is so great, the actual farmers who use the land to make a living will be without ability to leverage their lands for 20 years. People like Dennis Martinek, who is the sponsor and author of this initiative – will live like a king on his small parcel while controlling the future and welfare of those around him.

    SOAR is awful on its face. The proponents just don’t like North River Farms (not manchester) and instead of being able to fight the project on its face, they are changing the rules of the playing field. And they don’t care who they damage in their path. Ask any one of them how the SOAR initiative will protect Cyclops Farms. It doesn’t. Because they don’t care about farmers; they don’t care about agricultural land; they don’t care about open space and parkland. They hate North River Farms and can’t do anything about it so they’re changing the rules so fit their needs.

    SOAR is absolutely ambiguous in its definitions. It says projects “can’t change the open space characteristics” of the area. What does that mean? Simply put it means before anything is done in the South Morro Hills area, the extreme minority of people supporting this initiative must be consulted. If they like the change, it’s full speed ahead. If they don’t like it, the change must go to the vote of the entire city. Imagine if you wanted to put in a granny flat in your backyard and needed the entire city to approve it? Ridiculous, right?

    SOAR is awful. SOAR is a tool being used to satisfy the whims of a few land barons in South Morros Hills while destroying the livelihood of the actual hard-working farmers who use their lands to make a living. SOAR is a lie: it does not protect Open Space and Agricultural used outside of Morro Hills so farmers like Luke at Cyclops Farms continue to be vulnerable. SOAR is bad for Oceanside.

    And those who are supportive of it should be ashamed of themselves for finally demonstrating they have absolutely no interest in what’s right for Oceanside, but instead what is best for them to continue to be relevant. It’s an absolute shame. (And don’t get me started on the “representing 42 neighborhoods.” Ha! Hey, Rancho Del Oro or Capistrano! Who from your community represents you at ACTION? No one? That’s what we all thought. Perhaps ACTION, at their next meeting of 5 – 10 people, can figure out a better claim since it is so easily disproved.

  4. KARMA 9 months ago

    Symtrnr ( same person as Itzamm) …First of all Dennis Martinek has been on the Planning Commission for 16 years. Loiuse Balma has been on the Planning Commission for years too! The entire Planning Commission, City Staff, Mayor Wood and CM Sanchez, Chambers of Commerce, Preseve Calavera, ACTION, OMHA, and the community said NO to the North Rivers Farm Development. Why? because it is BAD for Oceanside. SOAR is the best action for Oceanside, because it allows the Voters to decide and not 3 Council Members! Since the launch of the SOAR Initiative the Endorsements have grown to include: League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, Friends of El Corazon, Citizens for the Preservation of Parks and Beaches, Buena Vista Audubon, Oceanside Climate Action Planners, North Coutny Advocates, Lean and Green Kids, and Friends of Loma Alta Creek. I suppose you have never heard of any of them before either. And by the way, the representative for ACTION who represents Rancho Del Oro spoke at the last Council Meeting. Obviously, you were not there. OCEANSIDE SOAR- SAVE OEANSIDE’S OPEN SPACE AND AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES-
    GIVES THE PEOPLE THE RIGHT TO VOTE ON ZONING CHANGES AND NOT 3 Greedy Council members (KERN, FELLER & LYING LOWERY!)

  5. Symtrnr 9 months ago

    First off, I’m not the same person as “Itzamm.”

    Second, “Karma” has again proven my point: This isn’t about saving agricultural lands, open space or parks; it’s about opposing one project which they can’t seem to fight fairly, so they’re changing the rules of engagement. “Karma” continues to list all of the organizations which have “opposed” the initiative. Take a look through the membership rosters (if they exist) and you’ll find the same names on all of them.

    It’s absolutely fine when people want to oppose a project, but when the need to oppose a project becomes so irrational as to affect the ability of people to make a living, it becomes dangerous, not beneficial. Instead of rationally presenting arguments opposing the North River Farms project, the proponents of SOAR would rather have a person who owns their land (and for many of the farmers in Morro Hills the land has been owned for generations) ask the entire City of Oceanside whether they can improve the money-making aspect of their land. It is akin to someone wanting to improve their home and having to ask the city to approve the plans. It’s time consuming, it’s unnecessarily costly, and it is overly punitive. (Did I just lay some ground work for a lawsuit if it passes? Hmmm.)

    Again, I ask any of these named entities to point to any meeting minutes, workshop minutes, agendas, etc. where the council approved North River Farms moving forward. And, how about “Karma” actually publishes the member rosters of these organizations which oppose the project. I state here today, if there are more unique individuals than there are duplicate individuals, I’ll put my full support behind SOAR. I’m not really worried about it.

    It’s all fine and well to accuse council members of being “greedy” or “in the developers’ pockets” but without proof, your arguments ring hollow and your effectiveness is at the barest of minimums. Just like it’s all fine and well to puff up opposition by overly stating the scope and reach of the groups which oppose them.

    And, by the way, I was at the last council meeting and, since I didn’t hear the ACTION representative from Rancho Del Oro identify themselves as such, so that just demonstrates the pride in which that particular individual takes at having the title.

    • Oside Concerned 9 months ago

      Symtrnr… You are speaking as if you have some type of monetary interest in all of this. I on the other hand do not.

      There are ~175K residents here in Oside; let them all vote on it, not just some minority group of investors. Give us your bipartisan PROS and CONS and let SOAR give theirs.

      In my opinion the majority of us here would much rather see initiatives that reduce CRIME, TRAFFIC, WASTE TREATMENT ODOR.

      We’re already being taxed into oblivion… How about pushing some mutual benefits to all of us instead of concentrating on a minority group of for profits.

      EVERYONE votes for their own interests; what makes you think council members vote for anything other than their own? Show us the proof.

      Stop selectively choosing who profits from our socialism. IT’S TIME FOR DIRECT DEMOCRACY.

  6. KARMA 9 months ago

    Symtrnr- First of all, this article that we are all responding to is the North Farms Development. Let’s not get off track..
    The City Staff, Planning, Chambers of Commerce, and the community said NO to this project. It clearly is putting the cart before the horse and undermines the community. Why did it move forward.. Because Kern, Feller and Lying Lowery are in the pockets of Integral developers. ALL of the supporters that I listed above and as follows are SUPPORTERS OF SOAR AND NOT OPPOSED TO THE INITIATIVE Including: League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, Friends of El Corazon, Citizens for the Preservation of Parks and Beaches, Buena Vista Audubon, Oceanside Climate Action Planners, North Coutny Advocates, Lean and Green Kids, and Friends of Loma Alta Creek, ACTION (Alliance of Citizens To Improve Oceanside Neighborhoods), OMHA (Oceanside Manufactured Homeowners Alliance) Preserve Calavera…However, this is typical of lying and crooked politicians and developers. They try to spin it around and confuse the people. However, just as Oside Concerned suggests ; IT”S TIME FOR DIRECT DEMOCRACY!!! Watch the last Council meeting, January 10th item #15 The Mayors Seat. Greedy Kern, Feller and Lying Lowery now want to appoint one of themselves or one of their puppets, so they can control Oceanside and AGAIN DISREGARD THE COMMUNITY! Lowery stooped so low to even circulate a flyer with the City’s insignia on it..including advertising for marijuana dispensaries and labeling it as ” MAKING OCEANSIDE A SAFER PLACE” .Absolutely misleading political propaganda that clearly calls for an investigation. Certainly if you, Symtrnr, were at the Council meeting..you would have seen it displayed overhead while the Mayor’s seat item was being heard. And by the way, I reviewed the meeting again and the ACTION (Alliance of citizens To Improve Oeanside Neighborhoods) representative identified himself as the Vice President of ACTION. So please, use your spinning tactics and undermining efforts on someone else I have done my homework and pay close attention to what’s going on in Oceanside!
    SOAR Is the best thing for Oceanside it does not devalue land or change zoning. Studies have shown that in other areas where the similar initiative has passed..an increase in land values and crop values, especially when combined with agritourism!
    See http://sfp.ucdavis.edu/agritourism/CASE_Studies/agritourSD and see: http:///www,oceanside-soar.org
    SOAR IS GREAT FOR OCEANSIDE!

  7. Oceanside for a Safer Community 9 months ago

    Lowery stooped so low to even circulate a flyer with the City’s insignia on it..including advertising for marijuana dispensaries and labeling it as ” MAKING OCEANSIDE A SAFER PLACE” .Absolutely misleading political propaganda that clearly calls for an investigation. Certainly if you, Symtrnr, were at the Council meeting..you would have seen it displayed overhead while the Mayor’s seat item was being heard.

    *The above statement was brought to our attention and should be addressed.

    First and Foremost, as you Dana Corso was told at that council meeting, it was our organization who sent out that email flyer and not Deputy Mayor Lowery as you have asserted. When we spoke, you were also under the incorrect assumption that Deputy Mayor Lowery actually sat on our board to which you were also corrected, as Deputy Mayor Lowery does not now, nor has he ever sat on our board. You were also given clarification that the city’s seal was used and placed next to text and a link for those who wish to use the city’s “Item Agenda Position Form” where you will also find the logo. The fact that you would now come onto this or any public forum and continue to make false, unfounded statements after being informed of the truth is incredibly deceptive to the citizens of Oceanside.

    I will also point out that our emails have never advertised a marijuana dispensary nor is it labeled MAKING OCEANSIDE A SAFER PLACE.

    This type of deception sheds much light on the ACTION group and their willingness to deceive the community without regard and should cease immediately.

    In the meantime, our organization has the same rights as you in sending our political and non political positions to those who have chosen to receive our emails and information, and we will not be stifled by bully organizations who’s intent is to use our group in a hate filled, deceptive, smear campaign.

    Perhaps ACTION should stick to the facts.

    • Oside Concerned 9 months ago

      Oceanside for a Safer Community… Rick Simpson Oil which is oil produced from marijuana CURES basal cell carcinoma.

      I do not smoke or consume marijuana but have used Rick Simpson Oil topically to cure my own basal cell carcinoma. The general surgeon who was scheduled to cut the sucker out was amazed at the results as-well.

      You and Karma both should stop demonizing what god has given us and start scrutinizing capitalist intentions instead. In my opinion the root cause of all our socioeconomic problems is capitalism… it’s all about who profits in the zero-sum economic system.

  8. Oceanside for a Safer Community 9 months ago

    Oside Concerned.. I would ask that you please look up our organization and understand we are the ones working so hard to bring you this miracle plant in Oceanside. We have personally witnessed the incredible results RSO has brought to those suffering from ailments such as Cancer, Parkinson’s and even Shingles. Perhaps you could help us overcome the obstacles on city council including the BIG ONE, Councilwoman Esther Sanchez who continues to oppose safe access in our city which only promotes a healthy and dangerous black market in our neighborhoods. Ms. Sanchez was the ONLY council member who opposed moving cannabis regulations forward in Oceanside on December 20th 2017. Even councilman Jack Feller understood the need for patient access and agreed to vote in support with Councilmembers Jerry Kern and Chuck Lowery to allow our Medical Marijuana draft ordinance to move forward toward final approval in the coming weeks.

  9. Oside Concerned 9 months ago

    Oceanside for a Safer Community… “we are the ones working so hard to bring you…” That there is the disconnect. Let US (we the people of Oceanside) as a whole body decide what works in Oceanside. Help US build a direct democracy for our community, city and then state. I want to decide how my taxes are best distributed in my community. Because anything less than a direct democracy, is dictatorship. And we all know dictatorship never ends well for the majority population.

    ethereum.org/dao

  10. Oceansidevotes 9 months ago

    Oceanside for a safer community…I agree with you on one hand. The voters voted in marijuana at the last election for recreational purposes and there are many cancer patients that use marijuana for pain relief, etc. My question is – do you own or intend to own a marijuana dispensary? Do you own land in the area of this article that you grow marijuana on or intend to? I’m not sure why you are posting under this article. Soothing seed ( which claim to be a non-profit ) must be profiting? On the other hand, I have to agree with Oceanside concerned too, “it’s all about who profits”.

    Back to this article, I attended the last scoping meeting and not one person spoke up in favor of this development. Why are we even considering this? Who stands to profit and why would our elected officials go against our only farming land in Oceanside? The community and even the chambers of commerce said no to this project. It certainly leaves a big question mark in my head – who is going to profit?

  11. Oceanside for a Safer Community 9 months ago

    Oceansidevotes – I do not own land in Morro Hills and have no interest in building out someone else’s farmland (property) in order to cultivate cannabis. Too rich for my blood.

    To answer your question as to the reason I am posting under this article, I would have to ask that you please refer to my first post as its explained there in full detail.

    We do not see any elected officials going against “the” (not our) only farming land in Oceanside. Our group has spent months working with the farmers in Oceanside to bring regulations that would allow them to farm a new State Legal Crop. Currently the farmers are suffering trying to survive still growing Avocado’s and cut flowers at $2.00 lb. If they cannot keep their farms alive, they are forced to sell to whoever will pay top dollar for the property, which usually tends to be a developer. Would it not be best to do whatever we can to keep the farmers farming? Cannabis sells for over $1000 lb,, I see three council members looking/trying to make that happen, and one,, well not so much.

    We are unaware of how SOAR will affect a newly emerging cannabis market and “could” very well stifle this effort for the farmers. This is what the local farmers are telling us. Since we do not own farmland, we have to speak to those who do. I realize that SOAR is just being used to kill the NRF project and not meant to help the farmer in anyway, but if NRF project is not supported by the residents in the city, then it should not be approved. In the meantime, how hypocritical would it be of me to shut down any future efforts to present a worth wild “agrihood” project, considering I have spent years being told “no” in my efforts, yet we continue,, should we have given up?

    With regards to your comment that we “Must be Profiting?” I would like to politely ask what evidence you have to back that assertion? I prefer to deal in facts and if you are going to make assertions of our income, I would ask your thoughts on IRS Tax Codes as they relate to the cannabis industry, or why cannabis businesses were to be created as a nonprofit under SB420? I am sorry that you have such mistrust for your fellow man that their greed is first and foremost in your mind but I don’t necessarily wish to jump to any conclusions. With regards to NRF and who profits?, well I would imagine NRF wants to profit, The property owner want to profit, The city wants to profit,,, How or IF that works out is unknown to me at this time.

    If you have any questions about our organization, what we are working on in the community, or anything else for that matter, please contact us, we would be happy to engage further.

    • Oside Concerned 9 months ago

      Oceanside for a Safer Community… “With regards to your comment that we ‘Must be Profiting?’ I would like to politely ask what evidence you have to back that assertion?”

      Since you aren’t exactly supplying us with the transparency required to prove your intentions otherwise (not that you have to), you label yourself guilty until proven innocent in many residents eyes. With that said, your groups staff are paid market rates for their services through companies/non-profits/farmers/members/contributors that donate and are aligned with your agenda. Your donors and incumbents are the ones profiting and your group receives a sizable chunk to pay your bills.

      You are a PAC; you are a part of the problem… PAC’s provide an unfair advantage to the incumbent, it weakens political influence of the citizen, increases costs of campaigning and opens our current system of government up to the highest bidder.

      Don’t turn California into a mono-crop dust bowl. Just stop! Oceanside wants to decide what’s best for their own communities, their own city. Help US provide Oceanside with DIRECT DEMOCRACY.

  12. Charles Thompson 2 months ago

    Very wrong to deface ..”SLEEPING NATIVE AMERICAN” ROCK!!!!!!! the land is worth way more than the …scammers @ INTEGRAL “COMMUNITIES” WILL PAY…..OSIDE COUNSEL NEEDS TO STOP THIS PROJECT…….PLEASE KEEP THE 1 TO 5 ACRE RUAL PROTECTED AREAS LIKE BONSALL AND FALLBROOK………DO SOMETHING….DAMN!!!!!!

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