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Smart Voter
San Diego County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Proposition H
Lakes Specific Plan
City of Escondido

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 10675 / 39.37% Yes votes ...... 16442 / 60.63% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Information shown below: Summary | Official Information | Arguments |

Shall the people of the City of Escondido approve the following: An initiative measure to adopt the Lakes Specific Plan?

Summary Prepared by City Attorney:

An Initiative Measure To Adopt The Lakes Specific Plan

The initiative measure to adopt "The Lakes Specific Plan" proposes a specific plan for development of 110 acres on Country Club Lane, approximately one half mile to the west of Interstate 15, previously known as the Escondido Country Club. This measure was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters.

Under California law, a specific plan is one step below the City's general plan in the land use approval hierarchy. Because the adoption of the measure is proposed by initiative, no environmental review of the measure was required under the California Environmental Quality Act. This initiative proposes to change the current land use designation of the property from `Open Space-Park' to `Specific Plan Area #14' and enact the Lakes Specific Plan to guide future development in Specific Plan Area #14. The initiative would also amend the Escondido General Plan and the zoning designation of the property to "Specific Plan."

The initiative measure and the Lakes Specific Plan propose three primary land use categories. The first category would include 78.6 acres of residential and allow the construction of up to 430 residential units. The second land use category would include 5.7 acres of recreational active space, 13.2 acres of landscaped passive space, and 8.3 acres of lakes and ponds. A 2.2 mile network of trails is also described in the Plan. The third land use category would include 3.6 acres of land designated as Community Center to allow for meeting and recreation facilities, a swimming pool, and tennis courts. A $1 million payment is to be made to the City to improve or acquire open space anywhere in the City prior to the issuance of a building permit for any residential unit.

While needed infrastructure (roads, pipelines, sidewalks, etc.) are envisioned to be privately financed, there may be public costs as well, and the exact costs of development will not be known until actual projects are proposed within the area. The Lakes Specific Plan also requires provisions for public access to, and future maintenance of, the Community Center and active open space areas, with responsibility for costs depending on whether the improvement is dedicated for public use or privately owned within the Specific Planning Area.

The property which is subject to the Lakes Specific Plan was the subject of a prior initiative submitted to the City Council in 2013. The voters previously qualified that initiative to amend the City's general plan pertaining to this property by re-designating the Property from "Urban 1," which allowed residential use of up to 5.5 dwellings per acre, to "Open Space-Park," which allows a golf course, club house, and recreation facilities, but precludes residential uses. The City Council chose to adopt that prior initiative without calling an election. However, if adopted, the Initiative Measure to Adopt the Lakes Specific Plan would prevail over any of the terms of that earlier measure.

City Attorney

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure H. If you desire a copy of the measure, please call the Escondido City Clerk's office at 760-839-4617 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you. Copies of the measure are also available for viewing at the Escondido Public Library, Escondido City Clerk's Office and on the City's website at

Official Sources of Information

  News and Analysis

Voice of San Diego

The Strange Group of Allies and Enemies Born Out of Escondido's Prop. H

San Diego U-T

Big money spent on Escondido's Prop. H

Yes vote on Prop H would revitalize Escondido
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Arguments For Proposition H Arguments Against Proposition H
The Lakes Specific Plan is a compromise proposal that collected more than 11,000 signatures and was placed on the ballot by the City Council to revitalize 110 acres of vacant land in northwest Escondido.

Protects Open Space and the Environment
The Plan preserves 25% of the property for open space and implementation will comply with applicable environmental protection regulations. It will reduce the previously allowable number of homes by nearly 30% and reduce water consumption by more than 50%. It establishes a privately funded $1 million Open Space Preservation Fund to protect and preserve open space and greenbelts citywide.

Creates Jobs and New Tax Revenue
The Plan is expected to generate $82 million in economic activity and $18.7 million to the General Fund. It is estimated to generate $639,000 in new tax revenue annually and create 155 full time jobs. Market analysis projects it will raise home values in the surrounding area.

Funds New Community Center, Pool, and Parks
The Plan will fund a 10,000 square foot community center with Olympic-sized pool on 3.6 acres, including tennis courts, playgrounds and trails.

The Escondido Country Club was acquired from its third bankruptcy in 2012. Membership dropped by 70% to only 119 members. A professional golf management firm determined it was not financially viable requiring $2 million in infrastructural investments, $230,000 in back taxes and water bills, while losing $35,000 each month. Country Club residents backed an initiative that attempts to force the property to remain a golf course regardless of viability. This Plan restores the property owner's rights but reduces the previously allowable number of homes by nearly 30%, requires the preservation of 25% for open space, and $1 million in funding for open space preservation.

Vote Yes on The Lakes Specific Plan and Move Escondido Forward

Escondido Coalition for Open Space
Community and Revitalization
National Tax Limitation Committee
Creating a Revitalized Escondido

Rebuttal to Arguments For


The argument in favor of the "Lakes Specific Plan" was written by the Beverly Hills developer and two of his out-of-town consultants to obtain voter approval for the construction of 430 houses in dedicated open space that includes a flood plain. The City reports that all the benefits claimed by the developer will be offset by costs. The construction of a club house, pool, tennis courts, holding ponds, streets and sidewalks will only leave the taxpayers with a long term bill for maintenance. Proposition H will only produce thousands of new cars on our streets and more students in already crowded classrooms.

Escondido has always welcomed GOOD development but there is nothing good about this project. It would break a 50-year-old promise to the community which has always relied upon this historic open space. Approval of Proposition H would nullify the City Council's UNANIMOUS vote to protect and preserve the only open space left in northwest Escondido.

As the conscience of the community, we, the undersigned, sincerely believe that this project is a liability. It's not the product of careful planning for the benefit of the ultimate users or our town. Rather, it's the product of wild spending by the developer. This project cannot survive based on merit. It should not be allowed to survive at all.

Vote "No" on Proposition H.

Former City Councilmember
Councilmember District 2
President ECCHO/Keep it Green
City Council Member District 4


It will cram a 430-unit subdivision down the throats of local residents by overriding the General Plan approved by Escondido voters. A Beverly Hills developer, using money and his well-oiled political machine, created the proposition so he can ignore history and bypass local planning standards and state environmental laws.

If passed, this massive development would add 5,000 more cars to already crowded streets and hundreds of students to already overcrowded schools. Because it would build houses where they don't belong, the City says that condemnation of private land could be necessary to widen and improve the streets.

Water demand for the subdivision would be 453,048 gallons a day and the City's waste water treatment plant wasn't designed to handle this unplanned addition. The subdivision puts houses in a floodplain and the official City report says it increases the potential for flooding in surrounding areas.

The developer offers money, a swimming pool and a club house in return for the 430 building permits. The official City report, however, determined that the revenues from the project "would be offset by maintenance and operation costs for City services and facilities..." Taxpayers will end up bearing the burden.

Most importantly, the "Lakes" subdivision would destroy 110 acres of open space. For more than 50 years, Escondido has benefited by the open space facility that identifies the Northwest part of town. Escondido residents were promised open space when they bought their homes. As stated in the City's report, Proposition H "would alter the, effectively eliminating the established theme and vision created for the area."

You have the power to stop this degradation of our town.

Vote "no" on Proposition H.

Former Mayor, Escondido
Retired Coach/Educator
Founder CEO, Escondido Charter High
Director - ECCHO/Keep It Green
Former Police Chief, Escondido

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Endorsed by both the San Diego County Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Measure H is the only compromise put forward to settle the future of the former Country Club property. It reduces the number of allowable homes by nearly 30% from the previous residential zoning designation and preserves 25% of the land as open space. It is expected to create up to $82 million in economic activity, $18.7 million in revenue to the General Fund, $639,000 in annual tax revenue, and 155 full-time jobs.

Reduces Water Usage
Multiple expert studies determined that Measure H will reduce water consumption from the golf course by more than 50%.

Preserves Open Space
Measure H preserves 25% (27 acres) of the land as open space and creates a $1 million Open Space Preservation Fund.

Mitigates Traffic & School Impact
Expert analysis determined the proposed public roadway and intersection improvements will mitigate increased traffic below any level of significance; and that the three school districts have capacity for any increased student population. Additionally, Measure H would generate up to $3.5 million to mitigate any school capacity issues.

Creates Community Center & Parks
Measure H funds a 10,000 square foot community center on 3.6 acres with Olympic-sized pool, playgrounds, and tennis courts and provides for ongoing operating costs from project revenues and user fees. All of these amenities are accessible to the entire city of Escondido.

Vote Yes on Measure H and Move Escondido Forward.

Escondido Coalition for Open Space
Community and Revitalization
CARE - Creating a Revitalized Esc
Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (RET.)

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