After a long and tumultuous legal battle, the old Escondido Country Club Golf Course is vanishing to make way for a new housing development that will include 380 homes, a pool clubhouse, parks and three-and-a-half miles of trails.
Giant bulldozers have started to grade land where lush green fairways and sand traps once stood. But it was a long battle getting to this point.
The golf course had started to lose money and was in debt, so the land was sold to a developer in 2012. But the plan outraged homeowners who preferred the serenity of their golf course. They sued the developer and petitioned the city to change the zone of the land to open space, then the developer sued the city and won.
Over the summer, the homeowners community group dropped its appeal and agreed to a settlement. The current developer, New Urban West Inc., agreed to pay $763,818. That money will be used to reimburse homeowners’ costs during the legal battle.
“Everybody really wanted to keep it the way it was. Unfortunately, there was a long battle and I'm sorry, and many people are, that this happened,” said Wanda Thompson, who has lived in the area for 14 years.
But not everyone is against the project. Craig Coble’s back yard is where the fourth fairway of the golf course once stood.
“I'm excited because I'm going to have have new neighbors. There's going to have be more young families and couples and kids and stuff going on, the community, and so I'm excited about it,” said Coble.
The developer hopes to ease concerns over congestion by improving infrastructure. It will include widening a portion of El Norte Parkway, and adding several stop signals.
A joint statement from New Urban West and its development partner, Lennar, reads, “We are excited to begin the long-awaited revitalization of the Escondido Country Club. As we move forward, New Urban West is proud to partner with Lennar to help carry out this city council-approved project, in which we will set aside nearly 45 percent of the property as open space, construct 3.5 acres of new parkland, and deliver much-needed housing for our local families. Lennar is one of the nation’s premiere homebuilders, having built more than 1 million homes across America since the company was founded in 1954. Locally, they have built the award-winning communities of Del Sur and Harmony Grove Village. The first homes are expected to be completed and ready for sale in 2020.”
Home prices will start in the $6000,000 range, according to a spokesperson.