San Diego

Planning Commission Approves Development Near San Marcos

The San Diego County Planning Commission voted 6-1 in favor of a residential development that will bring about 2,000 homes and commercial buildings to an open space in an unincorporated area near San Marcos.

The Newland Sierra development is planned just north of Deer Springs Road, west of Interstate 15.

The project calls for seven distinct neighborhoods with parks and 19 miles of trains and would include a small town center, according to Vice President of the project Rita Brandin. She said the project would preserve more than 61 percent of the land west of Interstate 15 and north of State Route 78 as open space.

As it is, the property is zoned for commercial and office development and 99 large-lot homes in the General Plan.

Newland Communities, the group in charge of the project, began presenting the proposal to the Planning Commission Thursday and heard public comment afterward.

The proposal will move to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for a vote in September.

Some supporters believe the plan is necessary in the midst of a housing crisis while opponents argue the development would only add high-priced homes and.

"I was totally stunned," Deborah Settles said when she learned of the vote. "After all of the evidence presented, all of the residents spoke about what this is going to do to our country, our little valley, the gridlock, the emissions, the reclaimed water.."

Resident Ed Hocking and his wife Mary have lived in the area for almost 50 years and say development in the area is inevitable.

"Sooner or later they’re going to build there, might not be today might not be tomorrow but they are going to build there," Ed said.

"With the price of gasoline and taxes and the cost of living in San Diego, it baffles me why it’s growing so fast. I thought we’d be losing people but we’re not," he added.

Many of his neighbors are strongly against the project, though.

Cindy Bedell has lived in the area for almost two decades. Her biggest concern is the potential traffic backup near Interstate 15.

In the 19 years she’s lived in the area, she’s noticed hundreds of homes being built around her

"At least 300, maybe," Bedell estimates. "It’s changed a lot. There were no homes around me and now it’s just everywhere. The whole area."

She’s frustrated and against any more developments headed her way, including Newland Sierra.

"I mean it’s so busy that way now with the freeway right there. Adding more would just be a mess," she said.

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