Major residential or commercial projects can completely change neighborhoods – for better or worse – and can require millions of dollars, ballot initiatives and lawsuits just to get started.
Here are seven major projects to keep an eye on in 2016.
Lilac Hills Ranch, a 1,500-home, master-planned community in Valley Center, has been controversial for a long time. A years-long battle to get the project approved may finally come to an end in 2016, when the County Board of Supervisors finally votes on the project. The vote, which was supposed to happen in the fall, was pushed off as Supervisor Bill Horn appealed an FPPC decision saying he should not vote on the project since his the project had the potential increase the value of Horn’s own property.
The FPPC ruled again on Wednesday that Horn should recuse himself, so the development-friendly supervisor – who was likely to vote in favor of the project – will likely have to sit out the vote. The Board of Supervisors vote on the project will likely happen at the beginning of 2016. The project is the first of several general plan amendments and is likely to set a precedent for future projects seeking exceptions to the county planning documents.
Escondido Country Club
The city of Escondido ended a long battle with developer Michael Schlesinger’s company, Stuck in the Rough, over a country club property in the city this fall. Schlesinger bought the golf course in 2012, but his plan to build 270 homes enraged neighbors. The contention included an episode involving chicken manure being spread across the golf-course in 2014.
Neighbors launched an initiative to permanently preserve the space as open space, gathering thousands of signatures. The Escondido City Council passed the measure outright and Schlesinger sued the city, saying the zoning change was unconstitutional and that the action was basically a “taking” of the property.