Morning Report: The 'Bullying' Tactics of Lilac Hills Developer - Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

Morning Report: The 'Bullying' Tactics of Lilac Hills Developer

Accretive Investments will seemingly stop at nothing to push through its project in Valley Center, wait times climb at San Ysidro and a South Bay Little League team helps us start the week cheering.

Generally, commitment to goals is a good thing. We’re praised for persevering in our endeavors, refusing to let setback after setback keep us down.

But what about when the dedicated party is a developer that’s hell-bent on building a new housing and retail project that both the county’s planning department and a local fire district have said is a bad idea?

That’s a simplified version of what’s happening in Valley Center, a rural town in northeastern San Diego County.

The developer, Accretive Investments, is pushing forward on a project called Lilac Hills Ranch, which would put 1,700 homes, retail and other buildings on 600 acres of what’s now agricultural land. Accretive has purchased or signed development agreements with nearly all the residents who would be affected by its planned project – but not the Hernandez family, whom Accretive is suing.

The San Diego County Department of Planning and Land Use rejected the Lilac Hills project, and the Deer Springs Fire District has already warned it can’t possibly provide adequate emergency response to the 5,000 people who would call the project home. Accretive found ways around those hurdles.

In a new story, Andrew Keatts and Maya Srikrishnan dissect the persuasive roles that money, connections and appeals have played in the battle to make Lilac Hills Ranch a reality.

What the Controversial Stadium EIR Actually Says

A lot of the discussion around the quick-turnaround environmental impact report for a prospective new stadium has centered on cost and whether something rushed through would stand up to a lawsuit. Much less attention has been directed at what the report actually says.

Perhaps overlooked by most of us last week, there are some significant dangers and drawbacks outlined in the report. Chief among them: The replacement stadium would be 1,000 feet closer to 24 tanks of fuel at the Kinder-Morgan Energy Partners Mission Valley Terminal, which “represents a greater degree of vulnerability to the stadium structure and users,” according to the report. (Union-Tribune)

We aren’t the only ones dealing with an ongoing sports venue debacle. A new arena for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks is proving to be quite the headache in Wisconsin. (New York Times)

Welp, we might not know where the Chargers will be playing in coming years, but at least we know QB Philip Rivers will be on board. He’s extended his contract another four years. (Associated Press)

Quick News Hits

• Construction is supposed to start Monday on a temporary path for students to walk safely between San Ysidro High and San Ysidro Middle School, with work on a more permanent sidewalk to begin in October. Liam Dillon’s reported extensively on the treacherous path and series of delays in giving the kids a reliable way to get to school.

• State lawmakers get back to work Monday to hustle through some speedy legislatin’ before the session ends Sept. 11. Check out Sara Libby’s Sacramento Report for a nice rundown of what to watch these next few weeks.

Last week, our summer intern Zoe Schaver reflected on her time commuting from Tijuana to San Diego every day to join us in our Liberty Station office. Her daily trips weren’t as bad as they could be, thanks in large part to the Global Entry card she secured. But the Union-Tribune reports that as more people have begun crossing the border at San Ysidro, wait times have started climbing – despite the border crossing’s expansion project that helped wait times plummet last fall.

 Five people were killed late Sunday morning when two small planes collided mid-air near Brown Field Municipal Airport. (Los Angeles Times)

If you’re a visual learner, you might enjoy this Twitter thread that caught my eye – it’s about San Diego’s goals for modes of transportation set in the Climate Action Plan. Urban designer Howard Blackson shared this map, showing the targeted areas where planners hope to motivate folks to get out of their cars. Nicole Capretz, executive director of the Climate Action Campaign, highlighted the current breakdown of transportation vs. where San Diego wants to be in 2035. And if you can handle a little editorial cartoon goofin’, see Blackson’s follow-up tweet.

The outpouring of support for the Sweetwater Valley Little League team was incredibly sweet to watch Saturday night. The kiddos from Bonita and Chula Vista beat Waipio Little League from Hawaii, 12-10. Next up, they’ll play their first World Series game Thursday evening in Williamsport, Pa., against Bowling Green Eastern Little League. (Union-Tribune)

Catherine Green is deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handles daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects. You can contact her directly at catherine.green@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. Follow her on Twitter: @c_s_green.


partner-voicesPartner Voices is a paid promotion that showcases the work of local nonprofits and volunteer opportunities in the community.

Judges/Donors Needed for STEAM Student Showcase

Talented students from Southeastern San Diego will be showcasing their summer STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) projects in a competition this Wednesday, August 19, at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation as part of its Full STEAM Ahead program.

Working in teams, the students used a digital program to design eco-friendly buildings that could be implemented in their community.

Students will also reveal the community leaders that will replace former leaders on a mural at Market Creek Plaza. The students helped choose the community members to be featured and worked directly with San Diego muralist Victor Ochoa.

The team with the best presentation will be rewarded and the Jacobs Center could use some help raising more money for the prizes. If you’d like to contribute, please contact program coordinator Joseph French to make a donation. Donors will be invited to help judge the competition and be recognized at the event.

Read more Partner Voices stories here and learn about all the great work local nonprofits are doing in our community.

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