Special Report

Development Update

The Latest

The SRCA Newsletter is following the future development in Scripps Ranch. Last month, we told you about development in the Scripps Ranch Business Park, as well as the area on Pomerado Road near Alliant International University (AIU). That is the area we follow up on in this report.

We begin with the latest from a developer who has plans for one of the sites. Then, the Scripps Ranch Planning Group, the city-chartered group made up of community volunteers, provides more details, including concerns it has with development in that entire area.

Western Pacific Housing

The 100-acre parcel of land adjacent to Alliant International University (AIU) has been identified as a Neighborhood Village Center in the city of San Diego's draft City of Villages general plan. This designation suggests future development as an area where commercial and residential buildings are intermixed.

In order to make this a reality, the zoning for the parcel, which is currently designated as university land, would have to be changed to a mixed-use designation. The first step in the city's zoning review process is to formally ask the city of San Diego Planning Commission for a Community Plan Amendment.

Western Pacific Housing (WPH), the developer in escrow for the site, filed an application to initiate a Community Plan Amendment in June. The Planning Commission will consider the application at a public hearing on Thursday, Aug. 15.

If the initiation is approved, a detailed project planning and review process will begin between WPH, the city, and the Scripps Ranch Planning Group (SRPG). Every aspect of the project--traffic, parks, schools, infrastructure, environmental impacts, and community aesthetics--will be presented in an open dialogue among the groups involved.

WPH, Community Liaison

Scripps Ranch Planning Group

The Scripps Ranch Planning Group (SRPG) is evaluating a proposal from WPH that seeks to add 750 to 1,150 condominiums in Scripps Ranch. WPH is requesting a rezone of 63.9 acres located west of Chabad, south of Pomerado Road, and east of AIU.

WPH has begun the discretionary review process by applying for a Community Plan Initiation. As WPH stated in its article, the issue goes before the city's Planning Commission on Thursday, Aug. 15, at 9 am. Anyone interested in attending the hearing, please contact Bob Ilko at [[email protected]]. If approved by the city's Planning Commission, then and only then, will the city's Planning Department staff begin to evaluate WPH's development plans.

The discretionary process should take 12 to 18 months. The proposed project is subject to review through an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) before the project goes to the SRPG for its recommendation. The SRPG may recommend: a denial; an approval without conditions; or, an approval with conditions.

The project then goes to the city's Planning Commission. If the Planning Commission recommends that the project be built or if WPH appeals a Planning Commission's denial, the City Council then votes on the project.

Residents are welcome at all public meetings of the SRPG, the Planning Commission, and the City Council. Public input is typically taken in the form of either oral or written testimony.

A subcommittee of the SRPG, the Miramar Ranch North Planning Committee, the SRCA, and Save Our Scripps Ranch (SOSR) has met with WPH twice. The subcommittee has taken a walking tour of the area.

Development Issues

From the information provided to date, the SRPG compiled the following initial list of issues that need to be addressed about the project.

Community Plan

Residents should know that the WPH proposal is not being made in a "planning vacuum." The existing Scripps Ranch Community Plan requires that the "university" land use and open space designation apply to all of WPH's land.

The existing university master plan was adopted by the city as a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). It not only includes WPH's land, but also AIU and Chabad. The new middle school is also subject to the CUP, but it does not bind the School District, as it is a state-chartered agency.

The Community Plan and the CUP are blueprints for development of these properties until either or both documents are changed. The Community Plan and CUP were approved to apply specific development limits.

If WPH's proposal is allowed to go forward, it requires a Scripps Ranch Community Plan amendment and it could require the removal of all its acreage from the existing CUP. At the same time, an amended university master plan is being proposed by AIU that includes updating its plans for university build out. The Chabad property is also subject to the existing CUP and Chabad will pursue its own separate CUP.

This means that the community could eventually have separate master plans for AIU, Chabad, the new middle school, and WPH, each of which would modify the existing Community Plan and CUP.

Community Impact

The SRPG is concerned about the cumulative impacts of AIU, Chabad, the new middle school, and WPH's proposed development plans. Furthermore, the SRPG is concerned about the community's "holding capacity" for vehicular traffic, schools, and park uses.

WPH's article in the July SRCA Newsletter cites the San Diego City Strategic Framework Element as support for its proposed development. The city has not adopted the Strategic Framework Element that would create the City of Villages concept. The SRPG has opposed the City of Villages concept in its current form. The SRPG's opposition, among other things, is based on anticipated impacts to the community.

Traffic

WPH states that its preliminary analysis shows average daily trips (ADT) generated by the proposed project-- residential and commercial--within a range of 4,800 to 10,800.

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) traffic generation rate for attached multi-family housing with a similar density range is 8 ADTs per unit. A proposed 700 to 1,200 residential unit project could generate 5,600 to 9,600 ADTs.

SANDAG also uses a generation rate for "neighborhood shopping centers"--with less than 100,000 square feet of floor area--of 120 trips per day per 1000 square feet. WPH is currently proposing 15,000-30,000 square feet of retail. Thus, applying SANDAG's generation rates, the proposed project could yield 1,800 to 3,600 ADTs.

By combining the SANDAG generation rates, the range of average daily trips the WPH proposal could generate is 7,400 to 13,200. WPH has not released a written traffic study and unless the Planning Commission approves the Community Plan Initiation, city staff cannot perform a traffic analysis review.

The ADTs created by WPH's proposal would likely add to anticipated ADTs generated by AIU, Chabad, and the new middle school that are in excess of the ADTs under the currently allowed land uses.

SRPG has raised issues relating to traffic circulation, traffic study assumptions, and traffic mitigation. If the project goes forward, an EIR will need to address these areas of concern.

Other Concerns

Other areas of concern an EIR will look at include:

  • Community interaction;
  • Cumulative impacts;
  • Erosion and flood control;
  • Fire safety;
  • Grading;
  • Noise;
  • Pedestrian and bicycle access;
  • Public facilities and infrastructure;
  • Public transportation;
  • Recreation, parks, open space;
  • Residential density;
  • Retail uses;
  • Schools; and,
  • Visual quality and aesthetics.

The above list is intended to illustrate identifiable concerns based on limited information provided to date. The list is subject to change. Look for future updates in the SRCA Newsletter.

Bob Ilko, SRPG Chair