Scripps Ranch Planning Group (SRPG)

The Scripps Ranch Planning Group (SRPG) met on January 6 at the Scripps Ranch Library. Meetings are generally held on the first Thursday of the month.

The January meeting was structured as a workshop to help gain a better understanding of traffic and transportation planning issues in the Scripps Ranch area, and to increase the SRPG’s participation in regional planning efforts by public agencies. Representatives of SANDAG, the City of San Diego, and Walk San Diego made presentations and answered questions.

SANDAG 2020 Regional Transportation Plan

This workshop item was presented by Mike McLaughlin and Mike Hicks. SANDAG is in the middle of the latest regional growth forecast process, the 2020 Regional Growth Management Strategy. This forecast is for an additional 1.1 million people in our region, 500,000 jobs, and 408,000 dwelling units. A housing shortfall is predicted, based on the development capacity of all local agencies’ general plans. SANDAG staff is promoting “smart growth” to accommodate this projected population growth, involving redevelopment of existing urban areas, intensification/ densification along transportation lines, greater variety and more affordable housing. Additional coordinated components would be transportation system improvements and fiscal reform in terms of a restructuring of how municipal income relates to land use and development.

The SANDAG Regional Transportation Plan is updated every two years. The most recent plan, based on the 2020 projections, has been released in draft form and is scheduled for adoption in February. The plan hopes to achieve a reduction in congestion from today’s levels on the major interstate corridors and interchanges, and also may achieve some improvement to congestion on major surface-street arterials. Strategies to achieve this goal include increasing the capacities of transportation facilities and all local agencies working together to build better transit options into land development.

In our vicinity, the Regional Transportation Plan includes an extension of SR 125 from SR 52 to Scripps Poway Parkway east of Poway. At one time this freeway was proposed to be an “outer loop,” connecting to I-15 north of Poway, and extending south all the way to the border. However, it has been removed from the Poway General Plan, and more recently from the Santee General Plan. Studies are now being performed to see how the inclusion of the section to our east would affect patterns and capacities. These studies include the whole corridor between I-15 and SR 67. The SRPG will stay in communication with SANDAG to better understand the ramifications to our community, and if appropriate, to promote solutions that would improve traffic congestion in our area.

City of San Diego Transportation Planning

This workshop item was presented by Miriam Kirshner and Siavash Pazargadi with the City of San Diego. In December, the SRPG had written to City of San Diego staff requesting a plan to ensure that traffic impacts that would result from proposed developments in our area were properly identified. The City has responded by agreeing to do the computer simulation modeling in-house, using the model recently developed by SANDAG based on their 2020 Growth Management Strategy.

The City will take that regional model and refine it at the local level for the Scripps Ranch community. The revised City model will be field-checked in detail to ensure that model assumptions and inputs on lanes, intersections, turn allowances, and other criteria are properly coded in the model. Existing traffic levels as run in the model will be adjusted to accurately reflect actual field counts. Field windshield surveys will be done to make sure that existing land uses, as input into the traffic model, are accurate. Future land uses will include all recent land use proposals. The model will include all major streets that are designated as “neighborhood collectors” or larger.

The City will run the model both with and without the SR 125 extension, and also, with a Spring Canyon extension to the south as now shown in the City’s circulation plan. The traffic model can be used to test different land use and highway improvement assumptions. With this information, the SRPG expects to develop a position regarding the appropriateness of keeping these transportation corridors in City and regional plans.

City staff noted that although these proposed corridors will be included in some model runs, they are both too speculative to be assumed as a part of the system for the purposes of analyzing traffic impacts from the development of the Beeler Canyon Future Urbanizing Area.

Colonel Rehberger from MCAS Miramar was asked to elaborate on the traffic analysis that will be performed for the proposed military family housing. Their analysis also will be based on the model simulations performed by the City of San Diego. However, the traffic analysis for their EIS will not include a Spring Canyon extension because it is considered an unacceptable transportation link since it would cut right through the MCAS Miramar East area.

Walkable Communities

This workshop item was presented by Dave Schumacher, Walk San Diego. Dave provided a slide-show presentation illustrating physical design measures for streets and right-of-ways to accommodate and encourage pedestrian activity and linkage in communities. The slides included examples of both what to do well, and examples of what has been done wrong, including examples from Scripps Ranch and Mira Mesa. Recommended design items do not have to be expensive, and can often be retrofitted on existing streets and sidewalks. The SRPG voted unanimously to write a letter to the City of San Diego supporting the use of pedestrian friendly street design standards. The SRPG will encourage the incorporation of these ideas into projects coming before us.

Annual Elections

Would you be interested in serving as a member of the Scripps Ranch Planning Group? Our annual election will be held at our meeting on Thursday, Mar. 2. There will be seven seats open for election.

The community planning groups review many of the development projects in the community before they reach a city Hearing Officer, the Planning Commission or City Council. We are officially recognized as an advisory board by the City of San Diego. Being a member of the Planning Group is a great way to know what’s going on, and to help guide your neighborhood’s future.

Residents and local business people, owners, and tenants can be board members. If you are interested in being on the ballot, please contact Linda Sloan at 530-9988.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held at 7 pm on Thursday, Feb. 3, in the Community Room of the Scripps Ranch Library. We expect to hear presentations on plans for the Beeler Canyon Future Urbanizing Area and Chabad Hebrew Academy. Everyone is always welcome and encouraged to attend our meetings.

Miramar Ranch North Planning Committee (MRNPC)

The regular meeting of the Miramar Ranch North Planning Committee (MRNPC) was held Tuesday, Jan. 18, at the Scripps Ranch Library. We were very pleased to welcome a number of residents and prospective members. The Windchime, Crown Collection, Aspire, and Cobble Creek neighborhoods were represented as well as close to a dozen residents from Waterford. Since we have five vacancies on the planning committee, we are hoping many residents will return in February to become official members. All are welcome and encouraged to attend and participate regardless of their “official” membership.

Annual Elections

Election of members will be held on Tuesday, Mar. 21, at 7 pm at the Scripps Ranch Library. Membership in the planning group is open to residents of the Miramar Ranch North Planning area which include all of Scripps Ranch Villages, Fieldstone Summit, Scripps Westview, and Affinity neighborhoods. Please contact Pat Bonaguidi at 695-0848 if you are interested in membership.

Overlook Park

The near-final plans were presented for the Overlook Park to be constructed by McMillin just west of the Waterford development along the south side of Scripps Ranch Boulevard. Jack Nakawatase presented the plans which include play structures and swings for both younger and older children, a parking lot with space for 20 vehicles, picnic tables with shade structures, benches along the overlook and information boards.

At issue were discussion of the need for permanent restrooms, and the question of whether the lawn would be sodded or seeded. The Scripps Ranch Recreation Council had approved the park as planned with a strong recommendation to the MRNPC that they consider asking McMillin to construct a permanent restroom. They have experience with Lakeview Park, which was constructed without restrooms, and now the community is retrofitting that park at great expense. Ed Elliott with McMillin explained that the current plan is well over the budget allotted for the facility, and he does not know what portion of the plan can be covered by the budget. He said the restroom is definitely not within the budget, and the play equipment may not be.

There was considerable discussion on the board and from the Waterford residents regarding the need for a park for the children of the area since there will be close to 1,200 housing units in the Phase III portion of the project. Some residents told the group that the Brookfield sales office told them that the park would be a children’s park. All who spoke were in favor of permanent restroom facilities. Others indicated they thought the park needed to have sod so that it can open much sooner than if they have to wait for the grass to grow from seed.

The MRNPC voted to recommend the park go forward as planned with the addition of a permanent restroom facility and sod. The next step is for the Parks Department of the City of San Diego to resolve the outstanding issues with the developer and then take the park plans to the Northern Area Rec. Council for approval prior to City Council action.

Scripps Gateway Freeway Industrial Park

Shea Homes presented their plans to construct an industrial park at the southeastern quadrant of the intersection of Scripps Poway Parkway and I-15. The MRNPC reviewed the architectural design, landscape plans, traffic concerns, and pedestrian access. There was considerable discussion as to whether the project meets the requirements of the community plan and the conditional approvals Shea received when the overall Gateway project (p.29) was approved.

Of particular concern is the plan to sell the 4-acre parcel that was supposed to be dedicated for a community recreational facility. Shea’s representative, Jim Yoder, explained that they now have plans to sell that parcel to another developer who plans to construct a medical/professional office building, an executive health club, and a daycare center.

The community members of the MRNPC expressed their dismay that this was not what was agreed upon, nor the intended use for this parcel. They reiterated that this parcel was supposed to be developed as a community pool and tennis facility, intended for the families of the community.

In light of the new information received, the MRNPC voted to table action on Shea’s Freeway Industrial Park until more information is provided on the 4-acre commercial/recreation site at the next MRNPC meeting on Tues. Feb. 15.