SR Business Park Rezone — The Rest of the Story

Letter from BCL

By Labor Day you will have received a mailing from BCL, the owner and developer of part of the Scripps Ranch business park. It is likely that you may be confused by the letter since it misstates several issues, ignores several issues, and makes the proposal seem like a good or great idea. All the Scripps Ranch community groups that review development and school issues (SRPG, MRNPC, and SRCA), as well as the City of San Diego Planning Commission have stated with unanimity that the proposed rezone is not a good idea and should be denied.

So that you can become educated about the project, we have compiled the most important facts about the proposed rezone and present them to you below. Glance through the issues, and we feel that it will become clear why SRCA, SRPG, MRNPC, and 3400 of your neighbors think this proposal hurts Scripps Ranch and should be denied by the City Council.

Also, please read the letter on page 7 from SRCA President Marc Sorensen responding to BCL’s attempt to sway unsuspecting residents with a letter filled with misstatements and omissions.

The Issues

Community Support

BCL’s assertion: “We have worked extensively with local organizations and community leaders for over eighteen months to ensure that the proposed development maximizes the best use of the property.”

Scripps Ranch’s response: Yes, we have tried to be responsive and open to suggestion, but apparently to no avail. BCL’s response has been to continue to assert that we need more multi-family dwelling units. Their proposal maximizes the benefit to BLC, not to Scripps Ranch.

The Industrial Lots are not Marketable

BCL’s assertion: The industrial zoned land is not marketable; we’ve tried but just can’t sell them.

Scripps Ranch’s response: Maybe this was true a few years ago, but it is not true now. Three of the lots (1, 2, 11) were sold in May to Newport National, who now has applications in to the City to develop industrial buildings on each of the three lots using the existing industrial zoning.

City staff acknowledges that there is a near-crisis in the availability of industrial land, especially along the I-15 corridor. They estimate that the remaining industrial land will be developed within the next 6 to 12 months. Maintaining the availability of larger sites, such as those owned by BCL, is a priority.

Traffic

BCL’s assertion: The proposal will generate fewer daily trips than industrial development.

Scripps Ranch’s response: Maybe, but we don’t think the impact will be less. The total number of trips is less important than the direction of traffic flow.

The main traffic problem we now have is residents leaving the Ranch going down the I-15 corridor to jobs outside Scripps Ranch. Additional multi-family residential units, such as those proposed by CBL, will worsen this problem.

In contrast, much of the traffic created by the planned industrial use will be coming into the Ranch in the opposite direction of our backed up traffic. And, having more job opportunities inside Scripps Ranch will allow more residents to live and work in the same community and not have to get on I-15.

Schools

BCL’s assertion: The affect of the rezone is minimal, or acceptable on schools.

Scripps Ranch’s response: Not even close to being true from our standpoint. Scripps Ranch schools are in a crisis of over-crowding now, and this proposed rezone would simply worsen the existing condition and create future problems.

The San Diego School District has made this point many times and has stated they are using emergency measures to accommodate over-crowding, such as sending some Scripps Ranch children to school at Wangenheim until a larger middle school can be constructed. The school district currently is evaluating the preferred site (lots 6, 7, and 8) and the alternative site (lots 3 and 4) for building the new middle school.

Job Opportunities

BCL’s assertion: Abundant industrial land exists in San Diego County.

Scripps Ranch’s response: This may be true for San Diego County as a whole, but not for the City of San Diego, in particular for the area of the City north of I-8. For example, a 1998 SANDAG report estimates that the remaining industrial land north of SR 52 will be developed within 3 years, that is by 2001.

Housing Opportunities

BCL’s assertion: More affordable multi-family housing is needed in Scripps Ranch.

Scripps Ranch’s response: The recent development of the northern part of Scripps Ranch (Miramar Ranch North) provides many opportunities to find affordable housing. Almost one-half of the homes in that area of Scripps Ranch are multi-family. BCL’s analysis considered only the older part of Scripps Ranch south of the lake.

An additional approximately 300 multi-family dwelling units (Miro and Ravel) are being constructed on Scripps Ranch Blvd. just north of Kmart. In fact, the Kmart site itself will include another approximately 300 multi-family, more affordable dwelling units.

Senior Housing

BCL’s assertion: “Senior living residences … generate very little traffic and have no affect on schools.”

Scripps Ranch’s response: That is not our experience. Many of us are age 55 or older and still drive to jobs and schools just like we did when we were 40.

The Scripps Ranch community has voiced its support of senior assisted care facilities, but this need is quite different from BCL’s proposal to provide “senior” apartments renting for as much as many homes in Scripps Ranch.

BCL asserts that housing for seniors (over age 55) will have no affect on schools. Again, that is not our experience. Many families in Scripps Ranch have heads of household older than 55 and yet have children or grandchildren in Scripps Ranch schools.

We do not feel that age-restricted dwelling units will have a minimal or acceptable impact when there now is no room for Scripps Ranch children to attend neighborhood schools. The impact becomes even more significant in that the proposed senior housing is on one lot being considered for construction of a new middle school.

Parks

BCL’s assertion: BCL’s project will provide “a 4-acre community park … with multi-use fields for soccer and softball.”

Scripps Ranch’s response: No, it won’t. The area proposed for the park is the top of a large, buried reclaimed water tank. When the tank was designed and installed, the Scripps Ranch Planning Group ensured that the area would be aesthetic by having the tank covered with about 1-acre of grass, which you can see from the Scripps Ranch Library.

What you can’t see as readily and what BCL failed to consider is that the tank has many design and operational restrictions that prevent the land from being regraded like a vacant lot. Linda Sloan Scott, the engineer who designed the tank, cited a number of these limitations in a letter that was provided to the Planning Commission. These restrictions include maintaining vents, which are disguised as benches; keeping the paved access roads; not increasing the load on the tank such as could occur from regrading; and maintaining adequate drainage away from the tank.

The City already owns the property and if it were possible to create a larger more usable park, we could do it without the proposed BCL rezone simply by using our own Scripps Ranch Special Park Fund.

Rather than enhance Scripps Ranch parks, the BCL proposal will further impact the scarce park and recreational resources that we have.

Balanced Community

BCL’s assertion: More multi-family housing is needed to balance the community.

Scripps Ranch’s response: Our community plans (Scripps Ranch and Miramar Ranch North) have been carefully crafted and provide a range of housing types, sizes, and costs. Further, the award-winning community plans provide a balance between residential, industrial, and commercial uses. We need to preserve this balance so that we have adequate places to live, work, and shop.

Smart Development

BCL’s assertion: BCL’s proposal is “smart and responsible development.”

Scripps Ranch’s response: It may be economically smart for BCL, but we know the proposed rezone will have many serious, negative consequences for our community.

How to Recant

Perhaps you sent in the BCL card to the “Friends of Scripps Ranch” who undoubtedly are anything but friends of ours. Now you’ve learned of your mistake and would like to correct it. What should you do? Please simply send in the following card to SRCA and we will make sure that this slippery public relations move by BCL does not work.