Carmel Valley plan update ready to before San Diego City Council

By Karen Billing

The long-awaited update to the Pacific Highlands Ranch Public Facilities Financing Plan (PFFP) has been completed and will soon go before the San Diego City Council for approval. The update was the first done since October 2007 and was spurred on by the passing of Proposition C in 2010.

“We’re actually going to start realizing the benefits of our hard work,” said planning board chair Frisco White.

Board member Manjeet Ranu, who represents PHR, said, “This will allow us to get things that make a community a real community and help surrounding communities by not burdening their facilities.”

Frank January, from the city of San Diego, said the transportation and phasing plan includes all of the population-based facilities funded by Facilities Benefit Assessments (FBA) paid by homeowners. These include the neighborhood and community parks, the library, trail systems and a community pool in Black Mountain Ranch.

The phasing plan includes threshold requirements.

“Within the thresholds, development cannot proceed until those facilities are provided,” January said.

That means no more new houses until there are appropriate amenities for the residents that currently live there. January also said the amended financing plan aims to minimize delays as much as possible.

Gonzalez Canyon Neighborhood Park will be the first to be designed and delivered as PHR reaches its first threshold of 1,900 units. January said they have a signed agreement from Pardee Homes as of last week to move forward with reimbursements to design and build that park.

The item will be before the city’s Land Use and Housing committee on March 7, along with the PFFP.

In the past, one of the reasons the park had been held up was the city had no funds to staff and operate it. Pardee Homes has offered to fund the first two years of maitainance on the park.

“Development in the community has slowed and we’ve extended the development period out 14 years to 2035,” January said. “We are also able to reduce FBA rates by 51 percent for single family homes to $45,000 by July 1 if the plan is approved by council.”

Single family unit approved assessment per acre had been $91,607 previously. January said they were able to reduce the FBA rates because more homes will be allowed to be built past 1,900 units with the passage of Prop C and more development allows the cost of the facilities to be spread out.

Gary Levitt, a Del Mar Mesa resident, said the next step should be taking a look at the improvements described in the PHR plan and re-evaluating what is really needed. He pointed out that the community plan, written in the 1990s, calls for Carmel Valley Road to be widened to three lanes. He said he’d hate to see them go and rip out things that have been working well.

Chair White said that they agreed the next step was a review of the community plan to see if facilities were still needed or not and to the level they are currently planned.