Fight over new development at old Escondido Club - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Fight over new development at old Escondido Club

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - North County residents have once again prepared themselves to battle the former Escondido Country Club - residents fought a development proposal before and won.

The former Escondido Country Club's previous plan involved a plan to build 430 homes. The newest proposal is not that different - it calls for 392 homes, but the opposition is even more intense.

Escondido residents geared up for the latest round Tuesday as Santa Monica based developer - New Urban West - proposed to build new homes along with some amenities on property that has been designated as open space.

A majority of residents in northwest Escondido are against the plan because it will, according to them, take away coveted green space and increase congestion.

"We feel - the community - that this has just been crammed down our throats. Three-hundred and ninety-two homes is just too many homes to pack in this area," said Escondido resident Judy Jessup.

The battle comes almost two yeas after voters defeated Proposition H - which would have allowed another out-of-town developer to build as many as 430 homes on the same site.

Michael Schlesinger still owns the 110-acre property.

The latest proposal would place houses on smaller lots and would require new zoning. The new zoning requirement would mean a stringent review process that could take years to complete.

Some Escondido residents on Tuesday applauded the plan.

"It will bring growth and development to our neighborhood - new families. I love the idea of walking trails, and the community center would bring value. I do believe it will raise the value of my home," said Escondido resident Mike Finsterbusch.

The latest developer, New Urban West, has an agreement to purchase the land from current owner Michael Schlesinger.

Schlesinger's relationship with the community became contentious when it opposed his development plan. At one point Schlesinger's company dumped chicken manure on the golf course in retaliation against his opponents.

The latest development proposal - if formally submitted to the City of Escondido - would first have to undergo an extensive environmental review process. The proposal would also have to gain the approval of Escondido's planning commission and the City Council - which could take more than two years.

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