ESCONDIDO (NEWS 8) – The long-running saga over what to do with the site of the former Escondido Country Club is coming to an end after the City Council on Wednesday voted on a proposed plan to build nearly 400 homes on the shuttered property.
In a 3-2 vote, the Escondido City Council approved a controversial housing development at the former country club.
The fight over the development has been going on for more than five years, and it got ugly when neighbors accused the property owner of dumping chicken manure as retaliation.
“From the bottom of my heart in the long run, this is going to be the best thing for us,” said Michael Morasco, Escondido City Councilmember.
Last month, the Escondido Planning Commission approved Santa Monica based New Urban West’s housing development called The Villages – it would include 380 solar powered homes, a country club, a restaurant and open space on the Northwest side.
“We believe that we have created the best possible plan – one that reflects that thoughtfully reflects and extremely complex set of factors,” said Jonathan Frankel.
In 2014, voters rejected the plan. Three years later, the Escondido Country Club Homeowner’s Organization – ECCHO- continues to fight the scaled down project on the 106 acres and said the project is too dense. They want half the housing and remain concern about traffic.
“This whole deal does not make sense. It’s an old community. It was not designed for this amount of homes,” said one resident.
During the fight, the former country club that was once a jewel became overgrown with weeds, was boarded up and was infested with drugs and graffiti.
Sarah Valenzuela supports the development. “It’s fixing the area where I live and making it safer for my son. He won’t be reading curse words anymore.”
A victory for supporters Wednesday night, but opponents said the fight is not over.
“Our attorneys have said they are open to litigation,” said Mike Slater.
The mayor voted against the project and said there were too many houses.
New Urban plans to start moving dirt by the middle of next year. Now that the project was approved, they will also buy the property from Michael Schlesinger.
Beverly Hills Property owner Michael Schlesinger owns the Escondido property and last week Poway voters rejected his proposal to build luxury condos at the Stoneridge Country Club.