SAN DIEGO — On Saturday, the grassroots group “Save our Community Now” protested at the intersection of Carmel Valley Road and Camino Del Sur where the Camino Del Sur Marketplace would be built.
The Poway Unified School District owns the vacant land and in September the board voted to consider leasing the 27-acres to Costco. “The entire process was not transparent. We didn't have a voice in the matter,” said Gianni Nguyen.
Parents say they are worried about traffic. “There's been over thirty-two recorded accidents and several deaths in the past five years, including one that was only a few months ago,” said Lucy Beard.
Poway Unified says it’s facing a deficit and rather than putting in a middle school as planned it families, it would lease the land to Costco over 40 years.
Families question why they are paying high Mello-Roos taxes for a Costco and say a school is needed. “We’re actually orphans when it comes to a school, a middle school,” said Nguyen.
Protect Our Community Now has gained 3,700 signatures to petition against the plan. It also filed a lawsuit claiming state law meeting violations and has environmental concerns where a 32-pump gas station is planned.
“The original master plan has talked about beautiful open areas, the Black Mountain Preserve, the hot air balloons, the children, all the great schools and districts,” said Beard.
After outcry, the district scheduled two virtual community meetings on alternatives to leasing the district-owned land to Costco. One was scheduled for March 1 and the next one is March 18.
Families say more needs to be done than two community meetings. “We were never brought in as part of the process. The entire process was not transparent. We didn't have a voice in the matter,” said Nguyen.
News 8 reached out to the spokesperson for Poway Unified who said, "At last month’s Board of Education meeting, the Board directed its Real Property Negotiators and Staff to forgo finalizing any Option Agreement and/or Ground Lease with Costco Wholesale for a period of ninety (90) days, during which time the District will continue to engage interested parties and Costco about the proposed ground lease transaction, as well as explore possible alternatives. While this does not mean the District is reopening the RFP process, Board Members are responding to the community’s request to engage constituents in coming up with beneficial alternatives for the District to explore.
The District has scheduled two Community Input Sessions. The first was last Monday, March 1st and the second is March 18th. These are brainstorming sessions for interested community members to offer creative input and ideas for possible alternatives for the Black Mountain Ranch Southern Site."