SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It's a giant housing project more than 10 years in the making and Friday a planning commission held a hearing for Lilac Hills Ranch in Valley Center.
On Friday, the Planning Commission voted, 4 to 3, in favor of the development.
Citrus and Avocado groves could soon be replaced by 1,700 homes and opponents say not so fast. If approved, 600 acres of farmland would be turned into 1700 homes located near Interstate 15, north of Escondido.
Hundreds of people packed the county meeting Friday, and some residents spoke out about the concerns surrounding the Lilac Hills Ranch project, including concerns about eminent domain, traffic and worries of fire hazards.
"It's the back country with back country roads with agitated Alzheimer's patients. We have had people in Valley Center die trying to evacuate," explained Patsy Fritz a Valley Center Resident:
A spokesman for developer, Accretive Investments, said the county proposed that they pay for wider roads and believes they've fulfilled safety standards.
"All the standards the county has asked for, Accretive has met and more not only the fire standpoint and county staff standpoint, not only will it set the standard for new development across the county it will be the paradigm and the model for future development," said Jeff Powers with Accretive Investments.
"It's upsetting to me that on 9/11 firefighters go and they go out to get this that the roads would be blocked as people evacuate. It breaks my heart that somebody would have to go to another funeral because somebody could not get out,” said a former firefighter.
Jeff Powers, Accretive Investments: "They all say unequivocally this is the Safest not only from a fire protection standpoint but also from an evacuation standpoint in the county,” noted Powers.
The final decision will be in the hands of the Board of Supervisors in October.