In an unusual unanimous vote, the Escondido City Council voted August 14 to adopt the initiative brought before it by the Escondido Country Club Homeowners group that would preserve the club’s golf course as open space. The action certainly delays and could stop plans to build 283 homes on the property. The action avoids putting the measure before voters in November 2014 or taking 30 days for further study. Everyone expects the dispute to end up in court.
After dozens of speakers in favor of the measure, and more than a dozen in favor of a 30-day study, Council members agreed with John Masson that “there’s no reason to delay.” Council member Mike Morasco said “I don’t see how we benefit by waiting… there’s going to be a lawsuit no matter what.” Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz concluded that “a judge will make the decision… the best solution is to get it to the judge as fast as we possibly can.”
Earlier, the Council agreed to pass on a proposal to the organizers of the AmGen Tour of California Bike race. Staff sought direction on whether to prepare a proposal, and if so, what aspect of the race to seek. There was no vote, but in discussion all of the Council members agreed with Mike Morasco, who said “dollars and cents wise, I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense for us right now.” Several council members mentioned skipping a year or so, partnering with nearby cities, and conducting fundraising before submitting a proposal.
From U-T San Diego
… The vote was a major victory for hundreds of residents living near the Escondido Country Club golf course who have been fighting the proposed subdivision since early this year. An initiative launched this spring by the residents became city law with the council’s vote Wednesday. The council could have chosen to place the measure on the 2014 ballot, but instead voted to adopt it immediately.
The developer, Michael Schlesinger, filed a lawsuit in June claiming the initiative violates his private property rights because declaring the course open space makes it worthless to him. That litigation could allow him to build the subdivision or collect millions from the city in damages. But council members expressed confidence Wednesday that the city would prevail in court. …