When the idea of allowing a 240-room hotel development at Maderas Golf Club (Measure “W” on the November ballot) first surfaced in the public arena this summer, it elicited a variety of reactions from residents: curiosity, excitement, skepticism, opposition. Before taking a position on this potential land use change and major development, the GVCA board did its homework.
Upon learning that a land use request and ballot measure would go before a vote of City Council on July 19th, the GVCA had a mere two weeks to research the facts. In that time, we:
- Obtained public records from the City Clerk’s office related to the land use request, including the Original Specific Plan, the Amended Specific Plan, and a recent traffic study
- Conducted an email poll to gauge support or opposition of the proposal
- Met with a representative from Sunroad Enterprises, the property owner and developer
- Contacted City Council members
PROCEED WITH CAUTION
What we learned (and didn’t learn) left us with more questions than answers. Because the GVCA had serious concerns about the size of the development (akin to the 287-room Rancho Bernardo Inn), the potential impact (traffic, fire safety, water usage, noise, visual), and the hasty process by which the measure was brought to Council, with little to no information or input from the community, we cautioned Council against approving the applicant’s request.
WHERE WAS THE VETTING?
With the exception of Councilman Dave Grosch, City Council approved the proposal without questioning the 26-year-old Environmental Impact Report, the appropriateness of a 240-room resort, the validity of a promised $1.5 mil in hotel tax revenue, or preliminary support from the community,
A development of this magnitude and potential impact, demands proper vetting by the City Staff and City Council on behalf of the residents of Poway before reaching the ballot, not a rubber stamp of a vague and open-ended ballot measure which simply states:
Do you approve Specific Plan Amendment 16- 002 as adopted by the Poway City Council to amend the Old Coach Golf Estates Specific Plan, to allow development of a hotel with up to 240 rooms on the existing Maderas Golf Course site located at 17750 Old Coach Road?
Voters need a clearer understanding of what it is they are voting on and the impact their decision could have. It should be noted that a hotel was not approved in the Original Specific Plan due to community concerns.
KEY DECISIONS OUT OF VOTERS HANDS
Without additional parameters on the land use (i.e. height limit, square footage, etc.) spelled out on the ballot, these key decisions will be left up to approval by a future City Council if the measure passes. The promise of community workshops cannot ease serious concerns about the recent disconnect in communication between Staff, Council and the community on major projects and developments.
LETS GET IT RIGHT
The GVCA is fully supportive of a thriving economic environment in Poway. We are active members of the Poway Chamber of Commerce and its Board of Directors, and proud supporters of Poway OnStage performances at the Poway Performing Arts Center. In order for a major hotel development in Poway to be a win-win for everyone involved, we need to get it right BEFORE it reaches the ballot. Measures such as this require more information, honesty and transparency. Voters should demand it by voting NO on W.