The City of Poway has scheduled a Community Discussion Forum regarding "The Farm in Poway", a proposed development on the site of the former StoneRidge Country Club. The project applicant and consultants will be available to answer questions about the project's design, traffic impact and other concerns you may have.
The City of Poway has been seeking public comments for preparation of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed "The Farm at Poway" development. The GVCA has formally submitted this list of areas of concerns that should be evaluated in the EIR and mitigation actions proposed:
Noise and lights resulting from the pool, tennis, club and parking lots
Sight lines of existing homes compromised by new structures
Traffic impact on Martincoit Road through to Stone Canyon
Agricultural management impact (dust, fertilizer, chemicals, etc) resulting from the agri-fields
Unwanted activity (noise, litter, criminal, etc) that may result from public access of the proposed trails
Impact on schools and associated additional traffic to the schools
Have other concerns? Submit your comments to the City regarding items you want considered in the EIR by Monday, June 10th, 5pm to:
David De Vries, City Planner
City of Poway, Development Services
13325 Civic Center Dr.
Poway, CA 92064
Like many residents living on and near the golf course, the GVCA has been keeping a watchful eye on code compliance and other issues at the shuttered property, as well as the proposed “The Farm at Poway” redevelopment plan:
We contacted the City of Poway regarding weed abatement and fire code compliance at StoneRidge earlier this season. Code Compliance Officer Dan Welte informed us that he inspects the property once a month and notes any issues such as dead trees too close to adjacent properties and other areas of concern. The property owner has agreed to address current compliance issues by mid-June/July.
Officer Welte also said that brush conditions need to dry out before requiring the property owner to reduce the ground vegetation. He is not able to enforce cosmetic or appearance deficiencies of the course at this time. Residents can contact Officer Welte directly with any concerns regarding the property: DWelte@poway.org, (858) 668-4664.
Mosquito Larvae Control
After contacting the San Diego County Health Department-Vector Control this spring regarding mosquito larvae in the former StoneRidge pools and ponds, a representative from the Vector Control department responded immediately to inspect the property. He reported finding hundreds of live mosquito larvae active in the three water sources: the kiddie pool, spa and swimming pool.
The representative treated the three affected areas for immediate action and placed mosquito fish in the swimming pool to eat any future larvae.
Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for The Farm at Poway
A new redevelopment plan called The Farm at Poway is working its way through the Prop FF process to place a Specific Plan and zoning change on the ballot in November 2020.
One of the first steps in the process is an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The report will address potential direct and cumulative impacts associated with a proposed development, including those issues raised by the public. A public scoping meeting was held in May to collect input from the community for consideration in the Draft EIR. From the May 2019 “Initial Study” by Dudek, an environmental engineering firm hired to handle the EIR, we have quoted the following questions posed regarding specific categories that potentially could have significant impact on the community, such as:
Would the project:
Aesthetics - Have a substantial adverse effect on a scenic vista? Degrade the existing visual character or quality of public views of the site and its surroundings? Create a new source of substantial light or glare which would adversely affect day or nighttime views in the area?
Noise - Generation of a substantial temporary or permanent increase in ambient noise levels in the vicinity of the project in excess of standards established in the local general plan or noise ordinance, or applicable standards of other agencies?
Population and Housing - Induce substantial unplanned population growth?
Public Services - Would the project result in substantial adverse physical impacts associated with the provision of new or physically altered governmental facilities, need for new or physically altered governmental facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental impacts, in order to maintain acceptable service ratios, response times, or other performance objectives for any of the public services: fire protection, police, schools, parks, other public services.
Transportation - Conflict with a program, plan, ordinance, or policy addressing the circulation system, including transit, roadway, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities? Substantially increase hazards due to a geometric design feature (e.g., sharp curves or dangerous intersections) or incompatible uses? Result in inadequate emergency access?
A June 10th deadline was set for comments from the public to be considered for the EIR. There will be opportunities in the future for the public to review the report and provide further input.
The City of Poway will be hosting a public meeting for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for "The Farm in Poway". The meeting will be Thursday, May 23, 2019, 6:30pm to 8:00pm, City of Poway City Council Chambers, 13325 Civic Center Drive, Poway. The purpose of this scoping meeting is to further define the issues, feasible alternatives, and potential mitigation measures that may warrant in-depth analysis in the EIR. Items that the EIR may address are: aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources/tribal resources, energy, geology and soils, greenhouse gas emissions, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology/water quality, land use and planning, noise, population and housing, public services, recreation, transportation/traffic, utilities and services, and wildfire.
A proposed plan for the former StoneRidge Country Club property, "The Farms at StoneRidge," continues to move through the approval process with the City to become a ballot measure in November 2020.
Environmental Impact Report - According to Kevin McNamara, who is leading the proposed development, the City will be retaining a consultant to conduct an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) within a few weeks. A public workshop will be held some time in May.
Adjustments to Plan - Since the plan was shared with the community at an Open House last December, McNamara reports that several changes have been made:
The approximately 3.5-mile trail will now be a single 10' wide trail rather than a dual use trail that would have accomodated horses.
Swim and Tennis facility is being scaled down to a 3,000-5,000 square foot facility with a single pool rather than 25,000 square feet.
Farmscape Gardens has been selected to plan, build, and maintain the community gardens. See farmscapegardens.com for more information about their projects.
Dos Gringos has been identified as the agricultural operator for the development's approximate 30 acres of agrifields which are proposed to be planted with wax flower and protea.
The following is an approximate timeline of the Specific Plan and Prop FF process, provided by the developer, which culminates in a ballot measure in the November 2020 election. The GVCA is awaiting completion of all reports and studies prior to assessing the merit of this project and taking a position.
Learn more about the proposed development of the former StoneRidge Country Club. Local real estate investor, Kevin McNamara, is hosting a public meeting for the community to learn more about the project his company is proposing.
The GVCA has not taken a position on this proposed development and is providing this information to keep you informed.
A real estate investment group, led by local resident and businessman Kevin McNamara, recently has acquired an option to purchase the shuttered StoneRidge Country Club property and has put forth a conceptual land use plan for community input. To better understand the proposed plan and how it would impact and/or benefit local residents and the greater Poway community, the GVCA contacted Mr. McNamara with a series of pointed questions. The following is the verbatim Q&A.*
PLEASE NOTE: The GVCA does not endorse or oppose any proposal at this time. We are providing this information to the community to keep you informed and to encourage your constructive input and comments. Any change in land use from the current OS-R zoning of this property will require a public vote known as Prop FF.
Q & A WITH KEVIN MCNAMARA, AUGUST 2018
As a preface to our comments, I want to stress that this is just our first draft of a plan. We are continuing to try and improve it. For example, the access to houses off of Cloudcroft Ct was an oversight and is currently being adjusted. The homes will be accessed internally from the beer garden area. We are looking for input from the community and encourage you to send us your comments, ideas, or criticisms to YourPoway@gmail.com. I answer all the emails.
Why did you decide to pursue development at SRCC at this time and so soon after the previous ballot measure failed? Stoneridge has become an uninhabitable building, often vandalized, surrounded by a deteriorating vacant lot. The trees are dying and the future condition of the land is hopeless unless something is done. It is a fenced in property with no connectivity to any other open space or natural habitat that will never be a functional property for Poway residents unless we do something. I’d like Poway to determine its own fate. I feel that I have a singular resume to get something of quality accomplished and I enjoy challenges. After the election I felt the opportunity was there if a local person pursued a true vision that is reflective of Poway.
What experience do you have in this type of development? We’ve assembled a team of long time land and entitlement experts; including local Poway architect Roger Basinger. We will also retain an agricultural expert as part of the team as we are looking at this project as an “Agrihood”. I was Planning Board Chair in Penasquitos for a number of years in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and we were responsible for negotiating a large number of development agreements in the City and County. These included the 12,000 acre Future Urbanizing Area, 4S Ranch, SR 56, and the Black Mountain Open Space Park. I learned quite a bit and feel that we were quite effective and represented the community well. I started in real estate in 1974 so I’ve been around for a while.
Why do you think the community would support rezoning the property to something other than the current Open Space-Recreational (OS-R)? Poway voters are smart. If the property was to retain the OS-R designation under the current ownership, it would sit fallow and no enhancements or beautification could be anticipated onsite. Under our proposal a Specific Plan would, very unambiguously, land plan the property with a variety of wonderful amenities for use by all Poway residents. If a high quality project with community appropriate density and product type with public amenities and permanent open space goes through the entire planning process, which has never been done prior to a Prop FF vote, why wouldn’t there be strong support? If the project is approved, Poway residents will once again have full use of the property.
How many and what types of housing units will be proposed? We are planning approximately 162 homes to help serve empty nesters, young families, and residents that want to be part of an agrihood development. We are also proposing an approximate 100 ft. buffer between existing homes and any new development. Our concept is unique and will be a wonderful addition to Poway We are still in the early stages but we are looking at farm-style single family detached and twin homes to help stay in character with the surrounding community.
What commercial and/or public uses will be proposed? The proposed project is full of amenities for all Poway residents. There will be thoughtfully designed community gathering spots. The proposed design includes several ponds, pocket parks, community gardens, all connected through a series of trails. A proposed four acre Swim and Racquet Club as well as a beer, wine, and coffee garden. We are working on including potential vineyards, hops, and/or flower growing operations. As well as a traditional country barn built as a community center and a new clubhouse to highlight Poway character. In addition to all of this we are proposing a Butterfly Vivarium which brings a unique quiet beauty to the project. All of this will be processed under a Specific Plan which will prevent deviations from whatever City Council approves - that includes preventing any increase to density or intensity of use.
Will a golf course, tennis courts, pool and/or clubhouse be part of the proposed plan? If not, why not? We are planning a new Swim & Racquet Club with a clubhouse which would be available with a membership or fee to the public. We are looking at 5 new lighted tennis courts, 4 new paddle tennis courts, and 2 swimming pools with one being a 25 yard 4 lane pool lap pool and the other a family pool. There will not be a golf course. The CUP that Stoneridge operated under was automatically terminated six months after the gates were closed. Golf is not financeable or profitable anymore. We’ve talked with four different golf consultants and the unanimous opinion is that there is no chance for success.
How would the proposed development be similar to the "Agritopia" development in Gilbert, AZ? We are planning several community gardens, private gardens, a huge picnic area, as well as some professional agriculture cultivation. It will be a great place for empty nesters or young families to live. Agritopia is a great project. It is a model of how an agrihood can work. We are trying to enhance that model with additional amenities available to all Poway Residents.
How will Poway residents benefit from rezoning the property to the proposed development? There will be absolute certainty on what will happen. The property will be enhanced and not left fallow. The City Council will, hopefully, work with us to approve the project and then the voters will have their say. There will be no empty promises. The project will be set in stone per Council Approvals and the associated Specific Plan, so voters will know exactly what they are voting to approve. The proposed amenities in addition to, the neighborhood Beer, Wine, Coffee Garden and available memberships to the Swim & Tennis Club will include several ponds, a 4+ acre butterfly farm, a potential greenhouse area for the garden clubs, a possible 1.5 acre permanent home for the Poway 4H, open space and agricultural areas that will be dedicated as permanent open space, hiking and biking, horse trails, the barn as a community center and all of this available to the public.
How will you gather and incorporate input on the development concept? We have had a few neighborhood meetings so far. We’ve postponed quite a few more until we get the housing defined so we have at least a more refined project to discuss. We’ll try and have as many neighborhood meetings throughout the city as possible. Anybody who wants to meet with us can just email us at YourPoway@gmail.com and we’ll schedule something. After we submit our plans to the city then the city will host a number of public workshops. This campaign will be as grass roots as it gets.
Regardless of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) results, how would you mitigate impact on schools, water/sewer usage, traffic, noise, etc.? I can’t answer this yet. We will study the impacts and any mitigation that is appropriate through the design of the project.
What would property owner Michael Schlesinger's involvement be in the development? Mr. Schlesinger does not have any involvement in this project, publicly or behind the scenes. I’ve never met him, talked to him, or sent or received an email from him. The option was negotiated for me by a broker. Mr. Schlesinger will only regain control of the property if the Poway residents vote no on this project.
Will a specific plan be presented to the City of Poway for approval prior to the measure going to a rezoning vote? Yes. The entire process will be public.
Will you collect signatures to qualify for a ballot measure or directly seek council approval? We plan on the City Council, if they approve the project, putting this on the ballot. If we decide to get signatures they will only be a sign of support not collected by paid gatherers. My partners and I may come knocking at your door to keep communication open and rally support.
If the measure is approved, what assurances will the public have that more development will not be requested in the future? The project will be processed under a specific plan which is the mechanism used to prevent any increase in density or intensity. This means that the project the City Council approves, will be the project that the City residents vote on, and will not be subject to any change through a future Prop FF vote.
When do you expect this to go to the ballot for a public vote? November 2020.
Will affordable housing be part of the project? No
The owner of StoneRidge has contracted with a tree company to dig up, remove and sell trees located on the former golf course. The GVCA has discussed the situation with City representatives and have been told that the owner is permitted to remove trees without a permit as long as they are not listed as a City of Poway "Heritage Tree" or native trees such as Canyon Live Oak, Coast Live Oak, Englemann Oak, and California Sycamore. The City is monitoring the situation and if any trees require a permit the City's approval will be required. We also have been told by council members that there is no movement at this time to revise the municipal code on trees in direct response to current activity at this specific property.
FROM THE CITY MANAGER
The City has received several inquiries regarding the planned removal of trees at Stoneridge Country Club, as well as requests for the City to take action to address the removal. The Poway Municipal Code Chapter 12.32 addresses tree removal on private property. Since Stoneridge Country Club is private property, the owner is permitted to remove trees without a permit so long as they are not native trees or heritage trees. Essentially, native trees are oaks and sycamores. To the City’s knowledge, the trees in question are eucalyptus and pine. City staff has made the property owner and the nursery aware of the restrictions around native trees.
If the trees were located in a public right-of-way, then a tree removal permit would be required. Again, it is the City’s understanding that the trees in question are not in the public right-of-way.
The property is zoned OS-R (not commercial) and the property is vacant, without an active operation of any kind. Therefore, a tree removal permit is not required under section 12.32.150.
Following the November 2017 election, the property owner terminated water service to the property. Therefore, the trees are not being watered and the City cannot compel the property owner to irrigate the property.