Deadline for comments on The Farm at Poway EIR is Monday

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:

  1. Noise and lights resulting from the pool, tennis, club and parking lots

  2. Sight lines of existing homes compromised by new structures

  3. Traffic impact on Martincoit Road through to Stone Canyon

  4. Agricultural management impact (dust, fertilizer, chemicals, etc) resulting from the agri-fields

  5. Unwanted activity (noise, litter, criminal, etc) that may result from public access of the proposed trails

  6. 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
email: ddevries@poway.org

Keeping an Eye on StoneRidge

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:

Weed/Fire Abatement

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.

Photo credit: Arlo Nugent video

Photo credit: Arlo Nugent video

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.

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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.

Landscape Maintenance Districts (LMDs): The city-wide issue that won’t go away

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What is an LMD?

Landscape Maintenance Districts (LMDs) were created many years ago by developers as a way for property owners to pay for enhanced landscaping and improvements beyond those generally provided by the city. Each district is responsible for maintaining all irrigation and sprinkler systems, turf, trees, shrubs, and bushes in medians and public rights-of way. Monies collected from LMD assessments are set aside for the exclusive benefit of each district and can only be used for maintenance and improvement of that specific district. Many homeowners in north Poway are assessed on their property taxes under LMD 86-1. (To determine if your property is part of an LMD, check your property tax statement.)

What’s the problem?

No adjustments to these LMD assessments have been made since 1994. Since then, the cost of water, landscaping, tree removal, etc. has steadily and significantly risen. The City says the districts are facing critical budget shortfalls to adequately maintain these areas.

What happened since the vote failed?

In May 2018, homeowners in two LMDs (83-1 along Twin Peaks Rd. and 86-1 along Espola Rd.), received ballots to approve re-engineered district maps and increased/ new assessments. The proposals were overwhelmingly defeated in both districts. Then-city manager Tina White appointed an ad hoc LMD Advisory Committee comprised of 13 Poway residents from various areas of the community to review LMD 83-1 and 86-1 and provide recommendations. The committee has met more than a dozen times since October 2018. The committee’s recommendations were presented to City Council in March 2019. No decisions were made or actions taken at the time. NOTE: In the current fiscal year (2018-19), the City allocated $100,000 to the two LMDs for emergency tree removal and $165,530 in supplemental water from the general fund over and above its annual general benefit funding to fill the gap left by the LMDs’ insufficient funding.

What does the advisory committee recommend?

In order to return the LMDs to a state that is viable, manageable, and sustainable in the long term, the committee ultimately recommends the need for a successful re-ballot. However, its most pressing recommendation is for the preparation of a Landscape Master Plan (LMP). This coordinated, overarching strategy would:

  • designate a plan for managing the existing trees to reduce long-term maintenance;

  • provide concepts for low-maintenance, drought tolerant ground landscaping, including at the entrances, that can be implemented per an eventual funding plan;

  • create the basis for developing preliminary construction/implementation cost estimates that would inform future decision-making;

  • outline an overall strategy for reducing maintenance expenses;

  • initiate broader community support through public input meetings during preparation of the plan.

How would a Landscape Master Plan be funded?

The City is currently in the budget review process and early indications paint a discouraging picture.However, the committee has cited a number of possible funding options for an LMP (roughly estimated to cost $100,000-150,000), including the “surplus” City- provided LMD funding that the Council rolled over into next fiscal year at the May 7 council meeting, current LMD revenues, and possible loans to the LMDs.

Next steps: JULY 16th meeting

The committee is resolute that without a Landscape Master Plan in place, the City will be unable to move forward to resolve the under-funded and inadequate maintenance of LMD 83-1 and 86-1. The City will hold a public LMD Council Workshop on Tuesday, July 16th, 7:00 pm, at City Council Chambers at 13325 Civic Center Drive in Poway to discuss next steps. GVCA encourages all homeowners in north Poway, regardless of whether you are in a current LMD, to attend the workshop, get more information, and provide input.

May 23 Public Meeting for Preparation of EIR for "The Farm in Poway"

May 2019

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.

“The Farms” at StoneRidge proposed plan moves forward with changes

March 2019

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.

What is the GVCA and why should you care?

The GVCA, also known as the Green Valley Civic Association, was founded in 1960 as a not-for-profit civic organization by neighbors living in Valle Verde and Green Valley. At that time, the area was an unincorporated community in the County of San Diego and the group sought to ensure better representation at the County level on big decisions affecting quality of life in north Poway. Over time, the GVCA became a major voice in how this area of Poway was developed and its leaders were instrumental in Poway incorporating as a city in 1980.

HOW we serve members
For nearly 60 years, we have kept ourmission to be an “association of citizens who come together to protect and improve the quality of life in our community.” Recently, we have been involved in providing the community factual information on ballot measures for:

  • proposed development of homes and condos at the now closed StoneRidge Country Club

  • a 240-room hotel at Maderas Golf Club

  • fee increases for landscape maintenance districts (LMDs) along Espola Road.

To provide accurate and informative reviews of these ballot measures, the GVCA has met and discussed them with city staff, council members, consultants, community members and the owners/ developers. While these recent ballot measures did not gain the public supportneeded to pass, the proponents areevolving their plans and the GVCA will be there to examine and evaluate the future proposals and keep our members informed.

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WHO we are & who else benefits
Our board of directors is comprised of seven volunteer members–all active and long-time members of the Poway community. (See our website for bios www.gvca.info). Excess funds are returned to the Poway community through donations supporting performances pre-sented by Poway OnStage at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, Poway High’s “Grad Nite,” and most recently the Abraxas High School gardens project (see next page), and other local activities, events and groups.

WHEN you should get involved
Now is the perfect time. This letter kicks off our 2019 membership campaign. Your generous membership dollars help financially support our mission, our ongoing communications, and community giving.

We are not a homeowners association and your membership is completely optional. Our hope is that you find the mission and work of the GVCA to be of great value and that you join/renew to be part of an important organization. Newmembers join for FREE the first year.

Together with your voice, your support, your civic action, we can effectively address issues impacting north Poway, and also serve as a positive force for local youth and activities, and more, in the community.

We look forward to serving you as a 2019 member!

Steven Stone
President, GVCA

Cultivating growth at the Abraxas Garden

GVCA is proud to support a unique and worthy program at Abraxas High School: the Abraxas Garden located on the school’s former tennis courts on Pomerado Road.

Developed as a way to incorporate core curriculum in a student-led, hands-on learning environment, the Abraxas Garden won 2 National Gardening Awards in 2018: One for Community Beautification and the other was the Kellogg Civic Achievement Award. The Garden alsowon 1st Place in California for the Community Impact Award.

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Since the Gardens began, over 5,000 lbs. of fresh produce grown at the garden has been donated to families in need in the community. They also have started a Farmers Market to raise money to keep the Garden running. The Farmers Market is open the first Wednesday of every month at Elements Café at the Poway Unified District Office. The market is supported by donations in which visitors ‘pay what you can’ and all proceeds go directly back into the garden for seeds, fish food, and other needs that arise.

Under the leadership of Bob Lutticken, Biology, Aquaponics & Agriculture teacher at Abraxas, students just completed a solar powered vertical herb garden (pictured here) which was made possible through a grant from the GVCA.

The Abraxas Garden is run through classroom curriculum, and over 100 students work in the garden throughout the school year including our Transition Program which includes students with special needs.

According to Lutticken, “This vertical garden runs 24/7/365 off the grid, and re-uses the same water over and over. The Vertical Garden was built with wheels so we can display it on other school campuses in the district, allowing us to teach other students about water conservation and the flexibility of solar power. Students will be building a twin model of this unit this quarter to expose a different group of students to this type of farming technology.“