Endangered Habitats Action Alert

2015 Alert #4



Defend the San Diego County General Plan

from Lilac Hills Ranch



In 2011, the County of San Diego adopted an historic General Plan update that accommodated all projected growth within a “smart growth” framework of villages, towns, and greenbelts of farmland and habitat.  But the ink was hardly dry when “amendments” to the plan were proposed to dismantle this framework with sprawl development in the countryside.  Some proposals, including the Lilac Hills Ranch in Valley Center, were specifically rejected in the 2011 Update.

Lilac Hills is the first up of several amendments, and stopping it is critical to saving the Update as a whole. Instead of building out the planned villages within Valley Center, life would drain out of them. A veneer of “walkability” hides what is actually highly auto-dependent sprawl. A development the size of the City of Del Mar would add long distance commuters and their greenhouse gas emissions to the existing road network. There is no realistic transit. The average vehicle trip distance would be much greater than that of the County as a whole. Lilac Ranch would move the needle in the wrong direction.

What’s more, a General Plan policy that places strict limitations on “leapfrog” development would be turned on its head. Absent environmental review or public debate, the project would substitute a self-proclaimed “flexible” rating system for “green” development that was developed by the trade association of the building industry. This system has no locational standard whatsoever, opening up the entire backcountry to sprawl development.

Approval of Lilac Hills Ranch would signal the abandonment of the General Plan. Your input to the Planning Commission is vital.

More information is at:






Action Requested

Please write to the Planning Commission as soon as possible, and before the hearing date of August 7, 2015. You may use the sample letter below and add your own personal thoughts and concerns. Email the letter to Lisa.Fitzpatrick@sdcounty.ca.gov the Commission Secretary.

Please also attend the hearing and speak in opposition to the project, making the same points. The hearing starts at 9 AM and the location is:

County Operations Center (COC)
Conference Center Hearing Room
5520 Overland Ave.
San Diego, CA 92123





August 1, 2015

Bryan Woods, Chair
San Diego County Planning Commission
5520 Overland Ave.
San Diego, CA 92123

RE:  Lilac Hills Ranch (Item 2, August 7, 2015) – OPPOSITION

Dear Chairman Woods and Commission Members:

Please deny this amendment of the General Plan, which would dismantle the “smart growth” framework of towns and greenbelts adopted in 2011. Lilac Hills is not needed to accommodate population growth. Instead of building out Valley Center’s existing villages, it would drain life from them.

A thin veneer of “walkability” hides what is actually highly auto-dependent sprawl. Without accessible transit, residents of what amounts to a new city the size of Del Mar would commute long distances, defeating the goal of improving the County’s greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, Lilac Hills would substitute a point system – developed by the trade association of the building industry – for the current restrictions in Land Use Policy 1.2. Because this system has no locational test for new development whatsoever, the entire backcounty would be opened to sprawl.

Please maintain the integrity of the General Plan by denying Lilac Hills Ranch, a proposal that was rejected in the historic 2011 General Plan Update.




Thank you for taking action and please pass along

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