San Marcos is leading by example on transit-oriented development in North County, transit advocates and developers say.

The city has approved two developments that will bring 786 new apartment units to the area near the Sprinter station at Palomar College, VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan reports. That station already has the fourth-highest ridership numbers among the 15 Sprinter stations, and city officials are hoping a new circulation plan will make it easier for pedestrians and people on bicycles to get to the train.

The Sprinter station at Cal State San Marcos is set to see more growth, too. The North City development between the university campus and the transit station will eventually create a new urban neighborhood of up to 1,500 new homes. The Cal State San Marcos station has already seen ridership growth of 58.5 percent over the past couple years.

San Diego Snoozes on Veteran Housing Funds

Oceanside was the only San Diego County community to get a slice of California’s new $75 million grant fund to support new housing for veterans. Mission Cove Apartments won a grant of just under $1 million to help build 288 apartments for low-income veterans, seniors and teenagers aging out of foster care.

Meanwhile, eight projects in Los Angeles County nabbed a total of $25 million in state grants. VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan explores the factors that are working in L.A.’s favor and holding San Diego back.

Styrofoam Ban Could Hurt

People who eat take-out in their cars could suffer leg burns from inferior to-go containers if the city of Encinitas bans Styrofoam. At least that’s what the owner of a teriyaki restaurant told the City Council after he voluntarily switched from Styrofoam to paper products. His restaurant’s regulars threatened to take their business elsewhere if they didn’t get their Styrofoam back. The Surfrider Foundation, which is pushing for the Styrofoam ban, argues better alternatives exist, but they’ll cost more. (Union-Tribune)

Carlsbad Plan May Go to Public Vote

Supporters of a voter referendum on the Caruso shopping mall plan in Carlsbad turned in 9,000 signatures, apparently well above the 6,500 needed to trigger a public vote. The County Registrar of Voters has about three weeks left to verify the signatures. If enough of the signatures are valid, Carlsbad will be forced to put the issue on the ballot. (KPBS)

Union-Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins argues that Caruso’s strategy to circumvent the normal review process may have bothered Carlsbad residents more than the project itself.

• In other Carlsbad planning news, the City Council last week adopted a new General Plan after eight years of study and deliberations. Connecting Cannon Road between Carlsbad and Vista is no longer a priority. (Union-Tribune)

This Week in Academic Excellence

• The highest-performing school in Vista is one where more than 60 percent of students come from low-income families and more than 40 percent of students are English-language learners. Test scores at the Casita Center for Technology, Science and Math — a public magnet elementary school — far exceeded state and county averages. In English and language arts, 66.31 percent of students met or exceeded state standards, compared with 48.65 percent across the county. In math, 55 percent met or exceeded state standards, compared with just 42.39 percent across the county. (Union-Tribune)

• It’s probably a surprise to no one that test scores were even higher among elementary students in Del Mar and Carmel Valley, where far fewer students live in poverty or speak a language other than English at home. In Del Mar Union School District, 90 percent of fifth-graders met or exceeded state English standards and 67 percent of fifth-graders met or exceeded state math standards. (Del Mar Times)

• The White House has recognized a North County organization that works to foster academic achievement among Latino boys. Encuentros Leadership encourages Latino boys in middle and high schools to graduate and explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. (Union-Tribune)

From the Purple Pipes Department

• The city of Oceanside is expanding its reclaimed water system to irrigate a golf course and some soccer fields in town. The expansion of the system will allow the city to save enough potable water to supply 507 homes. (Coast News)

• The cities of Solana Beach and Del Mar are also working together to extend existing reclaimed water supply lines. (Del Mar Times)

Also in the News

• A year after spending $10 million to acquire a defunct elementary school campus with ocean views, Encinitas Council members now have a better idea of what they’ll do with it: lease it to the Encinitas Arts, Culture and Ecology Alliance, a group of citizens who want to use the property for artist studios, art classrooms, gallery spaces and a native garden. How the group will pay for the improvements it wants is unclear. (Encinitas Advocate)

• The city of Del Mar will take its tourism marketing money out of the hands of hotel owners and give it instead to the Del Mar Village Association. For the past five years, hotel guests in Del Mar have been paying a 1 percent tourism marketing fee to fund the Tourism Business Improvement District. The city will now eliminate that fee and raise the tourism occupancy tax by 1 percent. (The Coast News)

• Health care workers from Tri-City Medical Center last week protested high executive pay and a purported plan to outsource 460 jobs. A senior Tri-City executive said there is no plan to outsource jobs. (Seaside Courier)

• Demand seems to be weakening for North County homes priced at $1 million or more, with one real estate agent reporting that some sellers are beginning to lower their asking prices. Homes priced less than $1 million, however, continue to sell for the original asking price. (San Diego Reader)

• An environmental preservation group has acquired a 3.5-acre coastal parcel in Oceanside that was once slated for a hotel/condominium/restaurant development. (San Diego Reader)

Water rates will go up 7.5 percent in Oceanside under a new proposal. Oceanside sewer rates will also rise by 3 percent. (Union-Tribune)

• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun processing a new permit application for the controversial Gregory Canyon landfill near the Pala Indian reservation. (Union-Tribune)

• Vista’s library branch celebrated 100 years of history last weekend. The Vista branch is the busiest in the county’s library system, checking out more than 1 million items to patrons in each of the last two years. (Union-Tribune)

• The city of Vista spent $100,000 to install artificial turf at the Moonlight Amphitheater. With 8,700 fewer square feet of grass to irrigate, the city expects to save 196,000 gallons of water a year. (Coast News)

Jeremy Ogul

Jeremy Ogul is a freelance writer and editor in San Diego. Drop him a line at jsogul@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter...

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