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The North County Transit District owns a lot of land near its stations in the region, and like any public agency, the district could use some extra income. So they’ve got an idea: Lease that excess land to developers and allow them to build apartments and condos there.

VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan reports the transit agency is already reviewing developers’ proposals for land near the Solana Beach train station. The Oceanside and Escondido rail stations are also at the top of the agency’s list.

The current plan is to build market-rate housing, but others are pressuring the North County agency to put more focus on affordable housing. They point to Los Angeles as an example of how the transit agency could offer special discounts to encourage developers to build housing low-income riders can actually afford.

See You in Court

• Back in 2008, the city of Vista struck a deal with a developer to build a four-story, mixed-use project with 80 condominiums on a vacant lot in the city’s downtown area. After six years with no visible progress, the City Council killed the deal. G8 Development is now suing the city. Both sides are keeping quiet, but the Union-Tribune reports that G8 has blamed the city’s onerous parking requirements for its inability to complete the project.

• In Oceanside, another long-awaited project is the subject of a legal dispute, and this time Cory Briggs is involved. (Yes, that Cory Briggs.) The project in question is a luxury beachfront hotel that has been in the works for 11 years. Briggs, on behalf of San Diegans for Open Government, claims the city approved an $11.6 million subsidy to the hotel developer without proper public notice. In response, Oceanside’s lawyers have described SDOG as a “carpetbagger” and questions whether any of the group’s members live in the city. (Coast News)

In a column last December, Seaside Courier columnist Thomas K. Arnold wrote that multiple Oceanside officials believe Briggs’ suit is part of a union ploy to win concessions from the hotel developer.

• The city of Carlsbad is facing a lawsuit that claims its police officers brutalized an unarmed woman in front of her young children in 2013. The plaintiff, who is represented by high-powered L.A. attorney Mark Geragos, claims the police made up false reports to cover up their misdeeds. Carlsbad Police Chief Neil Gallucci told the Union-Tribune a cell-phone video of the incident does not tell the full story.

Batteries Sold Separately

Last week, VOSD’s Andy Keatts broke the news that the developers of Lilac Hills Ranch, a suburban community proposed in rural North County, plan to offer robots to walk residents’ kids to school and robots to carry their groceries home and robots to carry people when their feet get tired.

The Union-Tribune followed up a couple days later with an intriguing photo gallery of the robots in action, plus this killer quote from former County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price: “Did they use a robot to deliver this huge load of bull manure?”

Also in the News

• Three North County water districts missed their conservation targets for August. Carlsbad was supposed to cut consumption by 28 percent but only got to 25.7 percent. San Dieguito Water District in Encinitas was also supposed to cut back by 28 percent but only got to 21.6 percent. Fallbrook fell further behind, falling nearly 10 percentage points short of its 36 percent reduction target. (Seaside Courier)

• Homebuilders in Ramona say the county is “double-dipping” by requiring them to pay park development fees on homes that were destroyed in the Witch Creek fire eight years ago. (Ramona Sentinel)

• Until recently, Valley Center was served by just one ambulance with a paramedic on board. The fire district has now added paramedics and EMTs to each of its three fire rigs in addition to the ambulance. The fire chief says the new arrangement should cut response times and save lives.  (Union-Tribune)

• NBC San Diego talked to two North County residents who went to Sacramento to advocate for California’s new “aid-in-dying” bill, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a few days ago.

• Despite running for nearly two miles, jumping in the ocean and swimming another two miles, a suspected car thief from Encinitas ultimately surrendered to police. The suspect apparently lost his pants somewhere along the way. (Union-Tribune)

• Paleontologists at the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park are analyzing the ancient fossils recently excavated from a 60-acre construction site in Carlsbad. Visitors can watch the scientists at work on the museum’s third floor, the Union-Tribune reports.

• Just one month into the school year, Del Mar Union School District canceled the agreement with its new lunch contractor. Parents complained that the new lunches were not up to par, and the contractor wanted to charge $5.50 for an entrée, a snack, a beverage and a fruit or vegetable. (Del Mar Times)

• The developer of the San Elijo Hills community in San Marcos announced it may finally have reached a deal to build retail space on a vacant five-acre lot in the middle of the neighborhood. (Union-Tribune)

• Oceanside officials are having a tough time convincing mobile-home park residents that a recently approved development nearby won’t slow down emergency responders. (Union-Tribune)

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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