The developers behind a high-profile North County project are blowing off the Board of Supervisors and instead asking voters to approve the project. That’s not all their proposed measure would do, though.

Accretive Investments, which plans to build 1,700 homes on agricultural land in Valley Center, is gathering signatures to put its proposal on the November ballot, bypassing hurdles the project has faced for years.

And unlike Measure A in Carlsbad, which was voted on by Carlsbad voters, Lilac Hills would be decided by voters across the county.

Maya Srikrishnan dove into what that means for the surrounding community, which would miss out on many benefits the project could otherwise be forced to provide to get the approval of the county’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

Beyond avoiding the community benefits, the initiative is also crafted to protect the developer from lawsuits over greenhouse gas emissions, and its deviance from the county’s general plan, which prohibits building far from existing jobs, homes and infrastructure.

A Detour for the Rail Trail

The future of the Coastal Rail Trail in Encinitas took a turn this week, when Deputy Mayor Catherine Blakespeare pulled her support for the current iteration of the path, which will eventually connect Oceanside to San Diego.

Coast News’ Aaron Burgin has the story about Blakespeare’s backpedaling from a design that stirred up controversy in Cardiff, at the southern end of the city.

At issue was the installation of a fence separating the bike path from the railroad tracks, which would have prevented residents from accessing the beach. To make up for lost beach access, the City Council planned a quiet zone for a nearby rail crossing at Montgomery Avenue.

Then in February, the city learned that the crossing might not qualify for quiet-zone designation, which would allow the trains to pass without sounding their horns. The alternative then would be to build an underpass for $7 million, according to Blakespear.

That was triggering a domino effect on the city’s budget, which was the last straw, she said in her newsletter.

Tri-City Boss Out

Just when Tri-City Medical Center seemed to be getting down to the business of serving the people of Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista, the hospital’s board of directors abruptly appointed a new CEO on March 17, leaving everyone wondering what happened to former CEO Tim Moran.

Moran, who was named “Most Admired CEO” by the San Diego Business Journal last month, took over the role in 2014 after a tumultuous period at the hospital under the previous CEO.

The change now comes amid ongoing negotiations with the SEIU United Heathcare Workers West union, whose contract expired last March. The union is upset about language that would allow the hospital to outsource hundreds of jobs, while the hospital administration makes what the union says are inflated salaries.

The back-and-forth between the union and the hospital’s administration culminated in a future ballot measure to cap executive compensation at $250,000, which would slash the CEO’s salary in half.

Tri-City isn’t saying whether that played into the appointment of a new chief, citing the usual “personnel matter” reasons. Board chair James Dagostino did say that the board exercised the “termination at will” clause of Moran’s contract ‒ meaning they’re firing him for no specific reason.

The board appointed Chief Financial Officer Steve Dietlin to replace Moran at the meeting last week.

Also in the News

Carlsbad is eyeing improvements to the Tamarack Beach access. (Union-Tribune)

A judge should decide whether to make a restraining order against a trustee of the Escondido Union School District permanent on Friday. (Union-Tribune)

The Coastal Commission has cleared the way for Oceanside to begin its pilot study to add bike lanes to Coast Highway. (Seaside Courier)

The Army Corps of Engineers is looking for a permanent way to keep sand on the beaches in Oceanside. (The Coast News)

A developer is trying to trim down the parking requirements on a 600-plus home, and 64-unit affordable housing project off SR-78 near College Boulevard in Carlsbad. (Union-Tribune)

Vista extended the time campaigns signs are allowed to be posted, up to 35 days before an election, from the current 30. (The Coast News)

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.