An Osider once told me about hunting near El Camino Real in Oceanside, and recalled how his home on College Boulevard sat near the 78. It was just a two-lane road in those days, with stop signs where it intersected other streets.

In the time since he was a lad, North County has seen a surge of residents. Now there are tract homes instead of chaparral, and those old cow paths are clogged in the mornings and evenings as people try to get to and from work.

As this year’s ballot takes shape, it looks like residents will have the chance to vote on a few measures that will further shape their suburbs, whether it’s deciding where homes can go, how densely their neighborhoods will grow or how to deal with all the people who need to commute to work.

Two Measures for All

Voice prepared a handy guide to the local ballot this week, which describes two measures that would have major impact on the North County landscape.

One is a request by the San Diego Association of Governments to approve a half-cent sales tax increase that will, in part, pay for transportation improvements along North County roads – coastal and inland – that were approved as part of a regional plan.

Measure A, as it’s known, presents a bit of a conundrum for North County voters, who want to see relief from the traffic but don’t want to see their tax dollars go to projects outside North County.

It’s also problematic for those who want money for local infrastructure, in order to maintain the miles of streets that have been created, but fear highway projects could isolate neighborhoods by building flyovers and removing highway access to accommodate more lanes.

Measure A also would fund local bike, pedestrian and transit projects, including double-tracking the Coaster and Sprinter, which SANDAG says is necessary to enable more frequent trips.

The other countywide measure affecting North County is the Lilac Hills Ranch project, dubbed Measure B, which would add 1,700 homes in a master-planned suburb, to an area of unincorporated county near Valley Center.

Lilac Hills faced a lot of hurdles in the planning process, which ultimately resulted in the developer asking voters – not the County Board of Supervisors – to approve it.

The impact of the development would be felt the most locally by residents between Valley Center and Escondido. By going through the planning process, the developer would have been required to upgrade some local roads and construct a fire station. They also offered to build a school, and while it’s unclear if that will happen, all those requirements are dust in the wind if voters chose to approve the project. (The measure’s supporters would take exception with that characterization.)

Supporters of the plan see it as one project that chips away at the broader housing crunch.

In Local Measures …

It may seem like a fairy tale, but once upon a time, people moved to Cardiff to find affordable housing. This fall, Encinitas residents will also decide a measure that aims to provide exactly that.

Measure T asks voters to approve an update to the city’s housing element, known as At Home Encinitas, which adds several areas of higher-density housing – an indicator of affordability in the state’s eyes – to the city.

In order to update their housing element – and bring the city into compliance with state law – the change needs to be approved by voters under a rule that was passed by Encinitas voters in 2013, which gave them direct say over any change to the city’s zoning or land use regulations.

Every local government in the state is required to demonstrate how it will accommodate a certain amount of population growth at all income levels. Encinitas needed to show it was able to allow for the construction of 1,200 low-income homes in its land use plans in 2013, but it missed that deadline.

That got the city sued, a few times, but now the City Council has approved a plan, and is sending it to the voters, who have criticized it for being an attempt to force higher-density development on the sleepy suburb.

The plan would create a new land use designation that applies only to 13 separate parcels, and gives property owners the option to develop up to 30 units per acre, at three stories.

A “yes” vote would bring the city into compliance and allow housing aimed for low-income residents to be built, but a “no” vote would prevent such housing and could expose the city to more lawsuits, and cause the city to lose local control over building permits.

Also in the News

• ITT Tech, which has a location in Vista, is shutting down schools across the country, after the Department of Education found it wasn’t meeting accreditation requirements. (CBS8)

• Del Mar residents are angry over the $500 fine for crossing the train tracks illegally, which makes their oceanfront homes much farther from the beach, if they have to go a half-mile to the nearest crossing. (10 News)

 Palomar Mountain is a thrilling ride for bikers and cyclists, even on a packed Labor Day weekend. (Union-Tribune)

 Poinsettia station in Carlsbad will get a train undercrossing. (Union-Tribune)

• One Carlsbad city councilman has far surpassed his opponents in fundraising this election. (Union-Tribune)

 Oceanside is fighting a tattoo parlor that wants to open just off of Coast Highway in South O, over fears that it would bring in the riffraff. (Union-Tribune)

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.