The Golden Door, the iconic resort and spa in North County, has flexed its legal muscle and billionaire budget to squash the perceived existential threat of a nearby proposed 1,900-acre residential development off Deer Springs Road in the unincorporated area near San Marcos. It is clear that the joyful noise of children riding on school buses and playing in parks does not blend well with the peaceful yoga poses of the uber elite.

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Fifty years ago, when the Golden Door opened, Deer Springs Road was a scenic backcountry by-way of North San Diego County, peaceful and idyllic in every way. So idyllic, in fact, that almost 400,000 residents have since migrated to the area.

Over the years, the lucky ones were able to buy acreage and build custom homes, while most families waited for developers to build their dream homes in subdivisions. Now, we all strive to live, work and play harmoniously in the same neighborhoods, sharing our precious open space. Like the rest of us, the patrons of the Golden Door may have to learn some tolerance in their quest for nirvana.

As our beautiful region continues to grow, we need socially responsible developers inviting local participation in project planning and design, while providing much-needed infrastructure such as utilities, roads, schools, services and convenient shopping. We need traffic impact fees to pay for local and regional transportation improvements, and park and school fees to fund new facilities.

New development also contributes toward open space and regional conservation goals. For example, Newland Sierra offers more than 60 percent open space on site and other recreational amenities that most families could not individually afford, were it not for the economies of scale created by the development. Planned communities also incorporate community facility districts, which prevent local taxpayers from being burdened by new development. Growth is inevitable, smart growth as described above, is a choice we should all make.

A high-quality development in North County should not be held hostage by the legal wrangling of a wealthy, disgruntled neighbor. With the thoughtful design and implementation of a master-planned community such as Newland Sierra, there will be enough peace and tranquility to go around for everyone.

Joanne Rodriguez is a 24-year resident of North County, a real estate broker and mitigation land specialist. Rodriguez’s commentary has been edited for style and clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here.


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