In the past few weeks the County has released the draft environmental impact report (DEIR) for the proposed Harmony Grove Village South project. (See project map.) DEIR comments are due to the County on June 13, 2017. This 111-acre property, formerly known as the Tesla property, is located due south of the current under-construction Harmony Grove Village project and Escondido Creek, and borders two TECC-owned properties and the Del Dios Highlands County Park. The site is important habitat for several iconic species, including Bobcats, California Gnatcatchers, Ceanothus Verrucosus (the beautiful white bush that blooms in the spring), Western Red Diamond Rattlesnakes, Mule Deer, Coyotes, and Bald Eagles, just to name a few.
TECC and the Harmony Grove Elfin Forest Town Council are sending comment letters. Please take the time to write your own comment letter to the County Planners and point out the inappropriateness of siting a project like this in a location that does such damage to so much important habitat. You can view the DEIR and find information on where to send your comments at http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/pds/Current_Projects/hgvs.html.
In the early 2000s the communities of Harmony Grove and Elfin Forest negotiated with County Planners, the result of which is now known as Harmony Grove Village. As presented to the community, Harmony Grove Village was designed so that the Elfin Forest/Harmony Grove community took its fair share of growth while preserving as much of its rural nature as possible. The layout of the project was envisioned to contain urban and suburban densities in the middle of the project, feathering out to semi and rural densities on the outer borders of the project. In effect, Harmony Grove Village was to be the urban limit line between the more densely developed communities towards Escondido and the more semi-rural unincorporated areas of Harmony Grove and Elfin Forest. Harmony Grove Village is sited on two former egg ranch properties and a former dairy. In short, the site was heavily impacted with very little quality habitat. This plan was adopted by the community and County and codified in the General Plan Update in the Harmony Grove Community Plan (http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/pds/docs/CP/ELFIN_FOR_HARM_GROVE_CP.pdf). Construction of Harmony Grove Village is now underway and we welcome these new residents to this beautiful area and look forward to seeing them on the trails.
Sadly, there are still large rural properties nearby that developers have been lobbying the County to approve for major urban-style development. These increases are well beyond anything the General Plan, Community Plan, or TECC, ever envisioned, and “amend” the General Plan to accommodate these high density, high traffic projects. This most recent project, Harmony Grove Village South, calls for 453 dwelling units, in multi-story apartment buildings and townhomes, well outside the urban limit line created by the Harmony Grove Village. And unlike Harmony Grove Village, Harmony Grove Village South is proposed to be built on highly functioning habitat that will not only forever destroy that habitat, but will permanently degrade the habitat of the adjacent preserved open spaces owned and managed by TECC, County Park & Recreation, and the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve.
TECC, The Elfin Forest/Harmony Grove Town Council, and several local residents, are investing tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to hold the County to its original commitments it made in the General Plan process. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to contribute to protecting this beautiful property.