On April 6, the Escondido City Council approved a general plan amendment to change the land-use designation of the Escondido Swap Meet and the Reidy Creek flood-control channel.
According to officials, the purpose of the amendment is to establish a commercial area for future development. Until the project site is redeveloped, the swap meet will continue to operate as it has since 1971, when it was established on the site of the Escondido Drive-In. The drive-in ceased operations in the 1980s. The swap meet supports more than 150 vendors.
At Wednesday’s meeting, most of the councilmembers thought the plan would benefit the city in terms of providing high-paying jobs. Councilmember Olga Diaz, however, opposed the plan: “I’d like to support this change,” she said, “and I’d like to remove the flexibility to cover the creek because I think it doesn’t help the future council at all to create that as an option now; and then whenever there is a project, I can very easily see that it would be just too tempting to cover the creek because it’s cheaper and not everybody cares what the creek looks like.”
Mayor Sam Abed tried to persuade her to support the amendment: “We’re not making a decision now to cover the creek,” he said. “I think when the project comes to us, it could be something very creative to fit the vision we have for the creek.”
Diaz was the only councilmember to vote “no” on the amendment.