On Tuesday evening, June 18, the board of directors of ECCHO, a neighborhood group formed to stop housing development on Escondido Country Club property, reported to over 400 interested residents at Life Community Church. Also in attendance were three of the five Escondido City Council members: Ed Gallo, Mike Morasco, and John Masson.
Board president Jerry Swadley reported that the decline of the Country Club neighborhood is evident. Since April 1, when the golf-course water was turned off, maintenance and security have been virtually non-existent. The greens and fairways are dead. Mature trees lining the fairways are dead and dying from lack of water; where there are wet areas, weeds took over. Graffiti, trash, and overgrown weeds have replaced people, golf carts, and lush greenery.
Swadley met with mayor Sam Abed earlier in the day regarding the country club’s situation. At the end of the meeting, Abed wrote a letter to the area residents.
The letter said, in part, “Dear Residents, the Escondido Country Club neighborhood is a great community in Escondido which needs to be maintained and improved. In light of concerns from residents about appearance and safety issues, I want to update you as to what the City of Escondido is doing to address those issues.
“An interdepartmental team was formed from the city’s planning division, code enforcement, police department and attorney’s office. This team will address serious code violations as well as graffiti and weed abatement. I ask that you convey your concerns to Jerry Swadley, who will then forward them to Barbara Redlitz (City of Escondido) for follow up.
“In addition, we will be placing all Country Club maintenance issue complaints on the city project tracking system to assure they are addressed in a timely manner. In order to directly and efficiently address these concerns I appreciate your patience and cooperation as we work together to insure the Country Club neighborhood remains a safe and vibrant community.”
Swadley stated he also recently met with a representative of Stuck in the Rough, the club’s new owner, which unveiled their development plan to ECCHO legal staff and directors. The plan calls for 450 houses: a row of houses on every fairway, and one fairway with two rows. However, the representative declined to give ECCHO a copy of the plans for review.
Other ECCHO directors reported to the group: treasurer Jack Hall estimated that it would take about $400,000 to accomplish their goals, and they have about 50 percent of that in hand now.
Bob Fawley, manager of a petition drive, said with the 300 volunteers going door-to-door for the past month, the required 6000 signatures have already been acquired and are currently being vetted. Six thousand signatures are required to get at least a motion before the city council and/or get a measure on the ballot in the next citywide election.
Director Kathy Taylor described a fundraising event on July 6 from 8am to 2pm at the Church of Latter-Day Saints parking lot on Borden Road and Woodland Parkway in Escondido. It will be a garage sale/mini street fair.