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The birds win one in Oceanside

Audubon Society buys 3.5 acres once intended for development

Eight years ago the site was approved for a hotel, condo, and restaurant project.
Eight years ago the site was approved for a hotel, condo, and restaurant project.

The Buena Vista Audubon Society announced this week that they have reached their fundraising goal of $1.5 million to purchase a 3.5-acre parcel on the west side of Coast Highway, on the border of Oceanside and Carlsbad.

The large sign next to the southbound lane advised that the plot could be a saved and how to contribute to the society’s campaign. A cardboard sign was placed across the sign just a few days ago, which read, “We did it!”

Eight years ago, the site, which overlooks the protected front basin of Buena Vista Lagoon (south of Angelo’s Burgers and across the street from the society’s visitors center), was approved by the City of Oceanside for a massive hotel, condo, and restaurant project. The society appealed to the California Coastal Commission and the project was overturned.

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The developer couldn’t find a partner willing to share in the increased costs of the environmental constraints and eventually passed away. His heirs could no longer maintain the mortgage and the property reverted back to the lender.

“Two and half years ago we approached the lender about selling to us,” Buena Vista Audubon Society president Andy Mauro told the Reader. “He was very supportive and agreed to sell to us for the same price he paid for it.” The society got a good deal, considering the recent rise in real estate prices and the owner having to pay taxes all these years.

Mauro said 230 individual donors contributed to the fundraising campaign. Another three nonprofits contributed $50,000 each. The board of the California Wildlife Conservation Fund, a state agency that provides funds to protect endangered lands, recently gave a grant for the rest — $1.35 million.

The constraints of the large grant is to keep the land pristine in its natural state, so Maura says his group will not be adding any trails, educational, or interpretive signage to the property. The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife will enforce trespassing and no-fishing regulations.

The Buena Vista Lagoon stretches from the beachfront’s mouth, north of Carlsbad’s Army/Navy Academy, and south of Oceanside’s private St. Malo enclave, eastward past I-5 to Marion Street at Hwy. 78. In rainy seasons, water coming off the hills, as far east as San Marcos, drains into the Buena Vista Creek, which parallels the south side of Hwy. 78.

Mauro said escrow to formally transfer the property into the care of the local Audubon Society would be opened in the next few weeks. Years ago, the Buena Vista Lagoon was California’s first watershed to receive the designation of an “ecological reserve,” thanks to the efforts of the society.

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Eight years ago the site was approved for a hotel, condo, and restaurant project.
Eight years ago the site was approved for a hotel, condo, and restaurant project.

The Buena Vista Audubon Society announced this week that they have reached their fundraising goal of $1.5 million to purchase a 3.5-acre parcel on the west side of Coast Highway, on the border of Oceanside and Carlsbad.

The large sign next to the southbound lane advised that the plot could be a saved and how to contribute to the society’s campaign. A cardboard sign was placed across the sign just a few days ago, which read, “We did it!”

Eight years ago, the site, which overlooks the protected front basin of Buena Vista Lagoon (south of Angelo’s Burgers and across the street from the society’s visitors center), was approved by the City of Oceanside for a massive hotel, condo, and restaurant project. The society appealed to the California Coastal Commission and the project was overturned.

Sponsored
Sponsored

The developer couldn’t find a partner willing to share in the increased costs of the environmental constraints and eventually passed away. His heirs could no longer maintain the mortgage and the property reverted back to the lender.

“Two and half years ago we approached the lender about selling to us,” Buena Vista Audubon Society president Andy Mauro told the Reader. “He was very supportive and agreed to sell to us for the same price he paid for it.” The society got a good deal, considering the recent rise in real estate prices and the owner having to pay taxes all these years.

Mauro said 230 individual donors contributed to the fundraising campaign. Another three nonprofits contributed $50,000 each. The board of the California Wildlife Conservation Fund, a state agency that provides funds to protect endangered lands, recently gave a grant for the rest — $1.35 million.

The constraints of the large grant is to keep the land pristine in its natural state, so Maura says his group will not be adding any trails, educational, or interpretive signage to the property. The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife will enforce trespassing and no-fishing regulations.

The Buena Vista Lagoon stretches from the beachfront’s mouth, north of Carlsbad’s Army/Navy Academy, and south of Oceanside’s private St. Malo enclave, eastward past I-5 to Marion Street at Hwy. 78. In rainy seasons, water coming off the hills, as far east as San Marcos, drains into the Buena Vista Creek, which parallels the south side of Hwy. 78.

Mauro said escrow to formally transfer the property into the care of the local Audubon Society would be opened in the next few weeks. Years ago, the Buena Vista Lagoon was California’s first watershed to receive the designation of an “ecological reserve,” thanks to the efforts of the society.

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