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How to fill empty space between Chula Vista and Jamul

Adara's 1,266 units on 579 acres

The project lies along scenic Proctor Valley Road, but it will remain the only way in and out.
The project lies along scenic Proctor Valley Road, but it will remain the only way in and out.

As developers see it, Adara is a transitional village, filling empty space between urban Chula Vista and rural Jamul with badly needed housing.

The county board of supervisors approved the project a year ago, but fire safety issues surfaced. Jackson Pendo (the developers) sought to revise it, and last week brought back an amended version. An even better deal for housing that adds 147 more units.

Jamul mountains within project site

Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of the modified project, revamped by extensive work with county, state and federal officials. Adara's 1,266 units will be built on less land – 579 acres – making it easier to defend against fire.

The smaller footprint resulted from a land exchange between the developer and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife which transfers over 300 acres of high-value habitat to the state.

"This project will bring benefits to the surrounding community," said Chula Vistan Becky Cortez, who lives in Rolling Hills Ranch adjacent to the site. It preserves open space, brings more housing, and increases fire safety for the area, she said.

Looking east from Mt. San Miguel towards the Proctor Valley, the Jamul mountains, and the project site

To the north, Jamul residents have a very different view. For one, the revised plan fails to address their objections to sewer, which could have a ripple effect on rural growth.

"The sewer proposed for planning area 19 extends the sewer and a lift station almost one mile for only 13 units," said Dan Neirinckx, chair of the Jamul-Dulzura planning group. "This is just crazy."

Neirinckx recommended eliminating all 13 sites in planning area 19, and using the acreage as additional buffer for the preserve from the existing Echo Valley community of Jamul.

Harris fire, 2007

Then there's the fire evacuation planning for the development. It doesn't include Jamul – which a USA Today Network-California analysis of fire hazards ranked among the most potentially crowded evacuation routes by ZIP code in the United States.

What if Jamul had to evacuate at the same time?

Evacuation of the community relies on one primary route, according to a report produced in March for the San Diego County Fire Authority.

The project lies along scenic Proctor Valley Road, a rustic two-lane road once used to fight the historic Harris Fire – a road the developer will pave, landscape, add bike lanes and traffic circles to – but it will remain the only way in or out. It leads southwest into Chula Vista roughly three miles to intersect with State Route 125, or northeast to Jamul and State Route 94, which has only one lane in each direction.

"If evacuation from Jamul is directed along Proctor Valley Road to the southwest, traffic congestion should be expected," the report says. "This route should not be used by Jamul residents except as an emergency," a last resort for evacuation, "due to the potential for fire to compromise this route at locations north of the project."

The review confirms that simultaneous evacuation by Jamul residents was not analyzed, said Dan Silver, executive director of the Endangered Habitats League.

No community in California has been directed to shelter in place during a wildland fire – a strategy proposed with Adara's fire-hardened homes.

Silver and other critics said the fire danger should have triggered the need for a supplemental environmental impact report when the project was amended.

Instead, the county used a checklist to assess whether the certified final EIR for the project approved last year covers the impacts associated with the current amendment.

According to the county, the checklist found the previously certified report sufficient – no additional environmental review is required.

Neirinckx said that as a resident, he would like to see the county take a closer look at the report prepared for the county fire authority. It needs "serious attention and further review" prior to any action to approve the project.

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The project lies along scenic Proctor Valley Road, but it will remain the only way in and out.
The project lies along scenic Proctor Valley Road, but it will remain the only way in and out.

As developers see it, Adara is a transitional village, filling empty space between urban Chula Vista and rural Jamul with badly needed housing.

The county board of supervisors approved the project a year ago, but fire safety issues surfaced. Jackson Pendo (the developers) sought to revise it, and last week brought back an amended version. An even better deal for housing that adds 147 more units.

Jamul mountains within project site

Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of the modified project, revamped by extensive work with county, state and federal officials. Adara's 1,266 units will be built on less land – 579 acres – making it easier to defend against fire.

The smaller footprint resulted from a land exchange between the developer and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife which transfers over 300 acres of high-value habitat to the state.

"This project will bring benefits to the surrounding community," said Chula Vistan Becky Cortez, who lives in Rolling Hills Ranch adjacent to the site. It preserves open space, brings more housing, and increases fire safety for the area, she said.

Looking east from Mt. San Miguel towards the Proctor Valley, the Jamul mountains, and the project site

To the north, Jamul residents have a very different view. For one, the revised plan fails to address their objections to sewer, which could have a ripple effect on rural growth.

"The sewer proposed for planning area 19 extends the sewer and a lift station almost one mile for only 13 units," said Dan Neirinckx, chair of the Jamul-Dulzura planning group. "This is just crazy."

Neirinckx recommended eliminating all 13 sites in planning area 19, and using the acreage as additional buffer for the preserve from the existing Echo Valley community of Jamul.

Harris fire, 2007

Then there's the fire evacuation planning for the development. It doesn't include Jamul – which a USA Today Network-California analysis of fire hazards ranked among the most potentially crowded evacuation routes by ZIP code in the United States.

What if Jamul had to evacuate at the same time?

Evacuation of the community relies on one primary route, according to a report produced in March for the San Diego County Fire Authority.

The project lies along scenic Proctor Valley Road, a rustic two-lane road once used to fight the historic Harris Fire – a road the developer will pave, landscape, add bike lanes and traffic circles to – but it will remain the only way in or out. It leads southwest into Chula Vista roughly three miles to intersect with State Route 125, or northeast to Jamul and State Route 94, which has only one lane in each direction.

"If evacuation from Jamul is directed along Proctor Valley Road to the southwest, traffic congestion should be expected," the report says. "This route should not be used by Jamul residents except as an emergency," a last resort for evacuation, "due to the potential for fire to compromise this route at locations north of the project."

The review confirms that simultaneous evacuation by Jamul residents was not analyzed, said Dan Silver, executive director of the Endangered Habitats League.

No community in California has been directed to shelter in place during a wildland fire – a strategy proposed with Adara's fire-hardened homes.

Silver and other critics said the fire danger should have triggered the need for a supplemental environmental impact report when the project was amended.

Instead, the county used a checklist to assess whether the certified final EIR for the project approved last year covers the impacts associated with the current amendment.

According to the county, the checklist found the previously certified report sufficient – no additional environmental review is required.

Neirinckx said that as a resident, he would like to see the county take a closer look at the report prepared for the county fire authority. It needs "serious attention and further review" prior to any action to approve the project.

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Comments
5

LEAVE IT EMPTY!

June 10, 2020

Leapfrog development no matter how one frames it.

June 11, 2020

I think you may have started a (new?) political term; will it be active enough to any success on our side as San Diego County residents to preserve 'open space' ?

June 11, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
June 13, 2020
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June 16, 2020

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