ESCONDIDO, Calif. – The future of the defunct Escondido Country Club is now in the hands of the voters. The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to adopt a measure to place it on the November ballot.
“I was looking for very quiet, very green. I thought this would be the perfect community,” said Colleen Stricker, homeowner.
Stricker and her husband moved to Cameo Woods 5 years ago. They bought a home right on the green and thought it would be the perfect place to retire, but that dream has since died.
“It’s very depressing. I have shades up on my back porch, so I don’t have to look at it all the time,” said Stricker.
She’s talking about the green that has now turned to brown. The residents of the community have been engaged in a battle with Beverly Hills developer Michael Schlesinger.
“It’s been allowed to deteriorate in the last two years, the green is obviously gone,” said Stricker.
Stricker said since the developer bought the property, he has not taken care of it. Residents want their green back, but Schlesinger wants to build a community with 430 new homes.
“How on how on earth is someone going to put 430 homes in this expanse?” said Stricker.
A recent study conducted by the City of Escondido found the new development not so favorable. The 36-page report states with 430 more homes, traffic could increase by more than 5,000 daily trips. It also found a new community would use 173, 600 more gallons of water each day compared to a golf course. It would also drive up maintenance and operations costs for the city, eliminating property tax gains. The study also said a new development would diminish the aesthetic appeal of Northwest Escondido, conflicts with existing land use policies and it would lead to costly street and roadway improvements.
Fox 5 reached out Schlesinger and we received a letter that was read at Wednesday night’s council meeting.
Schlesinger called the study a disappointment, stating:
“There are so many omissions, misrepresentations, and biased editorializing that it has been difficult to respond to everything since you made this report public. But this letter is an attempt to address some of the most obvious ones.”
‘It substantiates all that we were afraid of, it gives us hope,” said Stricker. “430 homes is 430 toilets, is 430 washer machines, dishwashers, bathtubs. How on earth would that use less than a golf course?”
Stricker said she and her neighbors will fight to bring back the green and they are not backing down.
“I think we’re heartened enough by this report. We’re not going to give up.”
Schlesinger told Fox 5 he plans to fight the issue out in court.