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County Slows Growth in Vista-San Marcos Area

October 15, 1987|ANTHONY PERRY | Times Staff Writer

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday moved to slow development in the unincorporated area between Vista and San Marcos and along the increasingly congested California 78 corridor.

The board voted, 5-0, to impose a temporary moratorium on allowing developers to request rezoning to higher density for several hundred acres of county-controlled land between the two cities.

The moratorium will stay in effect until the county Planning Department completes its update of the North County Metropolitan Subregional Plan for review by the supervisors, probably in mid-1989.

Also, the board ordered the chief administrative officer to freeze development on county-controlled land along California 78 until a new zoning map for the area becomes effective in mid-January.

Avoiding a Land Rush

The new zoning map includes several instances of reducing the amount of density permitted, and county officials want to avoid a land rush by developers seeking to take advantage of the less restrictive zoning now in effect.

Officials in Vista and San Marcos had endorsed the rezoning moratorium for the area between their cities but find the county's concern for California 78 a case of too little too late.

The cities have declined an invitation to join in a building limitation along the corridor, which is the main traffic artery between Interstates 5 and 15.

"Quite frankly, the county is closing the barn door (along 78) after the horse is already out," San Marcos City Manager Richard Gittings said. "They issued every permit possible along the corridor, now they want us to limit building in our portion of the corridor."

Similar comments came from Vista City Manager Morris Vance. He said developments south of California 78 are being used to pay for street improvements to take the burden off 78, by routing traffic to Interstate 5 via Palomar Airport Road.

Densely Packed Projects

"We share the county's concern about Highway 78, but some of the things we've been doing in that area to take traffic off 78 would be precluded if we followed their suggestion," Vance said.

Two densely packed apartment projects have been built along California 78 between Vista and San Marcos in the unincorporated area in the last two years. Another is set for construction soon, increasing traffic problems and the sense of development squeezing the highway.

Plans call for a 17-mile section of California 78 from Escondido to Oceanside to be widened from four to six lanes. The road was designed to handle 65,000 cars a day efficiently and safely, but now accommodates 80,000. The number is expected to jump to 112,000 by 2005.

Gittings said the amount of building approved by the county along California 78 has been "nothing less than phenomenal."

After several years of booming growth, particularly in North County, the supervisors have become growth-conscious. A political backlash caused by growth in the San Dieguito area led in 1986 to incorporation movements in Solana Beach and Encinitas and led to the ouster of two-term North County Supervisor Paul Eckert.

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