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What can be done to retain the rural life style in North County?

April 01, 1990

Mary Shepardson, 44, is a free - lance writer who has lived in Poway since 1949. She writes about business, real estate, computers and horses. Shepardson served on the Poway City Council from 1980-86 and is the former editor of Ranch and Coast magazine. Shepardson is president of the Poway Valley Writers' Assn.

I think in trying to preserve what we have, it helps to be realistic about what can be achieved. In designing a trail system, one can't say, "I rode a horse here once so this should be a trail," or, "I hiked here once, so I should be allowed to get to the top of the mountain this way because it's more convenient."

There's a lot better chance of establishing a trail system if one tries to be realistic about it. I think Escondido is trying to be realistic about it now. There are certain areas that are not do-able; there are limitations on available resources and there are limitations on the ability to get rights of way, which means that people who want trails have to rely on developments that they probably don't want in order to get the trails that they need.

I think a key thing, and this is something that has happened in Poway certainly, is for people to organize into neighborhood groups. So the people in an area that have a concern get together. They may get a little more listened to than one person who wants to go down there and scream. It's important that they organize. It's important that they have good arguments when they talk about something, and it's important that they be rational about it.

Lloyd Von Haden, 76, a former Vista City Council member, is best known for his efforts to stop growth in Vista. He ran for mayor in 1986 and lost to fellow Councilman Mike Flick. A Vista resident since 1945, Von Haden is now retired from City Hall but still keeps active and voices his opinions frequently on community issues.

About the best thing would be to emphasize lack of water. We're just going to run out of affordable water in a very short time, and other materials, too, for that matter. There's a limit to the amount of people that the area can sustain.

Another big factor to change things would be to take the possibility of speculation out of sale of land.

I really don't think that land should be sold. I think we should be stewards of the land, take care of it, pay rent like Henry George advocated 100 years ago. If we can't make use of it, let somebody else do it. But there's a limit to the amount of land, and the value goes up as more people come in. That increased value should go to the community rather than to the speculator that hasn't done anything to improve the value of the land.

You can have slow-growth measures, but there's so much money to be made in development that they can outspend you and outmaneuver you, and it's pretty difficult to get any kind of controlling measure legally that can be very effective.

Phyllis Hassinger, 52, was a member of the growth management oversight committee for the general plan of Escondido from August 1987 to October 1988. A resident of Escondido, Hassinger serves on the county Flood Control Commission and has been a 4-H group leader for many years.

Outlaw sewers. Just put everybody on septic tanks and that will take care of it. That's what's done it right in our area.

Have a general plan that works and stick with it.

The best thing to keep an area rural is not to have sewer. And that's basically it. That was the same fight in Valley Center.

It takes an acre for the leach line. So you can't pile up 6,000-foot lots or 10,000-foot lots. You just have to have room for your leach lines to work. And that's the whole fight in Valley Center. That was exactly what they saw.

Hopefully, the new general plan in Escondido has enough teeth in it that it will mean something. The old general plan didn't mean anything. I'm real excited about Escondido. I think that's certainly a step in the right direction.

I know in '81 a guy bought nine acres . . . and applied for annexation of the city of Escondido and at the same time wanted to change it from low, low density residential to general commercial. So that's been the game.

It's always been one-acre zoning in the county. And every time somebody builds a house on one acre we say thank God, that's one less acre that they can put condominiums on or something. That's basically been what it's been. If these outfits had to live in the community they built, maybe it would be a different story.

Susan Carter, 41, works for the San Diego Assn. of Governments as the project coordinator for San Dieguito River Park. Originally from Florida, Carter has been a resident of San Diego for seven years and is a member of the Board of Citizens Coordinate for Century III, a group that promotes improved urban planning.

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