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Plan to sell Alliant University land to home builder has neighbors concerned

Local groups worry about traffic, wildfire safety
Alliant University Pic.png
Posted at 7:50 AM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-09 10:50:55-04

SCRIPPS RANCH, Calif. (KGTV) - A proposal to sell Alliant International University's land in Scripps Ranch has neighbors worried.

Thursday, the San Diego Planning Commission will hear a proposal to re-zone 72 acres of land at the University to be used for low-to-medium residential. That would allow up to 700 homes to be built on the site. To re-zone, the Scripps Ranch Community Plan will need to be amended. The vote Thursday will be to begin the amendment process.

People who live nearby say adding hundreds of homes would be a nightmare for traffic and a disaster for wildfire evacuations.

"We're not opposed to development, but not for development's sake," says Kristin Rayder, the President of the Scripps Ranch Fire Safety Council. "It has to be safe."

Rayder and the Council voted to tell the Planning Commission not to approve change to the Community Plan. So did the Scripps Ranch Planning Group.

They say Pomerado Road can't handle the extra traffic, neither can the Avenue of the Americas, which leads to the University and is shared by Thurgood Marshall Middle School.

"If you come out here in the morning on a school day, you see what the chaos is on this narrow little road here and why it would be unacceptable to have another thousand cars a day on this small road that goes right in front of the school with no sidewalks," says Wally Wulfeck, the Planning Group Chair.

They're also worried about what could happen if a wildfire ever threatens the area.

People who live nearby, like Wulfeck and Rayder, still have vivid memories of the 2003 Cedar Fire and the 2007 Witch Creek Fire. In both fires, the areas around Pomerado Road had to be evacuated.

"We were leaving our home and looking to the right, I saw a wall of fire," says Rayder. "That was Pomerado Road. I'll never forget that look."

"My house was one of the last to burn," says Wulfeck. "I watched it on TV."

In an email to 10News, the Alliant University Foundation, which owns the land, says the school will be moving to a new campus in the coming years, and they're still in the early stages of the plan to sell the land.

"The university is still leasing a portion of the property and buildings and will likely be a tenant for a few more years under the current agreements. The foundation which owns the property placed it on the market in January of 2018 and entered into an agreement with an interested party in the fall of last year. The proposed use of the land is planned by the buyer in such cases."

10News has learned that KB Home is the "interested party" mentioned in the email. When asked about the neighbors' concerns, they sent a statement reading, "KG Home can't comment on land we don't control or own."