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Residents speak out against County's plan for Green Oak Ranch in Vista

Posted at 11:17 PM, May 28, 2024

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — Green Oak Ranch is a 142-acre property in Vista that's been around for decades.

It's home to an affordable housing RV park, a men's drug and alcohol recovery program, and home to camps for kids since the 1950s.

Some people in the city are worried about the ranch's future after the county announced its plans to try to purchase the land for a long-term housing and treatment solution to address homelessness, mental health, and addiction problems county-wide.

"This land should belong to Vista; it's in Vista. Vista needs to purchase the land, so that's why I just started spreading the word," said Tim Troncone, a firefighter and Vista resident.

On Tuesday, ten speakers showed up at Vista's city council meeting to voice their opposition to the county's plans, concerned about public safety.

"We don't have enough infrastructure; we don't have enough sheriffs right now that can even handle what is already going on in our town," said Deanna Faraone.

The item was discussed during the city's closed session portion of the meeting, but at the start of the public meeting, staff was directed to obtain an appraisal of the property. The crowd applauded the move.

The mayor told ABC 10News that his number one priority is to protect the ability of Vista residents to have a strong voice in the future of Green Oak Ranch.

The community says they'd like Vista to buy the land and use it for things like sports fields or a training site for firefighters.

County Supervisor Jim Desmond, who's behind the project, sent ABC 10News the following statement about the plans:

“If the County acquires the property, this will be a very long-term project that will be built out in phases. After building out the property, the County could host an estimated 200 people in a variety of treatment and residential programs. My vision for North County has been focused on treatment and healing, not shelters, parking lots or any Housing First proposals. I envision Green Oak Ranch as a sanctuary for recovery, with 24/7 staff, services, and security, providing longer-term care rather than a revolving door of temporary solutions. The facility will offer a supportive environment for individuals seeking to transform their lives, providing essential services not readily available to those in need.”
-Supervisor Jim Desmond

A spokesperson for Desmond's office also explained that it's the deceased property owner's wish, and the intent of the current owners, that the property continues as a rehabilitation site.