Signature drive underway to delay Newland Sierra development in North San Diego County

Posted at 3:26 PM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 21:11:23-04

A new battle is heating up over a massive housing development just approved for the North County. 

The Newland Sierra Master Plan Community promises more than 2,000 homes - some priced for middle-income earners. The homes, starting in the high 300,000s, would be north of Deer Springs Road and west of I-15 in Escondido.

The County Board of Supervisors approved the project last week, but there's now a push to delay the project and force a public vote in 2020.

“It fires me up,” said Alan Jones, who supports the project and lives near the site.

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Jones, 69, hoped to be retired by now - but cost of living is too high.

“They're not building enough homes, there's a severe housing shortage,” Jones said. “The prices of homes are just going to continue to go up.”

Signature gatherers need about 68,000 registered voters to sign on by Oct. 26. Jones engaged with one of them outside this sprouts in Escondido. Karen Okey, on the other hand, signed the petition because she can't fathom the traffic.

“Now they're going to build another 2,000 homes on I-15, and I can't imagine how anybody is going to get anywhere,” she said.

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On Wednesday, developer Newland Communities held a news conference imploring the public not to sign - saying the signature drive was really a tactic by the exclusive Golden Door Spa to keep the area quiet. The Spa is located on Deer Springs Road, across the street from the site.

“They want to stop regular San Diegans from possibly achieving the American dream from buying a home at Newland Sierra,” said Rita brandin, a senior vice president at Newland Communities. 

But Clifton Williams, a spokesman for the spa, says Golden Door has real concerns.

“We need to grow smart in San Diego,” he said. “We need to put housing where the infrastructure is. Where the transit is."

Meanwhile, Newland Sierra says it is deploying so-called truth teams to counter the claims made by the signature gatherers.

The signature gatherers could be placed outside big box and grocery stores across the county.

As it stands, Newland Sierra hopes to break ground in two years, with homes going up for sale in 2022. They would be priced from the high $300,000s to the $900,000s.