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Meadowood Meant To Fulfill County's Vision

By: JIMMY AYALA - commentary

North County Times, June 5, 2007 - For the past three years, Pardee Homes has worked to create a new master-planned community in North County that helps the region meet its housing needs, and assists the county of San Diego in achieving its vision for future development in the unincorporated areas as expressed in the General Plan 2020 document.

The proposed new community is called Meadowood, and it consists of 867 single- and multifamily homes on 390 acres of land. Nearly 50 percent of the property would remain as permanent open space. The parcel is in Fallbrook, east of Interstate 15 and north of state Route 76, also known as Pala Road.

For those unfamiliar with GP 2020, this is a major effort launched in 1998 to update the county's general plan, a blueprint for development of the unincorporated areas. Why is this update needed? According to the San Diego Association of Governments, a countywide planning agency, our county's population is expected to grow from its current 2.8 million to 3.6 million by 2020. Population in the unincorporated areas is projected to grow from 443,000 to 627,000.

Since we submitted the first draft of our plan for Meadowood to the county in 2004, we have met with and received input from county planners, community groups and the Fallbrook Community Planning Group. Based on those discussions and our own internal deliberations, we have revised the plan, and recently submitted the updated proposal to the county.

The master-planned community of Meadowood will fit with the overall goals of the General Plan 2020 process, which include the creation of a smart-growth framework that puts homes near jobs and transportation corridors. In fact, county planners have called for a transit center at the intersection of I-15 and SR 76.

The county Department of Planning and Land Use, on its General Plan 2020 Web site, states: "The end product (of the GP 2020 process) will be a document that protects the environment, accommodates population growth, and links that growth to the provision of required facilities and services."

We believe Meadowood fulfills all of those objectives.

The community's open space includes some existing citrus and avocado groves, which would be maintained, along with natural open space areas, parks, multiuse trails and an elementary school.

During the design process, there have been a number of substantive changes in the project. For example, the number of homes has been reduced from 1,150 to 867, and the density, or homes per acre, has decreased from 2.95 to 2.3.

Meadowood will help meet the region's need for new housing in an environmentally responsible manner, as Pardee has successfully demonstrated with its developments in San Diego County, and other communities in California and Southern Nevada.

As we move forward in the development process, we will continue to work with the county of San Diego, the Fallbrook Community Planning Group, local water agencies, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, the North County Fire Protection District and local school districts to ensure that Meadowood is a positive addition to North County, and provides multiple benefits to the region.

Jimmy Ayala is the director of community development for Pardee Homes, a Los-Angeles-based developer.