Public input needed by July 31 to preserve Lakeside trails

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Okay, where to start. There is a lot of information and little space, running short of time, but there is another calamity of different ideas in what should be done with the property designated as Lakeside Downs or Parcel S302 when looking at proposed zoning changes from the County. The proposed change will re-designate seven parcels from semi-rural residential/village residential to open space.

Okay, where to start. There is a lot of information and little space, running short of time, but there is another calamity of different ideas in what should be done with the property designated as Lakeside Downs or Parcel S302 when looking at proposed zoning changes from the County. The proposed change will re-designate seven parcels from semi-rural residential/village residential to open space. All sounds fine and dandy at first look, but what is not being said to the public in a proper manner is that this designation will close or cut off three trails that are utilized by our backcountry community. 

And it comes as no surprise as this land now belongs to the Endangered Habitats Conservancy League (EHC), and another closure to the public, and the man behind it is EHC San Diego Director Michael Beck and sits on the San Diego County Planning Commission. The man that said you have to destroy to protect the environment when it comes to his upmost support of the El Monte Sand Mining Project in collaboration with El Monte Nature Preserve LLC.

Lakeside Downs is located west of State Route 67 in the Lakeside area just outside of Santee’s conservation boundaries, three miles from MCAS Miramar and bordering Oak Creek Drive and Eucalyptus Hills Drive in Lakeside. This land is home to several endangered plant and wildlife, and initially purchased to limit or restrict military training, testing and operations in the area. Again, it sounds all fine and dandy. But there is a glitch that needs to be addressed. With current plans, unless public input is in by July 31, this will cut off access to three trails that are part of the Lakeside Community Trials and Pathways Plan.

This is discerning for many in the community that utilize these trails. Also, Lakeside Downs, now owned by EHL was purchased for $8 million, with SANDAG contributing $4 million and the U.S. Department of Defense’s contribution of $4 million for these 410 acres. The EHC worked together with all the partners to put together the acquisition of the land and now is the sole owner.

If the EHC had a better local record of really preserving land, this would not be so alarming. But it is a continuous closing of trails that are destroying the Lakeside Community Trials and Pathway Plan is just not right, especially with the amount of money and time the county and the community have done in making these areas open to public trails. If this is approved, it will completely close off three vital trails in the area. Trail L22 that begins at the Lakeside Sports Park and connects to Trial L21, which will be totally inaccessible and Trail L21A, another trail completely blocked off. These are vital trails as they connect to a plethora of other trails that are fully designated for public and equestrian use. This is not acceptable.

Action has to be made immediately by contacting Joshua Menvielle with the County of San Diego Planning & Development Services and speaking up on keeping these trails open to the public. And here are a few reasons why.

Lakeside Downs is listed as a Fire Hazard Severity Zone and to date there has been no maintenance on the property. With no public monitoring, this is a recipe for a fire disaster. EHC and the county needs to respect and honor the approved Lakeside Trails and Pathway Map.

It is beneficial to the habitat and the community that this parcel of land be consistently monitored, and for the majority, those that utilize these trails respect the habitat and would be the first ones to report anything that might produce a hazard to the immediate area and surrounding communities.

Allowing the Mounted Monitors for the Lakeside River Park and other equestrians and hikers to utilize these trails would be a great benefit in safeguarding this property. But if they are closed off, as said before it is a recipe for disaster.

Make your voices heard and e-mail Joshua Menvielle at Joshua.Menvielle@sdcounty.ca.gov or write to him at Planning & Development Services, 5510 Overland Ave, Suite 310, San Diego, CA 92123, or call 1-858-495-5451.

Here are some links to learn more about this.

www.sandag.org/index.asp?newsid=883&fuseaction=news.detail

www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/pds/CTMP/trails-and-pathways-plan/LakesideCommunityTrailsandPathwaysPlan.pdf

www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/pds/CTMP/maps/Lakeside.pdf

Make your voice be heard now before it is too late.

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