Archives: Current Issues 2004

VALLEY ALERT! - Boudreau Property Purchase  (Update 06/23/04)

06/23/04 UPDATE: At its April 16 meeting, the San Dieguito River Valley Joint Powers Authority approved the purchase of approximately 75 acres of the Boudreau property located west of El Camino Real and south of the river. The property is within the 100-year floodplain and directly adjacent to the 440-acre San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration project. It is connected upstream with publicly owned land. The parcels have high habitat restoration potential. Restoration of this property will enhance Southern California Edison restored property. Currently the parcels are used as tomato fields.

Source of funding:
The appraised value of the property, devoid of development rights, is $ 4,253,000. The Trust for Public Land has negotiated the agreement to purchase the property from the Boudreau Trust and will sell it to the San Dieguito River Park for the same price in a back-to-back escrow. Funding for this acquisition will come from 3 sources : $1.5 million from the State Coastal Conservancy Wetland Recovery Program; $1.29 million from Wildlife Conservancy Board Proposition 50 funds; and $1.463 million from Proposition 12 funds.

Historical significance:
Acquiring this property is a major achievement for the Park. Readers familiar with local history may remember that between 1769 and 1823 Spanish Franciscan Missionaries established a string of 20 missions from San Diego to Sonoma. The road they followed was El Camino Real and while to the south El Camino Real has been realigned, at the river crossing, the location of crossing is the same. At San Dieguito, the horse-drawn carriages of the early settlers needed to stay more than two miles inland to avoid the large lagoonal marshes. The Coastal Conservancy estimates that historically the entire San Dieguito Lagoon covered 1,000 acres. With this acquisition the San Dieguito River Park JPA has been able to assemble within the park 500 acres of the land of the ancient lagoon. After the wetlands are restored, the modern traveller on El Camino Real will be able to enjoy, unimpeded, the westerly sights seen by early inhabitants of our shores.

When the nation's major national parks were created at the end of the 19th century, open space was still readily available. It is quite extraordinary that in the 21st century, in an area as urbanized as the California coast, public agencies have been able to complete the acquisition of such a significant piece of land.

Jacqueline Winterer

04/30/04 UPDATE: On April 16 the River Park’s Joint Powers Authority (JPA) approved the purchase of Boudreau property in the Valley and authorized the Executive Director to complete the transaction. The Friends have been advocating against proposed development on the 75 acres (see 01/22/04 story below), and we are thrilled by this news.

The parcel is within the 100-year floodplain along the southern edge of the River, adjacent to the San Dieguito Lagoon Wetland Restoration Project and in the middle of the River Park’s view shed from El Camino Real as it drops into the River Valley from the south.

An agreement to purchase the property was negotiated by the Trust for Public Land (TPL). The purchase price will be $4,253,000, the fair market value approved by the California Department of General Services. Funding for the acquisition comes from three sources: the State Coastal Conservancy Wetland Recovery Program, the Wildlife Conservation Board Proposition 50 funds and Proposition 12 funds allocated to the JPA by the Wildlife Conservation Board.

Also, the River Park Conservancy will fund a habitat restoration plan for the 75-acres consistent with the Park Master Plan for the Coastal area. “Restoration of the property will enhance the wetland restoration project and continue a linear connection of habitat from the lagoon eastward”, according to the JPA staff report. Funding for the restoration plan was made possible in part by a $10,000 donation from the Friends.

01/22/04 Development Proposed in River Valley:
Developers are proposing to make significant changes to the BOUDREAU TRUST PROPERTY, a 75-acre parcel earmarked as natural open space within the San Dieguito River Valley Park. The property, on the north side of El Camino Real at San Dieguito Road, is also immediately adjacent to the San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration Project., and should be part of the Park.

A hearing to get community input on the proposed Rancho Valley Farms 22-unit housing and five recreational fields with related parking was held on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21 at the Carmel Valley Library, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Four members of the Friends: Ann Gardner, Candice Bowman, Jacqueline Winterer and Mary Farrell attended this meeting to present the Friends' position and identify areas that should be in the scope of the EIR being prepared for this property. We object to the taking of any open space from the River Valley Park, and to any more development in the flood plain. Due to the precious and dwindling coastal lagoon resources we feel such a conversion would have a disastrous impact on the coastal landscape of the River Park and Restoration Project.

The total housing project proposal covers 140 acres split between 70 acres to the south of El Camino Real and San Dieguito Road and 70 acres on the other side of El Camino Real, in the visual landscape of the River Valley. Forty of the 70 acres to the northwest are zoned OF or floodway where no building is allowed. The remaining 30 are zoned AR 1-1 which allows 1 dwelling per ten acres. All 70 acres are earmarked as open space in the North County Future Urbanizing Area (NCFUA) Framework Plan.

Evidently the project may be submitted as a "planned residential development" which allows increased density as long as the units are clustered together and the remaining land remains in natural open space.

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