What is Safari Highlands Ranch?

Safari Highlands Ranch will create new luxury housing opportunities in Escondido, fulfilling the vision set forth in the City’s General Plan and providing significant economic benefits to the local community, including new jobs and tax revenues for local governments. The project will include amenities such as a private swim and tennis club, pocket parks and viewpoints, public hiking trails and biking trails, access to award-winning schools, and improvements to the nearby Eagle Crest golf course. A village core located at the heart of the community will provide a gathering place for residents to enjoy community events, concerts, movie nights and more, while an expansive recreational center will include a conference room, retail space for a small grocery store and coffee shop, fitness center, pool and splash pad, luxury poolside cabanas, Jacuzzi, basketball court, tot lot and other features.

Where is the proposed project located?

Safari Highlands Ranch is located on 1,098 acres in the hills of San Pasqual Valley, just north of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The proposed project will preserve 700 acres as permanent open space for future generations. This open space includes the most visible and biologically sensitive portions of the property to achieve the highest standards for environmental conservation, and homes will be clustered to preserve the existing aesthetics.

How will the project ensure surrounding open space is permanently protected?

Approximately 70 percent of the property will be preserved as permanent conservation easement open space, as well as habitat open space maintained through the Safari Highlands Ranch Homeowners Association (HOA). The HOA will be responsible for hiring a conservancy to manage and maintain the conservation open space, and to lightly thin fuel around the community for added fire safety.

How will the project help improve public safety?

Safari Highlands Ranch will enhance public safety and fire protection services by improving response times and emergency access for the project site, and for surrounding neighborhoods and schools. Public safety improvements include a new fully equipped, 7,000-square-foot fire station constructed at no cost to the City of Escondido. Property taxes and fees generated by the new homes will provide the majority of funding needed to support ongoing operations at the fire station, which has the full support of the City of Escondido Fire Department. This new facility will provide emergency services to the San Pasqual Valley within minutes, helping to save lives when seconds count and reducing homeowners’ insurance premiums for nearby residents by up to 50 percent. Additionally, 100-200 foot fuel modification zones surrounding the perimeter of the developed areas, combined with new design standards and state of the art fire resistant building materials will allow Safari Highlands Ranch to serve safely as an effective fire break to the neighborhoods to the west that may not incorporate these fire safe standards.

What benefits will the project provide local schools?

Safari Highlands Ranch will provide nearly $3 million in development school fees dedicated to the San Pasqual Union School District and additional funding for capital improvements. While specific enhancements will be determined at the discretion of the school board, they could include traffic and parking improvements on the campus. The project will provide these benefits while providing new students to help maintain current enrollment at San Pasqual Union School and allowing for inter-district transfers to ensure continued diversity.

Will Safari Highlands Ranch increase congestion on local roads?

No, the project proposes to maintain the current level of service on nearby roads and will provide approximately $4 million in fees for additional improvements outside the project area. In addition to these fees, specific enhancements will include a new traffic signal at Rockwood and Cloverdale roads, restriping to add a second westbound lane on Rockwood Road turning south at the intersection, and a median along Rockwood Road from Cloverdale Road ending before San Pasqual Union Elementary School (no parking would be eliminated). A new signal and turn lanes will be installed at State Route 78 and Summit Road, and the intersection at State Route 78 and Cloverdale Road will be reworked to ease the flow of traffic into the Valley. Safari Highlands Ranch has also proposed to design and fund new drop-off and pick-up improvements including additional parking on campus at San Pasqual Union Elementary School to reduce congestion and increase safety during these critical periods of time.

Who will pay for these traffic improvements and public safety features?

All traffic, infrastructure and public safety improvements will be completely funded by the developer, at no cost to taxpayers.

What Public recreational opportunities will Safari Highlands Ranch create?

In addition to preserving up to 70 percent of the project site as permanent open space and providing recreational amenities for residents, the project will create approximately nine miles of public trails, with parking located at the entry trail head in the village core. Trails will also connect down to Rockwood Road for easy access from neighboring communities as well. Safari Highlands Ranch will also include significant improvements to the Eagle Crest golf course, providing additional financial stimulus to the facility.

How will the project improve the nearby Eagle Crest golf course?

In addition to preserving up to 70 percent of the project site as permanent open space and providing recreational amenities for residents, the project will create approximately nine miles of public trails, with parking located at the entry trail head in the village core. Safari Highlands Ranch will also include significant improvements to the Eagle Crest golf course, providing additional financial stimulus to the facility.

When will Safari Highlands Ranch be complete?

The project is currently undergoing a comprehensive environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Following the completion of this analysis, the Escondido City Council will vote on the proposal. While the project timeline depends on a number of factors, a final decision on the project is expected in 2018, with construction beginning in 2021. Full build-out of the project will take approximately five to six more years.

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