Peñasquitos Residents Worry Newly Approved Junipers Project
Would Add Fire Risk
Alexander Nguyen, June 21, 2021
recently approved The Junipers project in Rancho Peñasquitos
is part of the city's plan to solve the housing crisis.
however, say the project would add traffic congestion to a
fire safety and evacuation plans in place are not enough to
serve the community today, Rancho Peñasquitos Town
Council president Kate Glenn said. "And adding these additional
homes plus apartments that would impact existing routes is incomplete.
It's just an incomplete option for future growth."
Junipers, which was unanimously approved by the San Diego
City Council on June 15, will add 536-units, 81 of which would
be low-income housing for people age 55 and up. It will be
built on the defunct DoubleTree Golf Resort, next to two existing
projects, the nearly complete 601-unit Pacific Village and
the 331-unit Millenium PQ.
total, the three projects would add about 3,000 more cars
to the area. Glenn is worried the added congestion would impact
wildfire evacuations making it harder for residents to leave
the past 20 years, Rancho Peñasquitos was evacuated
at least five times because of wildfires.
Junipers' developer, Lennar Homes, said it plans to add three
new emergency access routes that will cut evacuation times
by more than half.
feedback and concerns were integrated into the communitys
design," Lennar San Diego Division president Ryan Green
said. The project has undergone rigorous and thorough
environmental review and won unanimous approval from both
the Planning Commission and the City Council.
of those proposed routes is between Andorra Way and Corte
Raposo. It was added as a last-minute requirement. Right now
it is about 18 feet across and the plan calls for it to be
extended to about 24 feet. Still, residents like Ronald Askeland
said its not enough to deal with the fire danger.
is with the Peñasquitos Northeast Action Group, a vocal
opponent of the project. He said the area's infrastructure
has not kept up with developments.
what you're seeing right here is 40-year-old infrastructure,"
he said, referring to the access route at Andorra Way. "One
way in, one way out, not a whole lot different than Paradise
as far as an evacuation scenario.
group wants road improvements and a second exit to Interstate
15 for a speedy evacuation.
Councilmember Marni von Wilpert, whose district includes Rancho
Peñasquitos, said her concerns were allayed when the
city's deputy fire chiefs said the improvements proposed by
Lennar will improve fire evacuation access.
she lobbied for an emergency evacuation route at Andorra Way.
von Wilpert's family home was almost lost to wildfire so safety
was her top concern.
made sure to make an amendment at the City Council hearing
to require the access or the ingress and egress from Andorra
Way, which is going to be a fire evacuation improvement,"
von Wilpert said. "I required that to be completed first
to the satisfaction of our city engineer before anyone can
move into the project."
and his group said they are not against development. They
just want it done the right way.
got to be in favor of affordable housing. San Diego needs
it," he said. "We're not against it. We just want
safety. I mean, if we had a second permanent exit, then I
don't think there would be this concern."
Northeast Action Group's attorney Everett DeLano submitted
a 65-page letter to the city in April saying the Environmental
Impact Report did not take into account the other two projects
currently under construction.
actually sent a letter to the city council asking them, I
think it was four or five specific things to require,"
he said. "Unfortunately, the city didn't require any
of those. So I'm sure the clients are frustrated at this point."
group is looking at other options, including litigations,
to get their concerns addressed.