San Diego planners OK 536-unit senior community on shuttered Rancho Peñasquitos golf course | #seniorliving | #elderly | #seniors
San Diego planners gave initial approval Thursday to a 536-housing unit senior community in Rancho Peñasquitos.
Developer Lennar’s project, called The Junipers, was unanimously approved by the San Diego Planning Commission. It will now go to the City Council for final approval, likely sometime in June.
The community will be restricted to individuals 55 and older. It will include a mix of townhouses and single-family homes, with 81 apartments set aside for low-income households. It will also include a 2.87-acre public park and a 2.82-acre loop trail near the intersection of Carmel Mountain Road and Peñasquitos Drive.
The 112-acre Junipers project will be placed on a section of a shuttered golf course. Planners have discussed the project before, but Thursday’s meeting was to consider the completion of an environmental review of the project — which found no significant impact.
All seven planning commissioners were bullish on the plan, despite some community opposition. Their comments expressed a need for more housing and relief that Lennar’s project had a balance of different needs.
“We have a crying need for housing,” said Commissioner Douglas Austin, “we no longer have a crying need for golf courses.”
The plan had already been approved by the Rancho Peñasquitos Community Planning Board in March but some callers into the virtual meeting said they wanted to keep the open space provided by the DoubleTree Golf Resort, which closed in 2015.
Joe Pierzina, who lives directly adjacent to the proposed development, said he and many of his neighbors enjoy the open space and wanted the project scaled back or not built at all.
“My neighbors and I have grown accustomed to, and developed our properties, in relation to the golf course,” he said.
Still, commissioners said more housing was needed for the region and some lamented it was not denser.
Plans call for 133 single-family homes, 136 duplexes and 186 sixplexes. Almost all housing is set to be for-sale housing, but 81 one- and two-bedroom apartments will be subsidized housing for low-income seniors. Lennar did not give an estimate of the cost for the for-sale housing.
Planning for The Junipers took about five years and involved community outreach. Ryan Green, a division president at Lennar, said they kept hearing about concerns of residents living near the proposed project that it could overwhelm local schools. So, he said Lennar decided to avoid the controversy by making it a community for those 55 and older.
Alan Nevin, director of economic and market research at Xpera Group, called into the meeting to support the project because, as a Rancho Peñasquitos resident, he said it fit well into the community.
“Shuttered golf courses are a meaningful opportunity for infill development,” Nevin said. He cited recent legislation introduced in the State Legislature, called Assembly Bill 672, that addresses this. The legislation, introduced by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, would rezone many municipal golf courses throughout the state for residential purposes.
The Southern California Golf Association strongly opposes the legislation and says it threatens the future of the sport. “AB 672 is the most damaging piece of legislation (for) golf to be filed in a generation,” it wrote.
Rancho Peñasquitos has become a focal point for the city’s housing needs with several large projects being improved in recent years, including the 600-home Pacific Village.