The Report on the Lakes Initiative, written by Escondido City Staff, was presented to the Council on July 23rd. By that time, the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councilmembers had all received a copy of the developer’s report created by the consulting firm Keyser Marston, who has done work for the City of Escondido in the past. I don’t know why this report was not referenced by anyone but thought it was something we should all take a look at, so here it is: Keyser Marston report (The document also includes the letter sent from Mr. Schlesinger to Mayor Abed et al.)
This document does not get into the history of the dispute nor the history of the Escondido Country Club & Golf Course. It also does not cover the obvious impacts to the existing community if the golf course/open space becomes a residential development. The purpose of this report, as stated in the introduction …was to determine the economic benefit and fiscal impact of the proposed Project. There is also a separate report analyzing the Schools Capacity. I have pulled from both the City’s and the developers reports so folks could see the different perspectives on these issues.
The City’s report states: The project proposed by the SITR Initiative would potentially generate new General Fund revenue from property tax generated by the sales of the 430 new homes, potential increase in assessed valuation of land and improvements on other non-residential property (e.g. community center) should it remain as private property, and potential increased sales tax revenue from the new residents who are likely to shop in Escondido. Assuming an average sales price of $450,000-$500,000 for the 430 homes on the 3,650 – 7,000 SF lots, the annual property tax revenue at buildout is estimated at $251,000 – $279,000. This, as discussed in more detail below, would be offset by maintenance and operations costs for City facilities and services to serve the new residents, including police and fire service, road maintenance, library, parks and open space. The Report does not provide any dollar amounts on most of those costs but does estimate the annual expenses for maintaining an Olympic pool at $210,00 to $500,000 based on numbers from San Marcos and Carlsbad. (pg 33 of Report.)
The Keyser Marston report provides this chart, which is explained thusly: The Project is projected to generate a total economic output of $83 The payroll portion of this total economic output is estimated to comprise approximately $17 million. Based on average wages for construction and professional services, KMA translates this total payroll expense to 310 person‐years of employment. Assuming a two‐year build‐out of the Project, this employment results in an average of 155 full‐time equivalent workers per year. The one‐time impact of sales tax revenues to the City resulting from the purchase of building materials used to develop the Project is estimated to total $104,000. Fees paid for grading permits, plan check fees, and various fees associated with development of the Project are estimated at $18.7 million.
Once the project is completed, the report states: Project is projected to generate annual revenue to the General Fund estimated at about $639,000.Revenues are primarily driven by property taxes, property tax in lieu of vehicle license Fee (VLF), and sales tax which together account for approximately 75% of total General Fund revenues generated by the build out of the Project. Total annual service costs to the General Fund upon build out of the Project are estimated at $587,000 The major expense categories are Police (46% of total, Fire (22% of total) and Community Services (15& of total.) The Project is projected to have a net positive fiscal impact to the City of $52,000.
Each of the reports avoids those economic issues that are most troublesome for their particular viewpoints. The City does not enumerate either the Revenue generated by the building of the project or the ongoing annual revenue generated by these new folks shopping/dining/playing in Escondido. (The latter is something this Council often mentions as one of the long-term benefits of development.) The Schlesinger report does not mention the Community Center/Pool — neither the $1 million donation to the City nor the cost/funding for annual maintenance. Neither of the Reports make note of the Community Benefit of a new community center, pool and tennis courts that will be built by the developer. These are issues we should all want some clarity on.
Impact on Schools
On the number of students this development will generate, the two reports do not come close to the same number. The City’s report says: School districts apply a dwelling unit student generation rate for calculating the number of students anticipated for attendance. Information from San Marcos Unified School District (below) has been utilized for calculating the number of students anticipated to be generated by SITR Initiative (information was not available from Escondido School Districts). However, given the similarities between the communities, the use of a single student generation rate is appropriate for general purposes. While there is insufficient time to conduct a detailed analysis of the impacts on each district from development called for by the SITR Initiative, the following table provides a general assumption of anticipated students based on the development of 430 new homes.
The report from Mr. Schlesigner’s consultant states: It is understood that the Project would be sited in City of Escondido jurisdiction. School district jurisdictions in this area, however, do not appear to strictly follow City boundaries. Based on our review and allocation information provided by Shapouri, it appears that, barring any Project-related adjustment of school district boundaries, students from approximately 373 of the potential 430 residences planned for the Project would attend City of Escondido schools and students from approximately 57 residences would attend City of San Marcos schools.
So the City report comes up with 241 new students and the Developer’s report only 137. On this one, I would have to lean toward the Developer’s number because it was based on all the schools involved whereas the City used only San Marcos school information which has some very different rates from Escondido.
The City’s report does not mention the fees required to be paid by a developer for mitigating the cost of schooling new residents. The Developer’s report notes that …the total amount of current schools fees required for a 430–unit residential development would total approximately 3.5 million dollars. These fees would provide adequate mitigation for those facilities with existing capacity. They go on to say that the $3.5 million fee will increase by the time the project is completed.
I assume this information will have no effect on those who are against any building on the old Country Club/ Golf Course site but it may be helpful to those who want to get as much information as possible before making their decision on how to vote on the Lakes Initiative come November. Stay tuned for more on the subject tomorrow.