By Henri Migala
October 18, 2020 (Spring Valley) – The public has until October 29 to weigh in with comments on the County of San DIego’s plans for revitalizing a stretch of Campo Road that runs through the heart of Casa de Oro.
To gain more input, the County’s Planning and Development Services (PDS) held a virtual community “Guiding Principles” workshop on the Campo Road Revitalization Plan on Thursday, October 15, from 4:00-5:30 p.m. Up to 78 community members participated virtually in the workshop.
Presenting at the event were:
Eric Lardy, Chief, Advanced Planning, County of San Diego
Joshua Menvielle, Project Manager and Planner, County of San Diego
Susan Harden, Urban Planner, Michael Baker International
Dan Wery, Project Manager, Michael Baker International
Aaron Barrall, Assistant Project Manager, Michael Baker International.
County PDS is leading the planning effort and has contracted with Michael Baker International for technical support in the preparation of the Specific Plan, Design Guidelines, and environmental review.
According to the website, “In September 2015, the Casa de Oro Community Alliance (Alliance) was formed by a coalition of residents, business owners, property owners, community planning groups, nearby schools, churches, and other stakeholders with the mission to enrich and beautify the Casa de Oro area. The Alliance prepared a Conceptual Plan that identified issues and outlined a vision for community revitalization.”
This vision resulted in the County Board of Supervisors directing the Planning & Development Services, in September of 2017, to develop option for a plan to revitalize the Casa de Oro area
The Revitalization Strategy Report that was developed as a result, the “deliverables” for Phase I of this 3-part plan, can be found at:
Phase II of the plan began in July 2018, when SANDAG awarded the County of San Diego a Smart Growth Incentive Program (SGIP) grant.
“The Phase II kick-off meeting was held with the Casa de Oro Alliance on September 24, 2019. Under Phase II, the Constraints and Infrastructure Analysis, Market Analysis, Community Visioning Workshop, and Traffic Analysis were completed,” according to the county website.
County representatives then continued to solicit community feedback and input at the Casa de Oro Fall Festival, on November 9, 2019, and also by hosting a Community Visioning Workshop on February 25, 2020. Phase II officially ended on February 28, 2020, with deliverables related to: Infrastructure and Constraints, Financial Feasibility Analysis, Fall Festival Summary, Community Visioning Workshop, and an Existing Conditions Traffic Analysis & Parking Assessment. Details of all these can be found on the County’s PDS website.
Despite the pandemic, Phase III of the project officially began in June 2020. Under Phase III, “the Specific Plan for the Campo Road corridor, Form-Based Code, Design Review Guidelines, and an Implementation Action Plan are all expected to be completed.”
As part of the planning, design and revitalization process, the county is looking at possible land-use changes, but do not, at this time, know what. Currently, the area is a single-zone, conventional commercial corridor throughout the whole area. But, according to county officials, “that doesn’t reflect the different needs (as have been expressed by community members). The ultimate design will reflect the diversity of ideas, desires and opportunities expressed by the community, and the unique character and goals for each area.”
After the official presentation, the participants were allowed to ask questions. One of the comments and recommendations from a caller was to make the area more people and pedestrian friendly by moving more of the parking to behind the businesses. “The goal of this project is to make the area more people/pedestrian friendly. To make it more vibrant by moving shops closer to the road” responded the presenters.
One participant mentioned that he is typically not a supporter of “development” because “development usually means, or comes with, more traffic, more congestion and more pollution. But these ideas and these plans are really exciting.”
Another participant observed that “Deering Banjo is one of the premiere banjo makers in the US. They are very close to Campo road and they should be engaged in the renovation discussions. They have always wanted to bring a music festival to East County.”
El Cajon developed a welcoming open space downtown that is very popular during the summer for musical events and other public events, and helps create a shared communal space. The planning team may wish to look at this feature in El Cajon.
It was recognized that Casa de Oro has a unique opportunity to develop a model plan for small communities that can revitalize and engage the community.
Participants were interested in committees the public can be involved with. Although there are none directly associated with this project, the Casa de Oro Alliance has a list of committees. The presenters mentioned that “there will be other engagement opportunities as the project moves forward.”
Public comments on the current plan will close October 29. The public can provide additional comments regarding this plan to Josh Menvielle at:
This presentation was recorded and can be viewed at:
Additional information on the Casa de Oro Revitalization Plan can be found at County of San Diego’s Planning & Development Services website at: