Goodson Project Threatens RSF Wildfire Evacuation

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The Goodson project significantly impacts the fire evacuation route for Rancho Santa Fe. The latest revisions in the Goodson project’s resubmittal are not sufficient to ensure public safety. The Attorney General has put pressure on the City of Encinitas to approve the latest submission, which is notable because his office has won lawsuits over cities that approved developments in high wildfire risk areas. Adding high-density housing should never put the existing population in harm’s way. It is imperative that Rancho Santa Fe residents have a say in the protection of their community.

Encinitas officials have done no comprehensive analysis of the adverse impact to public safety that this massive project imposes on Rancho Santa Fe residents. They did hire consultants, Fitch and Associates, who finalized their report one month after the Encinitas City Council’s final project vote last November. Interestingly, both the Fitch report commissioned by the City of Encinitas and the Weber Wildfire Safety report sponsored by the Olivenhain community found that rapid wildfires may threaten Olivenhain and surrounding communities before residents have a chance to evacuate safely. This conclusion was reached without adding the population of Rancho Santa Fe and the hundreds of trailers that would carry large animals from our community. Notably, Rancho Santa Fe Fire Chief Cox expressed serious concerns that the Goodson project could pose danger to our residents during a wildfire evacuation and urged an independent fire behavior analysis and evacuation study. Previous reports also failed to account for the added population of the Goodson development at a critical wildfire evacuation point.

While the risk of future wildfires is high, the Rancho Santa Fe Association also pointed out other severe traffic concerns. Increased traffic congestion resulting from 500-600 vehicles in the Goodson project will delay emergency crews and law enforcement from responding to medical issues, traffic accidents, criminal activity, and other time-sensitive situations. During morning and afternoon rush hours, bumper-to-bumper traffic congests Rancho Santa Fe Road/Manchester Avenue, La Bajada/El Mirlo/Los Morros, La Noria/El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard. It can already take 30 minutes or more to cover the 1.4 miles from the Rancho Santa Fe ball fields to the intersection of Encinitas Boulevard and RSF Road. In emergency conditions, such as a wildfire, the compounding effect of Goodson resident traffic could be disastrous.

We now need the County to conduct a comprehensive study to assess the potential adverse impacts of the Goodson project on public safety and traffic in Rancho Santa Fe and other communities that may be affected by wildfire evacuation (e.g., Del Dios, Elfin Forest, Harmony Grove). Our community is at risk for intense, fast-moving wildfires so it is essential that local government take responsible, preventive steps to protect the health and safety of our residents. We urge the County Board of Supervisors to complete the proposed study examining the Goodson project’s impact on Rancho Santa Fe and other affected communities before the June 8th Encinitas City Council Meeting. Please share your concerns with our County Supervisor, Terra Lawson-Remer at terra.lawsonremer@sdcounty.ca.gov or send a brief message on her website.

Holly Manion and Laurel Lemarié
Concerned Citizens of Rancho Santa Fe