1) What is the history of this SaveGirdValley.com?
Thanks for asking! Volunteers formed SaveGirdValley.com to address various projects in Gird Valley located on the eastern side of Fallbrok. Here’s that story with detail on the projects that Gird Valley residents feel are important.
In 2016 Bonsall Unified School District’ Measure DD proposed $58M in bonds to fund building a “state-of-the-art” 1,500-student high school plus a Performing Arts Center (150k sq. ft. of buildings + 200k sq. ft. of parking) on the Gird Valley hills in Fallbrook. It failed at the ballot box, the fifth time a high school proposed for Gird Road has failed. Addressing this threat became a high priority project for SaveGirdValley.com. So help everyone follow this issue, we created a detailed history on this issue which we’ve entitled A Tale of Two School Districts. We hope you find it useful and look forward to hearing your comments!
2) What’s so special about Gird Valley?
Gird Valley is an historic four-mile scenic valley stretching between Live Oak Park (with its new amphitheater) to the north and San Luis Rey River Valley to the south. Seventeen miles inland, the valley is blessed with abundant wildlife and towering sycamores all fed by aquafers and small streams. Live Oak Creek is the inspiration that originally gave Fallbrook its name. Ancient oaks dot the hillsides and provide respite from the summer sun. Part of Governor Pio Pico’s Monserate Rancho Land Grant of the 1800s, Gird Valley has been a favorite spot for human habitation for a millennium.
From beehives to cattle, olive groves, avocados and vineyards, Gird Valley has a long agricultural history. With its rich soil and gentle Mediterranean climate, it is a peaceful place to visit, live and work.
Bookending Gird Valley, Golf Club of California lies to the south, offering dining, special events and days golfing in the sunshine. At the north end of the Valley is the El Parque Stage Stop cafe (yes, this is the original site of the stage coach line!) with views across the road toward Live Oak County Park, 27 acres of shady oak groves for picnicking and relaxing. A quick drive further east on Reche Road leads to the Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens.
At the heart of the Valley is the new Monserate Winery and vineyard. Formerly a fallowed golf course, the property is enjoying a new life as a working vineyard that will include an Italian restaurant, bar, wine tasting and barrel rooms. If you are curious how one builds a winery, the vineyard will be planted during the spring of 2017.
Gird Valley draws people who come to enjoy golf and recreation, the scenery and camaraderie. Many celebrate weddings and special family occasions in this beautiful setting.
Yes, Gird Valley is a special place. Come and visit soon!
3) Why don’t you want a high school in Fallbrook?
Talk about sprawl, school sprawl! We already have a high school in Fallbrook. It’s located just a few miles from Gird Road on the southwestern side of the downtown Fallbrook, off Mission Road which is a four-lane road that leads to Highway 76.
North County does not need, nor does the community want, two high schools in Fallbrook. In fact, funding for a proposed high school on the Gird Road site has failed at the ballot box five times: four times while Fallbrook Union High School District owned the site and the fifth loss was in the Fall of 2016 while owned by Bonsall Unified School District.
We are told by BUSD board members that high schools enhance neighborhoods so we are very happy for them to take this amenity and use it to enhance Bonsall which is located south of Highway 76.
4) Are you against schools? Or kids?
We are pro-education and love children but we believe schools, especially large high schools, should be very carefully sited and the community is opposed to a school on this particular site. While the Gird Road site is almost 50 acres, its topography and the environmental remediation required for building on it means that only about half the acreage is buildable. For these reasons and more, Fallbrook Union High School District (FUHSD) “determined that this site is not suitable for construction as a school site for three reasons: the current costs to modify the topography of the land, environmental impact mitigation, and proximity to the Sycamore Ranch development.”
Gird Road is a quiet two-lane country road in a scenic valley that is loved by locals and visitors alike. Increased traffic, building blight and light pollution are real concerns. There is strong opposition from North County residents to a high school on this site (bond issues have failed 5 times to fund building a high school on the Gird Road site).
5) So what do you propose as a solution?
There is no capacity crisis at the current Bonsall High School, located 8 miles to the south of the Gird Road site (2017: 228 students in a building built for 350), so there is plenty of time to find another site and consider other options. Smart planners recommend recycling older buildings (think warehouses and commercial space) centrally located within districts to avoid school sprawl which is a primary contributor to urban sprawl. In the meantime, Ocean Breeze Ranch has offered acreage right next door to BUSD’s main campus and its current high school building. BUSD should acquire this land and expand as needed.
We also highly recommend BUSD’s Board request assistance from the County Department of Education. Here’s the key link: http://www.sdcoe.net/business-services/facilities/Documents/facjpa-checklist-instructions.pdf All BUSD has to do is ask and the experts are there to help Districts navigate the process for facilities-related work!
6) What should happen to the Gird Road site?
The property offers stunning views of Monserate Hill and rare environmental virtues. Located within the Multiple Species Conservation Program boundaries, the parcel includes several tributaries to the San Luis Rey River Valley plus critical habitat for the endangered arroyo toad. The hilly, oak-studded site has been left undisturbed in its natural state, never been ranched, tilled, farmed or developed. It holds value if sold, traded or preserved to mitigate damage to land lost elsewhere to development. The community would love to see trails from that site all the way up Gird Road to Live Oak Park. Can you think of other uses? If so, do let us know!