1) What is the history of this SaveGirdValley.com?
Thanks for asking! After working together to save a fallowed golf course from development in 2016, volunteers formed SaveGirdValley.com to address various projects in Gird Valley located on the eastern side of Fallbrook. Here’s detail on the projects that Gird Valley residents feel are important and want to work together to address in the future.
A key project is countering the threat of overdevelopment by a huge high school proposed for the southern end of the valley. In 2016 Bonsall Unified School District’s Measure DD proposed $58M in bonds (over $100M in taxes on property owners) to fund building a Walmart-size facility to hold 1,500 students plus staff (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 the site in Gird Valley has failed.
Addressing this threat became a high priority project for SaveGirdValley.com. So to help everyone follow this issue, we created a detailed History on this issue. 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 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 aquifers 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 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.
Golf Club of California lies to the south, offering dining, special events, weddings 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 east on Reche Road leads to 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 and will include an Italian restaurant, bar, wine tasting and barrel rooms. If you are curious how one builds a winery, come and visit. The vineyard on the east side of Gird Road was planted in the Spring of 2017. The west side of Gird Road planting’s began in Spring 2018. Come and watch the vines grow.
Gird Valley draws people for rest and recreation, for golf, the scenery and camaraderie. Many celebrate weddings and special family occasions in this beautiful setting.
Here’s a slideshow of what makes Gird Valley so special! 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 (BUSD).
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. During its unification process, the state and the county boards of education both recommended the Gird Valley site be sold and advised BUSD to build in the central core of Bonsall so the location would be convenient for all. The Fallbrook Community Planning group stated, “..the property is not centrally located where a high school should be so folks can feed in from all around. This is the very extreme edge of the school district, …on the very extreme edge, the northern edge, of the district and … is not an appropriate place for a high school.”
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.” The Fallbrook Community Planning Group said, “There are a number of reasons why this property is not suitable for a school. … strongly oppose the development of a high school on this location.”
Gird Road is a quiet two-lane country road in a scenic valley that is loved by locals and visitors alike. Increased traffic (estimated at 73% increase), building blight and noise 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 in Bonsall at the Sullivan campus on West Lilac Road (2018: 328 students in facility built in 2016 for 350) and, during its unification, BUSD said it could accommodate over 500 new high school students at the Sullivan Campus without building anything. So there is time to 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 expand slowly onto this site 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 and the San Luis Rey River Park Master Plan. The parcel includes several tributaries to the San Luis Rey River Valley plus critical habitat for the endangered arroyo toad. Burrowing owl burrows, nesting least Bells vireo and other endangered species have been found on the site. 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!