June 2018: For ease of reading, all references to Lilac Hills Ranch and its relationship with the Bonsall Union School District and Bonsall Unified School District, were pulled from the History section of our website and complied into the following document:
November 9, 2009: Lilac Hills Ranch/Accretive representatives Randy Goodson and Jon Rilling meet with Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District Superintendent Lou Obermeyer “about their proposed project which is located within the Valley Center-Pauma USD attendance boundaries.” According to correspondence submitted by Obermeyer, Mr. Goodson suggested “the school district pass a general obligation bond to fill the funding gap” for building new schools desired by the developer. Obermeyer explained “that the district has no interest or intent to ask community members to pass a bond to build a school due to the economy. I further explained that, due to declining enrollment in our school district for the past 7 years and the State’s current fiscal condition which has cut education funds significantly, the school district closed an elementary school in 2008.” Obermeyer reported that, “Mr. Goodson mentioned that, should the Valley Center-Pauma USD not build a new school, he would seek a change of attendance boundaries so students would attend school in a neighboring school district.”
December 2010: Randy Goodson of Accretive/Lilac Hills Ranch emails Lou Obermeyer stating that “Accretive has offered to provide (pay for or build) a K-8 school to serve our future neighborhood.”
February 2011: A letter from Superintendent Lou Obermeyer states that the proposed Lilac Hills Ranch (LHR) development lies within the Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District boundaries and could also lie within the Bonsall and Fallbrook Union High School Districts, that LHR’s 1,746 units could result in 800 new students. “The Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District insists that the applicant fully mitigate the cost for land acquisition, professional services required for planning, designed and obtaining state approvals, and the cost for construction.” The letter includes correspondence detailing conversation with LHR back to 2009 and is worth reading in full. It appears that, as early as 2009, Accretive/LHR began discussion with the Valley Center-Pauma USD about new school to be offered as amenities for its proposed Lilac Hills Ranch mega-development. Obermeyer explained, “To fully fund new school facilities in the proposed Accretive development, I suggested that Mr. Goodson consider a Mello Roos or CFD to fill the funding gap. Mr. Goodson’s suggestion was to the school district pass a general obligation bond to fill the funding gap. I explained that the district has no interest or intent to ask community members to pass a bond to build a school due to the economy. I further explained that, due to declining enrollment in our school district for the past 7 years and the State’s current fiscal condition which has cut education funds significantly, the school district closed an elementary school in 2008. … The Valley Center-Pauma USD has no intention to ask community members to pass a general obligation bond to fund a new school since current school buildings are vacant. … Mr. Goodson mentioned that, should the Valley Center-Pauma USD not build a new school, he would seek a change of attendance boundaries so students would attend school in a neighboring school district.” There is much back and forth in the correspondence with Accretive saying it had never paid for a school with a general obligation bond. At one point, a lawyer was engaged by the district to work out a school mitigation agreement but it appears no such agreement was reached.
October 2012: Must read, extremely revealing correspondence between County school representatives and Lilac Hills Ranch/Accretive developers about schools and financing for such, including Lilac Hills Ranch/ Accretive rep’s suggestion that taxpayers cover the 30-40% funding gap with a general obligation bond.
November 2012: Measure BB passes, approving unification (expansion to include high school programs) within BUSD. Three filings (A, B, C) reveal North County Taxpayers for Responsible Government, a Lilac Hills Ranch/Accretive-funded PAC (Officers: Elizabeth Williams Jaeschke, Robert Daniels and Chuck Smiar, established October 2012, terminated December 2014), supplied almost $27k of the $29k contributed to the campaign. Elizabeth Jaeschke is a long-time backer of the proposed Lilac Hills Ranch development. John Rilling of Lilac Hills Ranch also contributed. The Bonsall Teachers Association PAC opposed Measure BB/unification and supported candidate Eric Ortega for the BUSD board. When the PAC disbanded, the remaining funds, $2114.43, were transferred to the Bonsall Teachers Association. https://www.southtechhosting.com/SanDiegoCounty/CampaignDocsWebRetrieval/Search/SearchByAdvanced.aspx
February 27, 2013: The day after the County Board of Supervisors approves Bonsall Union School District’s unification application, Bonsall Union School District (BUSD) asks Jon Rilling of Lilac Hills Ranch/Accretive to assist in creating its Facilities Plan: “Hi Jon, Below is the link to a draft of the Solana Beach SD Facilities Plan. Please consider this info as *confidential.* However, it is a good tool or baseline we can refer to from a “what we’re looking for” perspective. It’s a rather large file and not all of the documents are needed right now. The components of the plan that I’d like to replicate involves the facilities projections and spreadsheets/charts with assumptions,etc…of needed facilities in the future. After you’ve had a chance to look at the document, give me a call and we can talk further. Thank you for your offer to assist us in this process. Best, Tom —————————— Here is the link to the file on our ftp site. This should take you right to it. http://www.hmcgroup.com/public/files/SBSD%20LRFMP%20Draft%203_5_13reduced.pdf — Tom Krzmarzick, Assistant Superintendent, Business Services Bonsall Union School District (760)631-5200 X1006″.
June 2014: The San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) states that a June 2014 growth analysis and enrollment projection projected BUSD will double in size to about 5,000 students by 2020, with the Lilac Hills Ranch development of 1,700 homes contributing fully half of this projected increase. Bonsall High School opened in 2014 with 80 ninth graders, states SDCTA, adding a grade per year. [BUSD’s website states the actual number was 65 9th graders in 2014]. SDCTA reported temporary classrooms were added as needed to accommodate growth and a two-story high school building was constructed on the SMS campus. SDCTA did add that most students preferred to attend a true high school facility, with less than half of the eighth graders participating in the new high school’s “high tech” model. Based on the near term projected number of residential units (3,000) to be built in the Bonsall area, the District anticipates receiving over 2,000 new students, concluded SDCTA. [NOTE: these projections were based on the large Lilac Hill development winning approval at the ballot box in November of 2016. It failed. However, since 2014, other developments have been proposed for North County.] CATE has written its own projection, possibly another 115 students by the year 2021.
July 2015: Dr. Cunningham sends a letter dated July 30 on BUSD letterhead to the County Board of Supervisors stating “We strongly support the Lilac Hills ranch development,” a 1,700 unit mixed use development proposed on 600 acres zoned for 110 homes. [BUSD board member Lou Riddle sends written support of Lilac Hills in August 2015 and Cunningham submits a second letter supporting Lilac Hills on behalf of the BUSD Board on July 13, 2016.]
August 4, 2015: BUSD Board member Lou Riddle sends a letter supporting development of Lilac Hills Ranch. It states, “Good day, i write to you today in support of the Lilac Hills Development. Myself, wife, and three children have lived in Bonsall for 18 years and live close to the proposed project. I have attended several project workshops and seen the development team respond to the communities concerns. In addition to being an area resident, I am an elected member of the Bonsall Unified School District. I know first hand the many positive benefits this development will yield for current and future students for years to come. I strongly urge you to approve this project and sincerely hope that you do. Lou Riddle Owner Lou Riddle Construction email@example.com 760-732-3799.”
September 2015: Details on ownership of Lilac Hills Ranch included in East County Magazine article.
July 1, 2016: BUSD’s Superintendent Justin Cunningham signs a letter to Jon Rilling and Randy Goodson of Accretive/Lilac Hills Ranch which states, “This letter identifies the facilities and student mitigation measures that are currently anticipated to be necessary to fully mitigate for the new students expected to be generated by the development of Lilac Hills Ranch within the District.” It details a school to be built in lieu of Lilac Hills Ranch development fees later. “The Cost and/or fair value to the Project for the provision of the School Mitigation described herein and ultimately provided will be counted towards the Statutory School Fees obligation for the Project.”
July 13, 2016: BUSD Superintendent Justin Cunningham sends a second letter to the County Board of Supervisors stating,”our District strongly urges your Board to approve the Lilac Hills Ranch project,” a massive 1,700 unit housing development proposed for isolated and rural North San Diego County. Cunningham references a “June 2014 Wayne Oetken & Associates Growth Analysis and Enrollment Projection that projected Bonsall would double in size to about 5,000 students in the next 6 years,” projections based on Lilac Hills Ranch being built and supplying about half of the increase. [By September of of 2017, BUSD total enrollment was about 2,554 students.] The Lilac Hills development requires a bit of backstory. In September 2015, the County Planning Commission told the Lilac Hills Ranch developer, Accretive Investments, that if it wanted approval from the County Board of Supervisors, it would need to provide wider roads, emergency support, schools. Accretive agreed and then attempted to pass Measure B in the fall of 2016, asking voters – not the Board of Supervisors – to approve Lilac Hills Ranch’s development plans. Worse yet, the ballot initiative exempted Accretive/Lilac Hills Ranch from many of the conditions county officials wanted. As a result, Accretive/Lilac Hills Ranch was roundly criticized for attempting to dodge the County General Plan, a comprehensive document that took over a decade to create. BUSD Superintendent Cunningham’s July 13, 2016 letter to the County Board of Supervisors states, “..our District strongly urges your Board to approve the Lilac Hills Ranch project at its meeting on July 19 so that we can pursue our planned $75 million Bond measure on the November 8 ballot.” Voice of San Diego reported, “If Lilac Hills Ranch had been approved outright by the board, the school district could have increased the assessed value of its planned November bond [Measure DD] from about $55 million to roughly $75 million, Cunningham wrote in the July 13 letter. “A win on Measure DD would have allowed BUSD to ask the State of California for additional funds for building.”
July 19, 2016: BUSD Superintendent Justin Cunningham testifies before the County Board of Supervisors in support of Lilac Hills Ranch development which he states has agreed in writing to build a school. Cunningham says, “We need big, smart growth and from a stand point that we need to have someone who’s going to come in and build a school and that’s what they’re saying, and we’ve got it in writing that they will do that.” He talks about the importance a bond and how that passage of a bond will “elevate assessed values”.
July 2016: BUSD Superintendent Justin Cunningham admits to Voice of San Diego that BUSD strongly supports the Lilac Hills Ranch (LHR) development, that BUSD has a non binding agreement with LHR to build a K-8 school but BUSD is happy to redraw school district lines and take all of the LHR students, an estimated 800 elementary students and another 300 high school students.
August 2, 2016: The County releases an Impact Report detailing the costs to the public of the proposed Lilac Hills Ranch development, to be built in five phases. The section on Schools is on Page 13 and states that under current General Plan rules, “At issuance of each building permit, a fee would be paid to the corresponding school district for each parcel.” But under Lilac Hills Ranch’s proposed Initiative (2016’s Measure B), “A school district or private school would need to purchase the site to build the school” and “if over time neither a public or private entity is able to obtain the site it may be considered for an alternative use”. On the same day the report is released, BUSD’s Superintendent Justin Cunningham testifies before the County Board of Supervisors for a second time (see July 19) urging the Board to approve the Lilac Hills Ranch development “today” and for the Board to “give us a turnkey school.” He explains that approval of the Lilac Hill development will help them with a bond’s assessed value so they can include a Performing Arts Center in its development. “We’re going to open that school of 500 students in a few years whether Lilac Hills is there or not.” Cunningham states he has signed a legally binding agreement with Lilac Hills Ranch. Jon Rilling, President of Accretive Development, testifies to the Board of Supervisors that Lilac Hills Ranch development is committed to providing a turnkey K-8 school and has a binding agreement with BUSD for K-8 school. Rilling states that BUSD has offered to serve all of the students within the Lilac Hills Ranch and that this will relieve Valley Center/Pauma Unified School District any responsibility to educate students from the Lilac Hills Ranch development. This can be done via a boundary adjustment (which Lilac Hills Ranch will pay for) so 100% of the students in the Lilac Hills Ranch development will be within the BUSD district. Randy Goodson, CEO of Accretive Investments also testifies on behalf of Lilac Hills Ranch development and clarifies that the Lilac Hills Ranch Initiative (Measure B) will only change the County General Plan, Zoning and Ordinances and does not attempt to assert authority over other government agencies (including school districts). Goodson confirms that they have entered into an agreement with the BUSD.
August 22, 2016: BUSD School Facilities Agreement for a Lilac Hills Ranch-built K-8 school for 550 students, signed by BUSD’s Justin Cunningham and Accretive Investments’ Randy Goodson, null and void should Measure B fail. Agreement with Accretive/Lilac Hills Ranch passed unanimously by the BUSD Board, August 22. Section 3.1 states that the price to BUSD will be the “fair market value of the School Site in Construction Ready Condition” and 3.2 notes that the site under discussion is not located within BUSD’s current boundaries and Section 4.1 commits BUSD to working with the developer for a boundary adjustment with Accretive covering the costs. Section 2.1 releases the developer from paying developers fees to BUSD and BUSD commits to accessing state taxpayer funds for building the project. [The agreement is dependent on the passage of Measure B in the November 2016 election which was rejected by 64% of the voters.]
October 2016: BUSD Board Member Lou Riddle publicly pledges support for Lilac Hills Ranch which wants to build 1,700 homes on land zoned for 110: “Proponents of the measure to build Lilac Hills Ranch argue that the development would benefit the community as a whole.“My interest in the measure is as it affects Bonsall Unified School District,” Lou Riddle, president of the Bonsall Unified School District Board of Trustees, told SoundDiego. “Our district is expanding quickly, and Prop B would provide for a completely paid for K-8 school that would alleviate overcrowding at other school sites. The new facilities would allow us to better educate our kids.” Despite various criticisms leveled at the Lilac Hills developers, “they’ve been the only developer that’s been great to work with,” Riddle added. “In terms of ease and cooperation, they’ve been outstanding.” Lou Riddle, representing the BUSD, is listed as a supporter on the ballot (page 39).
November 2016: State Proposition 51, for over $9 billion in bonds to fund construction and maintenance of schools K-12 and community colleges, passes with 55.18% of the vote. The pro-development CASH-created coalition is very pleased. Additionally, $1.6 billion in school bond measures are on San Diego County’s ballot. Not all succeed as voters raise serious questions about value vs. debt. FUHSD residents approve Measure AA issuing $45M in bonds for upgrading Fallbrook High School classrooms and facilities and improving school security. It passes easily by 64.73%. BUSD residents, however, vote down the Lilac Hills Ranch/Accretive/Erickson-Hall Construction-backed Measure DD to issue $58M in bonds to build a “state-of-the-art Bonsall High School” for $56.5M and for other purposes. The estimated cost of the bonds to the taxpayer would be $105,751,981. The bond does not include any long-term maintenance costs. While Measure DD did not mention the Gird Road site specifically, messaging by BUSD focused on the Gird Road site, making Measure DD the fifth time a high school proposed for the Gird Road has failed at the ballot box.
While Measure DD was entitled the “Bonsall Taxpayers for Schools, YES on DD campaign” no campaign contributions were received from any Bonsall taxpayers. In fact, there was not a single contribution came from any entity beyond Erickson-Hall Construction Co., Pala Band of Mission Indians Political Contribution Account and LHR Investment Company LLC (Accretive Investments/Lilac Hills Ranch) which fully funded the “Bonsall Taxpayers for Schools, Yes on DD” campaign. Highly vocal and visible spokes-mom Larissa Scors Anderson was actually paid and later posted on her Facebook page that she had been its campaign manager. Measure B, to allow Accretive/Lilac Hills Ranch to by-pass County regulations and build a massive development in North County’s agricultural areas, fails big time with opposition of 64%. The No on B multi-lingual all-volunteer effort was heavily outspent and is ecstatic at its win.
January 2017: BUSD’s high school at Sullivan Middle School campus reports 228 students enrolled (grades 9-11). New California law AB2316 regarding LLBs takes effect, allowing LLBs to continue but forcing schools to return to an open bidding process. With Paul Schumann of Fallbrook, Lilac Hills Ranch/Accretive sues some of those who opposed it in the November election. The lawsuit is quickly settled. Retired Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District Superintendent Lou Obermeyer says, “After many attempts to get [Lilac Hills Ranch] to discuss mitigation fees it became apparent that they had no interest in paying for the school or increasing their required developer fees to pay for the school. They asked me to pass a bond to pay for the school and I said no, we had no interest in passing a bond and asking the community to pay for a school because so many in the community were not in favor of a large development. Unfortunately, they continued to move forward trying to get their development approved and Measure B would have been an end run for Accretive and they would not have had to go through the required approval processes and it would have resulted in a large development that the community did not want.” Related correspondence notes “Valley Center-Pauma USD closed an elementary school in 2008. Prior to building another school the elementary school would be re-opened.” Worth reading: This correspondence reveals Lilac Hills Ranch’s attempts to transfer the cost of new school construction to district taxpayers.
March 2017: Lilac Hills Ranch/Accretive (based in Escondido) representative Cassandra Costa is elected to the Bonsall Chamber of Commerce.
June 6, 2017: BUSD Meeting seeking Community input on new Superintendent search at the Bonsall Community Center. Jon Rilling of Lilac Hills Ranch/Accretive attends and states that he does not live in the district, has no children in school in the district but that good schools are an important amenity to their home buyers.
March 2018: Lilac Hills Ranch (LHR) returns, density unchanged. Now “under the control of a new development team, Ranch Capital LLC, and its subsidiary, Village Communities. Ranch Capital was a financial backer of the earlier version of the project headed by Randy Goodson of Accretive Investments. Goodson and Accretive are no longer involved. Key players now feature Larry Hershfield, CEO of Ranch Capital and Jon Rilling, previously of Lilac Hills Ranch/Accretive is Ranch Capital’s project manager for the proposed development. LHR’s Draft EIR, open for public comment, states it requires a General Plan Amendment, Zone Reclassification, Major Use Permit, and Habitat Loss Permit. A letter to the editor states that BUSD was actively working to redraw their district boundaries to include 800 of the homes in LHR’s proposed 1,700-unit development (on land zoned for 110 homes). BUSD’s 2016 Measure DD (which also failed at the ballot box) received funding from Lilac Hills Ranch/Accretive, Erickson Hall Construction and Pala Tribe and zero from Fallbrook or Bonsall residents..
April 24, 2018: At a presentation at the Fallbrook Library, Mark Jackson of the Save Our Countryside Initiative reveals Lilac Hills Ranch-related entities had funded BUSD’s unification and the November 2016’s Attempt #5 to pass a bond to build a high school in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley. BUSD is “influencing land use,” explained Jackson. “The Bonsall School District is warmly embracing increased sprawl development, any development, because it, they, need revenue. They’ve made a decision that they can’t fund. It’s that simple. For sure.”
June 8, 2018: A commentary published in the Village News notes the strong relationship between Lilac Hills Ranch and BUSD.
We encourage everyone who loves Gird Valley, Fallbrook, North San Diego County, our school children and teachers to please become involved! Thank you!
For more info, contact us at SaveGirdValley@gmail.com Thank you!