Greetings fellow Powegians. My name is Brian Edmonston and I am a 19 year resident of Poway.
I am running for Mayor of Poway because I feel our quality of life is being threatened like never before. The current City Council is almost exclusively focused on developing the Poway Road corridor and other parts of the city are being neglected. They are also ignoring other opportunities to improve our city.
The following discussion should give you a better understanding of my vision for Poway. If my priorities agree with yours, I hope you will consider supporting my campaign.
The Poway Road Specific Plan (PRSP)
The PRSP is effectively a zoning change that encourages the construction of over 1,000 condos and other commercial development along Poway Road. This represents a massive change for the Poway we know and love.
After careful review of the plan I have many concerns that would need to be addressed before I would approve any additional PRSP development. My concerns include insufficient building fees to pay for new public facilities and affordable housing, inadequate parking requirements, and the use of very vague “benefits,” which allow developers to bypass the already lenient zoning requirements of the PRSP. There are plenty of other issues with the PRSP, but these are the most glaring in my opinion.
The bottom line is that the PRSP is too developer friendly. The PRSP does not protect residents from the damage PSRP development will do to their quality of life. I think we need an improved PRSP with more protections for residents if we want to allow this type of development to happen while preserving our great city at the same time.
Poway Community Park vs the Meridian-Sudbury Development
The city of Poway currently owns several parcels adjacent to Poway Community Park. Instead of using these parcels to increase the size of the park, which is too small, the city has entered into exclusive and non-public negotiations with Meridian-Sudbury to develop the land. The development would presumably include both condos and commercial space. Once this land is developed Poway Community Park will be boxed in, and we will never be able make the park as big or as nice as the public parks in the newer communities that surround us.
I think it is particularly import that we increase the size of Poway Community Park when you consider the additional demand that will be created by the new units added under the PRSP. As Mayor, I will demand that some of this publicly owned land be used to increase the size of the park and that more amenities be added to accommodate the nearby residents. These amenities might include tree lined paths, more tennis courts and/or playgrounds. The higher building fees we will impose on PRSP development will be used to pay for the improvements. In the longer run, some of the open space near Metate Road and/or Garden Road could also be incorporated into our park system.
Stoneridge Country Club
The closure of Stoneridge Country Club has placed 117 acres of open space land into a state of limbo. At best this is unused land that is an eyesore. At worst it is a fire hazard and an attraction for criminal activity.
While our current leadership feels it has no role to play with respect to Stoneridge, I see its closure as an opportunity to bring great things to Poway. This includes potentially opening a family friendly golf, tennis and swim facility for all of Poway with a view towards exploring a public exercise facility and/or restaurant some time down the line. A family friendly golf facility would charge very low green fees for Poway youth allowing a family to play golf at a modest price. This would give everyone in Poway access to golf near their home. The facility would also give Powegians substantially increased access to tennis as nine additional tennis courts would more than triple the number currently available.
Also, because the golf course would be public, the city could add some walking paths. I have witnessed the success of such a configuration first hand at Encinitas Ranch Golf Course and Coronado Public Golf Course, both of which have protected walking paths that run along each course. It is also worth noting that both these golf courses are built on land that is much more valuable than Stoneridge, but these highly respected cities view a golf course as a suitable use. That is one reason why they are great cities. It is not unreasonable to ask the same from Poway.
And to ensure that this public golf/tennis/swim facility will not be a drain on the city’s budget, I am working with the homeowners around the course to create a special assessment that would allow these homes to subsidize the irrigation costs (i.e. the water bill) for the course. This is a clear win-win deal as we get a great golf course and these homes get great views. I have found strong support for this proposal so far. With this subsidy I have determined that the course is highly likely to be profitable, with the potential revenue to the city being as much as the taxes received from 30 new homes. The city should take advantage of this generous offer so that we can have a fantastic new recreational facility available to everyone in our a community without any burden to the budget.
Landscape Management Districts
Many may not realize that our tree lined streets along Espola and Twin Peak Roads are paid for by “Landscape Management Districts” (LMDs.) These are special assessments that the homes along those streets must pay each year. A recent effort to adjust these payments for increased costs failed. This failure is causing severe degradation of the greenscape along these main thoroughfares.
I think this issue is not receiving the focus it should by our city council. These are some of the most public and most travelled areas in Poway and their poor condition reflects very badly on our city. I believe we need more investigation into why the homeowners rejected the previous increase and then new proposals should be created based on this information. Additionally, we need more education and leadership during the next vote in order make residents understand how important these assessments are to the community. I saw no leadership of this type during the previous attempt to update the LMD rates.
I would also propose that the city include some funding to start repairs of these areas immediately if a new LMD structure was approved, rather than waiting for the funds to be collected over some number of months or years, which was the previous plan. Poway should not have to endure the poor condition of these green spaces any longer than necessary.
This is a sampling of the issues that concern me and how I would act on those issues as Mayor. If you agree with some or all of these positions, please continue to explore this website for more information. Also, please consider providing me with your support during this election season. I am open to any and all questions, suggestions or criticisms. I want to learn what the most important issues are for Poway residents so that I can work to make Poway the best possible place for everyone.