OCEANSIDE — City Council approval of the Final Environmental Impact Report for the Melrose Drive Extension overturned the Planning Commission’s denial and moved the road project one step closer to beginning construction following a 3-2 vote, May 25. Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted “no.”
The majority of residents who spoke did not support the road project that will run through the farmlands and equestrian areas of the Morrow Hills community.
“The road will go straight through our backyard,” said Ann Laddon, of Oceanside. “My husband and I will lose our retirement dreams.”
Others expressed concerns that the planned six-lane road will run through Guajome County Park and come at the cost of compromising open space and wetlands.
“This is my park and you’re trying to take it away,” said Nina Hall, Vista resident. “It will bring irreparable and irreversible damage.”
Many expressed concern that the 3,000-foot road extension to link North Santa Fe Drive and Spur Road will only serve as a pass through for Temecula and Vista traffic.
“It would not increase our city circulation to any degree,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said the extension was originally planned as an arterial road to reach Camp Pendleton, which is no longer needed.
Councilman Gary Felien supported the extension and said the road will even out the traffic flow in the city.
Residents that live along Melrose Drive said they are already concerned about road safety and fear that the expanded arterial will increase risks for pedestrians.
“Kids right now are dodging cars,” Ken DeGirolamo, of Oceanside, said. “Life Flight has been there 14 times in 12 years.”
Along with their “no” votes, Wood and Sanchez vowed not to support land acquisition of 14 private properties if owners are not willing to sell in order for the road to be built. “I’m not going to be taking properties,” Sanchez said.
A minimum 4-5 council vote is needed for property acquisition. With two stated no votes, the extension cannot go through unless property owners are willing to sell.
If road plans continue to move forward, the extension will by built by 2030 — after the widening of State Route 76.