ESCONDIDO – The Escondido City Council met on Wednesday, Sept. 16, and approved an ordinance continuing its business economic recovery efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic until 30 days after the emergency ends, or until the council revokes it.
The original Business Recovery Strategy was set to lapse on Aug. 20, but the council extended it on Aug. 19 for another 90 days. This new ordinance allows the strategy to continue through the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, however long that may be.
The plan implements temporary regulatory and non-regulatory measures such as outdoor expansion, permit extensions, off-site sale and the delivery of alcohol and temporary signage relief to assist local businesses that had to alter their operations due to COVID-19 regulations.
Councilwoman Olga Diaz suggested that the council revisit the strategy closer to the end of the COVID-19 emergency to ask businesses which regulations they would like to keep even after the emergency is declared over.
“I would hate for us to have gotten our businesses to a point where they’re happy with some of these changes and want to continue them only to then suddenly have them go away, and it be another process to be able to reestablish these rules in a permanent way,” Diaz said.
The council also approved allowing the Escondido Police Department to accept a Traffic Safety Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program Grant for the amount of $25,000.
The grant will have no impact on the FY 2020 to 2021 General Fund Budget and will be used for educational programs related to bicycle and pedestrian safety and to provide bicycle helmets, educational materials and safety supplies to community members.
A different motion to accept a grant to fund Selective Traffic Enforcement programs such as DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols failed 2 to 2.
Councilmembers Consuelo Martinez and Diaz were the two “no” votes, citing concerns that DUI checkpoints may be ineffective and could create a “sense of distrust” within the community.
The council also adopted a resolution annexing five projects, totaling 66 units into the Citywide Services Community Facilities District 2020 to 2021.
Finally, the council directed staff to move forward with plans for a new Lake Wohlford dam and decided to postpone the appointment for the city’s planning commission