Issues of Fallbrook, CA and Neighboring Communities: A-E

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Organizations which attempt to deal with such issues

Sources: NCT, 5/1/97, B1, B2; 11/26/98, B4, B5; NCT 4/11/99, B1, B5; VN 11/16/00, 4.

Fallbrook Village Association's Revitalization Plan

The Revitalization Plan was in process for 13 years until finally, on 3/22/00, the County Board of Supervisors approved the plan "in concept".

The major reason it took so long is that in Fallbrook, we don't seem to be able to agree on any changes to downtown. Even a relatively minor item like the upgrading and repaving of Main Street proposed for 1999 caused considerable controversy among the merchants. Beautiful plans were drawn up for a tree-lined median that would have added considerable charm to an area largely lacking in that quality. However, just when it seemed that this dream was about to become a reality, some merchants objected to it. They were worried that the medians would make it difficult for people to shop at their stores, and others raised a concern about access for emergency vehicles. Despite the beauty these medians would have brought to downtown Fallbrook, they were removed from the repaving plan in order to mollify the affected merchants, since the objections were jeopardizing the funding from the County.

Another example: The retail business committee of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce tried to establish an "identity flag" for merchants in 1999, but plans came to nothing because people couldn't agree on the design of the flag.

Hence although the plan has now been approved, it is a very good bet that each element of the plan will still be subject to considerable debate before each is implemented. It is possible that it will be another decade before any fruit comes of this effort.

The plan evolved from the following reports:

1987Fallbrook Design Review Manual
1988Fallbrook Revitalization Council's Report to the Board of Supervisors
1991The Strategic Plan and Economic Study
1994-1995Dreams for Our Town Reports
1996Fallbrook Concept Plan

The Fallbrook Village Association was incorporated in 1991 to act as a liaison between Fallbrook and San Diego County to seek funds and other support for revitalization efforts. The 1991 report was a feasibility study for revitalizing downtown Fallbrook. The Association was charged with creating and carrying out such a plan. The focus area was the north portion of Main Street, including Fallbrook Street north to Dougherty Street, from Summit Avenue on the west to Brandenburg Lane on the east.

The Revitalization Committee was formed in 1997 to create a plan for the 300-acre downtown area that would stimulate economic vitality, preserve Fallbrook's village nature, make the area pedestrian-friendly, and direct future development.

The joint county-local leaders project was funded by $64,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds.

County representatives from the Department of Planning and Land Use met with about 35 Fallbrook people in mid-July, 1997 in Fallbrook to discuss the concept plan. Three meetings were held in November 1997: one for residential homeowners, one for business property owners, and one for everyone else.

The draft plan was presented at a public workshop in mid-November, 1999, after being delayed at least four times. In total 217 people attended six community outreach meetings, three in English and three in Spanish, and 43 people regularly participated in workshops, for a total of 1700 hours of community time going into the plan.

It was approved by the Fallbrook Planning Commission in early January 2000, and by the San Diego Planning Commission on 1/14/00. The San Diego Planning Commission added a recommendation for burying the power lines in downtown. The Board of Supervisors approved the plan without any further changes.

The Fallbrook project is a model project by the County. If successful, the concept will be used in other unincorporated areas.

Implementing the plan will require $16.5 million in capital improvement projects over the next ten years. Many of the projects can receive funds from a variety of different sources in addition to the County General Fund. Another ~$257,000 is needed for "land use policy" (whatever that means) and ~$250,000 to establish special districts for flooding, parking and landscaping.

The goal of the Fallbrook Village Association's Concept Plan is for the core of the town to remain a village. I'm not sure anyone knows exactly what that means - I certainly don't. The American College Dictionary defines village as a small assemblage of houses in a country district, larger than a hamlet and generally smaller than a town. However it lists one characteristic of a village is being rustic, which means of, pertaining to, or living in the country as distinguished from towns or cities; rural. That is probably the key concept - making it clear that Fallbrook is not a city or town, but is a rural village.

The Revitalization Plan contains the following zoning plan:

The summary of the plan that was sent to the County Supervisors is available online from the Chamber of Commerce in pdf format, requiring a free Acrobat Reader installed on your machine. Click on Fallbrook Revite Plan (.PDF) on their Contents list.

Sources: Table Talk, Ent 7/24/97, B1; NCT 10/12/97, B1; NCT 2/21/99, B1; VN 7/8/99, 4; NCT 7/11/99, B9; VN 10/28/99, 4; VN 1/20/00, 1, 3; VN 1/27/00, 39; VN 3/30/00, A5, A20, A21.

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Copyright © 1997-2000 by Tom Chester.
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Last update: 19 November 2000.