Background & Preservation Action Advisory for Rancho Guejito
By Bruce Coons
The Owners of Rancho Guejito, the Rodney Company have approached the City of Escondido to explore annexation of Rancho Guejito and dense development plans.
The ranch encompasses about 22,000 acres, approximately 36 square miles between state Routes 76 and 78, the San Diego Wild Animal Park and the Cleveland National Forest, with elevations ranging from 1,000 feet to 4,221 feet above sea level. This annexation would almost double the size of Escondido.
The Rodney Company board of directors consists of two people, Theodate Coates who is the daughter of the late Benjamin Coates and Jim Nicholson, both of New York City. Nancy Coates, Benjamin Coates' widow, lives in Philadelphia and is not on the board.
The proposed future for Rancho Guejito
The Attorney for Rodney Company, Hank Rupp, has been associated with the family for over twenty years and has been directed to pursue the development of the ranch. Mr. Rupp has stated that the development of the rancho is his only professional activity. In January 2007, Rupp met with Escondido Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler and City Manager Clay Phillips asking them to pursue annexation of the ranch to the city so that it could be developed on a dense urban scale. This despite many public assurances over the years, some as recently as an interview last year, in which Nancy Coates said, "We're trying to keep it in a pristine state. We want to keep this as the greatest piece of California property anywhere." Mrs. Coates has always maintained that she would preserve the property, a course that would have fulfilled her late husband's long held desire. Rupp contends that there has been a change of mind, and the board, sans widow Coates, now wants to develop the property.
The Rodney Company has hired a substantial group of lobbyists and consultants to help them develop the ranch. These include: Jim Whalen, who worked on the County's Conservation Plan; John Kern, former San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy's chief of staff; Land-use attorney Donna Jones, who handled the development of the 3,000-home Black Mountain Ranch near Rancho Penasquitos; the lobbying firm Carpi & Clay, who also represent the San Diego County Water Authority, Helix Environmental and Rick Engineering.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Urge your representatives to acquire & preserve this property
Click HERE for contact information
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