North River Farms is a working farm within a neighborhood located in the South Morro Hills neighborhood. It is within walking distance of an active transit center, an elementary school, a regional park, a golf course and within cycling distance of a grocery store and movie theater. North River Farms is a long-awaited and much-needed investment in the city’s eastside (most development occurs along the coast) where numerous working families live.
Our campaign is a coalition of farmers, nearby residents, firefighters, community leaders, business leaders and others who have come together to support the city’s approval of North River Farms and lock in the numerous public benefits this farm community would provide everyone in Oceanside at no cost to taxpayers. North River Farms is a working farm within a neighborhood, the county’s first Agrihood. More than half of the 268-acre site is farmland and open space. North River Farms will preserve 88 acres of farmland. Run by locals for locals, it will produce enough fruits and vegetables to feed thousands of local households, and will establish U-pick fields, orchards and a farmer’s market – as well as an education center for children to learn the importance of agriculture.
Unfortunately, a small special interest group is attempting to use ballot-box planning to protect their real estate investments and overturn the city’s approval of this farm community. If this measure fails, North River Farms will not be built. Instead, luxury homes on sprawling lots will be built over the farmland and Oceansiders won’t receive any of the benefits of North River Farms, including an up-front investment of millions for schools, new parks, traffic improvements, and a new fire station at no cost to taxpayers.
Our coalition is encouraging Oceanside voters to lock in organic local farm preservation and numerous permanent benefits for Oceanside by voting “YES” on Measure L.
In partnership with local farmer Evan Marks and the Ecology Center, North River Farms will establish an 88-acre farm growing fresh fruits and vegetables – creating a fresh locally grown food supply chain for thousands of Oceanside families. North River Farms will create a new model for urban agriculture by utilizing its on-site farm and education center to introduce visitors and residents – including youths – to the benefits of sustainable local farming and locally grown food. With U-pick orchards and fields and a new farmer’s market, North River Farms will strengthen our local agriculture base while welcoming the community to take part in farming activities and education.
Currently, most farmers in the South Morro Hills area do not grow produce for local consumption; much of this harvest is shipped long distances. One of the reasons that farmers aren’t contributing to our local food supply is that we don’t have the infrastructure and supply chain in place. With its farm, North River Farms will help change this paradigm by creating a new fresh food supply chain. The South Morro Hills area is identified as a prime area to advance the City of Oceanside’s vision for agriculture but is limited by its heavily used, aging and undersized infrastructure. At this time, public funding is not available for needed improvements to roads and other infrastructure that would ease traffic and enable this area to meet its potential.
In addition to showcasing agriculture, North River Farms will make an up-front investment of $80 million for improvements to roads, sewer, water and storm drain systems – easing traffic flow and adding capacity for other farmers in South Morro Hills. North River Farms will also contribute $1 million toward the City of Oceanside’s vision for the future of local agriculture.
SOURCE: City of Oceanside Agritourism Strategic Plan: https://www.ci.oceanside.ca.us/gov/ecd/oceanside_agritourism/default.asp
North River Farms is designed to revitalize the east side of Oceanside. It will:
North River Farms will greatly benefit our public schools by providing a large investment of $5.2 million in funding for Oceanside Union School District as part of the standard development fees.
In addition, on a day-to-day basis our local public schools are suffering from attrition and losing out on funding due to a declining student population. With homes for working families, North River Farms will add new students to strengthen our public schools and allow them to receive the full measure of annual state funding.
SOURCE: Developer Fees for Oceanside Union School District: https://ousd-ca.schoolloop.com/developerfees
A common misconception is that this area is dedicated farmland. In fact, the site of North River Farms was zoned for luxury estate homes and sprawling lots with no requirement to preserve any farmland. North River Farms preserves 88 acres for agriculture, with more than half of the 268-acre site set aside as farmland and open space. While industrial farming is taking place today on the land, the products do not stay in Oceanside. If Measure L fails, the site will revert back to zoning for large estate homes on sprawling 2 ½-acre lots only the rich can afford. This means that at any point, the land by right could be divided into these massive residential lots with no public parks, preservation of agriculture or other community benefits.
Industrial farming at scale in Southern California faces many challenges today, the least of which include the cost of land, labor and water. North River Farms will be part of the solution by creating San Diego County’s first Agrihood – a sustainable, working farm embedded in the fabric of a community, as well as a public farmer’s market, U-pick fruit fields, farm-to-table restaurants and more. The new farm will produce enough fresh, local food to feed thousands of Oceanside households. A majority of neighboring farmers support the North River Farms project because it will create a new model for urban agriculture and because of its many community benefits at no cost to Oceanside taxpayers.
No. North River Farms is designed for residents wanting both a peaceful agricultural lifestyle and access to urban amenities in east Oceanside. This location is ideally situated for transit-oriented Smart Growth – the kind we want to see more of in San Diego County – while capping residential development at 585 homes. In fact, it connects with a SANDAG Smart Growth Opportunity Area (OC-8 on SANDAG Map). SANDAG prioritizes development near transit, and North River Farms is a half-mile away and within walking distance of the San Luis Rey Transit Center. This transit center serves five local and regional bus routes and is a future Rapid Transit site in San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan by SANDAG. The transit center anchors North River Village (a retail center near North River Farms) and connects to Camp Pendleton, SPRINTER rail services and BREEZE bus service.
SOURCE: SANDAG Smart Growth Opportunity Area: https://www.sandag.org/uploads/projectid/projectid_296_14003.pdf
Yes. The North River Farms team believes that working families like nurses, teaches, firefighters and others deserve opportunities for homes they can afford, right here in our community. The homes in North River Farms are designed to be priced affordably – below the county’s median home price – perfect for those buying their first homes. All homes will qualify for 100% financing through Veterans Administration loans, and half will qualify for Federal Housing Administration loans. The project also includes 58 affordable apartments set aside for low-income families.
The home builder, Integral Communities, is based in Encinitas and has a strong local track record – having built Oceanside’s FIRST inclusionary community of affordable apartments, Villa Storia. Built in 2017 in partnership with Chelsea, one of the region’s leading affordable housing builders, Villa Storia is 100% occupied, with residents paying below market rents of between $501 and $1,497, depending on income.
SOURCE: Integral Communities Builds 38 New Affordable Rentals in Oceanside:
North River Farms has strong support. Residents, business owners, farmers and community leaders advocated publicly for this project, sending over 1,400 letters of support to the City of Oceanside. The City of Oceanside approved the project last fall after an extensive and transparent five-year public planning process that led to six revisions of the project. Unfortunately, a small group of opponents led by wealthy property owners and landlords who own apartment buildings in and around Oceanside, including some who don’t even live in the city, paid to place a measure on the November 2020 ballot that would unwind the city’s approval because they don’t want the project to affect their investments. Our campaign is asking Oceanside voters to reject this ballot-box planning attempt and vote in support of North River Farms.
Supporters of Yes on L include the Veterans Association of North County, Oceanside Firefighters Association (this is the first project in Oceanside to receive the endorsement of firefighters), San Diego County Taxpayers Association, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, San Diego North Economic Development Council and North San Diego County Association of REALTORS, as well as many farmers and community leaders.
SOURCE: Letters to City of Oceanside:
North River Farms is a huge step forward for the long-term planning of South Morro Hills and will upgrade and fix our failing roads and add significant capacity to roads and other public systems. With our location at the start or gateway of South Morro Hills, we are the connector or bridge to infrastructure for this area. North River Farms will comprehensively improve these systems for everyone – upgrading the already developed infrastructure and adding new connections for reclaimed water. Existing roads, sewer, water and storm drain systems will be improved at no cost to Oceanside residents.
This area is ideally situated for establishing the North River Farms community because it connects with public transit, infrastructure and the urban valley in Oceanside – and is located a half-mile from an active bus transit facility. North River Farms is within a half-mile of: the North River Village mixed-use residential/retail development in northeast Oceanside, Del Rio Elementary School and Melba Bishop Park & Recreational Center.
North River Farms places zero burden on Oceanside’s taxpayers and costs the City nothing. As a flagship improvement, North River Farms will build a new fire station and provide funds for equipment and staffing. In addition to investing $80 million in infrastructure and improvements, North River Farms will be a major benefit to Oceanside’s General Fund, providing $1.6 million in annual tax revenue to support police, firefighters, parks, libraries, road repairs and other neighborhood services. It also is a long-awaited investment in the city’s east side, spurring millions in needed economic investment where numerous working families live.
North River Farms is the first community in the city endorsed by the Oceanside Firefighters Association because it will make our community safer and reduce fire risk.
It’s important to note that according to the County’s fire hazard map, North River Farms’ project site is NOT in one of the zones identified as a Very High Fire Severity Zone. SOURCE: https://www.readysandiego.org/wildfire-hazard-map/
The Oceanside Fire Chief has stated that North River Farms will be much safer than existing communities and is not a wildfire threat. In fact, he said the community would actually help firefighters fight fires in the area.
In a letter dated September 24, Oceanside Fire Chief Rick Robinson said of North River Farms: “Structures will be built to meet Building and Fire Code standards for homes and commercial buildings in wildland urban interface areas…The building code requires non-combustible roof coverings, enclosed eaves, vent protection and other engineering to minimize fire spread and resistance to ember cast. What this means is that the impact of fire burning into the communities is much less that what exists today in established older neighborhoods. Furthermore, it is far less likely that a fire started within a new community would spread outside its borders.” SOURCE: Chief Robinson’s Letter (Sept. 24, 2020)
Even though this area is not one of the most at-risk, the North River Farms team recognizes that proactive planning is always important due to wildfires that impact various areas of California each year. That’s why North River Farms will “fire harden” the community, make it less at-risk for fires and improve evacuation routes through a combination of public improvements and on-site improvements.
Public improvements: North River Farms dramatically improves fire safety for South Morro Hills by putting first responders at their doorstep for speedier 9-1-1 response. At no cost to taxpayers, North River Farms funds a NEW fire station, a fire truck and the personnel to staff it, while fixing and expanding evacuation routes – finally allowing the Oceanside Fire Department to meet its goal of 5-minute response times in this area. The enhancements mean Oceanside firefighters will be able to cut their average response times in half in this area. Every minute counts during emergencies. North River Farms also will provide $1.6 million in annual tax revenue to Oceanside’s General Fund, which pays for police, firefighters, parks, libraries, road repairs and other neighborhood services.
On-site improvements: Safety features on-site at North River Farms include fire sprinklers in every house, fire-retardant exteriors for homes and commercial buildings, 50 new fire hydrants where none exist today, fire-resistant landscaping and new access routes to improve ability to manage fire fuel in the river bed.
SOURCE: Fire/Medical Response Analysis: https://www.ci.oceanside.ca.us/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=48760
We understand that the Lilac Fire drew attention to evacuation routes in this area. As we planned North River Farms, we prioritized public safety as fundamental to our community. That’s why we are investing millions of dollars in improvements that will improve evacuation routes for EVERYONE in South Morro Hills.
First, it’s important to note that the Oceanside Fire Chief has made it clear that evacuation routes have been improved since the Lilac Fire. Going beyond this, North River Farms funds traffic improvements that will benefit everyone in Oceanside and will help roadways used by the region’s public bus system function more efficiently – including improved traffic signal timing for every intersection along SR-76.
North River Farms will contribute millions toward local traffic improvements – including enhancements to SR-76, College Boulevard and Bridge, Vandegrift Boulevard, Wilshire Road and North River Road. Every road that leads to North River Farms will be widened to provide more efficient traffic flow and faster evacuation in the event of an emergency. Many of these roads are failing today. North River Farms fixes these roads, making them safer for all Oceansiders.
SOURCE: Transportation Impact Analysis, Page 22: https://www.ci.oceanside.ca.us/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=48745
North River Farms is providing $4.5 million to expand a key access point, the College Bridge – just one component of its package of infrastructure and improvements to be provided at no cost to taxpayers. The College Bridge is one of Oceanside’s major access roadways, not only for residential and agricultural communities but also for Camp Pendleton military personnel – and it is currently rated “Failing.” The improvements will help ease traffic flow in this area.
Thanks to North River Farms, the bridge will be expanded from four to six lanes for more efficient traffic flow, reducing gridlock while allowing 10,000 more trips (three times the trips created by NRF) and bringing the bridge’s status up to “Passing.” All this will be done at no cost to Oceanside taxpayers!
North River Farms will provide a safer route to school and better bicycle lanes through the same kind of cantilever system that has been used successfully on a bridge in Del Mar alongside the popular Dog Beach. This is a social justice issue. Today, young children riding bikes and families walking to Del Rio Elementary School must brave the busy trafﬁc lanes on College Bridge. North River Farms will eliminate this risk and make the crossing bike-friendly, providing a safer route to school by adding the cantilevered new, protected sidewalks and bike lanes on the side of College Bridge (instead of on the bridge next to passing cars and trucks) that are completely separate from vehicle trafﬁc and will safely connect to the San Luis Rey River Trail.