Friends of Fire Mountain

Protect, Preserve, and Improve Fire Mountain

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Oceanside Traffic and Transit Updates – Details on I-5 Expansion

IMG_8653Fire Mountain Traffic: Looks like Avocado Rd. is the latest through-street in Phase 1 of traffic calming measures. Thanks to the persistence of our neighbors the city has installed a radar trailer on Avocado Rd. and is studying the need for additional measures. Normally Phase 1 consists of “educating the public” and the radar trailer is one way to educate motorists as to how fast they are actually traveling.

Our streets become particularly dangerous during the holidays as more people cut through our neighborhood to get to the Wal-Mart shopping center, let’s hope the education process is stepped-up during that time.

Changes to Downtown Oceanside: Mission Avenue, between Horne Street and Coast Highway, started it’s update last week and will continue renovations until Summer 2014.  Like many more metropolitan downtown areas the main entryway to Oceanside will become a two lane, one-way street.  Mission Avenue will be converted to a west-bound only route, while Seagaze Drive, one block south of Mission Avenue, will be converted to a one-way east bound street. Let the confusion begin! For more info visit the City of Oceanside web site. 

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 1.51.38 PMInterstate 5 Expansion Project: The environmental impact report for the $3 billion 27-mile I-5 expansion project has been completed and hundreds of pages are now available here for download. The last public meeting in Oceanside was in 2010. Since that time the agency has heard from more than 5000 people and incorporated their comments into the planning  – the improvements are focused on carpools, transit, and express lanes.

Highlights of Oceanside area changes include a couple of pocket parks, some sound barriers, The visual simulation looks as if the freeway is really encroaching on the Buena Vista Lagoon and there are major improvements to bike and pedestrian paths along all 27 miles.

The incredibly dangerous I5 / 78 Interchange is not a part of this expansion. While there are a couple of changes on the docs, that is a separate project that will move forward independently and supposedly meetings were to be scheduled Summer 2013 (Did we miss those?).

According to the web site, the I-5 Express Lanes project is just one component of the planned $6.5 billion North Coast Corridor (NCC) Program, which includes highway, rail, transit, environmental protection and coastal access improvements. Planned improvements such as the I-5 Express Lanes provide flexibility for future for transit services such as Bus Rapid Transit and highway express buses. Adding Express Lanes to I-5, double tracking the coastal rail line and improving local and regional bike and pedestrian trails are part of the NCC Program’s system solution to focus on moving people rather than just cars.

It looks like there were approximately 10 options considered and the “Preferred Alternative,” announced in July 2011, is the Express Lanes Only option (8+4 with Buffer Alternative) which “results in nearly 50 percent fewer Right-of-Way impacts and focuses on project phasing and coordination to minimize impacts to the environment and the community during construction.”

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FOFM Wants Your Input!

Friends of Fire Mountain (FOFM) has been around since 2008 hosting the annual end-of-summer BBQ and Holly Jolly on Molly block parties. Now that we’ve gotten to know a few of our neighbors we look forward to adding some new information and activities to the mix.

We’ve been updating the FOFM blog with information and local events (check the side bar and feel free to submit new events via email) . Now we’re expanding with the FOFM Networking Group, plus an informative network on and we’re working toward more events for our community to be announced in the coming year.

To do this, we need your input and help! First, please tell us about your concerns and interests within Fire Mountain. If you are a Fire Mountain resident, please take a minute to answer this questionnaire so we can work collectively to improve our neighborhood.

Then help out – we need volunteers and participants!  FOFM is looking for a representative in each area to keep us informed of new projects, interesting stories, updates on crime and anything else you can contribute. If you can help on any of these items, please contact us via email at  If you can volunteer any of your time or resources, no matter how much or how little, we would love to have your involvement!

Please feel free to comment on the blog and send information that you would like to see explored further or posted to the web site – your insight is valuable! We appreciate your input and look forward to meeting you!

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Announcing the Fire Mountain Networking Group

FOFMNetThe Friends of Fire Mountain are pleased to announce a new monthly business networking opportunity, the Friends of Fire Mountain Networking Group.   The FOFM Networking Group is an interactive group of business-minded Fire Mountain residents that will be holding regular get-togethers to network and share business experiences and knowledge.  This group is open to all Fire Mountain residents and there is no cost to participate.

Please join us at our first  monthly meeting:  Tuesday, November 5th at 7:00 p.m. at Café Rosarita – 1816 Oceanside Blvd. Oceanside, CA 92054.

Our goal and commitment is to provide an opportunity for the many business owners here in Fire Mountain to join together and become visible to each other and to our community. By learning about each business we hope to create a networking venue where we feel comfortable in referring each other and sharing leads. By getting to know our neighbors and the businesses in our own community, we will make every effort to support and encourage local business growth and make our community an even more wonderful and connected place to live!

If you are interested in attending our first meeting, please RSVP here to


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New Developments in Oceanside and Carlsbad

With the group of residents on Laurel Rd. in Fire Mountain continuing to address the speeding and traffic concerns that tend to plague Fire Mountain, we’ve been following a few of the latest in business developments that will impact our local roads and surrounding freeways.

Saturn Property Vista Way

You may have noticed the recent demolition happening on the corner of Vista Way and Jefferson. The property is owned by Nissan Corporation and while waiting to be sold the location has been home to a few temporary businesses such as the Home Depot nursery, a Halloween store, a Christmas store, and a Christmas tree lot.

Recently we learned the demolition is part of a contingency on the sale of the property to Scripps Health. The City of Oceanside has had held developer meetings with Scripps regarding the building of a clinic and physicians offices on the site. The public has not been notified of the status and only residents within 300 ft. of the property will receive a notice once permits are filed and the yellow notification signs go up.  The zoning in that area allows a building height of up to 50 ft. or approximately 4 stories. The city planner on the project did not have a response to questions regarding concerns about how increased traffic or building height will be addressed.

—- UPDATE (11/6/2013) According to a city employee the Scripps project was given a pass as it doesn’t meet the commercial zoning plan.  Nissan has simply bulldozed the buildings to make it more marketable. We will update as more information is available.—–

On the other side of the 78 freeway, in Carlsbad, the Westfield, Plaza Camino Real (sometimes referred to as the “ghetto mall”) has also started renovations. According to the Westfield web site:

The regional mall, originally constructed in 1969, will be renamed Westfield Carlsbad when completed in November 2014. The renovation plans include:

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The SPOT Home and Garden Sale plus a Ton of Local Weekend Events!

This weekend is shaping up to be BUSY! If you haven’t noticed all the local events on the side bar here’s the run down:

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 4.10.08 PMFriday October 4th, 7am Through Sunday October 6th 3pm: The Home and Garden sale benefitting SPOT is always a sure thing if you want to pick up some really great plants, especially gorgeous succulents. I picked up a pepper plant a couple years back and it’s still going crazy in my garden! The sale starts tomorrow, follow this link for more information.

October 5th, 9am: The Surfrider foundation is holding a beach clean up starting at the Oceanside Pier. Everyone is welcome to help!

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October 5th at 10am: Always fun for the pets and great people/pet watching is the The Mission San Luis Rey annual St. Francis Festival and Blessing of the Animals. Animal adoption organizations are on site and hey! animals need blessings too!

October 5th 12pm: The Carlsbad Rotary Oktoberfest is a family style event and will have both domestic and craft beers from the likes of Stone Brewing on hand. Check the web site for details.

October 5th 12pm: The Vista Rhythm & Brews Music Festival presented by Mother Earth Brewing and Back Street Brewery kicks off it’s second year. Tickets are $30 and you can get them right here.

Octover 5th, 4 pm: The 3 mile Walk to end Alzheimers starts at 4:00 pm at the Oceanside Pier. If you can’t make it to the walk, support Fire Mountain locals the Swifts reach their goal!

October 5th 6:30 pm: Photojournalist and author Kirk Lee Aeder is giving a book talk and signing at the Oceanside Museum of Art. Special guests, former pro surfers, Mike Cruikshank and Peter “PT” Townend will also make an appearance

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 5.37.46 PMOctober is Kids Free Museum Month! There is a long list of museums and attractions all over San Diego county including the Oceanside Museum of Art,  The California Surf Museum, the Encinitas Lux Art Institute, The Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, The Birch Aquarium, the SD Model Railroad Museum and many more with free admission for kids the entire month of October. —UPDATE: Even more FREE attractions can be found here, including Legoland, Sea World and more!

October 6th, 10am: The Oceanside Museum of Art has upped Free Museum Month by hosting Free Family Art day this Sunday. The museum is free and kids and parents can create small works of art that reflect the exhibits currently on view

Weekends in October: Legoland Brick or Treat has fireworks and a “Brick or Treat” trail for the kids. Definitely a good way to get your money’s worth out of that costume!

With a high temperature of around 87° should be nice weather for any of these events, so go on, get out and do something!

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Harbor Days Favorites

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 1.09.48 PMIf you’ve been staying away from Harbor Days  because the crowds make you crazy, here are a few tips for joining in on the fun without stressing out.

Go Early!  The Fire Dept. Pancake breakfast starts at 7:00  am both days and the Tiki Swim is at 8:00 tomorrow (who doesn’t want to watch other people freeze their tikis off?!) and the craft & activity booths open at 9:00 am.

Getting in and out can be easy – here are some tips from Fire Mountain locals on how to get there and where to park:

  • There is FREE parking in downtown Oceanside at the Oceanside Transit Center Parking Garage (located at Cleveland St. and Seagaze Dr.) with free shuttle service from the North County Transit Center.  Just look for the double decker busses for a free ride Saturday 8am – 7pm and Sunday 8am to 6 pm.
  • Look for parking by the Jolly Roger restaurant – first row is for slip renters only, but the second row is public parking (check signs for time limits, etc.)
  • Ride your bike! If you aren’t in Fire Mountain you can take the San Luis Rey bike trail all the way to the coast – with tons of access points, it’s easy! Fire Mountain can be difficult to bike with young kids, so If you aren’t close to a trail or bike access point, you may want to but the bikes in your car and get closer to the coast.  Follow the  bike paths and ride all the way to the harbor! (If you’re there late, one local FM resident suggested keeping a nice friend with a truck on standby to come get you –  seems like a good idea after an afternoon in the beer garden!)

If you have more suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Be safe and have fun!

——- A quick update for those wondering about the Nail and Sail 2013 Judging and Race times:

Judging for best Craftsmanship and Best Costume is 1:00 – 1:30 pm * First Heat 2:00 p.m. * Second Heat 2:20 p.m. * Third Heat 2:40 p.m. * Fourth Heat 3:00 p.m. * Championship 3:20 p.m. *

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Resources for Water Smart Gardening

Winter is coming and we’re starting to feel a tiny chill in the air (OK, only a little bit…in the evening, but still!). In Oceanside, winter is an ideal time to start planting and we at FOFM like to encourage our neighbors to plant water-wise or food-producing plants.  I hear people say “I just don’t like cactus” quite a bit, but water-wise does not necessarily mean pokey plants.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 1.16.57 PM shows water-wise plants with details

There are lots of great, free resources out there to help you find what you need and make it look great. Here are just a few:

The SD County Water Authority is giving free classes on Water Smart Gardening, the next one in Oceanside isn’t until January, but keep checking back. If you can’t wait or don’t need to attend a class, maybe you have a bit of knowledge and want to dive into more detail the Web-based Gardening Tool has a ton of resources. We were excited to find links to different types of plants based on what you’re trying to achieve, from fire-wise grasses to succulents that do well in shade they include really good photos of what the plants look like all grown up.

Our local nursery, Evergreen, also has regular classes on vegetable gardens, landscaping with natives, landscape maintenance and more. Just check their site for dates and times.

The Buena Vista Audubon Society has a Native Plant Club as well as information about how to choose, plant and maintain natives on their site.

For monthly planting advice, we also like the Briggs Tree Company newsletter and web site, which of course, comes with a handy 10% off coupon.

Lastly, don’t forget there are the archives from Mr. Charles Ledgerwood’s planting suggestions on the FOFM Garden Exchange blog.

We would love to see pictures of your garden – send them to and we will post them next month!

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Oceanside City Council to Consider Ban on Retail Puppies

Following in the footsteps of Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, Chula Vista, San Diego and many others, the City of Oceanside will consider a ban on the retail sale of puppies, kittens, and bunnies.

The ordinance went into effect in San Diego in August and with only one exception was implemented by all pet stores. The City of Carlsbad also passed a similar ordinance last week.

While the ban allows pet stores that sell some puppies and kittens obtained from shelters and rescues to continue to do business, it specifically targets those stores that do not obtain pets through local or humane sources.

The vote will take place Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 5:00 pm at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting.


This is a follow-up to an earlier story.

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Tripadvisor’s Highest Rated Hotels in Oceanside

When the entire family comes to visit us in Oceanside, we always seem to have a hard time deciding where they should stay. We want them close, but the best accommodations close to Fire Mountain and the beach tend to be in Carlsbad. Previously this dilemma was due the overwhelmingly poor quality of hotel options. But in recent years there have been a few decent possibilities popping up.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 2.37.09 PMAccording to the most recent reviews on Trip Advisor, the Courtyard by Mariott is the #1 rated hotel in Oceanside. Of course way back in June it was the Holiday Inn Oceanside Marina. The newest Wyndam hotel at the Oceanside Pier seems like a great option, but if you read the reviews you’ll notice there is a concern about homeless milling about at night and the major issue for some – train noise.  Regardless, all of those hotels mentioned earned the 2013 Trip Advisor Certificate of excellence.

Another option to consider is  Along with the time share condos and nice beach front apartments there are a few adorable historic cottages listed that will sleep 6 for under $300 a night!

One last alternative to consider – we have done house trades with our neighbors – which has turned out to be the best option of all. Their family stayed at our house Thanksgiving when we were out of town and then we traded off the next holiday and our family stayed at theirs when they were out of town. We’re very lucky to have some truly fantastic, generous and trustworthy neighbors here in Fire Mountain (who just happen to need their pets looked after while they’re gone). The bonus? We usually come home to a house more clean than we left it and dogs spoiled from all the walks and extra attention!

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Arbor Day Celebration to Take Place at Buddy Todd Park

The City of Oceanside will be hosting an Arbor Day Ceremony and Environmental Resource Fair on Thursday, September 12th from 10am-2pm at Buddy Todd Park. Students from Mira Costa College and Ocean Shores High School will be planting over a dozen trees to beautify the park and it looks like there will be plenty of booths for the environmental resource fair.

The fact that it’s on a Thursday at 10am might make it difficult for working folks and children to attend, so be sure to plant a tree on your own time!

– See more at: