Lake San Marcos Boardwalk

If you go down by the Lake San Marcos marina, you can see that the new boardwalk is coming along nicely.

Lake San Marcos Boardwalk

Photo by Gary Harmon.

It appears that the boardwalk will have several seating areas and lighted steps.  It is my understanding that the boardwalk will go from the marina area through the new Quail’s restaurant and down to St Mark Golf Club.  The pathway north of the hotel has already been completed and is in constant use by the hotel guest.

The picnic grounds structure is also starting to take shape.  The road leading to the picnic grounds has been expanded to two lanes at the request of the fire department.  Construction and design at the picnic grounds appears to be first class.  Glamping is still on hold.

Dead Fish Everywhere

If you have been at Lake San Marcos this week, especially towards the dam, you have seen dead fish everywhere.

Lake San Marcos Fall Turnover

Most of these fish are bluegill, but there are a few bass, crappie, and catfish.

I was on the lake Monday morning and there were fish at the top sucking for air everywhere.  Very sad to witness.  I new many of them were doomed.  The water looked dirty, a little milky, and had a slight rotten egg smell.  When I returned Tuesday night, there were many dead fish along the shoreline mostly past the glamping sites towards the dam.

For every dead fish you see on the top floating, there are probably hundreds dead on the bottom.  (DEAD FISH, for the most part, DON’T FLOAT!)  Don’t be alarmed.  This process is just the “fall lake turnover.”  This goes on all over America in freshwater lakes.  As the warmer water on the top cools because of the cooler fall nights, it becomes denser that the water at the bottom.  The bottom water comes to the top and the top water goes to the bottom.  The bottom water that has just surfaced has very little oxygen.  Therefore, the fish use to living near the top, have a lot of trouble breathing.  Thus, many of them dye.

Lake San Marcos has an abundance of bluegill.  Bluegill eat the eggs of bass and crappie and are actually a nuisance fish.   It is good that nature thins them out.

Nothing can be done about lakes turning over.  You must just endure the smell and the poor fishing while the process in continuing.  Depending on the weather it can take several weeks.

Glamping Put on Hold

After a “NO” vote by the Varadero community, glamping at Lake San Marcos, San Diego, has suffered a setback.

Varadero community votes sets back CDC glamping ambitions.

Glamping has been put on hold.

The glamping sites at Lake San Marcos were constructed encroaching the Varadero homes community”s property.  The owner of CDC, Pino Vitti presented Varadero with a proposal to purchase a small strip of land which would have made the location of the 4 tents ok with the County.  They also agreed to limit glamping to only 4 tents if Varadero approved the prospal.  Varadero residents voted on the proposal and it needed 71 votes to pass.  Last night the vote was counted and the glamping proposal failed to get close to the 71 votes needed to pass.  The Board will notify the County and CDC that Varadero has rejected the entire property line adjustment proposal that would have allowed the four glamping sites to remain as they are currently positioned.

Does that mean an end of glamping?  This writer doesn’t think so and predicts that Mr. Vitti will move the sites and also add more sites to his project.  Did the residents of Varadero just “Cut off their nose to spite their face?”  I think so.

Paddle Boarding at Lake San Marcos

Paddle boarding is now allowed on Lake San Marcos.

Paddle boarding is now allowed at Lake San Marcos.


Pino Vitti, owner of CDC, now the Lodge at Lake San Marcos, announced last week at a community meeting that paddle boarding was now allowed in Lake San Marcos.  In fact, it is being encouraged.  Resident and members of Lake San Marcos may register their paddle boards at the office at 1105 Bonita Drive, right next to the Pavilion.  There is no cost to get a sticker for your boat.

The Lakehouse Hotel and Resort will rent paddle boats to guest for $15 an hour.  Many folks are starting to take advantage.

Lake security will check to make sure all paddle boards have the proper stickers.

The Lodge at Lake San Marcos

The CDC is currently undergoing a name change.  This week they were approved to do business as “The Lodge at Lake San Marcos.”   The name really makes “no sense” to me.  Seems like there will be a lot of confusion with The Lakehouse at Lake San Marcos and The Lodge at Lake San Marcos.   Also, I thought a “lodge” is somewhere you go to stay and spend the night.  No, in Lake San Marcos it is the Lakehouse.  See what I mean, confusing?

New docks by The Lodge at Lake San Marcos

Photo by Gary Harmon

Regardless of the new name, the CDC has done some good things for the Lake San Marcos and its residents.  Many more are planned for the future.

  • Kayak storage – In June, the Lodge opened kayak storage and was immediately filled to near capacity.  They then began work on an outdoor kayak storage facility.  You can call and make reservations at 760-500-5012.
  • Pools – They have refreshed both pools and hire a professional pool service to make sure everyone has a good recreational experience.
  • Rules and Regulations – Drafts were sent out for people to review and make comments.  I did.
  • Security – Electronic proximity  card locks on all of the gates leading onto the property at the Lodge.  Also, on the gates leading to the pool.  Locks are scheduled to be activated in August.  All of us lake (The Lodge at Lake San Marcos) members will have a new ID Card.

Looking forward to all the new improvements to the community at Lake San Marcos.  And the best news is that all of these changes are helping improve the values of our Lake San Marcos homes.  For more information about Lake San Marcos real estate, contact Gary Harmon.


Home Loan Basics

It is always best to have your home loan prequalification in place before you start searching for your Ocean Hills Country Club home. If you do not have a lender, Gary Harmon will be happy to give you several choices.
When Gary Harmon, your Seniors Real Estate Specialist, writes a purchase offer for you, he will have to submit your pre-qual letter along with the offer to the listing agent.

Ocean Hills Country Club pool.

When you contact your lender or lender Gary has referred, they will:

  • Give you a quick summary of the loan process over the telephone.
  • Schedule an appointment to complete the pre-qual form and discuss different financing options.
  • Your lender will need such things as w-2’s, paystubs, bank statements, tax returns and other supporting documentation.
  • Your mortgage advisor will review your application and discuss with his lending team.
  • The lender will contact you with the best programs that will meet your needs and objectives.
  • Your lender will then provide you with a pre qualification or pre approval letter.

Your Ocean Hills Country Club Realtor, Gary Harmon, will show you homes in your price range based on your pre-qualification.  When you select a home you like, Gary will prepare and offer and submit it to the listing agent along with your pre-qual and proof of funds for the down payment.

For more information on the loan buying process or to see homes in Ocean Hills Country Club, contact Gary Harmon.

VA Loans in San Diego County

There is not a maximum amount that an eligible veteran may borrow using a VA guaranteed loan.  However, the VA does set limits to the amount they will guarantee.  Effective February 2014, the maximum guarantee from the VA in San Diego County is 25% of $546,250.

If 100% financing is not enough, there are even more benefits for veterans in San Diego applying for VA loans.

  • Your VA loan is assumable, assuming the person assuming the loan is also qualified.
  • Their are no prepayment penalties if you choose to pay off your loan early.
  • If you ever find you are having problems making your payments, you have the VA behind you offering additional assistance.

Active military, retired military, and sometimes surviving spouses are eligible to get a VA loan.  You can check your eligibility by checking

If you would like to know more about VA loans, contact Gary Harmon who can refer you to a VA specialist.

Lake San Marcos Helps Fight Wildfires

Lake San Marcos became the main source of water for the many helicopters fighting the San Marcos ( Cocos) fire.  See Video.

In the afternoon of May 14, 2014, a major wildfire started in the hills east of Lake San Marcos.  Fires rushed towards the lakeside community.  Later in the afternoon the evacuation order was issued for all homes south of Lake San Marcos boulevard.  Then two good things happened.  Since the fire was nearing Cal State San Marcos, Jerry Brown, the California governor, cleared the way for Cal Fire to bring the large DC 10 firefighting airplane to the San Marcos fire.  Very impressive as it flew very low right over my home.

Next, as if magic, the winds reversed and started coming from the ocean.  Ocean air contains more water, and with the addition of nightfall, the fire calmed.  However on Thursday afternoon, the fire started raging again.  This time moving over the hills towards Escondido.  To help slow the fire, many helicopters were rushed to the fire and  started to use nearby Lake San Marcos to refill their water buckets.  By the end of the day the control was starting to be established over the fire.

The Lakehouse Hotel and the owners of Lake San Marcos continue to do good things to benefit the community.

Out of Bankruptcy – Reorganization Plan Approved

The following  news was shared with the “Friends of Lake San Marcos,” and I thought it was important to get the message out to the Lake San Marcos community.

“Today Lake San Marcos received some of the best news it has had in the last 10 years….CDC’s Reorganization Plan has been approved by the Federal Bankruptcy Court.

Initially, the depth and breadth of the problems facing CDC were so great, I was of the opinion they could not be solved.  Fortunately, in the middle of the bankruptcy CDC was sold to new ownership.  It has taken incredible fortitude, financial acumen, and negotiating skill for Pino Vitti, the new owner, to have overcome these hurdles.  Congratulations to him and his staff.  Today is really the start of a new era for CDC.

The Lake San Marcos Community Association has played a significant role in supporting the new ownership of CDC with the Bankruptcy Court, the Regional Water Board, the City of San Marcos, San Diego County, Vallecitos Water District, the Telesis Credit Union and numerous other organizations.

The net effect of the Reorganization Plan approval is that now CDC can start paying back its creditors, can borrow to make improvements in our facilities, and can again direct its financial resources as it chooses.

For the community, it means the years of delay are over, and we can hope to see long awaited improvements begin to take shape.

CDC still has many hurdles to overcome.  They have to finish the lake testing, develop a remediation plan, and actually get the lake cleaned up.  They have more docks to build. They have to prove to lenders that they are on a firm financial footing, and the income generated from the Lake and Lodge leases and other sources are reliable enough to underwrite long term loans for rebuilding the community facilities and cleaning the lake.  They have to develop a plan for remodeling or replacing our aging buildings and pools that meets the needs of the community while remaining affordable.  There are many challenges ahead for CDC, but now they can move forward to work on those new challenges without the stifling control of the Federal Bankruptcy Court.

Thanks to all who were involved in these efforts over the years.  In particular Eli Whitney, John Andrew, Bob Kreiss, Jim Murphy, and Ken Lounsbery, but also many, many others.

Wayne Widener

Friends of Lake San Marcos”

And I personally would like to thank “Wayne Widener” who works very hard to keep us all informed.

For more information see “Lake San Marcos Bankruptcy Update.”


Glamping – Lake San Marcos

Glamping is coming to Lake San Marcos courteous of the Lakehouse Resort.

What is glamping: It is shorthand for glamorous camping; luxury camping.  Going camping, but with glamour. A combination of the two words. It’s like regular camping , but with nicer things than usual, being warmer, and more comfortable.

Photo by Gary Harmon

Photo by Gary Harmon

The above photo is inside one of the four units currently under construction past the campgrounds at Lake San Marcos.  Access to this “Glamorous Camping” will only be by boat.  All units will have electricity and a ceiling fan.  Modern restroom and shower facilities will be nearby.

San Diego residents can get away for a great mountain – lake, outdoors experience without all the hassle and time wasted by a long drive.  Keep checking this website for updates.  Also, check out the photos below of the Lake San Marcos glamping site.

Photo by Gary Harmon

Photo by Gary Harmon

Photo by Gary Harmon

Photo by Gary Harmon


Photo by Gary Harmon

Photo by Gary Harmon