Curt Noland, who oversaw the development of the San Elijo Hills master-planned community in San Marcos and others in San Diego County, has died. He was 55.
Noland died Tuesday night at his Carlsbad home after a six-week battle with esophageal cancer.
As vice president and senior development officer of HomeFed Corp. (OTC: HOFD), Noland managed entitlement, design, development and sale of several HomeFed projects, including the 1,980-acre San Elijo Hills community.
Others included approximately 2,800 acres within Otay Ranch in Chula Vista, a 1,600-acre vineyard in Madera County and approximately 2,600 acres for a future community in Santee.
Paul Borden, HomeFed president, said in a statement: “Mr. Noland's contribution to HomeFed and the development and building industry is immeasurable, considering the quality and size of the residential and mixed-use communities that were developed under his leadership in San Diego County.”
In 2003, San Elijo Hills was named master-planned community of the year at the Nationals, an annual competition sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders, and it earned a Gold Nugget Grand Award in the community/town plan category at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference.
In 2004, Noland was named businessperson of the year by the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce.
Striving to create a distinctive architectural look for the community, Noland investigated Southern California communities that endured and flourished over time.
“I must have walked more than 100 miles, examining neighborhoods from the sidewalk,” he said in 2005. “I am now intimately familiar with the architecture of Old Pasadena and San Marino, as well as our own communities of Coronado, Kensington, Mission Hills and old La Jolla.”
Today, San Elijo Hills has more than 2,400 homes, a dozen businesses, an elementary school and a middle school, a 19-acre park, more than 1,000 acres of permanent open space, and 18 miles of hiking and biking trails.
Rick Gittings, who was city manager of San Marcos during the time that the San Elijo Hills community was built, said, “Curt was an extremely meticulous and extremely thorough and thoughtful planner and engineer. I always appreciated his level of understanding of this type of project. He was very experienced in the development business. He appreciated the fact that there were political ramifications and community ramifications.”
Developments of such scope often have their detractors, but Noland dealt with the opposition in a professional manner, Gittings said.
“Curt was a strong negotiator, and he would always protect his client’s interest,” he said. “But at the same time, he was flexible enough to understand that there were things just beyond the bottom line that were important to community members.”
Noland was born July 18, 1956, in Pasadena, and showed early aptitude for designing communities. He recalled that his siblings called him “Dirt” instead of Curt, because he liked to create imaginative towns.
“I used to go in the front yard and build houses out of sticks, and roads and bigger buildings that were meeting houses, and put a little stream through it,” he said in 2008. “I’d drive my little cars through the streets.”
After moving with his family to Maryland and graduating from high school, he returned to California, where he attended San Diego State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1979 and a master’s in business administration in 1990.
Noland worked for Nasland Engineering and then spent eight years in the 1990s as director of development for Aviara Land Associates, developer of Carlsbad’s 1,000-acre master-planned community. He joined HomeFed in 1998.
A longtime Carlsbad resident, Noland is survived by his wife of 29 years, Marlena; sons Phil, Dan and Andrew; his father, Al, of La Mesa; his sister, Elyse Black, of Escondido; and brothers Bruce, of Phoenix, and Eric, of La Crescenta. Services are pending.
1903 Wright Pl. Ste., 220
Carlsbad, CA 92008