Minutes of the Palomar Mountain Planning Organization Meeting
July 17, 2004
Thomas Burton, Robert Carlyle, Tracy Dixon, Donna Dose, Elizabeth Getzoff (alternate), Bruce Graves, Susan Humason, Pat Jones, Elliot Miller, Dale Norton, Jack Norvall, Bonnie Phelps, Michael Pique, Alan Serry.
About 18 members attended as well, including new residents ``Doc'' and Ann Sowards.
The PMPO Board meeting was convened 10:00 A.M. July 17,2004, at the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department. The minutes of the April 3 and May 29, 2004, board meetings were distributed with discussion and approval deferred to the next meeting. The treasurer, Tracy Dixon, reported income of $2585 from donations and $401.05 from the pancake breakfast; expenses of $37 for postage stamps, $259 for newsletter postage, $683.10 for newsletter and PMPO stationery printing, $219.97 for breakfast supplies, $285.62 for breakfast food, and $1000 for the Community Center startup costs, for total expenses of $2484.69. Our beginning bank balance was $32,311.00 and ending bank balance was $32,812.36. The report was approved.
Susan Quasarano and Kimberly Zuppiger from San Diego County government spoke on the newly-instituted ``Fire Safety and Fuels Reduction Program'', for which the county was awarded three federal grants totaling $39.6 million. The program's top priorities are Palomar Mountain, the Julian area, and Lost Valley. Dead and dying trees within 200 feet of residences and major evacuation corridors (Canfield and State Park roads, Crestline, and the East Grade and South Grade roads) will be marked by a licensed forester and then removed by contractors. Property owners should have received right-of-entry permission forms in the mail; they need to sign and return them immediately in order to be eligible. Owners can refuse to sign the form, in which case they will have to remove at their own expense trees that the local fire agency considers hazardous. Owners will not, however, have any ``veto'' over individual trees once the forester has marked them for the contractors to remove. More information can be found at www.sdcdpw.org/tree or by phoning (866) 402-6044 or (858) 495-5494.
The program will begin clearing trees in September and should finish within a year. It is not connected with the SDG&E removing of previously-cut trees beneath electrical power lines, which will begin in August at the east end of Birch Hill and should be completed in three months.
Philip Boczanowski spoke; he is the developer of the Greenfield or Mortensen property situated at the north end of Conifer Road. He explained that the improvements begun 4 weeks ago are according to a plan approved by the county tentatively in 1991 and in final form March 1996. The property is 120 acres and is being divided into 12 lots, ranging from 8.2 to 12.89 acres, intended for 12 small secluded houses. The houses might be built custom or on spec, or the lots sold. Three residential water supply wells are being drilled first, with more possibly later. Bonnie Phelps said the road easement clearing has resulted in a wonderful firebreak on the northeast side of the mountain, especially valuable for Birch Hill and Crestline.
Elizabeth Getzoff reported that William Yale has a pending agreement with the La Jolla Indian Reservation to sell his 7-acre parcel to the Reservation and build a pipeline to carry his pumped vertical well water down to Highway 76. The project, begun in 1993, was thought abandoned in December 2002 after Mr Yale withdrew his application for a Major Use Permit after having not prepared the required Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to the satisfaction of county planners. In June, project consultants Tierra Environmental filed an Environmental Assessment (EA) with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) saying that the project would have insignificant environmental impact and should be approved without further study. The PMPO will prepare letters and documentation contesting this and outlining the 10-year history of Palomar Mountain concerns and correspondence. The public comment period ends July 30, 2004.
Earl Walls has been locating property boundaries and working on accommodating setback rules. He is now looking a a site about 10 feet west of the current small house, overlooking the amphitheater. This site would require construction of a retaining wall and some fill, but would preserve the old oak near the East Grade Road. The current plan includes a 60-by-30 foot auditorium that can hold 240 people seated at tables. The plan is also suitable for construction by volunteers, so could qualify for 100% grant funding. Earl hopes to prepare a grant application for October 1, 2004 deadlines.
Jack Norvall reported he, Robert Haase, and Michael Pique are still deep into the details of what will go into the letter to the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service. Jack showed a large map of Section 14 and outlined how the problem developed and how we propose to correct it. Jack noted that resolving the federal government boundary issue would still leave a few difficulties in Crestline and Birch Hill where properties were not accurately surveyed on private plat maps.
Tom Burton reported the PMPO sent letters to the county for consideration at a June hearing regarding approval of the preliminary planning phases in order to proceed to preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Our concern remains whether the shop and restaurant at the Summit could be rebuilt in the event of calamity. Tom expects to have something concrete about the process by the October PMPO meeting.
Alan Serry said an article in the Road Runner brought some attention to the problem. Sergeant Griffith of the CHP assured Alan that enforcement activity would be intensified, and that the CHP will record license numbers at the Summit to link to unsafe motorcyclists. Alan says that residents encountering unsafe activities should call Palomar resident Tamara Davis, (760) 742-4546, who is coordinating reports.
Bonnie Phelps reported that Shana Ackerman has been working on actually receiving funds from the grant without losing a large portion to an intermediary. It appears it can be funded through the PMVFD instead. Part of the grant will fund rental and operation of the giant masticator machine, whose first priority will be clearing to safeguard the local telephone switching center. Bonnie will distribute a form for residents to return so they can be reimbursed for expenses of chipping and falling of trees and removal of dead branches - although not for stacking the slash into piles. The current county ordinance requires 100-foot clearing around structures: the first 30 feet effectively down to the dirt, the next 70 feet removal of brush and all dead or dying trees.
Susan Humason received a request from the Pala Indian tribe to join their opposition to the Gregory Canyon landfill. Discussion deferred to October meeting, for which Susan may try to arrange speakers from both sides of the controversy.
The next board meetings will be August 14 and October 9, 2004, at the Fire Station.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:12 P.M.
Michael E. Pique, Secretary.