Minutes of the Palomar Mountain Planning Organization Meeting
November 12, 2011
DRAFT - not approved for distribution
Heather Beer, Glenn Borland, Robert Carlyle, Mike Chesney [Chair], Steve Clark, Bruce Graves, George Lucia, Michael Pique, Alan Serry, Linda Thorne, Michael Walsh.
Donna Dose, George Evangelou, Elizabeth Getzoff/John Tainer, Doug Lande.
The PMPO Board Meeting was called to order at 10:04 AM at the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department. Chair Mike Chesney thanked the community for coming out (about 8 people), and the Fire Department for the use of their building. Minutes of the September 4, 2011, board meeting were unanimously approved with a clarification to the status of “Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park.” Treasurer Alan Serry reported a balance forward as of September 4, 2011, of $40,250.54, interest income of $12.11, no expenses, leaving us with a balance as of November 12, 2011, of $40,262.65. The report was approved unanimously. Alan intends to retire as Treasurer in May; Linda Thorne offers to step in.
Nedra Martinez, Superintendent of State Parks in this area, discussed the upcoming (July 2012) closure of the Palomar Mountain State Park. The exact meaning of “closure” is uncertain as it's not been done before. Gas pumps and storage buildings will need to be secured and gates erected. The Boucher Hill tower will be open as a fire lookout but not to the public as a museum. Access has been arranged for the Christian Conference Center. Earl Walls asked if there was possibility of corporate sponsorship to keep some park operations running; yes, and AB 42 passed allowing operating agreements with non-profits, such as the Cleveland National Forest. Any plan to keep the park open must be for at least five years. Annual operating costs are about $40,000 plus salaries, with a usual net operating loss about $90,000. Costs include trash, toilets, routine maintenance; current staffing is 3 FTE (2 rangers, 1 maintenance worker) and 2 part time seasonal helpers. Steve Clark asked about the law enforcement functions. Jessica Murany, our Palomar Mountain State Park ranger, says she has made two felony arrests and a few dog containments in her year on duty; George Lucia said she has supported the Fire Department on questionable call-outs and that without her, help will be farther out. Nedra Martinez said that any serious fund-raising must be immediate if the current staff is to be kept, as they're already job-hunting.
Mike Chesney reported on the November 7, 2011, conference call with Robert Ciprano of the county Deparment of Planning and Land Use (DPLU) and PMPO board members Mike Chesney, George Lucia, Linda Thorne, Michael Pique, Bruce Graves, and Glenn Borland. Every Crestline and State Park Road parcel for which the DPLU had not accepted the PMPO's recommendation about density and rural commercial (RC) designation was discussed.
Mr. Ciprano was agreeable to RC for the helipad, the 2-acre triangle north of it, the “Woods” parcel across Canfield Road east of the general store, and the fire station including the former Iverson parcel. He said the county had no jurisdiction over the USFS group camp, and suggested the small parcels around the fire station did not need RC designation to be used by the Fire Department for water storage or leach fields, their most likely potential purposes. George Lucia and Linda Thorne agreed with this so the PMPO callers withdrew the RC request as to those small parcels adjoining the fire station.
Mr. Ciprano explained that “dwelling density” was different from minimum “lot size”: the pre-FCI rules specified lot size, but this was inflexible, sometimes preventing rational division of parcels taking topography or road access into consideration. The new 4 acre minimum lot size does not allow more houses for a given overall density, but offers more reasonable planning: the general plan specifies maximum density, whereas the zoning specifies minimum lot size. With this clarification, the PMPO callers saw no problem with the new density and lot sizes in the Crestline and State Park Road area.
A new map set was presented at the PMPO meeting for public review, with the above changes as discussed. Robert Carlyle moved the PMPO accept these new county recommendations as to RC designation, seconded by George Lucia, passed unanimously.
*** MP- my notes are unclear on the next, can anyone help: Linda Thorne moved the PMPO not go to the federal government for the group camp, seconded by Michael Walsh. George Lucia said that, two years ago, the cost to decommission the camp was estimated at $200,000, and was unlikely to happen. Passed unanimously.
The density designations were discussed next. Steve Clark asked what happened to Pedley Valley and Jeff Valley as to density. Linda Thorne said Mr. Ciprano indicated that slope and road access would block any division and that 2020 “wants clumping”, so did not redesignate them to pre-FCI as the PMPO had requested. George Lucia said that the PMPO should clarify to the public that we were not successful in restoring pre-FCI density except along State Park Road; that the DPLU did not agree with our requests east of Canfield Road and north of the Crestline developed area. Steve Clark said the FCI kept his family from dividing their property as they had wanted to. Bruce Graves moved the PMPO ask the DPLU for our recommendations on density be accepted as submitted, with Canfield Road Fry Creek parcels added. No second. Heather Beer moved the PMPO contact the DPLU to resubmit the original PMPO pre-FCI density map to resolve differences not resolved on the conference call. Seconded by Bruce Graves. Approved with Robert Carlyle against, Steve Clark abstaining. Michael Walsh was assigned action item to contact Mr. Ciprano on Monday with this request.
Mike Chesney suggested writing and thanking the DPLU for the high level of cooperation and communication shown in our recent conference calls, with copy to county Board of Supervisors; so moved by Bruce Graves, seconded by George Lucia, approved unanimously.
George Lucia followed up on engaging the DPLU on building issues. Changing staffing at the DPLU has complicated things. He suggests we get a list of outstanding permits and examine their impact, compiling a report on number of permits for new construction or renovations, note how many were controversial, what concerns neighbors brought up, what rules were applied. Then, ask a DPLU supervisor to come up and explain what happened. Last year, he and Alan Serry and Doug Lande assembled a booklet as a starting point.. George took the action item to gather such facts and to come back to the board for presentation at the February meeting.
Bill Leininger was absent; George Lucia read Bill's email report. A community education meeting on November 5 was successful, with 30-35 people attending and SDG&E giving safety presentations. Bill said to be sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working, your flues not blocked. Robert Carlyle said be sure your propane wall heater vents are not blocked by snow. George Lucia said if your Barricade fire gel supplies are leaking, bring them back to the fire station for exchange.
Alan Serry reported the county is upgrading the South Grade guard rails. He said that CHP said they “increased targeted enforcement and added volunteer enforcement on Palomar Mountain. Last year over 40 motorcycle collisions whereas this year, only one.” The PMVFD records show 31 motorcycle crashes so far in 2011. Mike Chesney said to be sure to report safety incidents as those reports drive inforcement. Alan noted there are now as many as four motorcycle photographers stationed along the South Grade.
Another “snow day” planning meeting is set for this Tuesday. Should the State Park be closed unexpectedly this winter, Alan will notify the CHP at once, then put up “State Park Closed” signs at the South Grade. George Lucia said that if visitors trespass on your land, call the sheriff. If they block the street, call CHP. Alan recommends you keep those numbers handy in your car.
Robert Carlyle has a new brochure about property fire safety. He is low on chipping funds now but expects more any day now; he still has 38 people on his list. No word yet on 2012 funds; should have heard by October. Earl Walls said Robert's crews did a great job clearing his land. Robert said that last year they cleared along to the Courtney's property and are now finishing the Walls'. Last week they did the rest of the 3/4 mile above the USFS clearance zone, typically 200-300 yards deep of brush that survived the 2007 fires.
Robert said there are two ways fires get up here - uphill from the the southwest or else over Morgan Hill and along Fry Creek from the north. Major areas of concern are therefore the South Grade and the north side of Crestline. Steve Clark concurs: “if a fire starts in Pedley Valley, we'll lose Crestline.” About 18 months ago, Ray Carpenter bought property west of Observatory Point (at the north end of Conifer Road). Ray has so far spent $300,000 reducing the fire risk to Crestline. After that, Ray hopes to work along Mendenhall Valley from the Warner's Springs direction. Robert urges us to “thank Ray if you see him”.
Linda Thorne said that the well level monitoring program is still suspended because of Mike Probert's automobile accident. He is not yet well enough but the measuring equipment is available if someone else can do it. Bruce Graves, Glenn Borland, and Patricia offered to help.
Linda Thorne said all is good, they currently have plenty of water.
Linda Thorne said we're waiting until this spring, when the campers start arriving, to put up signs at the bottom of the Grades warning not to bring firewood up. She wants a meeting in February or March to plan publicity and obtain a supply of firewood for campers, beyond what the General Store has.
Chief George Lucia said “all good” and that the recent rains have helped reduce fire risks.
Bruce Graves reported the CCPM is open for use and that he maintains the official calendar, posting it monthly at the store, the PMVFD, and outside the Community Center. A “make your own Christmas card” activity is set for November 18, and the next book club meeting for December 6.
Mike Chesney will contact Susan Humason to arrange delivery of her plaque of appreciation.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:04 PM. Next board meetings are February 4, 2012, and May 30, 2012.
Michael Pique, Secretary. Minutes approved by PMPO board not***yet