Minutes of the Palomar Mountain Planning Organization Meeting
February 4, 2012
DRAFT - not approved for distribution
Heather Beer, Glenn Borland, Robert Carlyle, Steve Clark, Donna Dose, George Evangelou, Elizabeth Getzoff, Bruce Graves, Doug Lande, George Lucia, Michael Pique, Alan Serry, Linda Thorne, Michael Walsh.
The PMPO Board Meeting was called to order at 10:03 AM at the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, by Mike Walsh, Vice-chair presiding. He thanked the community for coming out (about 22 people), and the Fire Department for the use of their building. On behalf of the Board, Glenn Borland presented a special thank-you award to Susan Humason for her many years of Board membership and newsletter creation.
Minutes of the November 12, 2011, board meeting were unanimously approved with a clarification of discussion on the “group camp” motion. Treasurer Alan Serry reported a balance forward as of November 12, 2011, of $40,262.65. interest income of $18.26, no expenses, leaving us with a balance as of February 4, 2012, of $40,280.91. The report was approved unanimously.
Robert Citrano of the county Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU) opened a discussion session on the 2020 revision.
Jerry Fisher said the county has requested he present, at this PMPO meeting, his concerns over the re-designation of his property, 90 acres along Highway 76 at the base of Palomar Mountain. He said he recently stood before the county Board of Supervisors for a 3-minute presentation, and left a written report with county staff. The big picture is that Palomar is an asset to San Diego County, with its parks and observatory. Palomar's water is key to this - his property was re-designated because it is not within a formal water district, yet it has better and more reliable water than most of California. His property was also re-designated because it is sloping. He said that if you applied this 25% slope limit consistently, San Francisco, La Jolla, and Lake Arrowhead would not exist. His property was also re-designated because it is not connected to a sewer system. He said there is an existing legal septic system capable of serving 100 people, because the property formerly served as a church camp. The property could easily support an 8-acre per dwelling density. His property was also re-designated because of road access, but it is on State Highway 76, with one mile of road frontage, and has two separate access roads to the highway, both existing and approved by Caltrans. His property was also re-designated because of fire service concerns, but Federal, State, and Tribal agencies all serve it, and the property has a 100,000 gallon water tank, two 5000 gallon tanks, hydrants, and two on-site fire engines. He points out that Highway 76, roughly 50 miles long, has commercial designation and zoning nearly from beginning to end. He wants to have his property designation revert to pre-FCI, 1 dwelling per 8 acres, with two pre-existing grandfathered operations (church camp and spring water truck loading station) allowed.
George Lucia asked if the property was within the PMPO's region; Robert Citrano confirmed that it was. The January 9 Supervisors' hearing reexamined 237 properties that were among those (disputed?**) when the 2020 GP revision was adopted in August 2010. 137 were left after review. Some of Jerry Fisher's property fell within FCI, some did not. Some went to Rural 1 dwelling per 40 acre in the new 2020 designations.
Mr Citrano explained how the General Plan update was a 12-year process. Its guiding principle was to shift development potential away from rural areas to existing urban areas because the population in rural areas is not enough to sustain services there. In 1992, the Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI) imposed 40 acre minimum lot sizes on much of the east county; FCI expired in December 2010. The land use designations therefore reverted to their old General Plan and needed then to be so redesignated. However, following the guiding principle of the GP update, Mr Fisher's land could not be allowed its former designation.
Mr Citrano explained differences between density and minimum lot sizes - density is dwelling units per acre: semi rural is 1 per acre; rural are 1 dwelling per 2, 4, 10 acres - most of Palomar Mountain is 1 per 10. These are all slope-dependent: double the required acreage if more than 25% of the property is sloping, double again if more than 50% is sloping. These are all about subdividing existing parcels, nor building on parcels already subdivided. The minimum lot sizes are a zoning issue, with most of Palomar being 8 acre minimum. The Board of Supervisors adopted a “community development model”, wanting compact villages where services already exist. For example, inside a water authority boundary would be OK, but if outside, only reduced density would be allowed.
Ray Carpenter asked what recourse Mr Fisher or others have. Mr Citrano said Mr Fisher's was one of the 237 that were reviewed and found not consistent with the guiding principles. Property owners were recently mailed letters informing of the designation change and told to come to today's meeting.
Earl Walls asked for clarification on existing lots - nothing changes on existing lots, whether built or not built. He has property within the telecommunications overlay, where antenna towers are allowed, but that was redesignated agricultural A70 and he has lost out. Mr Citrano said the telecommunications designation has gone away, and now antenna towers can be constructed anywhere.
Bonnie Phelps asks how the redesignation affects people with legal non-conforming uses, like the general store and Mother's Kitchen restaurant, which are in "residential commercial" areas not allowing retail stores or public restaurants, only group homes (like nursing homes) and schools. There seems to be some confusion on the maps between `RC' meaning `rural commercial' and meaning `residential commercial': the helipad has apparently ended up being `residential commercial' when `rural commercial' was intended.
Bonnie said people who have received the `down-designation' letters have found their property worth only $4000-$6000 per acre; isn't this a `taking' by the county? Mr Citrano said no, that as long as the county left your property with “some value”, they didn't `take' your property: “if you keep a little bit, it's not a taking”.
Mike Walsh proposed taking 4 issues back to a subcommittee: 1. reassess Mr Fisher's point of view; 2. the two other properties affected along Highway 76 (“the two ladies”?) ; who then declined the offer of PMPO help; 3. clarify `residential commercial' and `rural commercial'; Mr Citrano will do; 4. find a replacement for the telecommunications designation.
Steve Clark asked what the county believes the PMPO Board's purview is regarding the 2020 designations. Mr Citrano said they want recommendations; and if feasible, they will try to accommodate.
Tom Burton noted the county supervisors adopted the 2020 revision in August, without including the FCI-affected parts of the county. Those are to follow the principles of the General Plan, but not in the adoption step yet.
Bill Leininger asked how long the 2020 GP will be in effect. Mr Citrano said until the Board of Supervisors changes the General Plan again, about 20 or 30 years.
Michael Walsh reported on the “Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park” efforts to keep the park open. The annual operating loss is roughly $70,000 to $90,000: about $140,000 in, $220,000 out.
Would the park stay open if we could raise the money? Two parks, so far, have been saved that way.
Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park partnered with CRISPIA, the Cuyamaca State Park Interpretive Association, whose charter already includes Palomar. CRISPIA agreed to manage the fund-raising, with the goal of spinning FoPMSP out of CRISPIA eventually.
On December 16, 2011, they submitted a proposal to the State Parks, who said they needed to raise $60,000 for year 1. Got donations underway, but still do not have a firm commitment that the park will stay open if we get the funds. A very generous Rancho Santa Fe resident, Robert Wilson, has offered $30,000 matching funds; so far we have $28,000, with $6200 in cash and the rest as pledges. Hope to hear from park by March 20.
Rosemary Johnson says Lindsey at the California State Parks Foundation is offering training soon on how to run a state park.
Robert Carlyle says he sent $100 last fall for a DVD video and would like to know who got the money as he received no DVD. He was told to ask Rick Barclay.
Alan Serry asked Michael Walsh how close CRISPIA/FoPMSP are to the $30,000: a few thousand dollars. After discussion, George Evangelou moved the PMPO pledge $3000 to Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park, contingent on their successful negotiation with the state of California to keep the park open for one year. Seconded by Heather Beer; approved (abstain: Borland, Walsh; opposed: Pique).
Dr. Andy Boden, the Deputy Director of Caltech Optical Observatories, said the observatory was working with the PMVFD (through Chief George Lucia) on safety and emergency preparedness, personnel sharing, and discussing stationing emergency equipment and vehicles on the observatory grounds. The Hale telescope will be closed to tours from early February to early March for refurbishment of its superstructure and secondary mirrors. The observatory's Outreach Center remains available for hosting community events; call him to arrange.
Steve Clark is in charge; article topics will be Michael Walsh: State Park update, Mike Chesney: 2020 GP, Linda Thorn: Oak borer, Libby Getzoff: LJIR water project, Bruce Graves: community center.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:10 PM. Next board meeting is May 26, 2012, immediately following the Pancake Breakfast and Annual General Meeting.
Michael Pique, Secretary. Minutes approved by PMPO board not***yet