Water board opposes package treatment plant for Montecito Ranch
Voicing their disapproval of the proposed package sewer treatment plant for Montecito Ranch, Ramona Municipal Water District (RMWD) directors agreed at their April 13 meeting to write letters to each county supervisor, stating their opposition to the proposed plant.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will be considering the major use permit (MUP) required for the proposed package treatment plant.
The 417-unit Montecito Ranch development was approved by the San Diego County Planning Commission at its April 2 meeting. RMWD Engineer Tim Stanton, who attended that meeting, said the commission approved the MUP for the plant despite recommendations to deny the permit by the county’s Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU) and by the director of the county Public Works Department.
Staffs from both departments have recommended that Montecito Ranch connect to the RMWD’s Santa Maria Sewer Service Area (SMSSA), which would need to be expanded.
Stanton noted that at one point the water district had been in talks with Montecito Ranch LLC to expand the SMSSA to accommodate the proposed development.
RMWD’s legislative code states that the district discourages package treatment plants. Director George Boggs said he wrote similar language 15 years ago for the Ramona Community Plan.
Director Darrell Beck said the county planning department requested that almost two-thirds of the 935 acres for Montecito Ranch be left for open space, which leaves the 417 single-family homes clustered on the remainder of land and unable to have septic tanks.
Because the plant project, as proposed, would be operated by a private company, the directors expressed concern that, if the private company failed, the plant would end up falling in RMWD’s jurisdiction.
Beck said that the water district became a sewer district after having to take over the county’s Santa Maria facilities, followed by the sewer operations for San Vicente and Mt. Woodson.
The directors said that, if the plant is approved, there could then be a proliferation of package treatment plants for other developments.
- Water board debates future of Bargar water plant
- Planners OK 417 homes on Montecito Ranch
- Water board adopts budget calendar
- Water board approves water, sewer rate hikes
- District proposes water, sewer hikes
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