Ramona residents who are required to pay the state fire fee can expect to receive their fiscal year 2012-13 bills in late September or early October, according to the state Board of Equalization.
The fee affects properties within State Responsibility Areas (SRAs) where the state is financially responsible to prevent and fight wildland fires. The $150 per habitable structure fee, discounted to $115 for properties within the Ramona Municipal Water District Fire Department boundaries, affected approximately 11,000 structures in the community last year, said Cal Fire.
A judge in Sacramento Superior Court recently allowed a lawsuit filed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) against the state to move forward. The lawsuit claims the fee is an illegal tax.
According to HJTA, the state said the association could not sue as a class action and wanted four of the 14 plaintiffs to be dismissed because those plaintiffs sought refunds for everyone who paid the fee, not just those who filed appeals with Cal Fire.
HJTA’s director of legal affairs urged the judge to allow the case to move forward, arguing that if the state acted illegally, it should not be rewarded by keeping the fees of over 800,000 affected Californians.
“The judge ruled in our favor that we can sue as a class action and did not disqualify any of our plaintiffs,” reads a statement from the association. “Unfortunately for now, the judge has also said that if the case is ultimately decided in our favor, taxpayers will only be able to receive refunds if they filed a timely appeal with Cal Fire.”
The association noted that this is just the beginning of a long legal process.
More information is at HJTA.org under the Fire Protest banner.
A new list of recreational projects to be considered for Park Lands Dedication Ordinance (PLDO) funding has received Ramona Community Planning Group approval.
Approximately $648,000 is available in county PLDO funds for recreational uses in Ramona.
Jim Cooper, chair of the Parks and Recreation Subcommittee of the planning group, sought projects for consideration, requesting each project be represented by a “champion.”
San Diego County Board of Supervisors will consider eminent domain for two parcels sought for the San Vicente Road Improvement Project at its Aug. 7 meeting.
The parcels would cost the county $18,800, which represents their appraised value, according to the meeting agenda.
Construction of the San Vicente Road improvements require acquisition of property rights from 31 privately-owned properties within the project area, which covers about 2.25 miles from Warnock Drive to just east of Wildcat Canyon Road. The required property interests include road, slope/drainage, and temporary construction easements, which are partial acquisitions consisting of strips of property along the existing road and driveways, said the county. The project does not require any full takes or impacts any buildings. To date, 29 of the 31 property owners have signed real property contracts agreeing to sell the required interests with all contracts costing less than $150,000 each, according to the county.
Although county staff said it continues to attempt to reach agreements with the two property owners, the road project schedule requires such action so the board can authorize bidding and award a construction contract in early 2014.
Also on the Aug. 7 agenda, supervisors will consider adopting the mitigated negative declaration for additional trails at the Ramona Grasslands Preserve. The project would create a 5.5-mile multi-use trail system that will connect to an existing 3.8 miles of trail within the grasslands preserve, providing the public with access to a total trail system of 9.3 miles. The proposed project also includes the construction of a crossing of Santa Maria Creek, a small staging area, and supporting infrastructure, including a maintenance building, viewing pavilion/visitor kiosk and two volunteer pads.
According to the county, the project would be constructed in phases and is an area just west of Ramona Airport and east and north of Highland Valley Road.
The supervisors meet at 9 a.m. in Room 310, County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego. For more information, see www.sdcounty.ca.gov/cob/bosa/index.html.
For the sixth consecutive meeting, the elected director of Ramona Municipal Water District’s Division II has been absent and Board Chair Darrell Beck, citing government code, said it’s time to be addressed.
At the July 23 RMWD board meeting, Beck asked that the issue be placed on the Aug. 13 agenda.
“It appears that he’s abandoned his seat and his obligation to the people that elected him,” Beck said of Director Kit Kesinger. Division II covers the west side of town, roughly from Pine Street, Sawday, Keyser
County supervisors approved a Fire Master Plan on Tuesday. The comprehensive document is designed to help county leaders, fire agencies and residents understand San Diego County Fire Authority’s scope, its future direction and what it needs to be effective for five more years.
Formed in 2008, the fire authority provides support to 15 rural fire agencies, including Intermountain Fire and Rescue Volunteer Department and nine other volunteer stations. According to the county, it extends round-the-clock protection to 1.5 million acres in the unincorporated county that previously had part-time or on-call emergency service.
The 140-page Fire Master Plan is available online at bosagenda.sdcounty.ca.gov/agendadocs/doc?id=09010e9680174b28
Thursday, Aug. 1
Ramona Community Planning Group, 7 p.m., Ramona Library Community Room, 1275 Main St. Among agenda items are: Montecito Ranch revised map, county zoning ordinance amendment for signs in public right of way, Santa Maria Creek Cleanup letter to send to wildlife agencies, report on meeting with SDG&E regarding wood-to-steel pole replacement project covering 14 miles between Ramona and Santa
Ramona Design Review Board, 7:30 p.m., Ramona Community Center, 434 Aqua Lane. Discuss waiver requests for fencing from Roe Recycling, signage from 99 Cent Store and signage from C21; preliminary review of multi-family project on 16th Street behind Stater Bros.; design review standards, sign violations and Village Design update.
Crissy Tobiason is joining forces with her dad to clean up the Santa Maria Creek.
Before completing 24-plus years on the Ramona Community Planning Group last year, Angus Tobiason said his goal was to see the overgrown vegetation and trash cleaned out of the “crick” to prevent future flooding, fuel for fires, and to eliminate a hiding place for criminals.
In a move viewed as a no-cost benefit to the community, Ramona Fire Department/Cal Fire will house a reserve engine from the San Diego County Fire Authority, said Battalion Chief Saul Villagomez.
“What a great opportunity this is for us,” Villagomez told the Ramona Municipal Water District Board.
By housing the reserve engine, the fire department will be able to use it in times of need, according to the district.
Ramona Community Planning Group unanimously approved the site plan for the Tractor Supply Company (TSC) store proposed for Main and Hunter streets.
The presentation, however, led to concerns about the yet-to-be-adopted Ramona form based code and its push to shield parking lots from the main thoroughfare.