In a special meeting Friday evening, Ramona Community PIanning Group (RCPG) agreed on draft General Plan Update comments to send the county, but not before members repeated what they’ve said before: they don’t like clustering, they don’t like conservation subdivisions, they want to be able to build on larger parcels outside the municipal water line, and they don’t want 20,000 more people crammed in the town center.
“Since the ‘80s, they try to find ways to stop any growth whatsoever,” said group member Chad Anderson.
Anderson said there was a time a property owner could divide 50 acres into parcels. “That’s where people made money.”
First came clustering and then conservation subdivisions, so a property owner couldn’t get what he wanted out of his land, said Anderson. “Now we’re going into the water quality of what you can do with your water, so basically they want to stop us in town.”
“It’s going to get worse,” said group chair Chris Anderson, who also chairs the group’s General Plan Update Subcommittee. “Because of AB32 (California Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006), they’re also talking about air quality so now it’s just not what’s going into your soil, it’s also the air.”
Anderson presented the planners with two pages of recommendations about the plan update environmental impact report (EIR). Comments were due Monday.
“There have been huge changes in the 10 years we’ve been working on it,” she said, referring to when the county Department of Planning and Land Use started updating its land use plan for growth.
Since the Ramona Community Plan was amended in 1987, at least 6,000 acres targeted for lots of two and more acres have been purchased by the county, state and Nature Conservancy for open space and Ramona Grasslands. Part of that open space prevents the Ramona Municipal Water District from adding the wet weather storage ponds and sprayfields needed to expand the sewer treatment plant in town to accommodate the county’s projected growth, said George Boggs, water district director and former planning group member.
Boggs asked for the planning group’s support in acquiring open space land contiguous to the district’s existing sprayfields/storage ponds.
The group’s purpose Friday was to agree on responses to the county’s draft EIR, Anderson said.
Ramona wants more flexibility written into the plan so each of the 26 unincorporated regions can determine their own destiny, said Anderson. Forcing property owners outside the municipal water line to keep 75 percent to 95 percent of their land in open space and then telling them where they can build “is far too great of a taking,” she said.
“ your open space,” said RCPG member Matt Deskovick. “We don’t want it anymore.”
Deskovick later apologized for his language and cast the only dissenting vote in the 11-1 decision on comments sent to the county.
“What you guys did to us is not good and we don’t like it and we don’t want it and it’s not safe,” said Deskovick, suggesting that stronger comments be sent to the county. “We’ve talked about the fire issues, we talked about personal property issues, we talked about all of it, and just reiterate that we don’t want to know what you are going to allow us to do, because we don’t accept it.”
Among comments sent to the county are:
• RCPG requests the county relax the wording to have permissive language that will allow for greater flexibility.
• Policy appears to significantly restrict the extension of sewer to areas beyond Village boundaries and could also impact nonresidential uses outside the Village boundary. Environmental restrictions will impact development on industrially zoned land.
• RCPG requests the county to provide specific wording regarding alternative septic systems that are being considered by the state Water Quality Control Board. With restriction of sewer expansion outside the Village boundary, this is of great concern.
• Regarding conservation subdivisions, RCPG believes that if any of these large parcels are to be placed into permanent open space, then the owners should be able to choose whichever portion they prefer to remain out of permanent open space. The different types of allowable uses need to be vetted out completely. The residents of San Diego County have already voiced their opinions regarding 20-, 40-, 80- and 160-acre lot sizes by defeating two propositions trying to create the same outcome this plan update recommends.
• The EIR does not address any economic impacts. RCPG recommends the county address the economic impacts.
• Without a true Purchase Development Rights and Purchase Development Rights plan, the proposal provides for an unjust enrichment to some property owners while others have an unjust loss. RCPG requests the county develop a viable equity mechanism to present to the communities for review.
• RCPG recommends the county use population statistics from San Diego Association of Governments.