Jacob returns Ramona Street extension to drawing board

Resident Jim Cooper, second from left, reads about the many design changes and projected costs for the proposed Ramona Street Extension at the revitalization meeting. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard
Resident Jim Cooper, second from left, reads about the many design changes and projected costs for the proposed Ramona Street Extension at the revitalization meeting. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard
County Supervisor Dianne Jacob speaks to subcommittee chairs, law enforcement officials, and residents at her biannual Ramona Revitalization Steering Committee meeting. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

By Karen Brainard

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob said she has sent the plans for the Ramona Street extension “back to the drawing board” after visiting the site of the controversial road project.

“The trip out there opened my eyes,” she told the Sentinel after her Ramona Revitalization Steering Committee meeting on April 27.

About 15 residents attended the meeting — more than usual — along with county staff and law enforcement officials.

Resident Jim Cooper, who would not be impacted by the road project but has taken a stand against it, read from prepared material about the history of design changes for the extension, the problems it could cause, and the amount of money spent and projected to complete it.

“What problem does this extension solve?” Cooper asked.

The Ramona Street Extension or “completion” as some refer to it, would construct about one-third of a mile of new road to extend Ramona Street from Boundary Avenue to Warnock Drive. The design is in its fourth iteration and was scheduled by the Department of Public Works (DPW) to be completed this spring.

“This is a difficult road to build,” said Jacob.

The topography in that area and an aqueduct along the site contribute to construction challenges, she said.

Ken Brennecke, a Boundary Avenue resident who would be impacted by the project, had invited Jacob to walk the site. She joined him for the tour on March 3 and noted that it was a lot different to physically see the topography than looking at a piece of paper showing connecting roads.

Jacob said she put the project back into the hands of DPW and told staff to talk to the neighbors, work with them, and resolve all the issues.

“This is an extremely difficult extension,” she said, posing the questions: “Is it worth it? Is it that important to

the community?”

Proponents for the road project say the extension is needed to improve traffic circulation, especially with four schools in that area.

Opponents say it will negatively impact the property owners and traffic patterns in that area and could create a safety hazard for children heading to and from school.

Those opposing the project include the affected property owners and members of Committee for a Rural Ramona (CFARR).

Other items discussed at the meeting included:

•Nancy Roy, health and human services subcommittee co-chair, said the Arriba Teen Center will most likely close June 1 due to lack of volunteers and funding sources. Palomar YMCA has expressed a possible interest in starting a program in Ramona, she said.

•Roy said Palomar Health is planning to break ground around June 20 on its Ramona satellite clinic at Main and 13th streets.

•Jacob reported that San Diego Gas & Electric said no to a request to underground its lines along the proposed emergency evacuation route for Ramona. The dirt route goes through the Ramona Grasslands and on Ramona Municipal Water District property where SDG&E has utility poles. Lt. Julie Sutton of the Sheriff’s Ramona substation said that, even with the poles, there should be enough room for vehicles to pass through in an emergency, adding that it may be tight for horsetrailers.

along the site contribute to construction challenges, she said.

Ken Brennecke, a Boundary Avenue resident who would be impacted by the project, had invited Jacob to walk the site. She joined him for the tour on March 3 and noted that it was a lot different to physically see the topography than looking at a piece of paper showing connecting roads.

Jacob said she put the project back into the hands of DPW and told staff to talk to the neighbors, work with them, and resolve all the issues.

“This is an extremely difficult extension,” she said, posing the questions: “Is it worth it? Is it that important to the community?”

Proponents for the road project say the extension is needed to improve traffic circulation, especially with four schools in that area.

Opponents say it will negatively impact the property owners and traffic patterns in that area and could create a safety hazard for children heading to and from school.

Those opposing the project include the affected property owners and members of Committee for a Rural Ramona (CFARR).

Other items discussed at the meeting included:

•Nancy Roy, health and human services subcommittee co-chair, said the Arriba Teen Center will most likely close June 1 due to lack of volunteers and funding sources. Palomar YMCA has expressed a possible interest in starting a program in Ramona, she said.

•Roy said Palomar Health is planning to break ground around June 20 on its Ramona satellite clinic at Main and 13th streets.

•Jacob reported that San Diego Gas & Electric said no to a request to underground its lines along the proposed emergency evacuation route for Ramona. The dirt route goes through the Ramona Grasslands and on Ramona Municipal Water District property where SDG&E has utility poles. Lt. Julie Sutton of the Sheriff’s Ramona substation said that, even with the poles, there should be enough room for vehicles to pass through in an emergency, adding that it may be tight for horsetrailers.

   
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