Candidate Responses to GVCA's Questions

 
election2016
 

As the November election nears, one of the roles the GVCA has traditionally taken is to inform the community about the candidates who are seeking local office for Poway City Council and Poway Unified School District.  As such, we asked the candidates questions relevant to the concerns of our community. 

Presented below are the candidates' verbatim responses.

Future 240-room hotel at Maderas Golf Club now in voters' hands

At the July 19, 2016 City Council meeting, council members laid the groundwork for a large hotel development at Maderas Golf Club, voting 4-1 to approve a request by the club owner to modify their specific plan to include a 240-room hotel (Councilman Grosch opposed), and approved the measure that will be placed on the November election ballot. The application was brought to the City with short notice in order to meet the deadline to appear on the election ballot. 

Council also approved an addendum to the 1990 Environmental Impact Report (EIR) stating that there is no new information of substantial importance which would result in new significant or substantially increased adverse impacts as a result of the development of a 240-room hotel.  

The GVCA asked Council to reduce the number of rooms and include basic project parameters (i.e, square footage, size and mass) in the language of the ballot measure. Our request was denied with a unanimous vote. Neighbors also addressed Council with concerns about relying on a 26-year-old EIR, increased noise, lack of wildfire escape routes, and traffic/safety issues resulting from a 240-room hotel in this otherwise quiet rural setting.

The GVCA recognizes the economic importance to the City which is expecting to receive $1.5 million per year of hotel tax revenue from this development and the desire to keep Maderas as one of the top golf courses in the country. However, we are disappointed that Council chose not to include additional project information about the location, size and scale of the development in the ballot measure so that voters have a better understanding of what they are being asked to consider at the November 8th election. 

Maderas Golf Club asking City Council for a land use change allowing a Hotel

  The Maderas Golf Club opened in Poway's Old Coach area in 2001.   Aidan Bradley

The Maderas Golf Club opened in Poway's Old Coach area in 2001. Aidan Bradley

As reported by Steve Dreyer of the Pomerado News "The owners of the Maderas Golf Club will be asking the Poway City Council to place on the November ballot a measure that, if passed, would clear the way for them to propose a hotel on the Old Coach Road property.

Bob Manis, the city’s development services director, said that Sunroad Enterprises is interested in building a hotel of up to 240 rooms but that the specific plan covering the Old Coach area would first need to be amended to allow the use. That would require a citywide vote under Proposition FF. The specific plan covers land uses within the two Old Coach luxury residential developments and the golf course.

If the measure passes, Sunroad would then be able to proceed with proposing what Manis called a “boutique hotel/resort.” The plans would be subject to a thorough City Council review, including public hearings, he said.

The matter is scheduled for the council’s next meeting, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, 2016."

Informational Meeting about StoneRidge Country Club

INFORMATION MEETING
June 5th at 4:00 pm
StoneRidge Country Club

As you may have heard recently, the owner of StoneRidge Country Club has determined that retaining a membership-based course and its clubhouse amenities are no longer viable operations as currently structured. To explore its options for the site, the property owner has hired local consultants to conduct one-on-one ascertainment research among Poway residents living directly adjacent to the StoneRidge golf course, as well as representatives of adjacent homeowners associations, the GVCA, and those who have purchased golf club, tennis club or social memberships.

In light of this activity, members of the StoneRidge Men’s Golf Club have organized a committee to explore ways to keep the property as a golf course/club. You are invited to attend an informational meeting led by this group to learn more about their efforts. The meeting will be held on Sunday, June 5th, 4:00 p.m., at StoneRidge Country Club.

For more information, email: SaveStoneRidge@outlook.com 

Looking for PUSD School Board Candidates

Two seats of the five seats on the Poway Unifed School District Board of Education are up for general election in November. One seat is currently held by incumbent Kimberly Beatty and the second is held by long-time board member Andy Patapow who is not seeking re-election.

As an award-winning school district, PUSD needs strong, stable leadership on its board of directors to help sustain its excellence in education which also protects home values in the area. Currently, there are no members on the board who live in the City of Poway.

If you are interested in running for one of the open seats, a group called The Coalition for Effective School Board Leadership is seeking candidates to endorse. The group consists of 20 parents, teachers, local business owners, and community leaders, including former Poway High School Principal, Scott Fisher.

For more information, visit:

www.coalition4effectiveschoolboard.com

The candidate filing deadline for this election is August 12, 2016. 

What's Happening at StoneRidge?

As you may have recently read in the San Diego Union Tribune and Pomerado News, the owner of StoneRidge Country Club has been exploring alternative uses for the property and hired a PR company to survey the community.  Over the last several months, the GVCA has meet with City of Poway officials, the owner of StoneRidge and their consultants to stay abreast of the issue. 

Shown below is the City of Poway's FAQ sheet on what is allowed there now and what it takes to change the zoning. Per the City of Poway "voter approval is required for any General Plan amendment, zone change, subdivision map, or other discretionary land use decision affecting any area zoned Rural Residential or Open Space, which would increase the residential density or change the zoning designation to allow commercial or manufacturing uses." 

The GVCA will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed. Please like us on Facebook to receive our informative news feed.

Thank you,

Steven Stone
President


President's Message Winter 2016

Paying more for using less:  What can we do about the water conundrum?

San Diego County Water Authority board member Matt Hall recently was quoted in the San Diego Union Tribune saying that our water situation is hard to explain to ratepayers. “It’s real hard to tell them, ‘You have to let your grass die,’ and in the same breath you have to tell them, ‘We have more water than we can use,’” he said.

So why is this? It is the direct consequence of California Governor Jerry Brown’s Executive Order B-29-15. This Emergency Regulation gives no credit to local water agencies for developing new sustainable water supplies, such as the new Carlsbad desalination plant – investments that our local water authority has made and we are paying for.

The City of Poway becomes part of this tangled web as it is required to comply with the Governor’s order to reduce water use by 32% (and to enforce the order). This steep reduction is contributing to rising water rates because local water agencies and the City are forced to meet revenue needs with lower sales.

What can we expect if the State continues to impose mandated water reduction as its primary drought plan?

  • Water allocations and penalties – Poway City Council passed an ordinance in late 2015 which establishes a baseline allowance and penalties for excess non-essential use.
  • Mandated irrigation standards – the State recently required cities to adopt irrigation standards for new construction, existing landscape rehabilitation greater than 2,500 square feet needing city approval, and for existing homes with landscape area greater than one acre.
  • Continued mandated water cuts and higher water rates – reduced water sales coupled with ever increasing operating cost and more expensive desalination and recycled water will result in higher rates.

What can YOU do?

  • Be engaged. Sign up to receive email notifications of City of Poway city council meeting agendas so you are informed of when new restrictive water-related ordinances are being considered and adopted. Go to: http://poway.org/list.aspx
  • Attend council meetings and contact Council Members directly to voice your comments on issues, such as water, that directly impact your quality of life, home value and community.
  • Contact our state legislators:

38th Senate District - JOEL ANDERSON
500 Fesler Street, Suite 201
El Cajon 92020
(619) 596-3136 • Fax (619) 596-3140 www.sen.ca.gov/anderson

77th Assembly District - BRIAN MAIENSCHEIN
12396 World Trade Drive, Suite #118
San Diego, CA 92128
(858) 675-0077 • Fax (858) 675-0688 https://ad77.asmrc.org

These elected officials support petitioning Governor Brown to allow us to meet mandated cutbacks through both conservation and sustainable water supplies, such as the Carlsbad desalination plant. Let them know you support their efforts for a more balanced drought management plan. You can also contact the State Water Resources Control Board directly:

Jeanine Townsend, Clerk of the Board
State Water Resources Control Board
1001 I Street, 24th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
commentletters@waterboards.ca.gov

Now What? – How to take action against Water/Sewer Rate Increases

Over the last few weeks, we have heard from a number of GVCA members and residents in North Poway who are very concerned about the water and sewer rate increases identified in the Prop 218 notification which went out recently.  The new rates for water and sewer service amount to a combined increase of 20% for a typical north Poway property. On December 15th, City Council will vote to formally adopt the rate increases as described in the Prop 218 Notice. 

What You Can Do

1.  Contact elected officials in Sacramento where policies are being made that significantly impact our local water and sewer rates. 

2.  Send a formal protest to the City of Poway asking them to do the following in order to limit future increases:

  • Review how the City can better scale its water operations and capital improvements in light of the "new" normal water demand to reduce its operating costs and lessen rate increases year after year.
  • Assess if pass-through costs from other agencies are justified.
  • Have staff prepare an action plan for Poway to push back against these pass-through increases and join forces with other cities facing the same issue.  

According to the Poway City Clerk, written protest must include the following information:

  • A description of the protestor's property, such as the address or assessor’s parcel number; and
  • The name and original signature of the customer submitting the protest
  • City Council will consider all written and oral protests at this public hearing. Email nor oral comments will not qualify as formal protests.

Hand Delivered
Written protests can be submitted in person to the City Clerk’s Office at 13325 Civic Center Drive, Poway.

Sent via US Mail
City of Poway, Attn:  City Clerk, P.O. Box 789, Poway, CA  92074-0789

Submitted Protests must be received by the City Clerk’s office no later than 4:30 p.m. December 15, 2015. 

Submitted at the Council Hearing
Written protest can be submitted in writing in the Council Chambers before the Public Hearing is closed. 
 
NOTE: Last month, Poway City Council held a public workshop regarding the proposed rates. The GVCA addressed council with concerns regarding the new rates, the "temporary" surcharge, "pass-thru" cost, and the department's operating expenses. The workshop was sparsely attended by the public. We encourage all residents who are concerned about future increases to their water and sewer bills to become engaged in the public discussion BEFORE it reaches the Prop 218 phase.

Update: Stoneridge Country Club

As you may know, the StoneRidge Country Club property is for sale and the owner is considering his options. The property is currently zoned Open Space Recreational (OSR) and any change in land use would require a citywide Proposition FF vote by the citizens of Poway.

The GVCA met with the owner of StoneRidge Country Club upon his request. We suggested that he communicate any intentions he has for the property to the property owners contiguous to the StoneRidge golf course and to the community.

To our knowledge, no proposal has been presented or filed with the City for any land use change. If an official plan is proposed by the property owner, the GVCA will be diligent in ensuring that it is in the best interests of the community.  

In the meantime, we continue to keep an eye on the situation and will update our members as public information becomes available.

 

Update: Water and Sewer Rates

At Tuesday night's City Council Workshop meeting, council decided to proceed with the proposed water and sewer rate increases.  A public notice will be prepared and mailed to residents advising of a public hearing to adopt the new rates. The City's next meeting on this will be a hearing on December 15th at 7:00 pm at the City Council Chambers.  

The proposed water and sewer rates are:

  • 7.75% increase in the Water Commodity rate to $4.60 per unit (748 gallons) and $6.56 per unit for those using more than 200 units
  • $0.75 per unit "Drought Recovery" water surcharge, effectively making the rate $5.35 per unit up from the current $4.27 per unit
  • 8.75% increase in Water Meter Charge
  • 7.5% increase in Sewer Use rate
  • 8.75% increase in the Sewer Service Charge 

At the workshop meeting, the GVCA asked council to:   

  1. Review how the City can better scale its water operations and capital improvements in light of the "new" normal water demand to reduce its operating costs and lessen rate increases year after year.
  2. Assess if pass-through costs from other agencies are justified.
  3. Have staff prepare an action plan for Poway to push back against these pass-through increases and join forces with other cities facing the same issue.  
  4. Consider if the "Drought Recovery" surcharge is appropriate.
  5. Ensure that the Drought Recovery surcharge not become a permanent fee.

While Council considered our questions, they concluded that with the "new" normal water use Powegians will not see large increases in their bills since residents are using on average 36% less water. Council members were unanimous in their decision to include a sunset clause on the Drought Recovery surcharge to officially end in December 2018. We continue to encourage Council to push for new solutions for affordable and sustainable water and sewer service in the face of rising pass-through costs and water use restrictions from Sacramento.  

Noted below is the City of Poway water commodity cost per unit over the last 16 years. In the year 2000 water was $1.76 per unit compared to $5.35 per unit in 2016, a 7.2% annual rate of increase. Today's inflation adjusted rate would be about $2.56 per unit.