Foothills Sentry - June 2022

NEWS INSIDE East Orange • Old Towne Orange • Orange Park Acres • Villa Park • Silverado/Modjeska Canyons • North Tustin A Monthly Community Newspaper June 2022 *********ECRWSSEDDM**** Residential Customer Letters To The Editor Page 5 Canyon Beat Page 6 Service Directory Pages 11-13 Prof. Directory Page 13 Classifieds Page 13 Sports Pages 14-15 The Best News In Town Since 1969 FRIENDLY FIRE Third District’s Don Wagner takes Sentry to task, reports his position on East Orange dumpsite. See Supervisor, page 4 FOLLOW US at Foothills Sentry RUNNING ON EMPTY Lack of candidates for park district seats threatens the canyon's only form of self government. See Canyon Beat, page 6 ATTRACTIVE NUISANCE The details of a revived Paseo are open to residents' comments and concerns before its fate is finalized. See Orange Paseo, page 3 HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS Canyon artisans set up roadside galleries for one-day art walk. See Silverado, page 10 LIFE IN THE PAST LANE As yet undeveloped canyon site reveals remnants of ancient inhabitants. See Indian, page 10 See "Budget" continued on page 5 Photo by James Black Draft EIR released for Tustin Hills Racquet Club infill development By Scott Logue The Orange County Public Works (OCPW) Public Notice of Availability of a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a North Tustin project proposal to construct high density infill housing on what is currently the Tustin Hills Racquet Club property was published on May 10. The Public Notice advises all interested parties to review the EIR draft and comment by June 29. It is available by searching Ranch Hills at ocds. Zoning disconnect The project proposal would allow the replacement of the ex- isting Tustin Hills Racquet Club with a development consisting of 17 buildings containing 34 single-family townhome units and three single-family detached units for a total of 37 units. It also includes 169 parking spaces, in- clusive of garages, driveways, and on-street parking, all on land currently zoned as General Agri- culture (A1). The Public Notice states that a zone change is not required because, “the Project is consistent with objective General Plan standards and criteria,” then contrarily states, “but the zoning for the Project site is inconsistent with the General Plan due to the inconsistency between the zoning and General Plan the density allowances [sic].” Environmentally benign In addressing the environmen- tal impact that such a large infill development and its potential ad- dition of 169 cars would have, the Public Notice simply states, “the Project would not result in any significant and unavoidable envi- ronmental impacts.” The large lots and open spaces of North Tustin neighborhoods are attractive to infill developers. The Foothill Communities Association (FCA), an all- volunteer collaboration of neighbors, anticipates many future attempts at infill development in the area, and will be aggressively opposing those efforts. FCA, therefore, opposes the Ranch Hills infill development in North Tustin. Neighbors are encouraged to submit comments on the draft EIR no later than 5 p.m. on June 29 to Kevin Canning, OCPW, 601 North Ross Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701 or email at Kevin.Can- . Sunny, the City of Orange mascot, shares a float with Miss Orange Victoria Johnson in the Orange May Parade. See photos, page 3. Orange budget talks extend to public safety and “visionary” thinking By Tina Richards An Orange City Council study session for the 2023 budget morphed into a comprehensive discussion of police and fire staff- ing levels, and the need for multi- year strategic planning to ensure the needs of a growing population are met. The number of sworn police officers was the major topic during the study session, April 26, and again at the city council meeting, May 10. InApril, the city had 159 police officers, giving Orange a ratio of 1.15 officers per 1,000 residents. The 2023 budget presented at that time would increase the number of officers by nine. Of those nine, six positions are already budgeted and three would be new. The proposed force of 165 officers would bring the ratio to 1.22 per 1,000. “I don’t think three new officers are enough,” Councilwoman Kathy Tavoularis stressed at both budget sessions. She noted Orange’s increasing population and that neighboring cities are adding more officers to their police departments. She also expressed alarm that the Orange police department had not expanded since 2000. Police department static Six new officers were approved and budgeted in 2008, but those positions were never filled. The recession hit; new hires were fro- zen. Once the recession subsided and the economy improved, those positions still remained vacant. Mayor Mark Murphy noted that pension fund obligations forced the city to move some funding around, which, he added, may or may not have affected those un- filled positions in recent years. “It was a strategic decision,” Chief Dan Adams explained, “159 was the effective number.” During the April session, Chip Monaco agreed that three new officers are not enough. He asked about coming retirements, attrition from officers leaving for other cities and incentives to attract and keep new police personnel. “We offer longevity pay and bonuses,” Adams said. “We’re not sitting backwaiting for retirements, we have succession plans. We have 100 RSVPs for the next testing.” At the May 10 meeting, Chief Adams reported that three officers had recently been hired, bringing the total to 162. The council agreed to increase the number of newhires fromthree to five. The cost would be about $145,000 per officer. “We’re able to do it right now,” Murphy said. “Let’s take advantage of this moment in time.” The additional officers will boost the police-to-population ratio to 1.24 per 1,000. That ratio, the chief emphasized, does not tell the whole story of public safety. There are other factors, but it does give the city an idea of how it compares to other jurisdictions. In a countywide report on police to population ratios, Orange ranked eighth overall, but was in the top tier of cities with over 100,000 residents. Fight fire with firefighters The proposed 2023 budget for the fire department would include funding to hire 12 ambulance Canyon precinct walkers met with the Democratic candidate for the new Congressional District 40, Asif Mahmood. He was being shadowed by reporters and photographers from the San Francisco Chronicle, which is watching OC races. From left, Martie Lubetkin, Christianne Rottenberg, Rusty Morris, Linda May, Asif Mahmood, Andrew Tonkovich, Sarah Sarkisian, Karen Lawson, Keith Morris. Photo by Tony Richards