Foothills Sentry August 2023

Foothills Sentry Page 2 August 2023 NEED HELP? 714 282 0828 | | ACO4202 We can protect your family, home and business from burglary, fire and medical emergencies. "Serrano Water" continued from page 1 appropriations for high hazard dams. Options explored The Board even considered transferring the rights to the San- tiago reservoir to avoid the $75 million price tag. However, the long-term consequences were de- termined to be even more costly, as SWD would lose all water and recreation rights; the unique local water supply asset and flexibility would be gone; and significant revenue from water sales and storage would be lost. SWD (and its rate-payers) would then be subject to the full cost of Metro- politan untreated water, assuming Colorado River Water is avail- able, inefficient use of the treat- ment plant, and put residents in a vulnerable position should there be an emergency. Retaining the asset and repairing the Santiago reservoir would allow SWD to retain all water and recreation rights; allow it to retain the local water supply and efficiently use the water treatment plant, avoid importing high-cost water, retain significant revenue from water sales, and store water on behalf of other agencies, all of which would be a cost savings to SWD customers. After careful analysis, it was determined that the mid- to long- term cost of the project would be less than the cost of water, over time. The advantages of retaining the asset and repairing the dam are obvious. Groundwater costs have gone up, the projected increase is 450% from 2013-2034, and im- ported water costs, 250% from 2013-2033. SWD estimates rate projections to increase in 2023-24 from $5.03 per unit (of 748 gal- lons) and $41.69 fixed meter rate to $10.57/unit and $70.29 fixed meter rate 10 years out, increas- ing an average 9.4% per year. That rate estimate includes the capital infrastructure loan pay- ments, pass-through costs based on Orange County Water District and MET rate estimates. All are forecasts and may change. A five-year timeline Serrano Water District antici- pates moving forward as the best alternative, and has prepared the draft timeline for the replacement of the dam: 90% of design, No- vember 2023; EIR, December 2023; permitting, January 2024; 100% of design, June 2024; drain- ing Irvine Lake, July 2024; award contract, January 2025; start con- struction, July 2025; completion, September 2028, well before the Division of Safety of Dams dead- line in 2029. “Although the projects are certainly costly, SWD is looking, and will continue to look, for ways to have the least financial impact on the residents of Villa Park and the City of Orange,” says Jerry Vilander, the general manager for Serrano Water District. SWD President Brad Reese reports that, “Villa Park Mayor Robbie Pitts has invited SWD to re-present the Town Hall presen- tation at an upcoming City Hall meeting on Aug. 22. With the SWD Board believing this is an excellent opportunity, at this time, the plan is that all SWD Board members will be present and the General Manager of SWD will replay the recorded presentation that can be found on SWD’s web- site. This is an opportunity for SWD to continue to be transpar- ent informing its residents of the capital improvement projects that challenge SWD just as all other water agencies are facing in the region.” North Tustin residents appeal high- density project to OC Board of Supervisors North Tustin residents opposed to a 37-unit development in their single-family-home neighbor- hood near the Tustin Hills Rac- quet Club have appealed the county Planning Commission's approval of the project to the Board of Supervisors. It is expected that the board will hear the appeal this month, but it has not yet been formally agendized. Third District Super- visor Don Wagner told his North Tustin constituents that he, too, is opposed to the development, and will support their efforts to stop it. The proposed housing com- plex is slated to replace the Tustin Hills Racquet Club, a recreational staple in the neighborhood since the 1970s. Residents note that it is the only recreational facility in the area, and that replacing it with high-density housing would forever alter the character of their single-family community. That character is, in fact, protected by a covenant that covers the Racquet Club property and nearby homeowners. The covenant, in place since 1974, holds that the acreage will be forever used as a Racquet Club or “conform to the uses permitted in tract 3883.” That tract, adjacent to the club, consists of single- family homes on 20,000-sq.- ft. lots. The club property is surrounded by 20,000-sq.-ft lots on two sides and 10,000-sq.-ft.- lots on the other two. The covenant, like a deed re- striction, runs with the property and is transferred from one owner to the next. It was recorded with the county almost 50 years ago and has governed the property since. Now, however, the county is refusing to recognize the cov- enant because it was between pri- vate landowners, and the county was not a party to it. The county also claims that its zoning allows up to 18 units per acre, and the proposed 17 duplexes and three stand-alone units conform to per- mitted uses. Racquet Club neighbors re- port that as much as they’d like the facility to endure, they would not oppose housing that respects their community and the cov- enant. The Planning Commission ap- proved the project May 10, and the tract map was subsequently approved by the county Subdivi- sion Committee, July 19. Resi- dents received little notice of that public meeting, and few were able to attend. The subdivision okay is conditional on the board of supervisors approval. During the Planning Commis- sion hearing, the developer’s at- torney told the county that the project falls under the state’s Housing Accountability Act, which requires jurisdictions to approve housing projects regard- less of zoning. That act, however, is intended to boost affordable units. A subset of that act, the as- yet-untested "builder’s remedy," requires 20% of a project’s units to be affordable. At $1 million to $1.5 million per unit, this project does not meet that standard. Santiago Creek Reservoir Dam