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Palomar Mountain Planning Organization 8/24/2013 Board Meeting minutes

Palomar Mountain Planning Organization Board Meeting

August 24, 2013

DRAFT - not approved for distribution

Board Members Present:

Glenn Borland [chair], Brenda Fromlath, Elizabeth Getzoff, Bruce Graves, Zachary Harris, Michael Pique, Linda Thorne, Yvonne Vaucher, Michael Walsh.

Board Members Absent:

Heather Beer, Robert Carlyle, Donna Dose, George Evangelou, Rosemary Johnston, George Lucia.

The PMPO Board Meeting was called to order at 10:04 AM at the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, by Glenn Borland, chair.

Michael Pique reviewed the minutes from the February 2 and May 25, 2013, board meetings, and the request was made for any questions, comments or changes. The February minutes were approved with spelling corrections and the May minutes were approved as presented, both unanimously.

Treasurer Linda Thorne reported the 2013 beginning balance was $37,730.32. Expenses since then have been $219.78 for the pancake breakfast, $913.68 for newsletter printing, $396 for newsletter postage, and $480 for accounting taxes and filings, total $2009.46. Income has been $228 from the pancake breakfast, $3510 from donations, and $17.90 interest, total $3755.90. Ending balance as of July 31 was $41,476.76. She hired accountant Debbie Thicksten of Craig A. Rothermel & Associates to figure and file the taxes. The PMPO accounting is now on a calendar year basis; Linda will get Michael Pique an end-of-2012 accounting for the records. Linda has no information on the 2013 newsletter advertising sales for billing; Michael Walsh will get this to her. Yvonne Vaucher asked if we expected major expenses before the end of the year; only if the board approves new ones. The report was approved unanimously.

Old Business

Fire Safe Council and Tree Removal Program:

Robert Carlyle was absent; Bruce Graves said Robert expects to have his chipping crew at work late next week.

Community Center of Palomar Mountain (CCPM):

Bruce Graves reported on the Community Center: “coasting now” without access to the house. The Volunteer Fire Department has spent over $10,000 to be ready for permits to the house: enlarging stairs, and moving the water heater & furnace to meet building codes. They hope to get these permits in a week or two, which will let the Fire Department get the $5000 withheld from the $50,000 renovation and improvement grant. Everyone is welcome at the CCPM board meetings, the first Friday of each month. The next event is October 12, the Chili Cookoff.

Ground Water and Well Level Monitoring:

Michael Pique said the wells on the East Grade and Birch Hill were measured on June 1 and 2, for the first time since September 3, 2012. Since the measurements began, two wells have become blocked, leaving only six measurable. Tom Fortney says a new neighbor has a well and Tom will ask him for permission to monitor it. Zachary Harris says the Camp has records and a sounding system, he will send the Christian Conference Center well records to Linda Thorne. Bruce Graves asks if the Mother's Kitchen well has records we could ask for. Linda will also ask if Bailey's records are available.

State Park:

Michael Walsh says the park had great attendance this summer, the camp was full most weekends, and “Sunset” magazine listed it as the only one in San Diego county to earn the “Best in California” award. Park Ranger Jessica Murany and her team are working on catching up on deferred maintenance.

The Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park have raised $107,000, along with volunteer hours. The next major project is cleaning up Doane Pond, six government Departments had to sign-off on the plans.

Yvonne Vaucher asked if the money can be used over the next three years; yes, but the State of California matching funds have to be spent within the park by June 2015, so the “Friends” are pushing forward now on making an empty building into a museum & visitor center.

Bruce Graves asked what happens to the School Camp, will it revert to the State Park; not sure, do not know the lease terms. Perhaps the Friends could sub-lease it in the interim. The San Diego County Board of Education simply stopped funding student trips up, about two years ago. Zachary Harris asked about the SDG&E program; Michael Walsh said SDG&E gave a grant to bring kids up for a week at the Park, about $20,000. Elizabeth Getzoff asked if any Charter Schools would think of sending students up; Michael Walsh said they have only 4 or 5 people in the “Friends” and would need help to carry out such outreach. Elizabeth will look for the names of those doing San Diego county science outreach. Brenda Fromlath: who owns the School Camp; Michael Walsh: the State Park, leased to the County Board of Education. He does not know who is currently paying for utilities and maintenance. Zachary Harris: can they rent out the pool? Alan Serry: yes, the School Camp is still available for rental.

Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department (PMVFD):

Cliff Kellogg outlined plans for the Labor Day weekend events: Friday August 30, the awards banquet, hosted by the Walls family and dedicated to the memory of Earl; Saturday August 31, the 36th annual barbecue; Sunday September 1, the PMVFD board meeting and election of board members.

Monday will be the building inspection; if OK, we will be in good shape on the house and on getting our $5000 from the county. Next project is the Fire Station permits: should be easier process than the house has been. After that, permits for the modular buildings.

Cliff is the “Station Chief” and has been working with Kevin O'Leary and Tom Porter on staffing issues. Six stations in the county are completely unstaffed today, for example. Brenda Fromlath asks if we have extra coverage during thunderstorm forecasts; yes, at least through Monday. Glenn Borland notes we had good response on the two recent structure fires; Cliff says both fortunately had three firefighters on duty, and he & Doc Sowards got the page and came quickly. Had we had only one firefighter, would not have worked out. Linda Thorne asks if we can add firefighters; yes, but they'd need training and certification, always difficult, and “busy 20-year olds are not eager to say up here”. Cliff thinks the PMVFD web site could be improved to attract student trainees: “we sell them experience & training, they give us coverage”. The County Fire Authority (CFA) has got to get people trained, and even to enter the Academy requires being an EMT. Cliff says that in 2003, when he joined, the Department had 3 driver-operators and 3 or 4 EMTs. We now have 24 on the Department, including 19 EMTs, 10 drivers: the problem is that they aren't on the mountain most of the time. The attempt to get “volunteer service providers” with basic training has been hung up in Human Resources for a long time now.

Keith Ronchetti urges all residents to come to Sunday's Fire board meeting, many important issues to be discussed and new board members to be elected.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT):

Alan Serry says the new CERT coordinator Greg van Idsinga is doing a great job, focusing on training to run the Barricade gel truck and to help out the Fire Department. The county has increased the required training schedule and it is more difficult now, so please encourage friends and neighbors to join.

New Business

Traffic Safety:

Mike Stevens replaced Alan Serry; who will replace Mike? Alan says the chief duties are to interface with CHP and the sheriff's office, and to attend county meetings for snow-day planning and traffic law enforcement. Alan says he will do the job through the summer, and Zachary Harris says he will take over when his classes end in August 2014.

2020 General Plan Revision:

Glenn Borland says various properties are getting exceptions but most of the work seems to have wrapped up. He moves to close the sub-committee, after submitting a document that points to the relevant county web sites. Approved unanimously.

Easement Project

Many properties have no deeded easements, and in 1971-1972 the county changed the rules for recognizing prescriptive easements. After the fires in Julian, rebuilding was difficult without easements. Glenn Borland said that the PMPO committee that was formed to obtain deeded easements, first along Crestline and Birch Hill, ran into opposition and suspended work. Bruce Graves thinks the effort should go forward. Glenn says we may need a survey to legally identify the existing roads. Linda Fortney suggests getting everybody on Crestline & Birch Hill together, especially with the surveys that “keep coming off of different pins”: need to make common maps since the easements vary with the survey. Glenn thinks talking to Rob Hawk will be useful.

Dual Survey

Michael Pique says the Section 14 Dual Survey problem is indirectly tied to the easements, and we should talk to surveyor Lorne Da Pron, who is familiar with the local history and its many dilemmas. He outlined the three approaches the PMPO has considered over the years to resolve the Dual Survey problem as (1) cry foul, (2) look for miracle rocks, and (3) offer a land swap. He thinks the land swap is the only way that might achieve our goal of restoring the acreage claimed by the Forest Service after the Garten case.

Info Officer - Communications, PMPO Web Site

Mike Chesney is still hosting the PMPO web site, at, and this is working out OK. Should it become a burden to Mike, we may need to transfer the content and upkeep to ourselves. Brian Wagner offers to help.


Would Heather Beer supervise the newsletter again? If not, Brenda Fromlath offers to help.

CFI forms

Conflict-of-interest disclosure forms were completed and signed by the nine board members present.

Signs for unnamed roads

Alan Serry has ideas to improve the existing Crestline & Birch Hill “Emergency Locator Signs” that have been in place since 2003. He is thinking of 4-to-6-inch wide, 18-to-24-inch tall signs, reflective and color-coded, such as green for houses, blue for water sources.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:10 PM.

Next board meetings are November 16, 2013, beginning at 10 AM, and February 8, 2014, beginning at 10:30 AM.

Michael Pique, Secretary. Minutes approved by PMPO board not***yet

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