OK, I admit to being suspicious of what could theoretically develop after reading these two articles by Editor Greg Little of the Mariposa Gazette (April 5th, 2019 Edition under News) about subdivision connected issues. Perhaps good. Maybe bad. Unfortunately, I’ve been conditioned to the later. Again, I am cognizant of my inherent distrust and bias, (you know) “the fool me once shame on you, fool me twice (or three four, five times, etc.) shame on me”, but thought the below articles interesting and wanted to share (especially the second one regarding subdivisions).
GOLF COURSE SEWER RATES
Yes, a very unfortunate financial situation for current homeowners around the golf course* (I would be furious also – that is quite a jump in fees), however, those of us who were present at the time and witnessed the “massive residential development” in the Lake Don Pedro subdivision around that golf course, might argue this was to be anticipated, in fact, PROBABLY EVEN EXPECTED with such uncontrolled “SPECULATIVE AND MODEL HOME” construction which was specifically prohibited in subdivision CC&Rs. (Land development was to be done by the lot owner (or through his contractor) with the owner ultimately occupying the residence—– thus avoiding EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED around the golf course…. construction of many “high-end homes” with many of them remaining vacant for years due to lack of sales.)
Without “resident owners” to cover the costs of that extremely complicated and expensive waste water disposal facility (with the pumping of “you know what” uphill not being the most efficient type of operation) funds have always been lacking to properly maintain the facility. Then there was the land fill processing of leachate, the liquid from rain/snow fall that percolates through the landfill material and is collected in basins (so as not to pollute, creeks, groundwater, etc.), but when basins are filled to capacity due to excessive precipitation, the excess liquid (varies in toxicity depending upon the material it flows through) was trucked out in tankers and disposed of at the Lake Don Pedro waste water facility. Unknown if this program continues or whether it had anything to do with the County of Mariposa replacing key components of the system years ago.)
* Before I get too far ahead…I have always wondered about the real estate disclosures, if any, regarding this aspect of home ownership in the subdivision around the golf course. (Lots that could not support an onsite septic disposal system typical of other properties due to an inadequate percolation area for waste water and/or extremely steep rocky geography aka, those “difficult to develop properties” which may have a desirable view or location, but are much more expensive to properly develop. (Individual driveways and septic systems.) Were prospective purchasers clearly advised of the “sewer system issue” and the anticipated HIGH COSTS involved in maintaining it PRIOR TO OBLIGATING THEMSELVES (THROUGH PROPERTY/HOME PURCHASE) to this increasingly expensive reality?
Or, was it like the MARIPOSA COUNTY LAFCO POLICY OF ANNEXATION into the LAKE DON PEDRO CSD water service boundary which very quietly required THOUSANDS OF LEGAL SUBDIVISION WATER ENTITLED USERS (the “deep pocket”) TO SUBSIDIZE A SPECIAL BENEFIT GROUNDWATER SUBSTITUTION PROGRAM FOR THOSE PROPERTY OWNERS NOT ENTITLED TO TRADITIONAL MERCED RIVER WATER SERVICE FROM LAKE McCLUR AS DESIGNED, INTENDED and CONSTRUCTED?
Sorry, but it occurs to me the root of both problems was in how the Mariposa County Planning Department and LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) were apparently working with the original Sierra Highlands Water Company officials; special interest land developers and real estate interests years before the LDPCSD was formed by ignoring their own operating regulations , State Water Law, SRA Fire Safe Roadway Standards, the primary characteristics of a SPECIAL DISTRICT which THEORETICALLY made it a desirable option for providing services in a rural area, etc.
Essentially throwing thousands of property owners in an established existing CALIFORNIA SUBDIVISON MAP ACT approved residential subdivision under the “BUS OF LAND DEVELOPER GREED” and the ANTICIPATED INCREASE in a TAX REVENUE STREAM”.
Pretty harsh, yeah? I wish someone could explain it to me in another way that was less accusatory in “doing the wrong thing” but when available public documents are withheld from public inspection it does not instill much confidence for another, shall we say, ethically palatable interpretation.
I was certainly never advised that owning my Lake Don Pedro LDPOA property in the subdivision also meant a lifetime of paying for a special benefit groundwater substitution service for property owners outside the WL11395 approved subdivision.
Paying for a special benefit water service for properties CLEARLY NOT HELD TO THE SAME REGULATIONS AND OBLIGATIONS of a CID (Common Interest Development), POA (Property Owners Association) subdivision that are also governed under the California Civil Code Section known as the DAVIS STIRLING Act? That doesn’t seem fair, does it?
Seems every single property owner within the nonprofit LDPOA subdivision (with the exception of owners in Tuolumne Unit 1 who are not “MANDATORY CUSTOMERS” of the LDPCSD – which itself is also a nonprofit organization) has been betrayed by their own local government entities to the benefit of private “for profit motivated” outside developers. Counties benefit though land developments that can be taxed without the corresponding liability of having to provide water service for the projects – with all those expenses just being passed on to the unsuspecting MR WECs (Merced River Water Entitled Customers) of the LDP subdivision!
BACK TO THE GOLF COURSE AREA – PLUS
Yes indeed, had existing regulations been followed and enforced at the time, with emphasis on subdivision CC&Rs (Covenants, Codes and Restrictions) governing how land development could legally proceed within the subdivision, (and not completely ignored by a pro-real estate “HI-JACKED anything goes” Lake Don Pedro Owners Association (LDPOA) Board of Directors), this terrible financial situation for the home owners around the golf course would likely never have materialized.
Hum, come to think of it, IF the LDPOA had protected its land owners who were also MANDATORY LDPCSD CUSTOMERS by defending their MERCED RIVER WATER ENTITLED CUSTOMER status from EXPLOITATION BY PRIVATE THIRD PARTY LAND OWNERS, our water rates and fees would be much less due to a far less complicated and unethical system of water deliveries to LAFCO ANNEXATIONS outside the water license place of use.
But how was such a corrupt LDPOA board of directors put in the position of ignoring established regulations specifically designed to prevent EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED?
All orchestrated by local real estate profit motivated interests lead by the Bay Area (late on the scene) Deerwood Corporation which had purchased several hundred properties (many at auctions for much less than they were worth because owners were fleeing a subdivision and local government which had betrayed their dream of foothill residency) providing DEERWOOD with the votes required to put anyone on that board – including a real estate business owner who had lost their broker’s license due to intervention by the California Department of Real Estate for unethical financial practices. Wonderful.
Yup, there were proposed competing subdivisions all around the existing water entitled Lake Don Pedro subdivision yet concerned LDP subdivision owners had no viable recourse with the exception of potentially losing everything they owned seeking justice in a legal gamble against the “government’s own activities” through a local Superior Court.
Hens appealing within a Fox controlled environment?
(The Jim and Marion Dean case is a perfect example of already VICTIMIZED PROPERTY OWNERS BEING FURTHER VICTIMIZED BY THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT! Approximately ½ million dollars of their “golden years retirement fund” lost in merely attempting to compel the State of California and the County of Mariposa to simply follow their own established regulations regarding those extremely dangerous and substandard ”developer convenience roads” constructed to reach multiple properties to avoid the added expense of individual and compliant SRA (State Responsibility Area) FIRE SAFE approved driveways for “difficult to develop properties”. All because of “late on the scene” NON EXCLUSIVE ROADWAY EASEMENTS filed with the county decades earlier, HOWEVER, and this is the important part, AFTER THE SUBDIVISION HAD BEEN APPROVED PER THE CALIFORNIA SUBDIVISION MAP ACT BY BOTH COUNTIES!)
CONSIDER this, subdivision CC&Rs were created to PREVENT THE EASILY FORESEEABLE FUTURE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF UNCONTROLLED DEVELOPMENT around the golf course which resulted in this financial nightmare of a waste water treatment plant with high operating costs. Same with the LAFCO expansion of LDPCSD water service boundaries for the purpose of serving water to the continuing LAFCO ANNEXATIONS into a SPECIAL DISTRICT THAT LAFCO NOT ONLY CREATED, but that it had known since before LAFCO formed the LDPCSD, IT COULD NOT LEGALLY PROVIDE THE ONLY WATER SOURCE IT POSSESSED PER WATER LICENSE 11395!
LAFCO RESOLUTION 76-4…. ADEQUATE WATER/SEWER SERVICES AVAILABLE ON FACE OF APPLICATION FOR ANNEXATION TO EVEN BE CONSIDERED FOR ANNEXATION APPROVAL? What happened to that logical operating rule between 1976 and 2019?
Want to talk about a perfect example of being set up for failure? Enter the Special District by the name of LDPCSD.
Those involved with such massive deceptions through the decades should be embarrassed for their direct responsibility in creating such easily predictable negative circumstances, ahhhhh, but they are not embarrassed at all because it is all part of an incremental “behind the scenes” orchestrated plan to achieve goals that could not be OPEN TO THE PUBLIC FOR UNDERSTANDING, DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL REJECTION FOR VIOLATING LAW!
The focus was NEVER on what was best for the existing subdivision community, its property owners (TAXPAYERS!), much less the residents who would eventually invest everything they had in calling this area home, but rather, on “cutting corners” FOR FAST PROFITS BEFORE THE “VICTIM PROPERTY OWNERS REALIZE THEY HAVE BEEN HAD”!
So here we are.
Those responsible for such unnecessary financial hardships on their neighbors will spout such exculpatory nonsense as:
“We did what we thought best for the community”
“No one could have predicted the current situation”
“Arguing about past decisions is not productive”
“Those against development will always complain about progress”, etc.
NICE TRY. Much of this is a result of clearly foreseeable consequences from INTENTIONAL VIOLATION OF EXISTING LAW, REGULATIONS, and POLICIES!
Same situation as Mariposa County LAFCO continuing to ANNEX PROPERTIES OUTSIDE THE LDPCSD water license legal Place of Use for Merced River water which was always pumped from Lake McClure – not from PETE KAMPA’s $400,000-$600,000 groundwater wells developed with state and federal grant funds.
Groundwater which must have contaminants such as arsenic removed, monitored and reported to the state – all increasing the costs above the planned service MR WECs (Merced River Water Entitled Customers) of the Lake Don Pedro subdivision should receive per water license 11395.
What about the ADVERTISED and INTENDED, but CLEARLY LOST BENEFITS, of having a SPECIAL DISTRICT water service operation in the first place? (Limited service, particular group of customers, geographically defined service area, with the service costing consumers only that which is required to provide the service.)
Do you find it just a coincidence that such betrayal of a SPECIAL DISTRICT and IT’S CUSTOMERS is being perpetrated by a LDPCSD GM/TREASURER who is simultaneously an influential director with the
CALIFORNIA SPECIAL DISTRICTS ASSOCIATION (CSDA)
for approximately 20 years, Psst…..the same amount of time he has intentionally MISREPRESENTED THE WATER RESTRICTIONS IN MERCED IRRIGATION DISTRICT WATER LICENSE 11395 to other state water departments, agencies, politicians, and the public?
Why would a California Special Districts Association director be involved with such CONTRADICTORY ACTIVITIES of a SPECIAL DISTRICT he had been “managing” since 2014?
Simple, to continue a special benefit, subsidized groundwater replacement program for LAFCO ANNEXATIONS he personally set up 20 years earlier when beginning his infamous California water career and operating as a rogue LDPCSD employee far outside the scope and performance of his duties at the time, aka, without board knowledge or approval.
Yup, FORESEEABLE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES RESULTING FROM UNCONTROLLED DEVELOPMENT and intentional violation of existing, established rules, regulations and law.
This is what the DEMOCRAT, PROGRESSIVE, SOCIALIST, LEFT in the current STATE OF CONFUSION has provided to the innocent victimized Lake Don Pedro subdivision property owners. That’s the bad news. The good news is it does not have to remain so corrupt.
Forget about what is RIGHT and what is DEMOCRAT, PROGRESSIVE, SOCIALIST, and LEFT.
Focus on what is RIGHT and WRONG during the next election and MAKE CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBLE AND ACCOUNTABLE TO HER LEGAL TAX PAYING CITIZENS ONCE AGAIN!
My best to you and yours, Lew