Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Borrego Springs - 'Rudyville' Over the Years II

 

Last updated 4/3/2016 at 9:38am



Second part of our four part look at the hystory of 'Rudyville'.

Vol. 57, No. 8 Borrego Springs, California April 17, 2008

Neighbors of proposed ‘Rudyville’ hire attorney, gather documents

By Maris Brancheau

If you haven’t heard of Rudyville yet, you will.

Formally called Borrego Country Club Estates, a proposed housing development of 150 lots on 172 acres off Borrego Springs Road in an area referred to as the ocotillo forest has led to a grassroots campaign among Borregans previously unheard of in the valley.

A meeting of more than 60 concerned neighbors on April 5 resulted in the formation of three committees to tackle the daunting task of staying abreast of the project and convincing the county of the need for a full environmental study of the land, according to organizer Barbara Stone. “The turnout was great,” Stone said.

Volunteers signed up to serve on committees for executive strategy, internal and external communications, and finance.

But, the big news at the meeting came from Bill Collins, a neighboring property owner and member of the Community Sponsor Group. Collins and a group of Tub Canyon neighbors recently hired attorney Ken Lounsbery. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Lounsbery obtained hundreds of pages of technical studies submitted to the county’s Department of Planning and Land Use on behalf of the developer.

Among the reports is a storm-water management plan that caused the neighbors to take notice. One of the alternatives in the plan, which was initially submitted to the county in November 2005 and revised in May 2007, calls for a 5,800-foot long diversion structure that would roughly parallel Tub Canyon Road.

The proposed dike is just one of several alternatives proposed by the developer to mitigate for potential flooding on the property, which is located in the flood zone for Culp-Tub Canyon drainage. But the alternative has neighbors, who could potentially be taxed if their property benefitted from the dike, upset.

In addressing the Community Sponsor Group on April 3, Borregan Gene Rasmussen asked the CSG to review the studies, which had not yet been provided to the advisory group by the county.

“I feel there has been a substantial lack of candor on the part of the developer and those associated with this project,” Rasmussen said.

The property is owned by Borrego Country Club Estates, L.L.C. According to principal Rudy Monica, he and David Davis and other partners whom he declined to identify, are acting independently from other developers in the valley to create the subdivision.

As for the proposed dike, Monica said the neighbors have done a disservice by disseminating information about the plan prematurely.

“(The dike) is just one proposal that we are milling over,” Monica said. “This is a six-year process we’re going through and these things that are being brought out may never come to pass.”

Rather, Monica said he’s in land-planning limbo, waiting for the county to respond to a second iteration of technical studies his group submitted just before Christmas.

“We have no idea what is going on with the county. Frankly, this is just a side issue for them and we are not sure what the county will eventually require us to do,” Monica said.

As for the dike, Monica said his company isn’t pushing for it. He’d like to secure entitlements to build or sell the subdivided lots with as few strings attached as possible.

“At this point, we’d like to ask for the patience of the neighbors,” Monica said. “There is no point in infuriating everybody (about the dike) when it’s something that might not happen. Once we know, then everyone else will know, too.”

The project will be required to preserve creosote habitat off-site, but the county hasn’t told the developer how many acres will need to be purchased for that purpose. Monica said he’s sensitive to the large number of ocotillo on site and he’s hoping to sell the lots in bundles to potential homeowners who want to build one home and leave other lots untouched.

Tub Canyon neighbors have raised $10,000 thus far to pay for the attorney, Collins said. The main goal will be for the attorney to ensure that the county requires a full “on-the-ground” Environmental Impact Report, he said. “We need to stop this dike madness,” Collins added. “It’s just not needed. Unfortunately, the only way to really get things done is with an attorney.”

The Country Club Estates project has had four different county planners assigned to it since the development was first proposed in 2005. The current project manager, Mark Slovick, did not return a phone call by deadline. Previously, county staff indicated that a decision will be forthcoming on the project and if a mitigated negative declaration is issued, the document will be open to public comments.

Jeanette Hartman, the San Diego Sierra Club’s land-use committee chairperson, attended the organizing meeting put on by the neighbors of the proposed project. She said the Sierra Club plans to monitor the situation with an interest in protecting the ocotillo forest. “It is good that the community is organizing,” Hartman said. “This is an appropriate project for the local sponsor group to take on. That is what sponsor groups are for, to form committees for pro-active planning.

“We’re waiting for the county to finish its preliminary assessment, but this appears to be a large project that would severely damage the environment of the Borrego Valley.”

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