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Borrego Springs - Community Sponsor Group


Last updated 3/6/2016 at 1:30pm

The March 3 meeting of the Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group (BSCSG) had five action items to contend with before the group would press on with Information, Non-action items and the continued reading of the Borrego Springs Community Plan.

Members present included Bonnie Petrach, Rebecca Falk, Judy Haldeman, David Farley and new Chair Tom Beltran.

Action items included:

A) Discretionary Permit Application brought on behalf of Vincento Morrellis for a guest living quarters;

B) Discretionary Permit Application brought by Sylvia Caldwell to build a stable on her Borrego Valley Ranch (BVR) property;

C) Medical Marijuana Collectives;

D) Consideration and Selection of Sponsor Group Applicants,

E) Appoint a Groundwater Sustainability Advisory Member.

The Action A permit pertained to a Rams Hill resident wishing to add a guest living quarters consisting of a bedroom and bath. Sponsor members asked whether the Rams Hill Homeowners Association had approved or opposed the plan, which they had, and it was unanimously approved with a vote.

The Action B Caldwell stable was said not to require a zoning permit and was voted approved. Caldwell wanted it noted on the record that the BVR is the only commercial boarding facility in the community.

Action C, regarding Medical Marijuana Cooperatives was brought up because a Ramona resident had e-mailed the Sponsor group Chairman suggesting the Sponsor Group pen a letter of opposition to any medical marijuana related enterprises within the town’s boundaries, and submit it to the County Board of Supervisors.

Comments began with Farley, when he presumed to speak for the community, injecting personal opinions opposed to medical marijuana’s legitimacy by saying we should indeed write that letter to the County sternly opposing “wink, wink” prescription shops and associated “dope stores.” Falk spoke against Farley, saying this is an, “extremely complicated issue,” and that she personally was not willing to support the writing of such a letter. She noted that the Sponsor Group expects the county to view them as a voice of the community and that a letter of that kind could not have any real effect.

Bonnie Petrach said the county is always opposed to certain laws, but Medical Marijuana is part of a 2010 Ordinance adopted through mandated State guidelines. She questions politician’s motives in general and would not support a letter.

The vote was 3-2 opposing the writing of a letter to the County. This controversial issue made it apparent that anyone having opinions on such matters would be wise to attend Sponsor Group meetings to ensure a board of five to seven individuals does not take any action to foist an agenda not in agreement with 3000 other residents.

Action D, Consideration and Selection of BSCSG Applicants soon became a heated exchange, as procedures for vetting new members involves public postings of vacancies, application deadlines and regulations that had not been followed to the letter, causing confusion among the very board meant to make the decisions.

Three persons had submitted applications for two vacant seats: Bill Berkely, Joe Hopkins and Linda Haddock.

Chair Beltran insisted that since member Falk had prompted the review of procedure particulars, that he group would vote that night on new members. His bottom line was that procedure stated the vote would take place at the “next meeting, “ which this was.

Despite Falk’s objection to immediate voting, Haddock’s request and Falk’s motion to extend the vote so Haddock’s “late” application could be considered, and so Berkely could be present for candid questions the board may have, Beltran remained unmovable.

As Joe Hopkins was present, questions were posed to him with regard to his previous and abruptly ending service, and his having expressed interest in natural preservation that seemed to heavily represent Park interests.

Berkely was voted in to a seat while Hopkins was not. Beltrn vowed to ask the county if more seats could be designated.

A majority voted Falk as the Groundwater Sustainability Plan Advisory Member.

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