Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Borrego Springs - 'Rudyville' Over the Years, Part IV


Last updated 4/6/2016 at 1:56am

Fourth part of our four part look at the hystory of 'Rudyville' ahead of the public hearing April 7.

Vol. 58, No. 7 Borrego Springs, California April 2, 2009

County will require full EIR on ‘Rudyville’

By Maris Brancheau

A proposed subdivision in southern Borrego Springs that led concerned neighbors to hire a lawyer will be the subject of a full environmental impact report, according to a planning manager with the county.

Rich Grunow, a manager in the county’s Department of Planning and Land Use confirmed that the developers of Borrego Country Club Estates – a 150-lot proposed subdivision that neighbors dubbed “Rudyville”– will be required to undergo a full EIR process.

The proposed subdivision is located along southern Borrego Springs Road between what would be the western extension of Country Club Road and Tilting T Drive. The area is thick with ocotillo, is believed to be home to the burrowing owl and other species of concern, and is susceptible to flooding from Tub Canyon, neighbors claim.

Called “Rudyville” in reference to developer Rudy Monica, the project has been frequently discussed at meetings of the Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group. In July 2008, a group of Tub Canyon neighbors hired Escondido attorney Kenneth Lounsbery. He requested and received copies of developer-funded studies of the proposal, including a controversial plan for a concrete dike to protect the subdivision from flooding.

At that time the county had informed the developers that a mitigated negative declaration could be possible. It would have allowed the project to go forward without a full EIR.

The lengthier environmental review could derail the project if the county’s general plan update now under way decreases the number of homes allowed on the 173 acres.

In February 2007, a letter from then county planner Bill Stocks indicated that the DPLU had considered a mitigated negative declaration for the project.

“You provided additional information that leads us to believe that an EIR may not be necessary,” the letter to David Davis, a partner in the project, stated.

But in a recent phone conversation with the Borrego Sun, Grunow, who called on a teleconference with the project’s current county planner Mark Slovick, indicated that no decision to issue a mitigated negative declaration had previously been made.

“There has been some misconception,” Grunow said. “The county had never made a determination.”

Grunow said DPLU is calling for a full EIR for Country Club Estates, “after reviewing the case in more detail.”

The first step in the EIR will be to issue a Notice of Preparation. The public will then be able to provide areas of concern that the EIR should address. The NOP will not be issued, however, until the developers get back to the county with a revision of the subdivision plan, Grunow said.

“The ball is in their court,” he said. “The applicant has indicated they will be revising their plans.”

Monica did not return a phone call nor respond to an e-mail seeking comment about the status of the subdivision, the EIR determination, and changes to the proposal. Grunow could not estimate how long a full EIR for Country Club Estates will take to complete.

Instead he said, “generally speaking, the level of analysis in an EIR is much more detailed than in a mitigated negative declaration.”

Under the proposed general plan update, the density allowance will be decreased on the property in question. This means that after the General Plan is updated, fewer homes will be able to be built on the acreage. The land is currently zoned for one home per acre.

The update is anticipated to be adopted in the fall of 2010, giving the developers of Country Club Estates less than two years to secure entitlements to build under their current density allowance.

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