Sponsor Group Approves GSP
Last updated 10/3/2019 at 10:49am
In a unanimous decision by a quorum of members, the Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group voted on Sept. 12 to approve the “Draft Final Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Borrego Springs Groundwater Subbasin,” produced by our Borrego Water District/County Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) under the leadership of Plan Manager James Bennett.
The Sponsor Group is one of the nine members of the GSP Advisory Committee that met regularly over the past 2 ½ years to provide input and guidance to the GSP framework document.
At a public meeting in the library community room, the GSP vote came after remarks by BWD General Manager Geoff Poole and James Bennett. Highlighting those comments was an update on the Stipulated Agreement (Agreement) in the final stages of negotiation that goes into much greater detail on procedures, programs, and projects contained within the general framework of the GSP.
“The Stipulated Agreement was designed to avoid protracted and expensive future litigation” over water rights and responsibilities, Poole said. The Agreement will also provide far more details of means of sustainability on such subjects as pumping allocations, metering, and monitoring, but the GSP will remain the 20-year framework for sustainability as the Physical Solution that will be attached to the GSP.
The draft Agreement is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks and presented to the public for comments, Poole added, and when those comments are addressed it will become final, replacing the GSA for decision making purposes regarding sustainability issues. A five-member WaterMaster Board will be formed, presided over by a judge, and is expected to consist of representation by BWD, agriculture, recreation/golf, a member of the community, and the County.
On other agenda items, the Sponsor Group heard from the County’s traffic division’s Kenton Jones on the subject of a newly revised draft ordinance regarding special events. The ordinance seeks to clarify procedures and requirements for obtaining permits for small (less than 75 people), medium (76 – 600), and large (over 600) events that use public roads. Jones asked for Sponsor Group input on the draft traffic ordinance.
A vote was taken on the Shadeway project along Sunset Drive, with three votes for locating the Shadeway on the South side and two votes for the north side. There were many comments, making the vote inconclusive.
The Sponsor Group (SG) wants consultation on the design, including specifics such as shading at different times of the year, no trimming of dry palm fronds, and consideration for an arched open walkway or columns with some shaded areas. The SG recommended consultation with the architect and the affected property owner Jim Wermers.
The SG also discussed the County Parks and Recreation Department’s Park Lands Dedication Ordinance (PLDO) and the $100K funding for Borrego. The PLDO requires new residential development projects to dedicate park land for its new residents and/or pay park impact fees to the County so that parks can be developed. Funds for the Shadeway will not be coming from PLDO funds.
A SG subcommittee’s last recommendation was for a shaded Group picnic area in the new library park, but more funds need to be collected for that to happen. A Splash Pad was not deemed feasible by Parks and Rec. The SG reinstated the PLDO ad hoc committee to consider fiscal year 2019 – 2020 recommendations.