Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Part Three: Update on BSR Golf Course

 

Last updated 10/21/2020 at 2:04pm



Those of you who read the Letter to the Editor in the Borrego Sun this past August on the plight of the Borrego Springs Resort may be interested in the input we received from San Diego County District 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond’s office.

Part 1 of that Letter to the Editor (Aug. 11, 2020) outlined several dire concerns some of us living near the Resort have about the resort closing down the golf course without adequate plans to mitigate some already occurring negative consequences. Think dying trees and natural vegetation, increased fire hazard, proliferation of invasive weeds threatening our desert wildflowers, and reducing wildlife habit.

Part 2 (Aug. 21,2020) filled in the backstory on how we got to this point. Both parts of that letter are available on the online Borrego Sun under Letters.

The issues expressed in the letter were then shared with members of BSR corporate and local management, without a response. The issues were also shared with Supervisor Desmond’s office who kindly sent the following status.

Their first response simply said, “We’ve been working with Borrego springs resort for some time now. They are currently in the process of resolving a grading violation on their property. Once completed, the property will be restored to natural desert habitat. Currently they are working with FEMA regarding floodplain issues. Hopefully this will be resolved quickly and the course can revert to natural habitat.”

We then sent them some specific questions about the details of those actions. Following are our questions and their responses, which were researched and provided by the Department of Public Works.

Q.1: In our opinion, reverting to natural habitat could be another way of saying “let the trees die and allow the invasive plants that are threatening our wildflowers to grow unabated,” to allow the rest of the property to become as disreputable and disgraceful as they let the western portion of the property become when the Palms course was closed without restoring it to “natural desert habitat.” However, I’m hanging my hope on the statement you made saying “the property will be restored to natural desert habitat.” The crucial word being “restored.” “Restored” is much more powerful than “reverting.” Does that mean active engagement on BSR’s part to take the property back to this natural state? Back to a state that is not populated with dead trees, weeds, and especially the invasive weeds that have already taken over the unmaintained golf courses? Back to true desert habitat, where native plants and animals thrive? We’d be very interested in seeing their plan for how they intend to do this restoration.”

DPW: The owner of the Borrego Springs Resort is preparing a Corrective Action Plan for FEMA outlining how he will resolve the grading violation in the mapped floodplain that will involve detailed hydraulic modeling. The Plan will be shared with the public for review for input and comment once it has been finalized.

Once the flooding concerns have been addressed to FEMA’s and the County’s satisfaction, the owner will prepare a Grading Permit Application outlining his plan to restore the site, which will include a Landscape Plan, to be reviewed and approved by the County. The permit application will be subject to public review through the CEQA process.

For additional information about Grading Permit requirements, please contact Diana Perez, Project Manager, PDS Land Development at Diana.Perez@sdcounty.ca.gov or at (858) 495-5281.

For questions about the CEQA approval process, please contact Gregory Kazmer, Land Use and Environmental Planning Manager at PDS Project Planning at Gregory.Kazmer@sdcounty.ca.gov or at (858) 505-6857.

For any questions about Landscape Plans, please contact David Kahler, Landscape Architect, PDS Project Planning at David.Kahler@sdcounty.ca.gov or at (858) 694-3040.

Q.2: What “flood plain issues” are they trying to resolve? We live there, we are in the designated flood plain, so understand. Is BSR trying to waive building restrictions in a flood plain area? Are they trying to produce barriers, flood channels, and other methods to protect the property against a flood should it occur? What are the issues they are trying to resolve? Who in FEMA can we talk to about these efforts?

DPW: The applicant is working to resolve the grading violation that exists within the mapped floodplain, not to remove the floodplain. The applicant is not proposing barriers, flood channels, or requesting to waive building restrictions. For additional information on the floodplain or grading violation, please contact Sara Agahi, Manager, DPW Flood Control, at sara.agahi@sdcounty.ca.gov or at (858) 694-2665.

Q.3: Where is the grading violation on their property? There have been alleged issues with the western boundary of the property for years, Is this the area you are referring to? Is BSR’s intent to regrade or get the violation excused and for what purpose? Or is there another part of the property that is in violation?

DPW: The grading violation is primarily located on the western boundary of the property, which was graded without permits from the County to develop pads for houses and roads. The owner’s intent is to re-grade this area to maintain the natural drainage patterns that existed before the non-permitted grading occurred and to forfeit development rights in this area.

Q.4: Are these actions being undertaken so the property becomes marketable? Are they still intending to sell? What is their long term plan?

DPW: The owner reports in the draft Corrective Action Plan that his intention is to abandon plans for additional development of residential lots along the western portion of the site. The owner has expressed his interest in selling the property.

Q.5: We are concerned about an increased fire hazard due to dying and dead trees and weeds from the lack of maintenance or care.

Kat Anady, Administrative Analyst of Supervisor Desmond’s office| San Diego County Fire Authority: At the request of Supervisor Jim Desmond and Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer, staff at the San Diego County Fire Authority reviewed your request dated August 28, 2020. You expressed concern regarding the current condition of the Borrego Springs Resort, including the potential fire hazard caused by the overgrowth of dead vegetation on the golf course.

The property is located within the fire hazard jurisdiction of the Borrego Springs Fire Protection District. If you would like to request an inspection or report a potential fire hazard, please contact their office directly. I have included their contact information and website links below for your reference.

Borrego Springs Fire Protection District:

– P.O. Box 9 (mailing address)Borrego Springs, California 92004

– Phone: 760-767-5436

– Website: http://borrego-fire.org/index.php

To submit a Service Request: http://borrego-fire.org/index.php/contact.

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