Minutes- February 23, 2017


Thursday, February 23, 2017, 6:00-8:00pm
Little Red Schoolhouse/Cobb Mountain Lions Club
15780 Bottle Rock Rd., Cobb, CA 95426



Approved March 16, 2016


PRESENT: Gary Prather, Eliot Hurwitz, Jessica Pyska, Cindy Leonard

Absent: Barbara Flynn


  1. CALL TO ORDER at 6:03pm


  • Middletown Resource Conservation District: Ponderosa pines @50c
  • Press releases: Water Resources mtg Sunday, Board chambers, public input on boating during the flood emergency
  • Health Advisory re sewage conditions because of the rain: reduce flow into your drains, conserve water, divert, avoid floodwater, wash hands frequently
  • LC Historical Society documentary on firefighting Sat 2-n Lower Lake museum
  • Tune weather radios on the site and a link to the NOAA station
  • Lion’s Club Crab Feed: March 4, $50/head, reservations by Monday. (707) 881-3037


  1. APPROVAL OF MINUTES from January 19, 2016

Motion to approve minutes of January 19, 2016: Gary Prather; Second: Robert Stark; All voted in favor.



Same as last month with a bank balance of $2,753.33. We will need to file taxes. Robert Stark offered to help Gary with this.


Chair asked for a motion to approve a change in the agenda:

Motion to approve change in the agenda: All voted in favor.


  1. PUBLIC and BOARD COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS (3 mins./individual)

Inez Wenckus: Take Estates Drive because the bridge is out on Rainbow Bridge so you have to take Estates and take care because it will be icy. Call Public Works to sand this.


Joan Moss: Asked about sandbags. Hardester’s might have some.  Water district says they have a pile in front of Boggs State Forest. Just let Robert Stark know. Buy 10c bags from Hardesters and fill. Also Mendo Mill is selling them filled also maybe Kelseyville Lumber.


Judy Cortesi: Wants pothole relief on Hoberg Dr and Hwy 175 took pictures. Posted the public works phone number and pictures happy to see new foundations but Hoberg Dr is terrible.


Robert Stark: Pothole patrol was going around today. Down by the pool, however, they can’t fill those holes because that section needs to be ground down to baserock, graded and smooth it out. Counted at least 87 in a 100-ft area.

Discussion of Rainbow Br., that Rob Brown said he had submitted request to the State but it doesn’t look like they will do anything. Emailed fish and game that it will soon cause major obstruction, so waiting. Last month’s council discussed that it would require an assessment district.


Brenda Quintero from the Trees Project in Boggs State Forest is providing building materials, check the website, thetreesproject.org. Fill in what you’re interested in. This is a neighborhood trees program, they have a buyer and we want to come into the neighborhood and clean up to use lumber for cabin kits or to sell. Working with North Coast Opportunities. If you want to donate, also use website for this.  Douglas Fir must be 1ft or larger to mill.  ACTION: Will do a presentation at the next CAC meeting.


Greg Rodgers of Mountain High Coffee and Books talked about a potential Cobb Mountain Business Summit.  Greg is also a mortgage loan officer for Stirling in Lakeport. He has talked with Hardesters and also Middletown Area Merchants Association last Tuesday discussing how Cobb businesses could work together, and they said work with them, and he agreed in order to get momentum.

Tuesday March 21 will be a mixer at Mountain High Coffee and Books – we will discuss ideas. Greg also spoke with Beth Rudiger who is president of MAMA. MAMA has over 100 members including businesses from Middletown, Hidden Valley, and Cobb.

We want to reach home businesses. Local Arts businesses.  We need to survey who are the businesses, and their needs. Since Middletown is gateway to this part of the county, it makes sense to work with them. Need to get people back up on the mountain living here.




  1. Report on Cobb Rebuild Workshop on Saturday February 18 – Mark Mitchell


Ron and Kathleen organized the workshop but were not able to be present, so Mark, who was a main presenter at the workshop, will report.

Thank you to everybody who helped. Lots of people attended and asked questions. How many people showed up at the workshop? 63 people counted, not counting presenters. Timing for the next workshop: end of April, first part of May. These are designed for people looking for answers on how to rebuild.

Additional discussion:

Question re: Potholes: May 1, public works is rescinding the one-time road impact fee. To date the county has given up $270K income up to this point. Every home being built May forward must now pay a percentage of the fee, could be $1,000.00. Based on square footage. Been in place for years, but they waived at the fire.

Rob Brown working on a grant, and that portion looks promising. Maybe a year from now, they may have funds then to repave like they did at Gifford.

Before the fire, one could simply call the road crew to fill the potholes. That’s still the case. Even if you don’t live on a county-maintained road, everyone who is fixing your house uses the county roads.

Anderson Springs sewer: All who meet Environmental Health requirements and have an existing a system are not required to hook up to the new sewer, and if you’re among the first 100 people to connect it will be free. Otherwise, it may be $20K. If your system does fail later, you will be required to hook up to the county system.

There will be a vote of property owners to approve the system. If they don’t get 201 property owners to vote negatively in writing, it will pass. If it doesn’t pass, there won’t be any money to put in the system. There will also be a monthly charge to be connected to the system. This is for operation and maintenance not to pay back the construction (which is paid by government funds). Special Districts and Environmental Health are working out the details.


  1. Discussion of controlled burn regulations.

Presentation from Doug Gerhardt of the Air Quality Management District – per State law the meteorology department data is used to determine burn days.  CalFire – can also request a no-burn day for whatever the issue is. If you get a burn permit, call for the burn day status:  994-4444, or 263-3121 Lakeport. Different lot sizes have different rules. Local rule also adopted as equivalency, no limitations on volume. For both residential and ag, you have have at least 1.0 acres to burn. For smaller lots: 1-time clearing of the lot to remove the fire hazard, then you have to maintain it. With the federal disaster area declaration, we have come up with the permit for those folks, and you don’t have to go through an exception process. Lot-clearing is more expensive, lots of people around and lots of impacts, lots of calls.


Robert Stark: this is in the Valley Fire burn area. There should be a categorical exemption to get the stuff out! There’s nothing to come to look at. Needs to get ARB to come through. For now the sky’s the limit to clear the burn area.

Kelly Fletcher: If you have one view and you wanted to clear the view = $465 permit. Can usually do it in one day. No one wants to do that. It’s a hazard.

We’re not bending the rules, we’re using the disaster declaration.

Fee is $76 one time per lot. Without that, then you would have to haul it off, donate, chipping.  Air Resources donated $20K from the burn program via HCD for Cobb

Lot fire fees go to the fire districts.

Lytle: how long is the disaster fee program in effect ? Answer: Valid through May 1. Want to keep as long as the Fed and county emergency declarations are in place.

Lytle: There is a significant impact — unburned brush will be a hazard later on in the next fire season –  more fuel on the ground for more fires, trees falling.

ARB: Agree something needs to be done, but it’s a lot more than waiving a fee. The property owner would have to swear that they have the authority to legally represent the owner of those parcels and burn on their lots, so there is a liability issue, civil code issue.  

Chief Mike Wink: It was 2005 when all the fire management came together and set the current fees, so that group could come up with something. Next Tuesday (Feb 28) there will be a meeting of the Lake Co. fire chief’s association. He doesn’t know the process, but he will bring it up.

CalFire doesn’t sell the lot permits. It’s the South Lake Co. Fire Protection District.

How many have been sold this year? We’ll have it at the end of May, and report in June. Fees also cover all the reporting costs (inventories, tally the exceptions).

ACTION: Get the data.

Jessyca Lytle will email Mike Wink with the questions for the data. South Lake Fire Safe Council is in need of people to take on projects such as fuel reduction and cleanup. Need CAC or Cobb community would help knock out the paperwork and possibly attract funding. Brenda will do.

Motion for the next meeting to have a draft

Gary Prather took rain readings and between Oct 13 and Oct 31, he had 21 inches, but it took so long for the ban to be lifted. It’s one-size fits all, 6-county system, which includes Cazadero and Occidental.

ARB: What will help us the most, need specific individuals, give us info about your situation. Haven’t had very many people call at all. 263-7000. Let us know! We can see everything, but we don’t know which lot is which and you can’t tell where the lots are.

Council should issue a letter even before the next meeting. Lytle has already drafted a few things: excavator, burn area permit exceptions, fire and beetle, lot issues, reflective edges marked. Joan Moss: moved to authorize a letter. Second: Glenneth.

Vote: aye, no oppositions.

ACTION : Lytle draft letter from Council.


  1. Report from Eliot Hurwitz on “Lake County Rebuilds Town Hall,” the launch of CalHome program, on Thursday February 16

Senator McGuire, Assemblyperson  Aguiar-Curry, Supervisors Moke Simon and Rob Brown were there. This was the official launch of the program, with $7.6 Million made available to Lake County to rebuild after Clayton and Valley Fires. Two organizations will administer the program: Habitat For Humanity and Hammers for Hope.

One of the main features is that it is for low- and very-low income folks, low ceiling, $37.7K maximum income for a couple. One program is interest free and the other has a low-interest loan.


  1. Presentation from Mike Dunlap, VP of the Cobb Mountain Lions, requesting CAC endorsement for their request for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for facility improvements to the Little Red Schoolhouse Community Center.


Lions Club is the current holder of title to the Little Red Schoolhouse. But it is of no monetary value to them. If the Club does not maintain the facility for community use, then the property reverts to the family that donated it.


Because the Lions operates this facility as a community center, it qualifies for CBDG funding for improvement and maintenance to the building and facility including rent, heat, electricity. The Lions see this as their help to the community for rebuilding – this is the community building that we have. The Lions are requesting that the Cobb Area Council, as the legal group representing the community, to advocate on our behalf to the Lake County Board of Supervisors to apply for CBDG funding to fix up the Little Red Schoolhouse facility in whichever manner the community wishes and which serves the community’s purposes. Some rehabilitation has already been done on the building including a Termite report, rebuilding of the commercial kitchen, a new roof with funds from Calpine, and rewire the building with funds from LARCA.

Needed improvements to the building include changing the front door from 32-in to 36in wide, and making it ADA compliant. These front doors the ramp leading up doesn’t have a flap at the top so you don’t roll back down–so they’re not ADA. Paving the parking lot would be very helpful. Many other needed upgrades for safety and utility.


MOTION: The CAC draft a letter of support to the county that the rehabilitation of the Little Red Schoolhouse be included in the County’s list of priority projects to be funded by Community Development Block Grant funds.

Moved by Glenneth Lambert

Seconded by Karl Parker  

All present voted in favor.


  1. Discussion of ways we can encourage people to move back to the Cobb area
  • A bulletin board with all the notices, I come up here to read the notices. That’s a step. I do use computers daily, but it doesn’t tell the folks out there, talking + sharing.
  • Take down all the dead trees and get the views. If you go inside folks’ back yards they are beautiful, but over the fence is still desolate.
  • We need a central directory of the lot owners? Now you have to go down to the parcel directory at the Assessor’s Office in Lakeport
  • County worked on tree mitigation process also help to prove to your insurance company and the company is taking part.
  • Brenda Quintero discussed the tree mitigation program. Invites all to look at their hazardous tree program website – thetreesproject.org, 987-8719. They have a buyer for logs. The program costs are 50-60% of what the buyer is paying.: ACTION Get Brenda on the agenda.
  • Encourage people to discuss the positive things. Like Friends of Boggs Mountain:  trail maps, grants in the works, even though it will be different, the fire roads now are are new roads, and there will be new trails and vistas. Would be good to know how far along they are with the plan so we can have them come and do an update. In the next month. They have a fundraiser coming to fix the trails. They should be involved in the Cobb Area Plan. Keeping in touch. You have to be signed up.
  • Lions Club wants to start holding maybe weekly if not monthly bbq’s to get the community talking up about each other’s coming together – could start this Spring: front porch project, have pictures of families standing and post on website, with a little more greenery.
  • Mark Mitchell clients will have open house for Cobb owners only, walk around and through the homes and backyeads, and feel what it’s like to be back home. Lots of homes around Summit, do open studio style.  

ACTION: announce the Open House

  • Directory of folks that aren’t here. Mark Mitchell has sent out letters to everyone, as marketing ,and giving them information, and rebuilding. Suggestion: include the CAC website in any future marketing mailings to Cobb.
  • Magdalena needs help making the calls to get emails for the 35 organizations and make them nodes for outreach.
  • The Cobb Fund took the 20K back from Downtown for the trails between Pine Ridge and pine grove and the club, so there’s a map. We have trails and maybe now the landowners will allow easements so there’s a lot of talk going on.
  • Middletown 1 day mtg credit unions worked so hard to get money in, and it all went to NCO. Establish a relationship and invite them to our meetings.  

ACTION: Invite them to the next meeting.




    1. Abatement monitoring (Karl Parker)

Talked about Hoberg’s at the last meeting about the water washing over there. Left a message re the concern and asked what plans they are working in the county. Scott Skellenger called back right away. Progress report is published on the CAC website, and thanks to Bob Norris also, for posting at the post office. Also sent a letter to Rob Brown.

Feb 3: Ray sent a memo to Hoberg’s management to consult with a civil engineer to make sure their plan is good. Ray and them are actively consulting now.

Last Fri: Reviewed the plans with Bechtel Santa Rosa–cover with straw, bark, and wattles; have crews inspect areas before each rain event and reapply additional material as needed. CALTRANS local office also discussing mitigation of outflows. There’s a storm drain that goes under the road where the old motel building is, on the uphill side, that erupts like a fountain. They’re discussing, and invited me to come and take pictures.

We followed up on the concern, and then we experienced them being responsive, also county responsive, and they followed the county advice. Ray Ruminski is here tonight to fill in.


Ray Ruminski: Hoberg’s has the worst track record the community can think of. If they can do the right thing, it might be the first time. They are not able to stop the water flowing, they’re trying to make it less sediment-laden at least. We’re pestering them and try to get through this. It would have been better if they started early last summer, instead of late, and they’d be done now instead of slopping around in the wet.


Glenneth Lambert: there’s been a lot of holdups from the county, too. The systems for the toxic approval are very complicated, issuing of permits, problems at the landfill, then Clayton fire happened. They should have spent $10M, but they didn’t. The state program that cleaned up Harbin spent a couple of million. After the fire, it’s a lot uglier than Hoberg’s.

Director of OES said Hoberg’s had prior legal issues so the state could not touch the property. Hoberg’s could’ve done it all a lot sooner, and even with permit problems would‘ve been ok now.


Q: With the rains, county+community, can we have them do more testing than normal?

Ray: I’m not an erosion specialist. We test for toxics, water purity is different.  Maybe since there is greater rain, this could be a reason to press.

ACTION requested: Find out what to test for. Adjacent neighbors will feel better about knowing. Then there is soil sampling to do re heavy metals from the burned buildings, but that’s a separate issue from the runoff. Runoff goes to adjacent properties. Chemistry research needs to be done to see what would be carried in the water and what in the fine sediments.


Robert Stark: One year ago, district did tests. They were good. Then the Hoberg’s septic tank failed, and we took care of it with Ray. A lot of the runoff that is laden with silt that came in from the opposite side of the wood business, but that’s now a basin 3-4 ft deep in mud so they’re not going anywhere. The ridge: foot-deep runs of sedimentation with heavy metals. Long and short, this should have been taken care of in November, burlap rolls should have been deployed. All that runoff would have just been a collection of exploded soil cells from the molecules of the individual rain drops and the water would have just simply soaked through then. Then the runoff above the mat would be clean. Now you can’t draw dry straw on top of running water and expect it to do much.


All we can do is see it all through.  


You need to restore confidence from the community. Encourage along with the county to make them keep moving.




    1. Neighborhood Watch (Inez Wenckus)
    2. Emergency Communications (Jill Martin/Mel McMurrin) – sirens update
    3. Emergency Preparedness – report on meeting of the Lake County Disaster Council


Adjourn 7:58PM




Cobb Mountain Area Plan Update

First meeting of Cobb Area Council Working Group

Attendees: Glenneth, Ian, David,  Kelly, Kyle, Jo, Cathy, Bill, Cindy, David, Jessyca, Joan. Eliot


Topics listed by the group to consider for the update to the Cobb Mountain Area Plan including who will do further study and research::


  1. Survey – find out Who is here? Own or Rent? Plans for the Future? – HIre a professional survey company to do this – Kyle, Jessyca


  1. Fire Recovery – including possibilities of having the county assume control of fire damaged properties facing foreclosure, especially for park purposes. – Joan  


  1. SMART Goals and funding including much more specificity in the plan’s “Implementation Charts” especially to have specific timelines, not just “high/medium/low” priorities – ? noone


  1. Zoning – no “formula business”; focus on “Cobb Village” – Eliot  


  1. Historic/Cultural Resources – finding the people and stories that are here in the community – Jo, Cindy   


  1. Valuable WatershedsCindy (also Robert Stark and Larry Ray volunteered in their absence)


  1. Mercury Pollution – remaining from old mines – Ian   


  1. Cobb Community CenterKyle, Kelly   


  1. PARKS! and recreation – especially focus on Boggs –  David (also Debbie Bloomquist)


  1. Geothermal Impacts – a focus of the 1989 plan, this continues to be pertinent, especially re quakes. – Jessyca, Joan (also Robert Stark)


  1. Economic Development – telecommunication infrastructure, integrate with Middletown, how to sustain the existing business community including short-term support during recovery years, potential monthly event at LRSH featuring different local businesses – Kelly, Eliot, Jessyca   


  1. Cobb Signature Events – Mountain biking; involving the business community – David, Glenneth


  1. Protecting the Viewshed – especially with all the views exposed now with trees gone; especially the ridge lines, significance of  “dark skies”  Jo, Eliot


  1. Local CC&R’s – find out what CC&Rs are current in the area and what their status is –??


  1. Cannabis – how will this affect the Cobb Area? especially re #13,  #11 and #6 – Bill


  1. Geothermal Resources – potential local uses (hot water) – ??   


  1. Affordable HousingKyle, Eliot  


  1. Health and Wellness – Statewide push for “Health in All Policies” (HiAP) – similar to environmental protection – Eliot    


  1. Funding Sources/ResourcesJessyca   


  1. Circulation – roads, trails, paths, connecting the community – Eliot