COBB AREA COUNCIL
PUBLIC MEETING

Thursday May 18, 2017, 6:00-8:00pm
Little Red Schoolhouse/Cobb Mountain Lions Club
15780 Bottle Rock Rd., Cobb, CA 95426

DRAFT Minutes

CALL TO ORDER 6:01 pm

Cindy Leonard sat in, waiting for Gary. (Came late)

MOTION: Move presentation from CalFire on preparation for the upcoming 2017 fire season to earlier in the agenda

Motion to move carried without objection.

  • SHORT ANNOUNCEMENTS 

Kyle: Lion’s Club Zumba schedules, family fun night event; lobster boil

 

  • APPROVAL OF MINUTES from April 20, 2017

No comments from those in attendance.

MOTION TO ACCEPT: Barbara Flynn, SECONDED: Jessica Pyska.

Council members accepted the April 20, 2017 minutes without any comments or objections.

  • TREASURER’S REPORT

Previous report total: $2807.30 currently in bank account.

In the past month, Alternate Cindy Leonard bought a new projector for the council: $321.74 + extended warranty=$351.41 total spent. Need to get a case $20, and an adaptor as she is using one from their house.

All present agreed without objections to purchase an adaptor.

  • PUBLIC and BOARD COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS 

Joann Saccato – road at Whispering Pines, made a video and sent it to Mike McGuire, Rob, Dodd. Got some action–they came out to see the holes and waiting for a reply from one of these. We didn’t have to do a pothole fundraiser.

Cindy Leonard – followup to last month: 3 live oaks, 4 buckeyes, 18 valley oaks available let her know

Barbara Flynn: still has 30 huge spruce, red maples and yellow maples at a nice size, need help to get the trees in the ground before the weather gets hot. Need a backhoe to do the digging, son will do the work, if we can get an excavator to deliver the trees and not taking root in the meadow. For houses that are being built

Woman: What happened to cellphone AT&T followup?

Lytle: The AT&T contact has been working with whoever has already put their name on the list, person by person. Nothing was said about why the service was degraded.

ACTION: Lytle will call AT&T contact and check.

ACTION: Will post the signup for the website.

Eliot went to the BOS meeting regarding item on county approval for contract to update the Hazard Mitigation Plan. Significant for our area so we know what our issues are and what we can do to address ongoing problems. Outreach to the  community is a requirement –so we will invite them and share the priorities and understanding of our situation.

Q: Does the Hazard Mitigation Plan include trees?

A I imagine it would. Seemed comprehensive, linking with Emergency Operations Plan.

  • SHORT REPORTS from CAC Committees 

Karl Parker read aloud a letter from Joan Moss (appended to these minutes) regarding Hoberg’s. He has an extensive report for a later part of the agenda.

Cindy Leonard reports that the Cobb Area Plan group is to meet next Wednesday – hoping to have Byron there from the county planning department.

Magdalena Valderrama reports that the Relief Monitoring Committee: defunct due to lack of participation. Local Cobb area 501c3 nonprofit Seigler Springs Community Redevelopment Association (SSCRA) is stepping in to help meet a Red Cross deadline of June 15 for the final distribution of remaining Client Assistance Cards to eligible Valley Fire survivors.

The Seigler Springs Community Redevelopment Association (SSCRA), has agreed with Team Lake County to concentrate its disaster recovery efforts to work with the American Red Cross in a final push to distribute Valley Fire relief funds during the last two weeks in May this year, 2017.

For more information, contact:

Email: sscra.valleyfirehelp@gmail.com

Phone: (707) 809-5505, Monday through Friday.

Please leave a message. Due to the large number of calls expected, someone will be sure to return your call in 24 hours, or the next business day.

Rob Brown said that the Cobb Area Plan Committee has yet to be appointed. The Council should not try to do any more discussion until the appointments are completed. He will send Bob Massarelli an inquiry to develop the timeline.

  • District 5 Supervisor re State Road Funding deadlines

Rob Brown:  Now that the rains are over county is taking inventory and working on private areas like Rainbow Bridge. For a sense of the timing:  county is just now getting the funding for damage during the 2014 winter rains.

Noted fixation by an individual on Hoberg’s: absolute utter nonsense that there’s an ongoing investigation–monitoring cleanup but there’s no criminal district attorney investigation. The case is being kept open to keep up the pressure on the cleanup.

Re tree removal requests from neighboring properties, county had assumed this was a widespread problem, but so far there have only been 3 requests. and only 2 were valid. Waiting now for Massarelli’s staff to come up with the process for abatement.

Q: How is the info getting to homeowners?

A: Lake Co news, when building permits applied for.

Q: There’s a lot of absentee owners — how they are going to loop with that info?

A: Just for homeowners to rebuild.

Q: Neighbor’s trees have fallen from the winds and now they’re kindling for the next fire if the fallen trees are not removed.

A: Maybe fire department can address. Note: Lakeport Fire Dept is still sending him notices on a property he long ago sold.

Q: Can the county issue an ordinance or call for homeowner’s associations to form and take care of this problem?

A: Don’t have the ability to enforce an ordinance. HOA has to be made ahead of time.

7. Greg Bertelli, Chief with CalFire re Tree Removal 

Greg Bertelli is also fire chief for South Lake Fire District. We contract with CalFire. Tree removal is not a new issue: has spent a long time long before Rocky and Valley Fires checking on things with Rob Brown, and has been worried for years.

Re vacant lots in Riviera and North Shore, fire department can inspect 100 ft from a structure, but only 30 ft from a property line. Any ordinance being proposed has to be realistic and attainable– can’t say we’re going to start clearing lots when there is no funding to follow up on that. Hand crews are down from 16 men per crew to 12.  Prisoner population has been decreasing so there are fewer workers for the crews.

Rob Brown: Property fee for fire service is $130/yr, and changes from year to year, paid to Board of Equalization. The way the county gets a share of that money is through grants applications. Years ago, supervisors would go to homeowner meetings and hear the concerns and go after the money. Now, there are so many hazards, the problem is how to prioritize the need? Long-standing drought in the last 5 years, and we had to stop managing the mountain top and distant areas in favor of doing what is needed for people to get out when needed. #1 priority is lives and safety. Had to change priorities. No. Cal HQ funds are shared among 6 counties. We need to fight for the money and be flexible with priorities, especially with fire season.

Q: Can we sit down with them and say hey, look we didn’t get our grants, we were too busy with recovery, can we get something to help with neighborhood issues?

A: The hand crews working on RSA projects now are using money from a grant  agreement that was completed 2 years ago. We have to finish what we have now, and then we can then apply for the next grant. We’re aware of Bottle Rock North, etc., this is all in the hopper. I’m responsible for all of Lake County, I look at the map and do a work around as the fire chief keeps the bigger picture.

Q: We have some amazing grant writers here. Are you applying for the larger grants, looking specifically not just at chipping but also weed abatement?

A: The two councils in the county help each other on grant-writing. Linda Juntunen has done so much work but if there’s more grant numbers, please come to the So. Lake Co Fire Council and Lake Co. Council meetings so we’re working in conjunction.

Q: When I retired in 2007, fire prevention fee was $115/yr, When the Valley Fire came, I don’t know how many parcels, but 1200 acres burned. That equals 100s of thousands of dollars. What percentage of those fees goes anywhere?

A: It all goes in a big pot in Sacramento. Linda has been working for years for money to open up roads, other priorities. Cleaning up someone’s backyard is less priority than thoroughfares.

Q: There’s a portion that goes to special projects that’s determined by Calfire at state level. Maybe that’s another route to bring in funding.

A: So much is being organized. Council is a huge step in the right direction. If you have grant writers, then come forward and help us write the next priorities and come up with a game plan. I have to tie in the county fire plan and the local so as to move them in the same direction.

 

Q: Whose rule is it that you can’t apply for another grant if we haven’t spent the first one?

A: If you can’t finish in a year and a half it is a bad mark on your application.

Q: This is a special circumstance, and we have a grant writing force.

A: But I’m already busy and can’t use the money now. Need to make sure the funding is finished first so that funding and labor are ready at the same time. For example, HCD says finish Clearlake Oaks first, although it is farthest from the Valley Fire area, your credibility in the application goes away.

Q: Isn’t there a difference between capital structure and emergency?

A: It’s not always in their control. If the hazards are on private property you have to get permission from every single owner. We’ve met CEQA requirements and jumped through the hoops, and I still get owners saying they prefer the natural vegetation, all the time. Next fire council meeting: 1pm Thu June 8 at Umpqua Bank in Lakeport. Please come. Linda is ready to retire.

Q: What about SRA funds available to smaller nonprofits? Try two different directions at one time — map it out, bring in the funding for multiple projects so we don’t have to stop with “we can’t apply until project 1 is done”.

A: That works only if we have the machines ready. The question is always whether a grant is realistic and attainable when we don’t have everything in place at the same time.

Winter fuel crews in Lake County had more staffing levels than ever before. Got trees down and new ones planted, debris burnt. Another crew worked on the Riviera. Have drought augmentation engines cut and burn–this is all they do. Different types of inspectors target different areas of fire prevention. LE100s come to your home, check what’s the access like, clearance around your home, whether the gutters cleaned. DSI (defensible space inspectors) have a weekly quota also. Then there’s neighbor wars that end up making us go through the whole street instead of a specific parcel with a real problem. Tries to educate owners, but summer residents make it difficult. At the third level, a citation is issued. Takes money out of people’s pockets–we don’t want to be the bad guy, but if it makes a difference then we have to go there.

Q: Have a lovely neighbor, old, not coming back. Put in an application, got 6 down, but not the 2 big ones. She called again, they fixed, and now our pool is full of debris and pits everywhere. She has insurance but she needs a letter to tell her to come. She’s never been here once since the fire.

A: You have a good relationship, please talk with her.

Q: It’s not my responsibility. All I want is a letter from the fire department and I will mail it to her.

A: LE100 is a nice form. However, they can’t cover all of Cobb. If the inspectors don’t reach there, let’s see if we can make something work. Cobb Area Council could come up with a form letter addressed to every parcel owner.

Every firefighter is doing inspections. There are 4-5 groups and fire prevention personnel are covering 4 or 6 counties.

MOTION THAT THE COBB AREA COUNCIL WRITE A FORM LETTER TO PARCEL OWNERS: Glenneth Lambert.

Q: Isn’t this a county issue?

A: At recent council meetings, we said the county had $40K for the Riviera just for that purpose (tree removal), but there were 1,000 lots=$600K. Assemblywoman Aguiar-Curry is trying to push minimum wages up, so that means it would take 5K to remove one tree. Don’t want to threaten homeowners. People are reluctant to call their neighbor. But you need to be the one to call first. If county sends a letter, people use that letter as a threat, to insist that “the county had sent a letter.” People who get certified letters won’t care. This letter needs to let people know the facts, wildfire could happen again, trees will become kindling to your neighbors at next fire season.

Comments:

  • Letter should be legally correct and have consultation with fire department just saying that your neighbors are putting you on notice.
  • If people were aware there was an issue, they might act. A letter from the county gives credibility.
  • AMENDMENT: Start with informational letter from the Cobb Area Council to the effect that “here’s what we’re learning from the fire department; neighbors see the hazard.” Second wave of letter would be from the Fire Council to all the addresses.

AMENDMENT ACCEPTED: Glenneth accepted the amendment.

  • AMENDMENT: Council Representative Jessica Pyska had emailed everyone a letter about a program that would include a letter + digital promotion. Pyska wants to put it together and add it to this notification campaign. The digital campaign won’t be directed at one person, just gives all the information and lets people know they need to think about their properties.

AMENDMENT ACCEPTED: Glenneth accepted the amendment.

MOTION AMENDED:

The Cobb Area Council should outline a program for notification that includes a letter to be sent by mail and via digital promotion, taking into account the above concerns, and the draft should be presented for everyone’s review at the next meeting.

VOTE CALLED: All ayes, motion carried forward without opposition.

 

Q: Does CalFire have educational videos that we can link to our council website?

A Go to Readysetgo.org .

ACTION: Post CalFire links on website; and also let folks know via council email.

Q: Why can’t we have more people working on fire prevention?

A; In a word, millenials– the 20yr olds prefer sitting around getting their meals and doing prison time instead of the conservation work. Sometimes I have to hold back a crew because there’s only 10 people available; safety is also an issue especially during actual firefighting.

Q: Why were inmates let go?

A: New State regulation meant we had to release the minimum security inmates.

Q: What about Loch Lomond, left-hand side, is that an area of priority?

A: Have worked it on and off. After you clear one area, you have to keep going back–after the other priorities have gone through.

Q: If our taxes are about collective action for greater good, then why not hire more people?

A: Please come to the fire council meeting and help us write the grants.

Q: Are there any programs where they use high school seniors?

A: We’ve looked into this. Liability is the issue. What works best is common sense and helping your neighbor. Attitudes kill.

 

Q: Thoughts on fire danger this year?

A: Since 2012, we’ve had to weave and dodge on this question. It’s a good thing that current brush and timer models have moisture in them. However, the amount of grass is also higher, and will carry fire and fatalities because grass moves 11x quicker than timber fire. Big concern. Our county is fire-prone. Hopefully brush won’t burn for another 2 mos., and fire window will shorten. Pine needles are dry now and need to be handled.

Applause.

PRESENTATIONS/DISCUSSIONS

  • HOBERGS RESORT PLANS – with Hobergs representative Scott Schellinger

Karl: It is in the greater interest for the community for Hoberg’s to be cleared and cleaned in a positive way. To that end, we’ve tried to build a good bridge of communication with Borad of Supervisors, our own supervisor, the resort’s executives. Have been meeting since August. Here’s Scott Schellinger — grew up in Lake Co., Nov 2000 began working at Schellinger Brothers. Founded CSW land solutions LLC, working on entitlements, including agriculture, CEQA and other complex issues. Used to work on feature films etc. in Hollywood. Since Jan 2016, became land use consultant for the Hoberg’s Historical Society.

.

Scott:

Cleanup process: asbestos has been cleared (licensed contractor needed = 500 cu yds trucked out; completed; turned out to be x<1%)

Ongoing: non-detect debris; 1200 cords of wood removed; estimated completion is September

Approval on land use going forward:

  • Plan to do public outreach meetings, i.e., design charettes with the community to avoid public comment at the end advocating major changes
  • Applications get filed; work with county planning
  • Environmental Review
  • Public Hearing Process with boards, commissions, etc.
  • What could end up on the site
    • Hotel component
    • Bar/restaurant/gathering (wedding ,convention)
    • Resort living (townhouses + for sale single family
    • Apartment housing
  • Design philosophy/what we’re thinking of doing preliminarily
    • Low impact — be sensitive to the natural environment; sustainable, place-appropriate
    • Location–you won’t be able to see it from the road looking down nor from downhill looking up to see some ridge top building
    • Minimal, blends into the environment and the landscape

 

Q: What’s in it for the community? Housing–does it include affordable, senior?

A: Affordable by design, no deed restriction contemplated. We want a price point commensurate with the area. 40 units, not big enough for stores. Offering of buildable lots. Qualified uh-huh on planned development, this is a conceptual design still–there will be a design standard, roads built, but no master plan to build out each of the homes yet.

Q: What about community memberships, like in Konocti?

A: We can discuss with Historical Association, i.e,. the owners, as this has never been discussed.

Q: What do you do for septic for all this?

A: I do work with a lot of wineries. They have to handle waste on their own site. Very efficient sites now and irrigating with this tertially created water.

Q: What about a homeowners association.

A: Yes, there will be HOA and they can use the sewage plant on site.

Q: We need hospitality. How big is the planned hotel?

A: 45 rooms in mind; depends on a lot of factors; 50+ gets more complex. 25 seems to be the manageable level based on previous owner.

Q: Apartments?

A: Month-to-month rentals.

Q: Where does the funding come from, since you are nonprofit?

A: Regular, as with any development, based on ROI. Owner’s apartment is a nonprofit–not uncommon.

Q: Pool?

A: Yes (points to map).

Q: We live below the slope. Hoberg’s held a weekend concert series, drove everyone crazy; couldn’t hear, couldn’t park. Any resort should not aurally impact negatively. Even a resort and pool leads to outdoor entertainment.

A: Not planning a large concert. There’s a standard–agree to hours of operation for example, that is mitigated through permit process with the county.

Q: Evergreen location, we feel the same as the plan.

Q: Where is the treatment plan? Are you aware there is water district and well?

A: Completely self-contained units. Not a septic system in the old sense. Clean water comes out the other side.

Q: Single family homes limited to residents? or allow investors? Will you manage investor properties a la West Virginia?

A: You can’t limit who buys what, per California law. Resort living component  size might be halved by hotel as we build. How do you effectively regulate airbnb–lots of communities are dealing with this. I don’t know how that is turning out specifically. I definitely want to control the resort site but how, gets complicated.

Q: Financial backing requires presentation of data on use, etc. What research do you have to back your expectations? How do you know this will stay afloat when we have business trouble locally, and neighbors not returning?

A:  As someone who has a weekend home here, I’m here more often than not. Other people are coming to that also. I’m not the financial analyst; mine is a more fundamental analyst. I do think the place has an intrinsic value. I’m not at liberty to discuss ownership. There’s a historical association with a board of directors that is the owner. I’m governed by code of ethics.

Q: What is the draw?

A: Golf course down the street, wineries i.e., emerging wine industry.

Q: Are you going to separate out planned development or fee simple?

A: Lots to be managed through HOA. Will ask for planned development zoning so they can write specific standards for the houses to be built, because we want the guidelines to be less permissive so we can preserve value. The rest will be governed by design restrictions and CC&Rs.

Q: Have you done preliminary design review committee?

A: Would start submitting in September, coinciding with our cleanup completion.

Q: How many rooms?

A: This is still a very preliminary look, so still general, at 125 occupancy.

Q: Will you invite council input?

A: Yes.

Q: Good to have a vision that is beyond what I had. Who would do this?

A: The bulk of the cleanup has been funded by the owners. It’s not going to be next fall people can move in. Owners want to build positive. They wouldn’t have started on the cleanup without that possibility of vision.

Q: Will they sell off the lots first, and have the money, then you adios and not finish the rest of the development?

A: It doesn’t work financially if you don’t do the whole project. There’s already a lot of cost sunk into the project. My impression is they need the whole thing to work. Owners are very committed.

Q: Phases?

A: Don’t have a block land plan. So we can’t say yet what phases will happen when. Presumes the earth-moving will happen at the same time. Same thing with hotel- because that’s what you always want done immediately. Apartment early also, because you can rent immediately. For Sale component will travel at the pace of sales.

Q: Water source?

A: Cobb Water Co.

Applause.

Adjourned: 7:52 pm

Letter from Joan Moss

To the voting members of the Cobb Area Council May 17, 2017

And the members of the Board of Directors

I wish to go on record supporting the efforts of the council in rebuilding and networking with our community. However, I differ from the philosophy of the Hoberg Abatement Committee Chairman Karl Parker in that I want to remain aware and learn all aspects and  facts about the past in order to make informed and realistic decisions about the present and the future. 

There is an ongoing and open investigation by the District Attorney and the expert environmental District Attorney Rachel Monten from the California District Attorneys Association regarding Hobergs abatement activities. 

There are two very important articles by Glenda Anderson from the Press Democrat that I believe the public needs to read and be aware of. Each one of us needs to make our contribution as part of the whole. 

Thank-you for allowing me to give my input. Joan Moss, 279-1650