Saturday, May 08, 2010

Letter To The Editor

The following commentary posted by permission. I think a public meeting to decide the fate of the Tri W property is in order as soon as plans for the sewer project finalize. The community needs to be thinking about and weigh in on what it wants – if anything – in the middle of the town. And what that will cost.

“Tri-W,” “Mid-Town,” “Sewer Park”, whatever you call it, it currently belongs to the wastewater Prohibition Zone of Los Osos, paid for by the 2001 $24 million sewer assessment. The $3,010,025 purchase by the 2003 Los Osos Community Services District Board (LOCSD) from Tri-W Enterprise, Inc., the three Williams brothers of local supermarket chain fame. The Williams Brother’s purchased the property from Morro Shores attempting to monopolize the grocery industry in Los Osos.

Centrally located downtown, the 11-acre former sewer site has become the most notorious property in the community. Complicated by 365 acres of watershed runoff that enters the site, percolates underground, and filtered through the soil before entering the bay through seeps, any development of the site will be challenged by the drainage patterns that crisscross the property.

Originally zoned for shops and offices, the site was proposed for a sewer plant disguised as a park received a zoning overlay of Public Facilities in 2002 to allow the LOCSD to build a sewer park in the center of the community. In the fall of 2005 the LOCSD fenced the property and proceeded with mass excavation of the site on September 15th in spite of the recall election that would unseat the majority board just days later on September 27th. Some would suggest the commencement of construction sealed the fate of that Board. One long time resident said, “If they had just waited for the election they might have kept their seats.”

Fast forward to today, with plenty of blame to go around, the site is unstable, the fence has fallen over, drainage fissures have eroded the sandy soils, invasive plants have taken root and Morro shoulderband snails have re-inhabited the site. Regulatory agencies, including the California Coastal Commission, are looking for a “global solution” and resolution to the mess left by the defunct sewer project.

County Park’s attempt at $5 million of Proposition 84 grant monies to purchase the site for desperately needed parkland was called off soon after the Coastal Commission found Substantial Issue with the wastewater project in January. County Public Works has offered in a recent proposal to the Coastal Commission to “stabilize” by re-grading the site into the series of retention basins approved in the defunct sewer project and “revegetate” the site with native plant material.

The 2007 special legislation (AB2701) handing over the wastewater project responsibility from the LOCSD to the County has provisions for all wastewater assets needed for the County’s project to be transferred to the County upon adopting a “Resolution of Determination Declaring the County’s Intent to Proceed with Construction and Operation of a Community Wastewater System” for Los Osos. If Tri-W is no longer needed for the wastewater project (two small pieces are going to be carved off for pump station purposes) it is understood that the property would be sold off as surplus and proceeds from a sale would be divided among the LOCSD’s creditors lined up in the LOCSD’s bankruptcy.

The under the radar efforts to acquire and/or repair the Tri-W site are admirable, but raise questions as to what really should happen with the property and how the public can participate. As the wastewater project nears its permit approval and the County positions itself to officially take the project, it would be prudent to have a community conversation about the property. Recognizing that the Public Facility zoning disappears when the property changes hands and the site no longer has the value it once had due to the decline in real estate values. Moreover, like all other vacant lots within the prohibition zone it is stripped of its ability to be developed in the near term due to the 20+ year sewer moratorium and defacto moratoriums on water and habitat issues.

It’s time to call for the question. It would be prudent to have the LOCSD and their attorney’s, Los Osos Community Advisory Council (LOCAC) County Public Works, County Parks, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Fish & Game and the California Coastal Commission at the table to discuss options and complexities of the property.

While the community may want a park in that location, where is the evidence to that effect? What kind of park? Passive, active or something in between? Are we ready to tax ourselves to purchase, permit, mitigate, build and maintain a park that has no water, sewer, or habitat mitigation (resulting in millions of dollars to an already economically challenged community)? What is the highest and best use for the property? What alternatives are available?

Ask your public officials to set a townhall meeting; invite the community to attend and hash out the details before the LOCSD bankruptcy makes the decision for us.

Julie Tacker
39 year resident of Los Osos


Mike said...

Julie Tacker does NOT speak for this community...!!!

She help lead the LOCSD into bankruptcy in her efforts to halt any sewer in Los Osos... Julie Tacker is NOT the one to tell this community what or what not to do...!!!

Julie Tacker is bankrupt financially and morally...!!! She has no say in the direction Los Osos should take....!!!!!

M said...

I guessed Mike would be the first to comment. And you didn't fail me. Sounded to me more like she was asking for everybody to come to a consensus about what to do with the property. Julie does live here as well, and you don't Mike. God help us if you think you have any say in what we should or should not do.
Sincerely, M

Mike said...

sorry m, but you don't know either julie or me... but if you think julie is concerned about any "consensus", you should open your eyes and wonder why a person who led the effort to bankrupt the LOCSD and fought any sewer, would want to see the Tri-W site opened for development...??? Maybe the current developer she's "living with" has some plans...???

no m, you don't know julie or me...!!!

M said...

Actually it's M not m. My kids went to school with Julie and were taught by Julies Mom. So I know Julie. I don't know you, but I do know your name. I can surmise from your name the relation to this town. If it is just coincidental, then my bad.
I took a drive to Morro Bay this morning and as always I admired all of the beauty and diverse landscape we have right here in Los Osos and Morro Bay. Mountains, volcanic peaks, sand dunes, ocean, bay, and on and on. And I thought, what a shame that so many people would have to give this up if people like Mike were to get their way and saddle us with an unbelievable burden.
Sincerely, M

Mike said...

..and you m, think julie is the role model of leadership for our community....???

No one will be giving up any of the beauty of this country...

However julie and lisa set up the coming expansion of SLO thru the LO Valley thanks to a mega sewer "out of town" and a bankrupt CSD... and of course the morally corrupt julie hopes her current "friend" will be positioned to develop Tri-W as he would down in Oceano given half a chance... julie is a schemer, open your eyes, she has an agenda and it would be paid for by all of this community... she has fooled way too many folks around her, but those of us who really know her, know she is not to be believed or trusted....!!!!!

M said...

Are you saying they would not have been able to build in Los Osos Valley were it not for our sewer going in? If the number of homes you mentioned in the past that could be built there were close to correct, wouldn't they be easily able to build their own sewer as part of the developement? You said 250,000 once before, lets trim that down to 100,000. Still 95,000 more than what is being forced on us at our expense almost entirely.
And its M not m.
Sincerely, M

Alon Perlman said...

Hmm M-Mike; That's not going anywhere fast.
Julie was a member of the "Do nothing CSD". They inherited a degraded ESHA and .. Did nothing.. To her credit though;
1. I believe she called for purchase of the fence many times.
That Fence was finally purchased for 5,000. Cost of monthly rental? 1,400$(?). Note that in '06 the Fence was not fully depreciated and would had cost more, Still 1/2 a year rent paying for itself 6 months Versus 6 years?.
I am dissappointed that the current CSD hadn't done more, but they had recent personnell changes And the Location is in limbo, Given that the County has some rights to nix a CSD sale.
"The do nothing CSD" had George Milanes create a basin. Eventually that failed and a new basin was created. George showed me the plans and I had some Comments that predicted the problems with the pallisades project. That was in 06-'07. 3 years later those problems became a reality. Meanwhile George had written his own contract for six figures. Of the former Board I think Julie Objected to his Contract, again to her credit.
More about the drainage probems at T-W-Midtown later. My point however, is that the drainage issues at Tri-W will have to be addressed before Other uses can be determined. Dick Parker Currently On LOCAC is the Only LOCAC Member with actual water engineering credentials. The CSD water advisory Committee is Currently dealing with &th 8th streets, Baywood drainage. Many of it's members were in the committee when
in 2008 the work on Tri-W drainage was abandoned. I'm not the only member of LOCAC to have pointed out drainage issues there, and was the only one calling for the County and CSD to get together and place a truckload of Rip Rap there. (about a 1/2 truck is present now, and obviously inadequate)
I did this as a member of LOCAC and as a Private individual- currently speaking as a private individual. This Wednesday the CSD Utils/Water committee will hear a lecture on GrayWater from the LOSG. Which will probably be a repeat of the 4/29 presentation.

So... The current process will not even allow a sensible handling of the area as a retention basin, let alone a future park.

Churadogs said...

Thanks for the info, Alon. Mike, as usual, can't prevent his immature brain from blocking his bile, hence the miss-the-point "spew." Uh, Mike, I suggest you re-read Julie's piece, down near the bottom where it says the CSD should hold a community workshop to get community input as to what should happen to the site & etc., as in -- getting community input . . . .

And, yes, erosion and drainage will always be a problem there because of the development above it and roads all draining rainwater off those hills. Another one of those things where the county looked the other way and the developer hopped out of town -- not my problem, bye.

Alon Perlman said...

Sorry for dragging this over from Cal-Coast, but I posted there and...

For reference; there were additional comments including a long response by Julie

Julie is completely correct with regards to her description of the T-W-Midtown site’s drainage problems
I will go one step further and say that until the Area is SOLVED as a retention basin, that plot will be a liability to whoever purchases it. And also add that the “Over the surface flows” which cris-cross the sub-surface flows should not be left out.
I have predicted three Plus years ago that once the Palisades project will be completed, waters will enter the site with great force and they have. I predicted that the Ravena flow will continue to take out the fence and that there were and will continue to be transport of soils off the property and it did. Overall the site is more unstable and has greater than historic flows off it. That is a big (Regulatory) No-No. AND Julie does know the regs.

I am not in agreement though that anything can be done. Not until the retention basins are rebuilt.
The only way to approach this that would work, is with the CSD working in cooperation with the county and the county fixing the Ravena side and increasing the amount of Rip-Rap at the point of the public portion (County Right Of Way) onto T-W (Like I asked early and on multiple occasions). Any vehicular entry to any part of the adjacent properties would have to be limited by fences and enforcement. (County). The CSD should dust off the blue prints that George Milanes had which included Hay bolsters. Preferably the ones he redrew at my suggestion because I told him that if he stacks the bolsters too close to the entry point the waters will force them onto each other (but yall know about that). Then at least three ponds. And we haven’t touched on the problems with the extremely intact aged Chaparral ESHA Beneath, Vested map, private property etc…

The entire 50 acres plus is a Jewel. And the economic future of Los Osos.

But until that repair is made and established- I am very concerned that with the continued deterioration of the public process, into me too special interests, the outcome will be talk followed by more talk. Look at what the “Hot” topics are today and how they are handled.
I see where Mythbuster is coming from. Trust me, I’ve had to listen to a lot of stuff that was not going anywhere. CSD Drainage is not in LOCAC’s Purview.

Currently Celebrate Los Osos has moved on to a large project initiated by the Back Bay Inn Owner and with the Cooperation of Most of the big and small businesses in Baywood. I had a little part in that inception and on May 22nd the extension of the walkway south of the Baywood pier project will commence with music and rejoicing, And I hope to attend and help out as a member of the public who happens to be a re-elected LOCAC member (Praise be to almighty Jah) or happens to not be a re-elected LOCAC member (Praise be to almighty Jah).

Back Bay Music Festival – Saturday May 22nd 12 noon to 8p All food and beverage proceeds will be donated to pay for the landscaping on the Los Osos Valley Road median strip at South Bay Boulevard AND to create a walking path from the Baywood Pier into Sweet Springs Nature Preserve.

Churadogs said...

A walking path along the bay into Sweet Springs. Great idea.

FOGSWAMP said...

In 1995 the overwhelming wish of Los Osos citizens was for a drop dead gorgeous park at the TriW site, with a picnic area, amphitheater, play fields, dog park, water garden and multi-use walk path.

The only thing missing now will be the rotten egg smell, the rest is still doable and will fit with our "strongly held community values" put forth in the Vision Statement by the pollutions group.

Churadogs said...

Fogswamp: The issue then and now is, Will the community PAY for a drop dead gorgeous park? Way back when they were asked to pay for a modest $40 a year park & rec charge for a community pool and small recreation program, first they voted yes (barely) then when asked via 218 to re-vote, voted no. That was $40 a year. The question now is, how much will they tax themselves to pay for a drop dead park at Tri-W? Especially since they'll be paying $200++ a month for the sewer, will the community even consider adding to that bill? I sure don't know, but it's worth opening up a discussion now to see what the options are, like any park grants available or other creative type grants?? etc.