Yucca Valley, Ca. – Last evening, at the Hi-Desert Water District Board meeting, Staff proposed expanding Phase One boundaries of the sewer project out to the North and South from the downtown corridor. Reaching North to grab the airport district pocket of homes including a popular watering hole called Wine & Roses Lounge and scooting South, a large section of new homes called Copper Mountain, the original Shack tract, will now be placed into the mix. A new tract with their own package treatment plant called Mesquite 55 was scooped up too. Of course, the line jagged South to include a small 2 bedroom rental property of mine sitting on the original Onaga border. What a blessing for me to have a fixed assessment placed on the property! Thanks guys!
What was once was a straight line running East and West along Onaga to mark the boundaries of Phase One, now jags in and out to take in some pockets of dense housing, supposedly to protect the aquifer, as stated in their Staff report. According to a 2010 presentation by Lew Carella of Carollo engineering, the Phases were only designed to provide the cost model to determine who will pay for the sewers.
Of real interest to me are the parcels that have been “dropped off” the phasing chart. When I asked for the reason behind that, CFO Frank Luckino told me they were vacant parcels and one segment was so rural, there would never be any pipes running out that way so they were deleted. There is a large section of property in the downtown area near the aquifer now labeled Phase Three, as are the properties on the farthest outskirts of Yucca Valley, as per Luckino and Muzik’s designation.
The hillside reserve area where Councilman George Huntington carved out his custom ranch is in the rural area removed from any and all assessments. Seated among other Sky Harbor Estates where Bill Warner, Bob Dunn and Jack Rarick reside, they will receive the benefits of clean drinking water without having to pay one nickel of any sewer assessment, ever.
A stretch of vacant land in Sky Harbor bordering La Contenta will be investigated to find out about the ownership. Luckino said this was vacant land and would not be assessed. I reminded him that 60% of Phase One is composed of vacant lots and that reason did not make sense to me. He then stated Staff needed to drop properties because of our current population numbers of 20,700, we are not rural to compete for grants. They needed to drop the number down by 700. If that is the case, why remove vacant or selected rural homes? This whole thing stinks to high heaven, if you ask me.
Another questionable area removed from any assessments are two homes on the south side of highway 62 towards the west end of town that were abandoned by unscrupulous builders carving into the steep hillside without any set-backs. Simply driving up the vertical concrete driveways to reach the garage require oxygen tanks to prevent nose bleeds. While I have an idea of possible owners, I will have to pull out my Yucca Valley project maps to check the assessor parcel number to confirm that information.
HDWD GM Ed Muzik stated these changes in boundaries were presented to the companies prior to bidding to design the collection system and would not result in any change orders. Another red flag went up when I heard this was Staff’s idea…..what is really going on here?
The HDWD Board of Directors approved the Staff recommendation with hardly any discussion on the matter thanking Mark Ban for his presentation of the colored overlays to help understand the boundary changes.
Stay tuned for the parcel numbers and list of owners exempt from sewer assessments.
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