RMA gets OK to use parks money for land
Overriding objections by the Community Services District representative, the community's Parks Committee on Thursday approved a Rancho Murieta Association request to use $200,000 of RMA parks contributions to purchase almost 14 acres adjacent to Stonehouse Park.
The RMA's ultimate plan for the land isn't settled. It was intended to be the site of the community center and pool just voted down by Murietans. RMA directors, who seem unanimous in approval of the land purchase, characterize it as a great deal that will serve the community in the future. The acreage was once planned as a school site.
The only wrinkle in the RMA's Parks Committee request was offered by Betty Ferraro, a CSD director who serves as that group's delegate to Parks.
The Parks Committee is an independent committee that oversees the development of park facilities and trails and manages the parks fund. It is administered by the RMA and has five members -- one CSD representative, two RMA representatives, and two representatives from the Rancho Murieta development community. One of the development seats is currently empty.
Ferraro said she didn't understand before the meeting that the $200,000 would come from RMA parks contributions, so she hadn't gotten her board's direction on how to vote. She asked the committee to delay action until she could do that.
"I am not in favor of delaying this decision," said RMA President Jim Moore, citing a Nov. 30 deadline on the deal. "We need to get this done. Otherwise the potential purchase of that land could go away, and that is vital that we get this done."
Les Hock of Pacific Coast Capital Partners, the developer representative, said developable land in the Sacramento area is selling for a minimum of $100,000 an acre. That would make the 14 acres a bargain at $200,000.
Ferraro asked why the RMA hadn't come to the CSD to discuss the purchase.
If the purchase had involved the CSD, that would have been done, Moore said, adding, "This involves RMA and the Parks Committee only."
RMA General Manager Nick Arther, a spectator, said CSD General Manager Ed Crouse made it clear at a recent meeting of board presidents that if the RMA didn't buy the land, the CSD would.
"Oh, that's nice," Ferraro said. "I didn't know about that either. Gee, there's a lot of miscommunication here."
After more than an hour of wandering discussion, the committee voted to approve the RMA request. Moore, Hock and RMA Director Tim Maybee voted yes. Ferraro voted no because, she said, "The CSD board was not informed, nor would you give me opportunity to inform them...."
- Parks Committee OKs funds for community center (May 14, 2012)
Concerns about trails on private property
Murietan John Sullivan, a spectator at the meeting who represents development interests, had a pointed exchange with another spectator, Mark Pecotich, a Murietan who's involved in the Murieta Trail Stewardship.
The trail group has been building bike/pedestrian trails on undeveloped property in Rancho Murieta, prompting Sullivan to raise concerns at previous meetings about safety, liability and the impact of the trails on the ultimate development of the land.
"We've got real property people here who own property and have property rights and it's being trampled on," Sullivan said Thursday. "And everybody just seems to think that's OK, but it isn't OK."
He asked what the Parks Committee, Security and RMA can do to address the situation.
Sullivan won't discuss the long-standing belief that he is negotiating to buy the Pension Trust Fund's remaining Rancho Murieta holdings, which include the Country Club property and hundreds of acres of land.
Jim Moore, the RMA board president, said it might be appropriate for the RMA or Parks Committee to enter the conversation once the land sale is complete.
Pecotich said the trails group has been talking with the PTF since January to get the PTF's blessing for the trails. He said the group is trying to partner with land owners, not fight. He made a presentation on the group's activities at Tuesday's Joint Security Committee meeting.
When Pecotich referred to the property in question as open space, Sullivan cut him off: "It's not open space. It's private property. You need to stop saying 'open space.' ... Say 'private property access,' because that's what you're asking for."
"I know you guys are working very hard…." Sullivan said. "It just hasn't satisfied the current owner, and right now it doesn't satisfy the prospective land owners at all, the way it's being driven. It is really an RMA, CSD and land owner issue."
- Committee returns to discuss security issues (Oct. 24, 2012)
- Concerns aired about network of trails through private property (Feb. 9, 2012)
Trying to get going on Greens Park
The committee discussed the Greens Park on the South and the possibility of advancing the project this winter. Mark Parsons, the RMA's architectural manager, said he is talking with contractors, getting current prices for work on the 2.6-acre site.
Design plans for the park were completed four years ago, with a price tag estimated at $550,000. The 2007 parks matrix budgeted only $62,000 for the job.
Next committee meeting
The committee set 10 a.m. Jan. 31 for its next meeting.
So all this "open space" that Mr Sullivan seems so sure is not "open". I am a little confused why if you look at the approved "lots" for the "open" area they are mostly non-adjoining cottage and circle style lots. This would allow for wild life to pass through and it would allow for at least some trail access, which is part of our CC and R's. He only seems to be content when there is no access for any one to anything. Is anyone else getting tired of feeling like he is the gate keeper (or at least that he keeps making it appear as though he is)? One of the key reasons that people move out here is OPEN SPACE. People like looking out and seeing something other than houses all over the place, we like the turkeys we like the deer even when they eat our plants because it is better to live with nature and figure it out than to build all over it. Having the ability to interact with these things in this day and age is precious. Mr Sullivan seems to have missed this somewhere in the equation. Also has the issue that there is not anywhere near enough water for all of the sights that he wants to build every come into play? At any rate, if he wants to run this neighborhood and destroy my ability to recreate, which I pay every month for the right to do, please let me know, we will be out of here in a flash. We will chalk the rows and rows of homes that he wants to build (in a neighborhood that does not have a shortage of homes for sale and not a ton of demand for another 500 homes which will only drive our home prices down) up to greed and a lack of understanding of the value of nature in this world.