A resolute Rancho Murieta Association board unanimously approved a master parks trail plan to be funded by developers and directed its Parks Committee representatives to vote in favor of the plan after it was presented at Tuesday night’s RMA meeting.
The Parks Development Agreement requires landowners to develop and grant to RMA at no cost a system of pedestrian and bike trails constructed to standards and specifications as approved by the Parks Committee, said General Manager Greg Vorster, quoting from the 1990 agreement that established the framework for developing Rancho Murieta’s parks and the five-member committee to oversee it. The Parks Committee is made up of two RMA directors, one Community Services District director and two developer representatives.
Vorster’s presentation focused on three maps: Exhibit E, a conceptual plan for pedestrian and bike trails on the North and South that appears in the 1990 agreement; the trail plan the North developer has already submitted to Sacramento County, and the master trail plan RMA is proposing.
All three exhibits show 6.5 miles of paved trails and on-street trails, Vorster said. The developer’s map calls for 17.5 miles of “natural dirt trails,” Vorster said, “which is not part of the current Exhibit E.”
The proposed RMA master plan references Exhibit E and also incorporates the 17.5 miles of dirt trails shown on the developer’s plan.
“The difference between our trail and what the developer has presented is that they’re showing a much more on-street trail and we’re showing more off-street trail,” Vorster said. “So (the developer's) proposal would be less of the paved trails going around the lakes and more of the trails running along adjacent to the roadways.”
Vorster said the Parks Committee has approved changes to Exhibit E and adopted a specification in 2003 for off-street trails that requires a 12-foot-wide path with two-foot shoulders constructed with six inches of base rock and two inches of asphalt.
Developer John Sullivan of Rancho Murieta Properties and Cosumnes River Land came forward during the public comment period after Vorster’s presentation. “I think one of the issues after we went for the trail walk earlier this year was the idea that we would have a well-publicized Parks meeting or community meeting to get input on the trails both in-road proposed by Exhibit E and the off-road trails,” Sullivan said, referring to an informational tour at Lake Chesbro in April.
The walk provided exposure to different trail types, but it didn’t address the developer’s plan to add hundreds of homes to the area around Lakes Calero, Chesbro and Clementia. The lots can be seen on the trail maps.
Sullivan said the RMA master plan can’t be adopted because Exhibit E is conceptual. “It’s going to get changed when the final maps come forward,” he said. Instead, Sullivan said he wanted a meeting to discuss trails.
“I get that the Exhibit E is conceptual but I also agree that we need to move forward,” Director Tim Maybee said. “If plot lines are going to move, they’re gonna move. I don’t have any heartburn over any of the dirt trails that are on private property. We don’t own them and, for the most part, the developer didn’t ask for them. So however they move, that doesn’t really affect what RMA does. ... I think our (trail) system is very close, with a couple of exceptions, to what the developer already ahead of us submitted to the county. We just need to get something submitted that represents RMA.”
“I totally agree,” Director Larry Shelton said.
“The idea behind this map and the developer’s map, too, is it reserves a lot of those dirt trails that otherwise really don’t have a legal right to exist out there,” Bob Lucas, president of the board, said.
“Yeah, they were built out there without permission,” Maybee said.
“I think we wanted some paving around the lakes so they would be more accessible to more people,” Director Cheryl McElhany said.
Patrick Salo, a neighbor who said he lives here because of the lakes and trails, urged the board to “retain as much of the trail system as we can. ... It’s an awesome treasure ... this access to nature right in your backyard.”
Following the unanimous vote to approve the master trail plan, Salo asked if that made the dirt trails “official” and Vorster replied that as part of Exhibit E, RMA should receive an easement or property would be deeded to RMA for the trails. “The mechanism would probably be that the easement be granted for those dirt trails and then RMA would be responsible for the maintenance of them,” Vorster said.
Vorster said the RMA trail master plan will go to the CSD next month for discussion and direction from the board to their representative on the Parks Committee. Following that, a Parks Committee meeting with the opportunity for public input would be scheduled for September or October, he said. If the plan is approved by the committee, it will be submitted to the county.
In other business...
- The RMA board started the process of looking for candidates to fill three directors’ positions in November. The terms of Tim Maybee, Bob Lucas and Sam Somers Sr. end Nov. 30, and all three are termed out. Candidates packets are available at the RMA. The deadline is Sept.13. RMA directors serve for three years. The board selected Tim Maybee to chair the Nominating Committee and approved Ken Poole and Dick Silvis to serve as inspector of elections.
- General Manager Greg Vorster reported on progress at the Greens Park, saying two-thirds of the concrete has been poured, with a second pour delayed by high temperatures; irrigation lines are in place and final grading is done. He said the park is probably on schedule for a September opening.
- Director Tim Maybee, chair of the Compliance Committee, reported working with CSD on “transitional issues” and with Interim Security Chief Steve Mobley to address speeding and stop sign violations, top priorities for RMA.