→ See a video recording of the RMA meeting (1 hour, 18 minutes)
The Rancho Murieta Association board voted unanimously Tuesday night to ask the state to lower the speed limit on Jackson Road to 45 mph as it passes through Rancho Murieta. Other topics covered at the meeting: Better bathrooms at Lake Clementia, free events at the Gazebo and the proposed Riverview dog park.
Director Joanne Brandt brought up the Jackson Road speed limits, sharing a packet of information prepared with neighbor Nancy Miller, who has been working for almost two years to get the state bureaucracy to pay attention.
Brandt’s proposed cover letter from the RMA had a number of attachments – Miller’s correspondence with state and local officials, a spreadsheet of accidents on Jackson Road, photos of Jackson Road through the area, and a RanchoMurieta.com story about the damage caused when a driver crashed into the South sound wall in November 2015.
Brandt’s letter says Miller met with Larry Brohman, a Caltrans transportation planner, when he came to see for himself in August 2016. “This was almost two years ago,” the letter says, “and Ms. Miller continues to look for the person who can tell her why the speed limit has not been lowered for safety reasons.”
Joanne Brandt >>
Brandt said the new speed limit should be imposed between Lone Pine Drive and Van Vleck Road, about 2.6 miles.
Her letter talks about the growth of the area, both residential and commercial, and the curvy, limited-vision stretches of Jackson Road that make it dangerous. The spreadsheet lists 17 accidents along this stretch of Jackson Road in 2015 and 2016 and says two people died and 19 were injured in the wrecks.
Lowered speed limits would cost motorists less than 30 seconds of their time, the letter says.
The board voted unanimously to send the letter to state and county officials.
Summerfest donation for park
Following last month's announcement by the RMA that Summerfest would donate $68,000 to complete the new ballfield at Stonehouse Park, members of the group attended Tuesday night's meeting to present a giant check to the board.
Events coming to Gazebo
On a let’s-give-it-a-try basis, the board gave an informal OK to holding free events in the North Gazebo, in the parking lot near the North Gate.
Laying out possible rules, General Manager Greg Vorster suggested that someone putting on an event with 50 or more attendees be required to get a special event permit from RMA and provide proof of liability insurance. Events would be between 8 a.m. and dusk, Vorster said, except for music events, which would be allowed from noon to dusk. Music could be amplified or not, he said.
Director Larry Shelton, who first proposed the idea last year, lives on Laguna Joaquin, as does neighbor Richard Hunt, who spoke in support of the idea. Shelton and Hunt said they’ve spoken with many neighbors on the lake, and they haven’t found anyone who objects. At present, Hunt said, the community’s “old folks” have to drive to Amador County for live music.
The events wouldn’t own the Gazebo space exclusively, Vorster said. This means if someone wants to play basketball while a concert is going on, that must be allowed, Shelton added. He emphasized RMA staff wouldn’t have to be involved with setting up the events.
Vorster said he would talk with the Community Services District about the possibility of an impact on the Security operation.
A board vote wasn’t necessary, but Vorster promised to keep the directors advised if any problems come up. At the end of the meeting, Shelton said given the board's approval of the idea, he wanted to announce a "Free Rock" concert series at the Gazebo, with the first in mid-April and the next in mid-May.
In other business...
- Better bathrooms at Lake Clementia: General Manager Greg Vorster estimated it would cost $58,575 for a modular bathroom at Lake Clementia plus additional costs to pour a concrete pad and empty the bathroom’s 900-gallon tank on an ongoing basis. “The restroom facilities at Lake Clementia have been a constant complaint from the community throughout the years,” Vorster said, adding that connecting to existing sewer lines and building bathrooms would cost more than $300,000. That’s why the lake has porta-potties. A modular trailer – lighted, heated and air-conditioned – has been used for special events in the past and was well received, he said. His proposal called for two sinks in the men’s and women’s restroom, multiple toilets in each and a third bathroom to meet ADA requirements. The board was supportive of the idea. Vorster said he would talk with community groups to see if financial support can be found.
- Dog park at Riverview: General Manager Greg Vorster said the former bicycle pump track at Riverview Park could be turned into a dog park at a cost of between $10,000 and $11,000 for fencing, benches, grass seed and an irrigation system. The project could be funded from exclusive-use fees, he said. Much of the work would land on RMA staff, he said, which would delay the start of work until middle or late summer. He will return with a proposal at next month’s board meeting. Neighbor Les Clark – who’s also a Community Services District director – urged the RMA to analyze the situation with water runoff from the park to be sure it doesn’t impact water quality.
- Traffic barriers at Stonehouse Park: Neighbor Kathi Skoda voiced opposition to the idea of using the yellow traffic barriers at Stonehouse Park if the Escuela gate is opened to outside traffic. Using the yellow gates has been suggested as a way to keep outside traffic from wandering from the park onto community streets. She suggested using a couple of passive gates with bar code readers instead of the yellow barriers, and General Manager Greg Vorster said that exact idea is being considered for implementation in about two years. Board President Alex Bauer said he wants the whole idea to be the subject of community conversation before any action is taken.
- New stump grinder: The board voted unanimously to spend $6,373 for a stump grinder replacement.