The Rancho Murieta Association board of directors seemed open to a community conversation about what kind of gate would be best at Escuela Drive when Stonehouse Road is improved – but some directors at Tuesday night's board meeting thought it’s too soon to be talking. The board also continued its conversations about problems with geese at Lake Clementia.
Is it too soon to discuss a new Escuela gate?
General Manager Greg Vorster asked the board if it wanted to co-host community meetings on the new Escuela gate with the Community Services District, an idea advanced by the CSD earlier this month.
“It seems premature at this time, because we don’t even know what we’re doing yet,” Director Bob Lucas said. Several directors agreed. Board President Jim Moore said he thought the conversation should wait until the fall.
“I suspect CSD is somewhat concerned that we’re accelerating this process of development,” Director Larry Shelton said, adding, "it appears that we are rapidly progressing to a passive gate." He said CSD thinks "maybe the whole community needs to be involved in making the decision whether it’s passive or manned.”
In recent months, RMA has outlined a plan for a limited-use, unmanned Escuela gate with two bar-code readers and arms that could be used for special events like July 4 and to allow Saturday Little League traffic to come in off Stonehouse Road instead of driving the community’s streets. The Saturday traffic would be restricted to the Stonehouse Park area under the RMA’s plan.
When one director echoed this at Tuesday’s meeting, Vorster added that allowing the gate to be used by residents during daylight hours has also been discussed. He also said he has received a bid for gate arms and related equipment for the gate.
Vorster said the CSD wants to address the question of whether the gate should be staffed or not, and he told the board he will ask the CSD to develop the costs for a staffed gate.
“Whenever we have this meeting,” Moore said, “I would like the CSD to be prepared to tell us exactly what it’s going to cost each homeowner to have a manned gate. Because the chatter I’ve heard on (Rancho)Murieta.com is ‘Oh, it has to be manned.’ Well, how much are you willing to pay for that?”
The RMA lobbied the county to re-engineer Stonehouse Road, which is scheduled to be done this summer, improving the sight lines and adding a turn lane for the new gate.
Director Cheryl McElhany seemed to echo the board consensus when she said, “I think it’s too soon to go to a town hall meeting. When people go to town hall meetings, they expect you to have answers, and we don’t have answers.”
The CSD board will receive an update on the issue at its meeting Wednesday, according to the CSD meeting agenda.
Considering how to get rid of the geese
The board continued its conversation about addressing the geese problem at Lake Clementia.
Vorster said he had gotten a price from Dog and Whistle Goose Control, which helped the Country Club chase geese from its property eight years ago. He said the company quoted a price of $10,000 for 12 weeks of having its dogs chase geese at the lakes.
He hadn’t yet gotten cost estimates for another suggestion – replacing the grass with artificial turf at the beach and the amphitheater. The geese feed on the grass.
Asked how much time RMA staff spends cleaning up after the geese, Maintenance Manager Rod Hart said, “We probably average a good 20 hours a week, trying to keep that clean. And we see the effort when we go to walk away, but you come back the next morning, and it looks like nobody’s been there.”
The board discussed a range of possible answers and reviewed things attempted in the past. Vorster said two residents had offered to use drones to chase the geese, and he invited them to give it a try and report back.
He said he will bring the board more estimates from the dog companies and for replacing the turf.
The board unanimously approved spending $62,702 to replace the sod on the large soccer field at Stonehouse Park. The current sod will be removed, amendments will be added to the soil, the field will be graded and Bermuda grass will be planted. Of the cost, $49,000 would come from the budget; the rest would come from exclusive-use funds.
Director Sam Somers advised the community that the Architectural Review Committee is drawing up requirements for every home and townhouse to have an enclosure for trash and yard waste cans.
No member of the community attended the meeting.