On 1 February 2005 the Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group approved a policy on groundwater mitigation requirements for projects that come before it.
The Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group Policy on New Projects in its entirety reads as follows:
It is the policy of the Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group (BSCSG) that:
a. Proposed land developments in the Borrego Valley that are consistent with the density in the adopted general plan will be required to mitigate their water use at a ratio of one to one.
b. Projects that propose a density greater than allowed by the general plan will have a fee imposed that will permit mitigation at a ratio of three to one for the additional density.
In the BSCSG policy above, paragraph a. is consistent with the County of San Diego Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU) policy. Paragraph b., however, is more stringent than the DPLU policy for projects that involve an increase in existing density for the property involved. The policy will apply only to projects that require a discretionary permit from the DPLU.
The BSCSG policy is intentionally silent with respect to implementation because the BSCSG does not have the power to implement or enforce it. The policy merely requires applicants "to mitigate their water use at a ratio of one to one" if no change in the underlying density is involved, or "have a fee imposed that will permit mitigation at a ratio of three to one for the additional density" in order to receive a positive recommendation from the BSCSG. The BSCSG policy provides no guidance whatsoever as to how this can or will be achieved and suggests no mechanisms for accomplishing it. The BSCSG has no mandate to act as a collection agent for mitigation fees and no infrastructure to support such an effort in any case. The BSCSG, which is merely an advisory body to the County Board, cannot enforce its policies; but it will make recommendations to DPLU based on those policies that DPLU is then free to accept or not at its discretion.
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