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Rudyville II: The Return of Frankenstein

Digger - January 26, 2016
Updated 02 February 2016
Updated 08 February 2016

In a letter to the editor of the Borrego Sun (01.14.2016), David Garmon, President of the Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy, alerted the community to the resurrection of an ill-conceived project that most who knew of it at the time probably thought and certainly hoped had died eight years ago. Formally known as Borrego Country Club Estates but locally as "Rudyville," after Rudy Monica, one of the developers involved, (hereinafter The Project) it is rife with negative impacts for the community and the valley's fragile environment and poses a serious threat to efforts to bring the overdraft of Borrego Valley aquifer under control.

Garmon reports that on 3 December 2015, the County of San Diego issued a Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report for The Project to be "paid for with taxpayer money at the behest of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. The EIR is a preliminary step toward approving a... change [in] the zoning of the 171-acre Rudyville parcel" to permit a 10-fold increase in housing density for the sole benefit of the developers. Significant, but not surprising, in this regard, Garmon points out that Monica's partner in The Project is Chris Brown, a former staff member of San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn who represents Borrego Springs. Just business as usual at the County.

In his letter to the editor of the Borrego Sun, Garmon avers that "the proposed EIR cannot meet the requirements of the new [California] Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. because the regulations have not yet been promulgated." In a letter to the Office of County Counsel dated 17 December 2015, he elaborates on this assertion and the reasoning behind it.

Garmon reasons that:

Garmon concludes that it is therefore impossible to ensure that any land use decision is in compliance with SGMA and that it "would be a waste of taxpayer money to proceed with [an EIR] that cannot conform to current legal requirements under SGMA." He ends his letter with a request for "a written opinion by County Counsel on... requiring an adopted GSP before" beginning work on an EIR for Rudyville.

Dan Falat, California State Parks' Colorado Desert District Superintendent wrote a letter to the County of San Diego Planning and Development Services expressing concern over the probable negative environmental impacts of The Project from "increased residential density" in close proximity to State Park lands. He enumerates specific concerns and asks the County "to reconsider increasing residential density and/or possible changes to... Land Use designation" for The Project. As well, Falat asks that he be kept informed as the planning and review process continues so that the State Parks can participate in it.

A communication from Lori Paul, also a member of the Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy, offers additional perspective on the current effort to foist this unnecessary and diasterous project off on the unsuspecting populace of Borrego.

On 4 February 2016, the Tubb Canyon Desert Conservacy sent a detailed comment letter to the County of San Diego Planning and Development Services vigorously opposing proposed changes to the current San Diego County General Plan specifically to accomodate Rudyville.

And then there is the Borrego Water Distirct. In the agenda for the Regular Meeting of the District's Board of Directors on 27 January 2016, both Garmon's and Falat's letters to the County are mentioned as "Information Items" with no comment or amplification. No discussion of the Rudyville matter is scheduled and it appears that the Board is not contemplating any action on it. The one agency that should be leading the assualt on this affront evidently prefers, as usual, to sit on its hands and leave the heavy lifting to someone (anyone) else for fear of doing something that might cause a crack in the carefully constructed but fragile false-front of comity they have so painstakingly fabricated. Too bad. The Valley deserves a more vigorous defense from the nearest thing it has to local government - but it's obviously not going to get it from this lot.

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