THE FCA BULLETIN
THE VOICE OF THE FOOTHILL COMMUNITIES ASSOCIATION
Serving North Tustin for 53 years, 1964–2017
2017 ANNUAL AND TOWN HALL MEETING
When: Monday, March 6, 6:30 PM
Where: Hewes Middle School
(Corner of Foothill Blvd. and Hewes Ave.)
The Annual Meeting of the Foothill Communities Association is in a town hall format and open to the public. Everyone is welcome! A question and answer period will follow the speaker. Starting at 6:30 pm will allow a half hour for informal discussions with FCA committees and with OC agencies—many will have tables and handout materials. This is your opportunity to quiz our Supervisor, OC Departments, and FCA representatives. Presentations begin at 7 pm. We will begin with a brief overview of FCA activities.
For 53 years, FCA has strived to preserve our unique and highly valued living environment. Last year we continued our efforts to protect and enhance our community. We work very hard to resolve community issues for our members. Your membership demonstrates your commitment to these objectives. For continuing members, renewal is only $20; for new members, the first year is free. An FCA membership is a low cost investment in our community and helps to insure your quality of life. Annual memberships expire on December 31 of each year. If you have not paid your 2017 membership dues, please complete the membership form in this Bulletin and mail with your check today or fill out the form at www.FCAhome.org. Now is the time to join or renew!
Several people have noted that some North Tustin residents do not drive after dark. So that everyone can at-tend the Annual Meeting, we will arrange transportation to the meeting and home afterward for a limited number of residents. If you are interested in this service, leave a message at 714-730-7810.
Richard Nelson, President
NEWPORT AVE ZONE CHANGE
ISSUE: In 2011 the County approved a rezoning to allow a 153-unit Senior Living Facility on Newport Avenue across from St. Regis and Ravencrest. A lawsuit was promptly filed after this approval in an effort to reverse the decision or to have the approval process restarted.
The proposed use is inconsistent with the North Tustin Specific Plan and incompatible with the surrounding established, single-family residential neighborhoods, putting a high-density use in an area planned for low to medium density. Neighboring property owners are overwhelmingly opposed to this project.
CURRENT STATUS: In December 2015 under the leadership of Supervisor Todd Spitzer, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to reverse the prior approval of this project. After 8 years of opposition, the project was stopped.
The Diocese of Orange can always reapply for this project in the future. We need to be vigilant.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: North Tustin residents have been generous in supporting the people living around the proposed facility and concomitantly helping to avoid similar affronts in other areas of our community.
Our litigation fund is out of money. Our legal bills have been paid by FCA Board members, and there will be at least one more invoice coming. The shortfall is estimated to be $20,000.
Please help protect our community and reimburse our Directors. To contribute, make your check payable to the “North Tustin Litigation Fund” and mail it to FCA, PO Box 261, Tustin, CA 92781.
Thank you for your continued support of North Tustin.
Joe Gonzalez, Ron King, Rick Nelson, Mike Rubin, Donna Sutton and Pat Welch make up the Foothill Communities Association Litigation Committee.
Developer Steve Sheldon is proposing to build 22 homes on 6 acres in Cowan Heights. This is double the density of the present zoning which mandates minimum 20,000 square foot lots and is incompatible with existing property in the Cowan Heights neighborhood. Neighbors informed FCA that they are opposed, and the FCA Board voted unanimously to oppose the project. It is hoped that the rest of North Tustin will support these residents with their zoning challenge. Please show your support and sign our petition at www.FCAhome.org/no-rezoning.
Progress will be posted at www.FCAhome.org and
A “Homeowner Rights Rally” is planned for every Thursday at 7:45 am at the project site, on Newport Ave. across from Rocking Horse Ridge. Come join us!
ISSUE: The OC Sanitation District decided several years ago that it did not want to manage local sewers with small diameter pipes. It will continue to manage the large diameter systems. Our local Sewer District 7 serviced North Tustin, some of the City of Tustin, and part of El Modena.
CURRENT STATUS: 2016 was very contentious with the both the East Orange County Water District (EOCWD) and the Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) applying to manage District 7. The FCA Board voted to support EOCWD as did the cities of Tustin, Orange, and Villa Park.
The Local Agency Formation Committee voted 6-1 to have EOCWD manage our sewers. EOCWD now provides sewer service to all North Tustin, wholesale water to all North Tustin, and retail water service to part of North Tustin.
The EOCWD has now reduced our local sewer assessment on our property tax bill by $108.00 (50%) per year. EOCWD has no debt, no unfunded pension liabilities, and has annual sewer cleaning. It plans to “pay as you go” and not issue long-term debt to finance repairs and upgrades.
GOLDEN STATE WATER RATES
ISSUE: Golden State Water (GSW) has been significantly more expensive and has had larger annual in-creases than any of the neighboring water companies. The changes in water rates with the drought have resulted in uncertainty regarding current comparative costs and coming changes.
CURRENT STATUS: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved the GSW rates for 2016–2018. It is expected that when the new rates are used in billing, the rates will be retroactive to January 1, 2016, and a surcharge will be applied to recover the underpayment for 2016.
FCA continues to closely follow both Claremont and Ojai in their attempts to use eminent domain to make their water systems publicly owned. The Los Angeles Superior Court recently denied the eminent domain suit by Claremont. We plan to visit Claremont to better understand why it lost. Claremont is considering an appeal. Ojai has won its eminent domain lawsuit, and it is now waiting for the court to hear and decide the value of the water system. In both instances, we are learning valuable lessons.
WHAT FCA IS DOING: FCA plans to do a comparative analysis of water costs, examine options in light of the Claremont decision, and advise the community.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Have patience as we sort out the current situation.
If you would like to join this committee, contact Rick Nelson, rnelson@FCAhome.org. Someone with accounting experience is especially needed.
NORTH TUSTIN FIRE SAFE COUNCIL
Many of our FCA members are not aware of the North Tustin Fire Safe Council (FSC), which was organized by and operates under the umbrella of the FCA. The FSC has two primary functions:
(1) To communicate with the public and in particular North Tustin residents regarding the fact that we live in a high risk fire danger area and that we need to continually find ways to reduce the risks.
(2) To work with the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) to identify specific areas of risk and to take action to mitigate those risks.
The FSC is looking for more participants to help further its primary goals. The FSC meets the second Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm at the OCFA Headquarters at Jamboree and Tustin Ranch Roads. If you are interested, please join us at our next meeting.
FCA keeps the cost of our annual membership low to encourage all residents of North Tustin to join. The downside of this practice is that funds are not available for some important projects. Your donations can make a big difference.
Please consider adding an amount on the membership form in addition to your membership fee. We are in particular need of donations to the North Tustin Litigation Fund (Please see Newport Ave Zone Change above).
FCA switched our Community Picnic to a park in the City of Tustin in 2015. There was no long queue to get into the park, and there was plenty of parking and lots of playground equipment for children. In 2016 we decided to move the picnic from the fall to the spring to avoid the fall’s often high temperatures. Watch for the date of the 2017 Community Picnic at www.FCAhome.org.
If you would like to join the 2017 Community Picnic Committee, please contact Rick Nelson (rnelson@FCAhome.org, 714-730-7810).
FCA formed Friends of Peters Canyon in 2015 to give the community a voice in the preservation of this wonderful regional park. FCA Director Jane Rice organized the group and took a list of requests to OC Parks. All our requests were accepted except for a critical one. The Friends of Peters Canyon did not want a wide, paved bike path cutting through the park. OC Parks did agree to study the issue. In 2016 the decision was made to move the planned bikeway to the east side of Jamboree Road. The Irvine Company provided an indefinite easement for the bikeway.
Another success for our community and FCA!
Scott Logue joined the FCA board in 2016 and accepted the position of Communications Director. He plans to work diligently to keep the community informed.
Visit the FCA website, www.FCAhome.org, and the FCA Facebook page, www.facebook.com/groups/FCAhome, for the status of issues and projects.
Questions or comments should be directed to Rick Nelson, email@example.com or 714-730-7810.