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By Ben Locke, Alpine resident

January 31, 2017 (Alpine) -- Located at http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/pds/generalplan.html is the County website for the General Plan (GP).  As you may have heard, a GP update will be taking place for Alpine over the next 18 months.  The preamble to the GP states that it is:  “…a framework for the future growth and development of the unincorporated areas of the County.”  And that it “…is based on a set of guiding principles designed to protect the County’s unique and diverse natural resources and maintain the character of its rural and semi-rural communities. It reflects an environmentally sustainable approach to planning that balances the need for adequate infrastructure, housing, and economic vitality, while maintaining and preserving each unique community within the County, agricultural areas, and extensive open space.”  Finally, it states that it:  “…reflects the County’s commitment to  a sustainable growth model that facilitates efficient development near infrastructure and services, while respecting sensitive natural resources and protection of existing community character in its extensive rural and semi-rural communities. The General Plan provides a renewed basis for the County’s diverse communities to develop Community Plans that are specific to and reflective of their unique character and environment consistent with the County’s vision for its future."

It should be clear to everyone, especially our local Alpine Planning Group, that there are some specifics they must adhere to during the upcoming 18-month process.  First, and foremost, that Alpine’s recommendations MUST include protection for our natural resources and MUST maintain our rural and semi-rural nature.  We moved here to Alpine to be out of the city and we want it to stay that way.  It should also be clear to all, that the intent of the residents of Alpine is to keep development where there is the infrastructure to support it.  We all know that developers would love to have the taxpayers pick up the tab for infrastructure (water, sewer, roads, fire/police protection, etc.) so that their development can move forward at affordable (to them) cost.  We, in Alpine, must press the Planning Group, most of whom are either in the building trades or tied to them, to understand that in addition to wanting to maintain our rural nature, there is no viable reason we should be burdened with the cost of infrastructure that will only benefit a few.

In the next months, I think we should all keep a close eye on our planners and make sure they comply with OUR wishes, not anyone else’s. Get involved and stay informed.

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

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ACPG development plans

I am deeply concerned about the future of Alpine. We have an opportunity to preserve and protect what remains. Shame on us if we don't. A representative of the Forestry commented at a recent ACPG meeting that we should look ahead seven generations ... when considering the re-zoning of parts of Japatul Valley. I agree with his advice. Not only that we look ahead seven generations when it comes to the Japatul Valley areas that share boundaries with the Cleveland National Forest, but also to the development of Alpine and surrounding areas in general.. What a lot of us value about this geographical area called Alpine is at stake. Imagine, if you can, what Alpine could look like, both with intelligent, thoughtful and creative planning and with poor planning based on the ability for a few to make relatively fast profit at the cost of damaging what we hold dear ... our environment, which includes our wildlife, our forest, our water that will either make our creeks flow with clean water or diminish into dry stream beds; that will cause our wild animals to be forced to encroach upon our boundaries looking for water and to share our food when their resources dry up and disappear. A wise person once said that there is no "away". When I talk to my neighbors and friends, whom I consider to be the average class of people ( as opposed to those who have either been born into or otherwise acquired wealth), they feel that their voices will not make a difference, and that those who sit on the board of the ACPG will get their way regardless of whether they come and attend meetings and state their opinions and make their wishes be known. I can see where they're coming from. Just the way the meetings are held doesn't make for a positive vibe. It feels like a courtroom, except courtrooms have microphones that ensure that everyone can be heard and not just those in the front row.

Oh George...

I'm sure we will have many discussions in the next 18-24 months regarding all of this, including how much development will be around your home George, and around Travis' and around all those pushing for increased density, including those associates of yours, George. Of course, in the end, what we never hear from you George, is how it is that while you want development in areas like the former FCI lands, you never seem to push for it near you and your neighbors. There are a very many issues at play here, including how much the road improvements will cost, the increased fire dangers, etc., not to mention those that wish to enjoy their lives and their property without the noise pollution, light pollution, traffic, etc. that you so dearly want for others, but never for you. Ben does know where you live, George. He knows you have a creek behind your property that keeps development from there. He also knows that in the site plan put forth for the high school on Lazy A, that the southern portion of that parcel, that is not planned for school buildings, the AHSCC plans shows BCLT "managing" it. He also knows that that protects YOUR parcel even more from development. He also knows of the BCLT parcels near Travis' home and how right across the street is Wright's Field, owned and operated by BCLT which you both are in. He knows this protects Travis' home from increased traffic, etc. He knows you and BCLT want the Apollo land around Wright's...to keep development off there also. Jim Easterling, at each's meetings prayer, nearly always prays that we do what is best for ALL of Alpine. Perhaps what he should pray for is that the ACPG treats ALL of Alpine fairly, not that this area or that be burdened while others are not. George, don't you think that Sunrise Powerlink was enough of a burden for those in the former FCI lands, with no benefit? Please tell us what the area where you, Travis and Jim live is willing to put on the table in the best interest of "ALL of Alpine"? If we're in this together, we should be in it together. Don't you all agree?

Keeping an eye on planners?

The best way to keep an eye on planners is to actually attend planning meetings! For example, at the most recent Planning Group meeting a representative of the County Sanitation District was specifically questioned about WHO must PAY for infrastructure needed to serve new developments. The representative confirmed that as a matter of County policy new infrastructure needed to serve a proposed new developed area MUST stand on the developer as County policy is not to have the county government or existing rate-payers subsidize developers. The reality of any development in Far East Alpine is that larger plans simply will never happen unless the development project itself can fund needed infrastructure. Nevertheless, every property owner already has the right submit for subdivision based upon one dwelling unit per 2 acres for septic and for 5 acres per well. of course, without master planning that sort of go-it-alone approach parcel by parcel and owner by owner in Far East Alpine will perpetuate the nonconformance to decent community planning that exists now; and that has led to the Board of Supervisors worrying about existing infrastructure deficiencies already existing. Avoid the miss-information campaigns about Alpine's future. Come to, and participate in, your Planning Group's meetings. George Barnett