Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

FCPG candidates offer their views

Thirteen Fallbrook residents seek to fill eight seats on the Fallbrook Community Planning Group (FCPG). Out of that 13, six are incumbents seeking reelection while the rest are hoping for their first opportunity to serve.

There are 15 elected members on the FCPG and all must live within the community they serve. In their four-year term, they act as advisors to the administrators of the County of San Diego. Members of the FCPG are not county officials, but rather, act as an advisory committee which represents the area to the San Diego Board of Supervisors.

The question-and-answer format below is designed to assist voters in making their voting choices on Election Day, November 4.

Please state your name as listed on the ballot, occupation and/or retired occupation:

Roy Moosa: Business owner

Chuck Sanacore: Incumbent

Jack F. Wood: Retired business executive

Donna Gebhart: Business owner, financial planner/investment advisor representative and avocado grower

Steven (Steve) Smith: Retired teacher and school principal and current rental property owner

Jim Bowen: Incumbent and retired chemical engineer

Jean Dooley: Retired teacher, community volunteer

Jackie Heyneman: Community volunteer, former dental assistant and office manager

James Oenning: Incumbent, retired electrical engineer and engineering consultant, active real estate broker and tax professional and business co-owner

Michele Bain: Court/deposition reporter and business owner, retired

Isaac (Ike) Perez: Incumbent, retired civil engineer

John Crouch: Incumbent, retail administrator

Harry Christiansen: Incumbent

How many years have you resided in Fallbrook?

Moosa: I have lived in Fallbrook for over 14 years.

Sanacore: I moved my family to Fallbrook in 1993.

Wood: I have been a resident of Fallbrook for over 12 years.

Gebhart: I have lived here for 11 years.

Smith: My wife Jean and I have been Fallbrook property owners for 32 years and have resided here for 20 years.

Bowen: I am a 23-year resident of Fallbrook.

Dooley: I have been a resident of Fallbrook for 31 years.

Heyneman: I have lived in and loved Fallbrook for 36 years.

Oenning: Nine-year resident of Fallbrook and 17-year resident of San Diego County.

Bain: My husband Don and I have lived in Fallbrook since we moved here from Los Angeles in early 2004.

Perez: I have lived here for 11 years.

Crouch: I’ve been a resident of Fallbrook since 1979 (29 years).

Christiansen: I have lived in Fallbrook for 22 years.

How do you feel you would be of benefit in this board/position?

Moosa: I would bring in a fresh approach that would benefit by the fact that my residence and business are both in Fallbrook. I live and work here. My perspective would include that of a homeowner coupled with that of a business owner. I am involved in the community and would provide a well-balanced representation. I will have an open door policy and welcome anyone to my office that may need some help or guidance on dealing with the county processes.

Sanacore: If reelected to office I will continue to represent the community to developers and impress upon them the need to provide additional water, sewer and adequate roads for their developments, or their developments will be denied. I will also work toward controlling growth so that is in keeping with the rural nature of Fallbrook. I will continue to take time to carefully study the impact of each permit application on surrounding properties and the community and promote applications of merit while working to improve the others.

Wood: I have served four years as an elected member of the Planning Group (2002-2006) and have since served two years as a non-elected member of the Land Use and Circulation Committees. My community involvement strongly supports my love for this area and preservation for our way of life. My work background provides a basis for strong leadership abilities.

Gebhart: From my professional training and my volunteer efforts, I have learned to listen closely to the input from all sides of the issues before sensitively and wisely making decisions that will benefit Fallbrook’s residents, thus maintaining Fallbrook’s quality of life.

Smith: The expertise I would bring to the Community Planning Group is from the position of a longtime property owner and resident who is vitally interested in the protection of Fallbrook property values. I am now serving on the Land Use Committee of the FCPG. I have consistently attended the monthly meetings of the FCPG and closely follow the issues presented and the resultant actions of the County of San Diego. I am also an active member of the Rotary Club of Fallbrook and as a result am involved in myriad community improvement projects.

Bowen: I have served on the Board for a number of years, most of the time as Board Secretary, and periodically as a Committee Chair. I have grown to know Fallbrook and its problems. As Secretary, I keep the Group records and deal with County staff on details. Many of the projects are repeated, for additions or revisions. We now have and use a system for keeping track of all projects addressed and acted on since 1990.

Dooley: Having worked as a bilingual teacher in the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District for 23 years, I feel that I can represent the concerns and hopes of many of the area constituency, including growers, workers, teachers, administrators and community members. As an active volunteer in many civic organizations in Fallbrook I meet frequently with many people in our community. I will bring their questions, concerns and suggestions to the Fallbrook Community Planning Group and will try to represent them if elected. I am accustomed to working with people who have many different opinions and those whose ideas are different from my own. I believe I am a good listener and feel confident in my ability to express my opinion openly in a public forum.

Heyneman: As a longtime resident (36 years), I have been involved in the community, regularly attending the FCPG meetings, serving on the Land Use and Design & Review Committees. I can consider the proposals that come before the Planning Group from the perspective of a huge majority of Fallbrook old residents and new residents who love our rural community and all that it stands for. My understanding is based on my involvement as a founder of the Fallbrook Community Clinic, Live Oak Park Coalition and Save Our Forest, a branch of the Fallbrook Land Conservancy (FLC), as well as a member of the FLC Board of Directors, Keep Fallbrook Clean and Green and the Fallbrook Beautification Alliance.

Oenning: I have consistently represented the interests of the residents of Fallbrook in my efforts on FCPG for the past four years. The County of San Diego has consistently favored big money and big builder/developer interests. When those interests conflict with the best interests of our community I have, and will continue to have, a strong opposing voice.

Bain: I would hope to bring to the board my public service experience having served the Commission on the Status of Women while living in Humboldt County. At this time I serve as treasurer for the Santa Margarita chapter of the Sierra Club. In Los Angeles, I owned and operated a successful court reporting business, 1982 to 2004. My motivation to listen to others, ability to instill team spirit and willingness to stand up for what I believe in gave me the reputation I’m proud of – that I am able to get things done – and I think qualities like that benefit any organization.

Perez: I understand the importance of community planning in order to preserve the unique character of Fallbrook. As a member of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group, I will continue to work to ensure that Planning Group recommendations to the County will safeguard the special nature of our community.

Crouch: Since having the good fortune to be offered the opportunity to relocate to Fallbrook in 1979, my wife Vicki and I have been employed in the community, raised son Joe and daughter Erin with the assistance of our local schools and youth groups and have participated in a number of civic organizations. This experience has provided me exposure to varied segments of our community and insight into the wide variety of community visions and goals held by its citizens.

Christiansen: In my 16 years on the FCPG I have been a leader in defending us against excessive development, I have created valuable relationships with appropriate County officials and I have been a large part of the institutional “memory” we use in processing both “occasional/smaller” and “larger/long-term” proposed developments.

What are the three most important issues facing the FCPG today? Why are they so vital?

Moosa: 1.) Fallbrook’s rural character should be preserved. Most residents moved to Fallbrook for its rural atmosphere, which is gradually disappearing and the character of Fallbrook is weakening. It is important to encourage rural-oriented projects as well as open space dedications, landscaping, park development and conservation land. 2) A revitalization of downtown Fallbrook should be encouraged. During the 14 years I have lived in Fallbrook, the downtown area has eroded. It’s important to develop a theme for downtown Fallbrook, as Temecula did with its “Old Town,” and to encourage businesses to upgrade their locations to support the revitalization. 3) Guidance should be available to residents when dealing with the county and the procedures involved. Many residents and businesses are lost when it comes to the planning approval process. It should be a welcome process rather than one that is dreaded.

Sanacore: 1.) The most vital issue facing the FCPG today is water scarcity, especially as requested by major developers along the I-15 corridor. Our water supply is vital for our agricultural industry and for every household in the community and must be preserved for current needs. 2.) Builders today are trying to maximize land use by proposing extreme densities for their developments that can destroy the charm of our community. I will work to control this. 3.) Traffic congestion is the third major issue that affects the health and safety of all of us. The Planning Group must continue to monitor permit applications to ensure that they meet or exceed local standards and all county standards.

Wood: 1.) Preserve the rural atmosphere we enjoy in Fallbrook, which is the reason many of us moved here. 2.) Enlist the County to support and assure that developers provide sufficient infrastructure to handle the increased traffic. We don’t need traffic jams in Fallbrook. 3.) Keep tight constraints on developers’ projects east of Interstate 15. Overdevelopment of this area will affect our ability to get in and out of town and could be devastating to our downtown business community.

Gebhart: 1.) Maintaining Fallbrook’s lovely rural atmosphere and small town charm because these are what make our town unique. 2.) Continued development which needs to be carefully analyzed by the planning group members so that Fallbrook’s agricultural resources, including water, will be protected. 3.) Connectivity within our community and to our neighboring communities with beautiful trails and pathways for the benefit and health of our residents.

Smith: Fallbrook is an oasis in a creeping sea of sprawl and protecting it from this sea and keeping it green, beautiful, and rural, is and will always be, my ultimate goal. The Fallbrook community plan which is now in place must continue to be implemented to avoid excessive irresponsible growth and the related problems it would bring to our community.

Bowen: 1.) First is making reasonable recommendations to the County as to development east of Interstate 15, mainly north of State Highway 76. This is the largest open area remaining in our community. 2.) Next, we must deal with resource issues and problems, such as water supply and road infrastructure. 3.) Continue with a rural theme in the face of problems arising from the first two items.

Dooley: 1.) Of primary interest and concern to the community is the problem of water availability and distribution by the Fallbrook Public Utility District. We are experiencing a drought and water usage is an issue of great importance. In order to prevent problems with fair water distribution I feel that it is important for the Planning Group to establish a policy that will reflect the desires of the community. If we want to maintain a rural, agricultural area and not drive out agriculture with a proliferation of additional housing we will need to write, publish and enforce strict guidelines regarding water permits. 2.) Another issue with great potential impact is the Liberty Quarry proposed by Granite Construction to be located adjacent to the San Diego State University Ecological Preserve and the Santa Margarita River. Issues of air quality, river pollution, heavy trucks and traffic congestion and untold disturbance to the ecological studies by the noise and light pollution caused by the quarry are a concern. 3.) Smart growth and maintaining a pedestrian-friendly downtown area are also high on my list of priorities. I hope that we will be able to organize and control growth in such a way as to enhance the natural beauty of the area and reduce any turmoil caused by traffic and other infrastructure issues. I will try to maintain the charm of the friendly village of Fallbrook.

Heyneman: 1.) Update of the County’s General Plan 2020: Not yet completed, this document will govern what our community will become. It must reflect our rural qualities and provide methods to preserve them. It will play heavily in the controversial Interstate 15 and SR76 development that is within the FCPG footprint and could change our rural community dramatically. It is vital to protect our downtown business center from over-the-top proposed commercial development in the I-15/SR76 corridor that could make the heart of Fallbrook a ghost town. 2.) Unauthorized signage: Signage that does not comply with the guidelines for the Fallbrook Village sets the stage for copycat violations and destroys the countenance of the community. Education and enforcement is important. 3.) Commonsense approach to road improvement recommendations: Often difficult, decisions about alignment of roads to ease traffic congestion in our growing community must consider the future best use.

Oenning: There is really only one overriding issue that must incorporate all the many issues. Fallbrook must become a community that is the master of its own destiny. The word “community” is very significant. A community provides the daily/weekly family needs for goods and services close to home. It provides local jobs with incomes that meet the cost of living commensurate with living in the community. The community strives to reduce its dependence on outside energy, water and waste disposal services, to name a few. In short, the community has a goal of independence. Fallbrook today is an amalgam of several communities whose immediate needs are not commonly shared and, therefore, there are few common goals. Downtown Fallbrook can become a major tourist destination. The “Three Ps” development (northeast quadrant of I-15 and SR-76) is an unlikely tourist destination. Both communities need to develop a strong local job market. Fallbrook is a significant retirement destination today. That in itself generates quality employment with the goods and services that meet the retiree’s needs. To change Fallbrook is a long and arduous task. New “community” development providing local goods and services and archiving energy independence is my more immediate goal for the next four years.

Bain: 1.) There are always general items and requests on the FCPG agenda that can be taken care of thoughtfully with relative ease, but the special items are the ones to arouse public interest and concern are proposals for large developments that may forever change the face of this area. These special agenda items must be dealt with by permitting discussions and a flow of ideas, by letting the public express points of view freely, and thereafter with a firm recommendation for or against presented to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. 2.) Interaction and cooperation among agencies compatible with the FCPG, such as water agencies, should be embraced because future development will depend on available resources. While water availability, per se, does not fall within the purview of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group, water preservation and its future availability is everyone’s concern, and I feel we would all benefit if water agencies and the FCPG were to create a liaison to ensure that “land and water” speak to each other prior to issuing permits so as to guarantee water availability for agriculture, residents and businesses already here before new service is accommodated. 3.) Air quality is yet another problem facing this area if more proposed large development and industry were to succeed in locating here. In an effort to preserve livable air quality and local street conditions, the FCPG should seek to limit through traffic by large tonnage trucks, except for military vehicles.

Perez: 1.) Development, 2.) traffic and 3.) protection of open spaces, trails and parks are the three most important issues facing the FCPG. These issues are vital to our community because unregulated development will destroy our community’s character and unregulated traffic will make our streets impassable. We need to protect our open space and promote trails and parks to ensure that the rural nature of our community is protected and enhanced.

Crouch: 1.) Circulation: Our population continues to grow. Our road network doesn’t keep pace. In particular, Stage Coach Lane is overburdened from South Mission to East Mission. While the new signal at Reche Road is of some help, it is no more than a temporary band-aid. 2.) Circulation: East Mission Road continues to get a little more congested each year. We must expect that, along with our local population growth, Camp Pendleton traffic will expand significantly over time. 3.) Wildfires: Our shared experience of last October must tell us that we need to take fire safety into account on each aspect of our community planning.

Christiansen: 1.) The proposed development of the 1,000 acres in the northeast quadrant of I-15 and SR76 can potentially add 3,000 dwelling units and could completely change the character of that part of our community. They can also substantially impact our access to and from the freeway so that our I-15 freeway ramps could have the kind of congestion problems they have in Temecula. 2.) The huge amount of commercial development being proposed by the Pappas group in this northeast quadrant is capable of overwhelming and destroying the commercial viability of our small town of Fallbrook. 3.) The County General Plan (previously called Plan 2020 but now called the General Plan Update) is still being completely revised to accommodate the county’s growth and will determine how and where development happens in the coming decades. I have been intimately involved in this major work and hope to continue with it.

In your opinion, how will the Fallbrook area change in the next 20 years?

Moosa: It really depends on what direction the Planning Committee and residents elect to follow. Fallbrook has the potential to become a model small town America destination for tourists (with the revitalization of downtown) and to become a model city for people to want to live in. The key is to direct the growth in a direction where Fallbrook’s character, history and charm are maintained. If we plan it properly, Fallbrook can be a town model for others to follow.

Sanacore: I envision Fallbrook changing in the next 20 years with a limited in-filling of residential properties in the estate areas, controlled growth along the I-15 corridor, moderate development in town and a more defined identity for this community as a center of art and culture.

Wood: I believe over the next 20 years Fallbrook will be almost completely built out. We have only in-fill land available for building sites now with the exception of land east of I-15. This land is currently under consideration for development of the College, Commercial and Residential projects.

Gebhart: Our population and housing will increase, and hopefully, with careful decisions and proper planning by the Fallbrook Community Planning Group, we will be able to maintain our wonderful Fallbrook lifestyle while protecting resources.

Smith: Hopefully it will change little, though such a hope may be unrealistic judging from what has occurred in surrounding communities during the past 20 years. A constant vigilance must be kept to ensure that the inevitable change will be responsible, environmentally safe and consistent with the Fallbrook lifestyle.

Bowen: Population will grow to a surprising level, as the State of California and the County of San Diego encourage more people to live here. This will require at least equivalent growth in infrastructure.

Dooley: I expect an expanded downtown area with a greater variety of stores and services locating here. I am hopeful that the development will occur in an organized, well-planned manner so as to maintain a pedestrian-friendly, attractive village atmosphere. I look forward to a proposed historic district and an enhanced art community in center Fallbrook. I am hopeful that the Fallbrook Land Conservancy and Save Our Forest will continue to be able to acquire land and plant and maintain native trees and plants throughout the area and that avocado and citrus trees will continue to dot the hillsides in and around our town.

Heyneman: The community character need not change with diligent, persistent and reasonable recommendations by the FCPG in the development of the Update to the 2020 Plan so that it fits our community. However, Fallbrook will continue to become more populated with projects already in the works and new lots splits brought on by the change in water availability in the future. The proposed I-15/SR76 development will more than likely be a reality, hopefully developed in a manner that will fit into the Fallbrook picture and not jeopardize the core of Fallbrook or our way of life.

Oenning: Fallbrook will change significantly in the next 20 years. It will become what it collectively chooses to become or what the County of San Diego dictates. The key to this is the fact that the choice is ours and we can rejoice in our collective success or accept the hand that apathy has dealt.

Bain: My vision for Fallbrook is for it to retain its defining qualities – its charm, its agricultural and rural aspects and its large residential lots – because that is the Fallbrook we all love. If we remember that we’re all in this together, I believe that it is possible to hold onto those qualities over the next two decades and for times to come. But the guardians of land and water must stand tall against proposed development that is certain to bring with it more pollution, traffic problems and, if permitted, could swallow up our natural resources in their quest to urbanize this area.

Perez: If we do not address the vital issues of development, traffic and open space now, Fallbrook will be unrecognizable in 20 years. We need to ensure that Fallbrook retains its community character and, as it grows, the type of development that enhances these elements is encouraged.

Crouch: As population in our region continues its inevitable explosion, our community will be exposed to enormous economic and governmental pressure to accept additional growth. We must be vigilant in the stewardship of future development, as the quality of life we treasure is at risk, both from inconsiderate land use and from overburdened infrastructure.

Christiansen: Continued population growth in the county and the related increases in traffic cannot be stopped. They can only be managed as well as possible. We will try to maintain our agricultural ambience, but the twin questions of water availability and water cost might dictate how rural our community can remain.

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