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

By Kim Murphy
Murphy and Murphy Southern California Realty 

Real Estate Round-Up: Permits revised, no thank you

 

Last updated 7/29/2019 at 11:39pm



Everyone who knows me knows that I love Fallbrook. I love the charming downtown, with its unique shops, delicious restaurants, top rate art galleries, and historic theater.

I love driving our country roads with the amazing variety of landscaping. I love the diversity of residences and neighborhoods. I love the hiking trails and the natural wildlife discovered on those walks. But most of all, I love the people. To be honest, not all the people, but as a group, we’re spectacular.

The heart of this town is best shown through the generosity of its residents. The 150-plus nonprofits can help people in need because of the grants they receive but also because individuals like you support their projects, events and ultimately the organization.

Think about the events you have participated in like the Artisan’s Faire, Scarecrow Days, Stagecoach Sunday, events for Fallbrook Food Pantry, Foundation for Senior Care or REINS. The events may not raise money but bring awareness to the service they provide to the community and create and enhance the sense of community which makes Fallbrook so special.

A new proposal from San Diego County Department of Public Works would completely derail these events and ultimately threaten the health of these nonprofits. I guess if you’re the government layering on more requirements, and more fees, does one of two things. It either justifies your existence, because your input is required to validate what the actual workers/volunteers are doing. Or it adds such a burden to the nonprofits that your workload is greatly reduced because the nonprofits can’t afford or comply with the new standards, so they stop having self-funded events.

Understand this, if the proposal is approved, there will be no more Fallbrook Summer Nights, there will be no more Veteran’s Day Parade, there will be no more Wine and a Bite Art Walks, there will be no more organized block parties, no more walks for the hungry, no more “Bark in the Park” or “Arts in the Park.”

The proposed fees are quantifiable, and exorbitant when you consider, many of these events are either free or very low cost to the public. The rules and requirements are ridiculous! Imagine having to hire a “certified traffic control company” to provide traffic control that requires a “traffic control plan” that is prepared, signed and sealed by a civil engineer and/or traffic engineer.

There will be a “Road Commissioner” who will decide to approve or disapprove the event. The nonprofit will have to complete and sign an Environmental Review Questionnaire demonstrating whether the special event could result in environmental impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). See my article from June 20, 2019, which addresses the effect CEQA has on permits.. Open the door to CEQA and let the lawsuits begin.

The County’s Risk Management Division of the Department of Human Resources will determine the amount of insurance and whether a proposed insurance policy complies with the requirements of the county.

Adding this layer of scrutiny eliminates any chance for an impromptu event, because in order to meet the timelines, the process will take three to five months. And only once the permit is obtained can the nonprofit promote the event.

Does anyone remember the “After the Ashes” event that was organized and experienced after the 2007 fires? A group of Fallbrook’s finest, came together to support the many families that had lost everything to that fire. The families that lost everything needed support quickly, so community leaders banded together to create an event that will forever be memorialized in my mind as one of the largest outpourings of generosity of its kind. And it happened quickly, because they needed help, quickly. It would never have been able to happen with this new proposal … .

The County has their list of “thou shalt not” clauses, in which case they will simply deny the event. One of my favorites is if the event would adversely impact the efficient use of the County maintained road network or if the event is likely to cause injury to persons or property.

I could make a case, if I was a knucklehead, that any large event will have an adverse impact on the efficient use of the adjacent county roads and that the possibility exists that someone could get hurt or property damaged.

We had a wedding reception at our home 13 years ago. The DJ tried to turn his vehicle around on one of our grove roads. Guess what? He got stuck. His truck had some damage, our road had some damage and he was stuck in his vehicle for a few hours until a tow truck pulled his vehicle out of this precarious situation.

We nearly had property damage and personal injury, but we lived to laugh about it. I’m not being nonchalant about safety, but really, if you have a large event, the possibility exists. I can imagine a reason to deny nearly every large event, if I’m viewing it from the county’s perspective.

Why am I making you aware of this proposal and what does it have to do with real estate? I’m glad you asked. This proposal will make it nearly impossible for any new events to be produced. Seed money is necessary to create and sponsor an event. Seed money comes either from the nonprofit's existing budget or from an “angel” that provides the upfront costs.

Every new event is viewed by the County as a “large event” with mandatory fees and costs of $1,044.55. Nonprofits run a very skinny budget with the bulk of their financial resources going to the tangible service they provide. Finding a spare +$1,000, is not easy. Even a neighborhood block party would have fees and costs of $372.35!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but one of the things that attracts new residents to Fallbrook, and one of the things that we all appreciate about Fallbrook, is the sense of community that exists. If we lose these community building events, we lose community. That is why this proposal relates to real estate.

When we sell a home, we sell the town, the sense of community. All generations long for this. All people long for a sense of belonging and a shared sense of purpose. We cannot allow the County to create impediments to the core of who we are.

We truly need the County to make it easier for Fallbrook to do what we do best, which is come together as a community. If the County moves forward with this proposal, the residents of Fallbrook need to consider two options – go rogue or incorporate. But that’s a discussion for another article.

To get involved with this, there is a meeting scheduled for July 31 at 2 p.m. at the County Offices, Department of Public Works, Traffic Engineering/Special Events, 5510 Overland Avenue, Suite 410, San Diego, 92123. Your voice needs to me heard.

Kim Murphy can be reached at kim@murphy-realty.com or (760) 415-9292 or at 130 N Main Avenue, in Fallbrook. Her broker license is #01229921, and she is on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors.

 

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