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Minutes of the Palomar Mountain Planning Organization Meeting
January 10, 2004
Terri Bailey, Tracy Dixon, Donna Dose, Elizabeth Getzoff (alternate), Bruce Graves, Susan Humason, Pat Jones, Bonnie Phelps, Michael Pique, Alan Serry.
The PMPO Board meeting was convened 10:12 A.M. January 10, 2004, at the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department. The minutes of the October 4, 2003, board meeting were distributed and approved. The treasurer, Tracy Dixon, reported income of $145 from donations, and total expenses of $116.50 for reflective labels for the emergency locator signs. Our beginning bank balance was $32,080.57 and ending bank balance was $32,109.07. The report was approved.
Michael Pique reported that he needs to finish some maps to go with Robert Haase's letter to the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service. Another meeting between Haase, Pique, and Jack Norvall will be needed to go over the maps, decide on changes, and identify additional ones needed.
Susan Humason said that Louis Whyte might have helpful historical maps from the Palomar Mountain Mutual Water Company. Bonnie Phelps said the previous owner of Donna Dose's property might have maps.
Tom Burton and Bruce Graves report no change on the 2020 status. Jerry McLees is still keeping watch on our behalf. The county keeps cancelling and rescheduling the sponsor group meetings. For more information, see www.yahoo.com, search groups for ``PMPO 2020''.
Robert Carlyle has been trying to move ahead, does not know whether Tom Burton received the draft letters-of-incorporation documents that Carlyle sent him. Earl Walls has offered to help on incorporation and grant applications.
Bruce Graves showed a sample sign and a map of the 35 numbered reflective ``PMVFD Emergency Locator'' signs that have been made and installed in the Crestline and Birch Hill region. Fire Chief Karl Bauer said that when the locator signs are finished the PMVFD will make a reference list, linking house numbers to road numbers, and make it available to the 911 dispatch office. Mike Pique reported that Jack Norvall has prepared a list of all official house numbers, and that many houses do not have numbers. The county charges $90 to assign a numbered address to a house. Donna Dose believes this can be done for $10 at the Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU).
Terri Bailey said work is underway on Baily Meadows emergency exit plans.
Karl Bauer gave an extended report on wildfire preparations and lessons learned from the October 2003 Cedar and Paradise fires. He has heard a lot from residents about the way evacuations were conducted, which were not quite in accordance with the advanced planning. With 14 fires in southern California all at once, there was understandable confusion and concern over deaths that had occurred from people not leaving and being trapped.
Karl showed a map of fires over the 90-year period 1910-2000, noting that fuel, weather, and topography don't really change much. Mendenhall Valley to Crestline has not burned since before 1910. A big fire from the northeast burned as far as Mendenhall Valley, and it ``will come again'': the community will face a catastrophic fire. What can we do? Start from the core of the community and remove fuel working out: homes, then roads. Educate the rest of the community about the risks we face. We may adopt a ``Fire Wise'' program which offers independent review of emergency plans, and is recognized by insurance companies.
The Palomar fire department ``CSA'' (county service area) is roughly from Love Valley to the cattle guard at milepost 43.5 on the South Grade road. Libby Getzoff asked Karl's opinion of the proposed county volunteer fire department consolidation. Karl's opinion is that it would likely be bad for Palomar Mountain because it would take decisions and equipment away from the local chief. If eventually necessary, Palomar could attempt to become a Fire Protection District, possibly in league with Julian, and avoid consolidation.
Bonnie Phelps reported that Nick Richutte is getting a new truck that will allow him to clear trees closer to houses. She says that Shana Ackerman believes a large Bradco chipper may be on the way: this is a self-feeding machine that can handle 30-inch diameter trees with branches.
Nick is working with the Jameson family on clearing 23 acres near Bruce Graves on Birch Hill that would open a route to Conifer Road. Bruce Graves said Elliot Miller is still working to get the OK for the escape road from Birch Hill down to the East Grade (road 35 on the emergency locator map). Karl Bauer mentioned that these proposed roads are not for fire equipment to go up on, but strictly ``down only'' escape routes. Bonnie Phelps said that SDG&E will help coordinate volunteer groups to help clear evacuation routes.
The PMPO board will attend the next PMVFD board meeting, probably February 6, to see how the PMPO can work with the PMVFD for increased community safety.
Susan Humason again offered to prepare the newsletter and needs text by the April 3 meeting, with a sub-committee meeting April 17 or April 24 to proofread.
The Board approved printing 1000 sheets of PMPO letterhead and any necessary envelopes.
The next scheduled board meeting is April 3, 2004. The annual meeting and pancake breakfast will be May 29, 2004.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:10 P.M.
Michael E. Pique, Secretary.