A call-out to fellow Yucaipans

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There is an open space area that needs our help and all it will cost you is a little bit of time, but your action could make a very big impact if we all join-in.

The Wildwood Canyon State Park is one of our community’s last remaining great open space treasures. But development threatens to destroy this special area that we nature lovers cherish and our local wildlife depends on.

It is vital to our wildlife that this land remain open and pristine.

This is even more true now that Wilson Creek Estates has been approved and hundreds of new homes will eventually swarm over this large North Bench wildlife corridor.

As a former member of the Yucaipa Trails & Open Space Committee, I have followed the proposals made by Lazer Broadcasting to build a radio tower adjacent to Wildwood Canyon State Park for many years. I have spoken out against this project, as have many others. But our voices have not yet been enough to stop the tower project.

As a local resident, you should be aware that this project will have enormous impacts on the park by permanently damaging the natural scenic vistas and increasing fire hazards, to say nothing of the negative impact it will bear on our local plants and wildlife. Once the tower is built, it will also open the door for other towers and development, and further the blight of our local open space long after the Lazer Tower owners have all gone home to their pristine views (none of them actually live here).

While long term conservation efforts are underway by the Yucaipa Valley Conser­vancy, The Wildlands Conser­vancy and the U.S. Forest Service to expand and protect such areas of our community, the Wildwood Canyon State Park urgently needs our help right now, while we can still make a difference.

Please help preserve Yucai­pa’s natural resources for yourself and our future generations. Send a letter of opposition by visiting http://stopthetowernow.org.

Simply click on the “Sign our Petition!” tab (in the upper right of the website), and follow the cues to enter your name.

You can also go back to the site anytime to stay current on the latest news about the project.

Don’t delay.

We need everyone’s help to preserve this local natural open space resource.

KT Gates-Waldrup

Yucaipa

http://www.newsmirror.net/opinion/letters_to_editor/a-call-out-to-fellow-yucaipans/article_dab8e936-4ebb-11e6-bdda-c30263a06fa2.html

Let’s continue the tower fight

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Okay Yucaipans, it’s time to get involved and continue the fight to preserve our Yucaipa treasures, starting with the on going fight in Wildwood Can­yon. It’s David vs. Goliath, and we are not Goliath!

Just in case you thought that Lazer had changed their business plans to build their radio tower adjacent to Wildwood Canyon State Park … think again.

They are proceeding full speed ahead with an active project plan and they will build their project unless you, as concerned citizens, act by letting your voices be heard.

As you may remember, on Dec. 17, 2013, Judge Alvarez ordered the San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) for the Lazer Radio Tower Project.

On Friday, June 3, we learned that the draft EIR is complete and as of today, is available on the county’s website and physical copies are available for public review in the Land Use Services department and the Yucaipa Branch Library.

Here is the link to the Draft EIR: http://www.sbcounty.gov/Uploads/lus/Environmental/LazerBroadcasting/LazerEIR.pdf

And, here is the link to the county’s page where you can access the report as well as all the backup documents:  http:// cms.sbcounty.gov/lus/Planning/Environmental/Mountain.aspx

Following the release of the Draft EIR, there will be a 45-day comment period in which any party can make comments to the DRAFT EIR; the 45-day comment period will expire on July 21, 2016.

CPRL plans to make extensive comments.  We are contacting you with this information looking for additional parties to review the Draft EIR and submit their written comments to the project manager, Kevin White, no later than July 21, 2016.

The Draft EIR will provide instructions on where to send your comments.

Kristine Mohler

Yucaipa

http://www.newsmirror.net/opinion/let-s-continue-the-tower-fight/article_0dd4ff96-2db8-11e6-8ea2-53a9db8035bd.html

Judge Donald Alvarez hears the Lazer CEQA case

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A troupe of Yucaipa residents traveled Friday, Aug. 2, to San Bern ar dino to observe a hearing of the Citizen for the Preservation of Rural Living’s Calif ornia Environmental Qua lity Act case against Laz er Broad casting Corporation’s radio tower on the ridgeline above Wildwood Canyon State Park.

The hearing was a CEQA trial where arguments were heard in San Bernardino Coun ty Superior Court by Judge Donald Alvar ez. Each side presented their case and no other testimony was allowed.

A CEQA case is tried solely on administrative record. In this case, CPRL alleges the county did not comply with California’s environmental protection mandates when the Board of Supervisors approved the project last November, just days prior to a change of office for three of the supervisors.

According to CPRL’s representative, John Mirau, the group has consistently stated that the project has a significant impact on the environment and that a full environmental impact re port should have been required instead of a mitigated negative declaration.

CPRL attorney Jan Chatten-Brown  stated that Lazer knew at the beginning of the proposal that it is a highly controversial project in a pristine setting then proceeded to begin by constructing the first pole without a permit.

She referred to the extensive trail system in the city, and the plan to expand the park.  The expanded park could completely surround the tower site.  Permitting the tower project to be constructed would create precedence for future towers on the ridgeline.

She stated to the judge there are other alternatives.

“There is controversy with towers, there always is, “said Lazer Broadcasting’s attorney, Jennifer Guenther, challenged the word pristine, refuted the precedence of other towers in the future and argued that some statements are unreliable. Guenther also challenged the involvement of Mirau, who also is an attorney who volunteers for the CPRL.

CPRL had filed the case in a writ of mandate on Dec. 21.

Judge Alvarez had requested both parties to keep their comments to the high points and each attorney spoke for about 30 minutes. He did not ask either attorney any questions and said he was taking the matter under consideration.

The judge did not indicate how long he would take to rule on the case, but under state law, he has 90 days to do so.

http://www.newsmirror.net/news/judge-donald-alvarez-hears-the-lazer-ceqa-case/article_73f51e8b-c428-5ef9-9d2f-bdfb3d974872.html

Lawsuit filed against county for its tower decision

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Michelle N. Black, an attorney with Chatten-Brown and Carstens LLP of Hermosa Beach, has filed a Petition of Writ of Mandate (California Environmental Quality Act suit) in the Superior Court for the state of California for the County of San Bernardino on Dec. 21 on behalf of the Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Living against the Coun ty of San Bernardino and Lazer Broadcasting, Inc. and Does 1 to 10.

The case name is Citizens for Preservation of Rural Living versus the County of San Bernardino. CPRL is a public interest association that seeks to  ensure that the open space and natural wilderness values of the Pisgah Peak and Wildwood Canyon State Park are preserved.

Redlands Att orney John Mirau is the president of CPRL and has been an advocate in leading the opposition to the tower construction since it was first proposed. He is leading the legal team that filed the case.

The action challenges the county failure to comply with the CEQA in approving an inadequate mitigated negative declaration and not instead preparing an environmental impact report for the construction of a 43-foot tall radio tranmission tower and associated industrial facilities on an undeveloped 38-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Wildwood Canyon State Park and the San Bernardino National Forest in the unincorporated area of Oak Glen in San Bernardino County.

Due to its proposed location on a west-facing slope in the steep foothills of the San Bernardino mountains, the tower cannot be screened from the views of city of Yucaipa residents or from hikers, bikers and equestrians visiting the park.

The lawsuit challenges the decision based on the county’s previous decision to deny a similar proposal, the enormous public opposition, include the city of Yucaipa, increased fire hazards, lack of thoroughly analyzing the impacts, those impacts failed to be mitigated.

The filed documents name the county’s mitigated negative declaration as incomplete, misleading and inadequate naming the inadequate visual renderings that were to depict the fences and changes in the plan along with the significant aesthetic impacts along with a long list of other inconsistencies and impact along with the violations of the County Deve lopment Code.

According to Mirau, CPRL has always taken the position that a full environmental impact report should have been prepared prior to the consideration of the Lazer tower. The County of San Bernardino ig nored our request for an EIR, so we will now have the court determine if the county violated the California Environ mental Quality Act by approving the tower without preparing an EIR.” Mirau added, “CPRL is  not opposed to Lazer Broadcasting constructing a radio tower on property that is not environmentally sensitive. CPRL off ered to purchase the Lazer property and help them find a suitable location to construct the tower, increase their audience and respect the wishes of the communities that the state park be protected from visual blight. Lazer continues to ignore that offers.”

“This is great,’” said Yucaipab Brad Hamil.

http://www.newsmirror.net/news/lawsuit-filed-against-county-for-its-tower-decision/article_7dcd49ff-f503-587e-a113-116e9c794a7a.html

Lazer tower/pole issue is continued.

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The deferred extra time is a practice that is allowed at the Board of Supervisors meetings as well as the planning commissions prior to this. The other obvious symptom came later in the meeting when it became apparent most of the commissioners had not studied the staff report as they gathered together to read the maps to see what the proposed application included.

Planner Kevin White presented the application and answered commission questions. The staff report included the recommendation for denial of the project.

Lazer Broadcasting Corp.’s consultant David Mlynarski presented the application in detail using photos and graphics in the Powerpoint.

Harry Martin an attorney from Washington, D.C. was part of Lazer’s presentation. He used graphics to state why Lazer is determined to use the particular parcel of land the conditional use permit is for; explaining their inability to overcome an illegal Mexican radio station that prohibits Lazer from broadcasting into the Hemet area, which is the goal. He called the site “the best place.”

Mlynarski’s presentation included pictures of the 1940s power poles and lines that provided telephone and electricity to the historic Hunt and McCollough ranches in the park and how the proposed tower/pole was just an addition. He also referred to structures just outside the park boundaries as intrusions to the environment.

After a break, nearly 40 speakers presented their views. Mirau was first followed by Yucaipa Mayor Dick Riddell who expressed his irritation at the commission in the way the issue was being handled.

Bobby Duncan of Yucaipa asked the commission to uphold the staff recommendation to deny.

Caecilia Johns of Yucaipa referred to Lazer’s arrogant attitude and asked “what part of no don’t they understand?”

Joe Swetich of Yucaipa discussed the importance of the park and its trails.

David Cruz of San Bernardino said he was in favor of the application for the education the station could provide.

Raymond Monroe of Yucaipa represented the Supporters of Wildwood Canyon State Park and reminded the commission if one tower or pole was allowed, many more could be approved, similar in what had happened at Chino State Park. “Keep the wild in Wildwood Canyon State Park.”

Dee Galifax from Wrightwood, who said he was a broadcaster, stated his support as did Tony Soressano of Wrightwood, who added Spanish speakers need a lot of help.

Dottie Potter of Yucaipa expressed her opposition adding the building would remain visible and damage the visual pleasure of the park.

Judy Parrish of Yucaipa described the park as becoming a destination, a site of social networking and how the history is part of the park.

Kathy Utley concurred. Christine Mohlar emphasized this proposed action is a major variance and it’s all about going against the general plan. She reminded the commission that the Board of Supervisors denied the project previously unanimously and with prejudice.

Nancy Hannah stated the application “is all about increasing revenue” and approval would allow a farm or towers.

Crafton Hills Open Space Conservancy’s president David Miller of Yucaipa asked the commission to listen to everyone and remember thousands of dollars have been spent to protect the park lands and to preserve the rural atmosphere.

Judy Bartzat discussed the importance of the park.

Bobby Sissons state her opposition.

Frank Sissons, who invested great amount of time putting the park application to the state together, also reminded the commission of the Supervisors denial was with prejudice adding the land in question is in an open space designation and the commission should take action to preserve it. “This land is very unique. You can go to the site in Cherry Valley. Stop this crap.”

Bob Roberts of Redlands stated he was in favor of the application and said he had done some community work for Lazer.

Diana Alana, an employee of Lazer, discussed their competitors and said Lazer opens up air time for public benefit such as the CHP, health programs and Amber alerts.

Helen Robbins of Yucaipa stated her opposition as did DeeDee Tschudy. Five others made quick comments or had left due to the time. During the public comments, it was noted that Chairman Rider was nodding off and unattentive. She was reported to have fallen asleep at a previous meeting as well.

As it was after noon, the commission took a break and reconvened at 1 p.m. the speakers continued with Lazer employee Maria Elena Meja, Beverly Wilson from Perris who commended Lazer for their advertisements, and four people who quickly noted their support. Amram Yolam of Woodland also expressed his opposition.

The hearing ended with two in opposition including Pamela Smyth of Redlands who said a variance should not be appropriate and there were thousands in opposition. “It is what it is, ugly.” She exhibited a painting that shows the splendor of the park.

Rider closed the public hearing for the first time.

Mirau was allowed to show a rendition of the proposed tower/pole and building he said was put together by an architect based on the application. He referred to the building as on stilts hanging over the site, which is at the top of a steep hill. He noted no fence around the pole

David Cruz spoke again stating the application follows FCC standards. He explained the problems radio stations have after dark and the interference from Mexico. A Mr. Leverman referred to a radio tower that is in nearby Davies Canyon, but cannot be seen from the park.

Mirau reiterated the rendition was to scale and based exactly as the application stated, emphasizing the steepness of the terrain and the limited area for construction. Alternatives were discussed, including a site at Gilman Hot Springs.

Rider closed the public comment session again at the staff attorney’s advice, even though she had not officially opened it.

Mlynarski reiterated the applicant’s property rights.

Kevin White answered questions from the commissioners explaining the park. Rider asked about fire restrictions. Commissioner Audrey Mathews asked about the major variance and fuel modifications after studying the maps and diagrams together.

Commissioner Randy Coleman asked about an environmental analysis and it was noted that the Planning Department staff prepared the report recommended a denial and had not required such studies or conditions of approval to avoid the costs. When Mathews asked if the project had changed enough to be different from the Supervisors denial with prejudice, White did not answer. It was determined a full environmental analysis would be needed if there was a recommendation of approval.

Commissioner Coleman made a motion to continue the issue, take it off calendar with staff to prepare findings for an approval. Mathews seconded the motion, adding “mitigation to incorporate the major issue issues as expressed.”

The motion carried three to one, with Commissioner Ray Allard in opposition.

Rider then proceeded to lecture those in opposition to band together and acquire all surrounding properties.

The issue is expected to end up back at the Board of Supervisors as each side will probably appeal the commission’s final decision.

Lazer tower/pole issue is continued.

By: Claire Marie Teeters

Editor

About 30 Yucaipans traveled to the San Bernardino County Government Center on May 5 to the Planning Commission meeting on the latest Lazer Broadcasting Corporation’s application to install a radio tower/pole on land adjacent to Wildwood Canyon Park.

The land is in the unincorporated sphere of the Oak Glen Community Plan.The tone for the meeting was set right at the start when Commission Chair Elizabeth Rider snapped a negative response to tower opponent attorney John Mirau when he asked for extra time to speak when others provided the minutes, and then she proceeded to allow the applicant an hour for their presentation.

S.B. COUNTY: Radio antenna takes step forward

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By Imrain Ghori
A proposal to build a radio antenna on a mountain ridge overlooking Wildwood Canyon State Park in Oak Glen got a step closer to winning approval from the San Bernardino County Planning Commission on Thursday, despite objections from neighbors and park supporters.
The county s planning staff had recommended denial of the project but the commission voted 3-1 to direct planners to complete an environmental study and return to the commission with the legal findings needed to approve the project. That process could take about three months, they said.

The vote at the end of a 4½-hour hearing was the latest turn in a back-and-forth process for applicant Lazer Broadcasting Inc., which has been seeking to build a radio tower on a 38-acre property next to the park since 2007.

The broadcaster wants to boost the signal of its Spanish-language station KXRS in Hemet.

Lazer proposed a 140-foot steel lattice tower in its initial application but later reduced the height to 80 feet, winning approval from the Planning Commission in November 2008. The Board of Supervisors reversed the commission in January 2009 and denied Lazer a permit “with prejudice,” a condition that prevented the company from reapplying for a year.

In its new application, Lazer shortened the pole to 43 feet while reducing the size of an equipment shelter from 250 square feet to 100 square feet. In March, the company proposed building the antenna out of a wood material instead of steel.

“We feel this is a very sensitive improvement to what was originally proposed,” said David Mlynarski, a consultant representing Lazer Broadcasting.

But environmentalists and park enthusiasts continue to oppose the project, saying it would spoil scenic vistas for hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers at the 820-acre park.

“It s inconceivable that anyone would want to sully this wonder of nature by installing a radio tower,” said Yucaipa Mayor Dick Riddell.

But Mlynarski argued that the redesigned pole blends will not be that noticeable.

 

Reach Imran Ghori at 951-368-9558 or ighori@PE.com
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