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RSFA agrees to pay $60,000 toward EIR for roundabouts

RANCHO SANTA FE — Spotlight attention was given to roundabouts at the last Rancho Santa Fe Association board meeting. Last year’s community survey revealed that 73 percent of Covenant members preferred roundabouts along the Paseo Delicias intersections of Via de la Valle, El Montevideo/La Valle Plateada, and El Camino del Norte.

Recently, members were wondering if any updates from the county emerged since the Association sent their roundabout recommendation letter in November 2015.

The county did respond, and the RSFA board has agreed to help pay for an updated EIR to the financial tune of $60,000.

“It took the county awhile to get back to us. This is a very complex issue,” Overton said.

The Association received a letter on Jan. 28 from county program Manager Leann Carmichael.

According to Overton, the environmental impact report (EIR) that started the whole discussion back in 2004, when roundabouts were favored, is now outdated. In order to move forward, that part of the project needs to be closed and another EIR needs to be updated and certified.

“The county has written to us saying that they do not have the funds in their budget to complete the EIR. They are requesting $60,000 from the Association to complete the EIR,” Overton said.

The total cost of the EIR is $75,000 and the county will cover $15,000 of that cost.

Board Director Kim Eggleston shared his views on the letter from the county.

“I think it’s important that the membership knows in reading this letter from the county how tragically flawed our decision making process is in this community,” he said. Eggleston continued, “When you read the second page of this letter it is a condemnation of the wishy-washy back and forth, one vocal minority overrides another vocal minority, and we end up doing absolutely nothing.”
Eggleston went on to say that 12 years later, a decision of due process was made for roundabouts. He noted that he felt that the current board has been far more decisive and less “wishy-washy.”

“I think the membership needs to know that this is no way to run a railroad when you read that letter from the county,” he said, noting how there are clear references and details in the letter.

For Eggleston, it was important for the board to get “behind this” and provide the money.

Overton indicated that he has spoken to various board members in passing.

“The bottom line is the county is going through tight budget times two,” he said.

Grant funds for road improvements were easier to get versus engineering types of funds such as an EIR, he said. The request for $60,000 was in an effort for the Association to help finish the process.

“I would say that a 73 percent vote, in my opinion, is compelling community support,” Overton said. “And it would be reasonable to use the Covenant Enhancement Fund for $60,000 to complete this project and carry out the survey.”

Board members agreed they wanted to safeguard the $60,000 by making certain that when their updated EIR is certified, it stays certified, and does not expire while funding for the roundabouts takes place.