Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It is with sadness that I acknowledge Mark’s 6 years of service to the OTC as a Director is coming to an end. The OTC has a limit of 3 consecutive 2-year terms for directors, and Mark has served his time. When I took over as President three years ago from Twink, those mighty big shoes required two of us to fill, so I did so in partnership with Mark who served as VP for two years before we flipped titles last year. Mark has been foundational to the OTC’s success over these last 3 years. Mark was the driving force behind the Community Safety forum we held in 9/11/2019, which ultimately gave birth to the Olivenhain Fire Safe Council. When a new housing development wanted to call itself “The Colony at Olivenhain,” Mark worked with outside counsel to have OTC recognized as the rightful owner of the “Colony Olivenhain” service mark. Mark was also the driver of the OTC finally obtaining its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status after several failed attempts over the previous 55 years and enabled the successful fundraising that paid for the new Hotel roof. Mark has been successful in obtaining grants from the City and County to help pay for improvements to the parking lot and grounds and has overseen the outside contractors who did the work. While Mark may no longer be a Director, he is a valued member of both OTC and our Olivenhain community and I look forward to his continued contributions to both.
With Mark managing much of OTC’s affairs, it has allowed me to work on three community priorities: RSF Rd, wildfire evacuation, and opposing the Goodson project. June has been a busy month for all three. After a year of relatively little movement on the RSF Rd improvements that our Task Force made recommendations to the City last year, communications with the City have resumed. Representatives of the Task Force and several other concerned neighbors met with City officials via Zoom. The City was about to embark on the installation of crosswalks at three intersections: El Camino del Norte, Lone Jack, and the southern side of Morning Sun. The first two of these are desperately needed and were part of the Task Force recommendations. Work has begun with ADA compliant ramps recently installed. However, the Morning Sun crossing is more controversial and has been deferred for now pending additional discussions. Additional money has been allocated for work in the upcoming fiscal year, and another Zoom meeting is planned for late July to continue the dialogue.
The OTC hosted two community meetings regarding the Olivenhain Wildfire Evacuation Plan. The meetings, conducted by Encinitas Fire, included presentations by the City’s consultants Fitch & Assoc., followed by Q&A. Both meetings were well attended with about 30 community members in attendance. The lively Q&A sessions raised a number of issues, including the large number of folks evacuating through Olivenhain from the east via El Camino del Norte and La Bajada/N. RSF Rd., concerns about almost 2/3s of Olivenhain and neighboring communities to the east all being routed through Manchester. The Fire department and consultants emphasized both that the document is a living document to be revised as additional information is available, including feedback from these sessions, and that it is a decision support tool, and that the incident commanders and public safety officials would be making evacuation decisions incorporating real time conditions. Video recordings of the two meetings are available on our website, and a third meeting will be held Saturday July 9th at 10 am at the Meeting Hall and live streamed via the website.
On June 8th, the City approved the Goodson project. Encinitas RRD has questioned the City’s authority to reconsider November’s final action, denial of the project. In by-passing the usual process of the revised project going first to Planning Commission and then to City Council on appeal, the citizens were denied the careful vetting and public disclosures that occur at Planning Commission, and parties such as Encinitas RRD were denied standing to appeal any decision to City Council. But what makes their rushed reconsideration even more frustrating, was the Council never critically reviewed the new evidence that came from the two city-commissioned Fitch reports to assess and mitigate the projects adverse impacts on public safety in terms of wildfire evacuation and fire department depth of cover response times to structure fires in Olivenhain. Litigation is now the last chance to stop or slow the project and mitigate public safety harms, and Encinitas RRD is raising funds to challenge to project approval. Details are at their website, www.EncinitasRRD.org.
I look forward to working with our new board of directors on behalf of our community to continue OTC’s great work preserving the historic buildings and grounds, hosting community events, and promoting the history and well being of the Olivenhain community. The new board of directors will elect officers at our July meeting for the 2022-23 terms. Unfortunately, I will be out of town for the 4th of July parade this year, but if you are around I encourage you watch or participate!
Yours in Community, Dan