After a hiatus of more than two years, Rancho Murieta’s Joint Security Committee returned Tuesday to discuss a range of issues with the community's key organizations. The largest part of the meeting was spent discussing the use of undeveloped land for a network of trails.
Represented at the meeting were the Community Services District, the Rancho Murieta Association, the Country Club, Murieta Village and development interests. The group agreed to meet quarterly. There were nine people in the audience.
Among the topics covered in the 90-minute session were intrusion on Country Club property, use of surveillance cameras and the possibility of meetings to welcome new Murietans to the community and to explain the rules.
Mark Pecotich of the Murieta Trail Stewardship offered a presentation on the group’s work.
Some of the presentation’s points:
The group has more than 30 members who have built more than 14 miles of trails in Rancho Murieta’s undeveloped land, trails used every week by hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclists.
The trails started occurring naturally in the 1980s, as Murietans began using the land. In the 1990s, Murietan Roger Brandt began constructing trails.
It would have cost $150,000 to $750,000 to develop 14 miles of trails -- but this was done by volunteers, at no cost to the community or land owners.
State Civil Code 846 protects land owners from liability lawsuits brought by people using the land. Signage, trail names, trail maps and trail patrols -- introduced by the trails group -- help mitigate the risks further.
The group’s trail map and trail names helped the fire department assign GPS mapping to the locations.
Trails have served as natural fire breaks, helping defeat grass fires.
Murietan John Sullivan, representing development interests, called the group’s work tremendous but expressed reservations about the future. Sullivan is believed to be negotiating with the Pension Trust Fund to purchase the undeveloped North land.
Mark Pecotich of the Murieta Trail Stewardship gave a presentation on the group's work.
“... I think the issue is when those lands develop ... on the North, that they’re not going to have somebody walk down to the Board of Supervisors meeting and say, 'Hey, these are all trails that RMA and the community have all approved.' Because they’re not. The ones that are approved are the easements that the developer has granted to RMA,” Sullivan said.
Pecotich emphasized the group wants to partner with the land owners. “The beautiful thing about a trail is it can be moved,” he said. “So, if there’s some development that wants to go here or there, and it’s right over the top of an existing trail, we’ll move it.”
Given present proposed development densities, “yeah, there’ll have to be a lot of movement,” Sullivan said.
He added, “Nobody wants to have to go down and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their own private property, putting their development plan together, and then have people come down and say, ‘Oh, we have an easement across this lot, this lot, this lot, this lot and this lot.’ That’s where the problem is.”
North Gate construction
RMA General Manager Nick Arther said the RMA is still trying to get the Pension Trust Fund to accept RMA’s location drawings for the new North Gate. Despite multiple requests, PTF hasn’t approved the plan, he said, and RMA wants to begin work in the spring. Arther said PTF has put $1.375 million in escrow to cover its obligations -- $1.4 million minus $25,000 for legal fees.
CSD proposal for DUI enforcement
Bob Wright, Country Club board president, said club members are “really uptight" about CSD’s plans for a policy to address suspected drivers under the influence.
“(Club members) tell me, ad nauseum, that ‘This is why we live here,’” Wright said. “‘We want to be able to come up to the clubhouse and have a couple of cocktails and go home and not be fearful that a Security officer ... may be lying in wait....’”
Remson said the only thing new in the policy is the introduction of amber lights. No one intends to try to trap people, he said, and there will be no chases of drivers.