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At its meeting Wednesday, the Community Services District board of directors accepted utility easements for a 22-home development in Murieta North and authorized the levy of a special tax on undeveloped property valued at over $21 million. The board also received updates on the water treatment plant expansion project and water conservation efforts.

Retreats West development

The board voted to accept Retreats West development easements that grant the district the right of use and entry to operate and maintain its water, sewer and drainage utilities.

Retreats West consists of 22 lots located on property along Alameda Drive and the 11th hole of the North Course. It’s part of the Retreats project, a total of 84 single-family homes planned for three areas close to the Rancho Murieta Country Club and the golf course.

The development group represented by John Sullivan of Cosumnes River Land LLC is finalizing its acquisition of the Retreat properties.

Earlier this month, Sullivan told the Improvements Committee they hope to have the street for the Retreats West project in place by the end of November.

Retreats West signals the start of building on the North that sparked opposition and controversy when development was proposed in 2000. The Retreats is one of three projects totaling 282 single-family homes that the county supervisors approved in 2007, as the recession took hold and building came to a halt.

The other two projects are the Residences of Murieta Hills East and West, each approved for 99 lots. The Residences are adjoining properties bounded by Stonehouse Road, and Puerto, Escuela and Guadalupe drives. Project approvals have been extended to 2017, according to the county.

Special tax approved

The board adopted an ordinance authorizing a special tax levy within the community facilities district formed for undeveloped property consisting of the Murieta Gardens hotel and shopping center site, acreage by the CSD Building, and about 730 acres in Murieta North formerly owned by the Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers.

The annual tax will be levied only on the properties within Community Facilities District 2014-1.

The community facilities district was formed to “help finance public infrastructure facilities and other governmental facilities with an estimated useful life of five years or longer that are necessary to meet increased demands placed on the (CSD) as a result of development or rehabilitation occurring within CFD No. 2014-1,” according to a report prepared by Willdan Financial Services.  “Improvements include, but are not limited to, CFD No. 2014-1’s share of the improvements to the District’s Water treatment Plant #1 and related costs....”

The share of the costs is estimated at $4.1 million and the bond indebtedness is limited to $6.75 million. The CSD is the administrator for the community facilities district and all its costs are covered by the special tax.

General Manager Joe Blake told the board the “landowners meet the criteria for providing collateral for the bond sale” based on a preliminary appraisal with a combined land value of $21.4 million. The appraisal valued properties within the facilities district and subject to the special tax as follows: The 53-acre Murieta Gardens site was valued at $50,000 an acre; the 40-acre site near the CSD, a training area for the operating engineers apprenticeship program until the recent acquisition of a site about eight miles away, was valued at $10,000 an acre; and the North residential land use property was valued at $25,000 an acre.  The completed appraisal is expected Friday, Blake said.

Water treatment plant update

Director of Field Operations Paul Siebensohn said the water treatment expansion was going well, with site work underway and Plant 1 offline.

The board authorized General Manager Joe Blake to approve change orders for the project of less than $25,000 within certain guidelines, with a limit of $125,000 for the entire construction period.
Director Bobbi Belton voted against the measure. Director Mike Martel was not at the meeting.

Conservation report

With Plant 1 shut down, residents are mandated to limit landscape watering to two days a week. “That is 1.5 million gallons in capacity that we have taken offline,” Paul Siebensohn, director of field operations, said. “So we’re living off the capacity of Plant 2, which is 2.0 million gallons a day. As of Sept. 1, we’re tracking our water usage daily to see what our demands are. On the North, demand is slightly over 2.0 million gallons a day.”

Siebensohn said staff members are issuing tags to residents who aren’t complying with the irrigation schedule. As of Wednesday, 352 tags had been issued. “A lot of tags have gone to the fining stages,” he noted. “For those people who aren’t complying, we try to make contact with them.”

The schedule allows landscape watering from midnight to 10 a.m. on Monday and Friday for the North, and at the same hours Tuesday and Saturday for the South, Murieta Village and the commercial area.

Information about fines, violations and wasteful uses of water is available here.

In brief

  • The board authorized spending up to $9,600 for a survey of Lake Calero and feasibility analysis  for expanding storage capacity by making the reservoir deeper.
  • The CSD received $42,000 in grant funds from the Bureau of Reclamation for a recycled water feasibility study a consultant prepared and presented to the board last year. The study looks at the availability of recycled water now and as the community grows. The presentation is available here.

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