Opening the gate on Escuela Drive, collecting community contact information and creating a map of the community’s crime incidents were discussed at last week’s Joint Security Committee meeting. The committee, which meets several times a year, has representation from the community's major governing organizations.
Opening Escuela gate on Stonehouse Road
Greg Vorster, the Rancho Murieta Association’s general manager, suggested a joint RMA-Community Services District committee to look at what kind of gate should be installed at Stonehouse Road and Escuela Drive.
The county will begin work on Stonehouse Road in July, closing the road for two weeks to lower a hill north of the Escuela gate, which will make Stonehouse safe enough for the gate to be opened.
“There’s pros and cons,” said CSD Director Mike Martel of the gate opening. He suggested either the RMA or CSD poll the community on its feelings. “There’s the money issue. Do you guard it? Are you guarding it part-time?”
Given that the CSD didn’t budget for new gate expense, Vorster repeated a suggestion he made at last month’s RMA meeting that if the community demands a staffed gate, the RMA could create a special assessment to generate the funding.
“Gates are a quarter-million dollars per year,” Martel said.
“Just because it can be opened doesn’t necessarily mean we have to rush into it,” said Jim Moore, the RMA’s board president. “There’s no compelling reason right now to get it open as quickly as possible. ... I think it’s something we can take our time with.”
There was also conversation about a three-way stop at the gate and the possibility of gate turn lanes on Stonehouse.
Developer John Sullivan said there would be problems without a southbound turn lane on Stonehouse. He suggested the community keep the turn-lane conversation going with the county. Vorster said the county’s engineers priced this lane at $400,000 to $500,000, which would have to be funded locally.
Sullivan said he’s already talking with the county about Stonehouse impact fees the developers must pay, and he’d be happy to discuss this additional possibility.
Vorster pointed out that opening the gate, which is right next to the Stonehouse Park sports fields, would remove a lot of the outside youth baseball and soccer traffic from the community’s streets.
The conversation wrapped up with the promise that the RMA and CSD boards would discuss the matter.
Breakdown of security incidents
Remson distributed spreadsheets of 2015 incidents in the community, breaking down monthly incidents by the day, time reported and the street where the incident occurred. (You can download a PDF version of the document here.)
He also discussed mapping the community’s security incidents and making the map available online. He said the map would show approximate, not precise, incident locations.
Martel suggested Security allow people to text-message Security, which prompted Country Club representative Vern Wallace to caution that it might not offer information as useful as having telephone interaction with a reporting party. Wallace also said use of the Country Club’s “tip line,” which allows members to report incidents, has fallen off to zero.
Updating database of resident information
Security plans to update its resident information, Remson said. The information provided by all new residents goes into a database and is shared by the South Gate, Remson’s office and the officers on patrol, Remson said.
“We haven’t done a top-to-bottom upgrade check of this thing in years,” he said. The information includes things like phone and email contacts, guest list entries, registered vehicles, pet information and emergency contacts.
He said Security will mail out a paper form, probably working street by street through the community starting in January, and ask residents to fill out the form and send it back. If you don’t send it back, Security will disable your bar code, he said.
“That way, we can update everything,” Remson said.
Moore asked if it were possible for residents to make the changes online. Darlene Gillum, the CSD’s general manager, said that would cost about $300 a month, so it’s not in the current plans. She also questioned how many residents would do that online.
Vandalism at Country Club's 12th hole North
The group discussed an incident in the evening hours of Nov. 21 when a pickup truck drove off Murieta Parkway and onto the 12th green, tore up the green and got stuck in a bunker before damaging it while trying to get out.
Sullivan suggested Security should try “really hard” to get a photo of the pickup truck passing by the gate that night. He said the club and its members are getting tired of vandalism, which comes to $10,000 to $25,000 a year.
The Country Club reported only one incident – night fishing at one of the course lakes – after it hired extra officers for Halloween patrol.
In other business...
Vorster said he was trying to reach Caltrans to have safety railing installed along the South sound wall on Jackson Road. “I think that is a hazard to those houses that back up to it,” he said. (A car hit the wall on Nov. 27, the second such incident.) Vorster said the walls were properly constructed; it’s a tension-bar wall, he said, with metal rods and steel caps that are tightened to strengthen the wall. He said the homeowners are responsible for repair of the wall behind their homes.
The committee discussed the CSD’s recent actions on locations for security cameras. Martel lobbied the group to support his view that there should be more cameras at more locations. “If you guys have suggestions, I think at the right time of year, you guys should all bring your ideas to the board, because sometimes the board doesn’t hear everybody’s input about how cameras could be useful,” he said. “...I think you’re a supporter of cameras in different places. I think that gets missed on some of the other (CSD) board members or the staff....”
RMA Director Tim Maybee said the RMA is looking at installation of temporary speed tables to control speeding by cars and golf carts. He said RMA is also looking at installing cameras in its radar trailers, which are moved to different locations around the community to alert drivers to their speed. In cooperation with the sports leagues that use our fields, these traffic controls could be used to cite drivers from outside the community, he said.