NOTES FROM THE BASS LAKE REGIONAL PARK PUBLIC SCOPING MEETING, AUGUST 11, 2003 IN PLACEVILLE
Personal notes from the meeting, not a transcription.
County Attendees: Steve Peterson, Rusty Dupray, Gary Hyden, Mike Grey, Amanda Rose, Bob Dell
After formal remarks, the floor would be opened to the audience. Individuals had three minutes to speak; those representing an organization had five minutes. Speakers were taken in order of having signed in. After all comments were made by people on the list, others could speak, or the same people could speak again.
Gary repeated the statement that the park has been “20 years in the making.” He said there had been intense planning during the last three years. The County has to provide an Environmental Impact Report to assess the impact on the community and the area. The scoping meeting will help determine what should be in the analysis of impact on the environment. Bass Lake Park was officially designated in the Parks Plan and Master Plan in 1992. The current site was purchased in a land swap with a private developer in the late 90’s. The land had originally been designated as single family residential.
Steve said that whatever alternative is selected, it has to work for the region and be a “good neighbor” to the community. He then presented the four alternatives.
1. No Project – which is required by California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). If this alternative is selected, the current park site property could be sold and could be rezoned back to residential.
2. Project Alternative with Field Lighting (Which is exactly what has been presented before without any changes)
· Responds to County Board of Supervisors Direction as presented in the past General Plan design for Regional Parks.
· Includes development phasing to respond to traffic and roadway safety constraints—and also tough revenue times.
- Phase IA: Grading and buffer planting. He said traffic at this point would not trigger need for road improvement.
- Phase 1B: Park facilities and turf planting
- Phase II:
· Complete buildout of Master Plan with play field lighting.
· Incremental development (in response to funding) to be considered in EIR.
He concluded Alternative 2 by saying road issues would need to be addressed so the road didn’t “become unsafe.”
3. Project Alternative without Field Lighting – Exactly the same as Alternative 2, but without play field lighting. This project responds to local input. It would change the character of use of the park. “If play is cut off at dusk, active players would not be able to use it at night.” He also said they were doing acoustic modeling using a noise meter and said if anyone in the audience would like to have a noise meter in front of their house for a few days, to let him know.
4. Other Alternatives
· Must be feasible
· Must meet County’s adopted project goals
· All alternatives identified to be addressed in the EIR
The meeting was then opened to comments from the floor.
Frank: He has nothing against the park, but the County is short on funds. At this time we should be planning a park, not building it. If the park is lit until 10 p.m., and if it is open after dark, he thinks the attraction of people from “the nether regions” will make the park an attractive nuisance. He suggested closing off the rest of the park except for the ball fields after dark. He also said the roads need to be fixed. “Someone said the roads may become dangerous. They already are.”
David: He said he supports the idea of a park for the youth to enjoy, but it needs to be a reasonable size. He alluded to statements that the County has made that they have been planning a park for many years. That park was not in this location. In the El Dorado Hills Plan, the park is not situated where it is right now. Regional parks range from 45 acres up to hundreds, and this is only 41 acres. If the land were developed as residential, there would have been eight five-acre estates. Community parks are of smaller size. He also said that the size of the ball fields should be geared towards youth not a major sports complex. He asked how many kids need to die trying to get to the park before the road is addressed. He stated that a park should be planned but more to the scale of the area.
Kathy: She said that from the beginning, the major concern of the Bass Lake Action Committee has been the unsafe road. It must be addressed to make it safe for anyone to go to the park.
Juliana: She asked if the County was aware that the proposed park is likely to have asbestos present. Steve Peterson said they were aware. She then asked, “Is asbestos hazardous to children or adults?”
Steve replied that the map showing the possible location of asbestos is the baseline for its location in El Dorado Hills. This has been an issue for a long time. There is a basic connection between the presence of serpentine rock outcroppings and the presence of asbestos. Asbestos is linked to cancer in some concentration. The County has to work with Health Services on the County’s plan for development and grading. When the County did the land swap, they did a Phase 1 analysis where they looked at any form of contamination. The property was seen as being within the area of potential asbestos contamination. Youngdahl did a new analysis, which is being incorporated into the EIR. They will have to come up with actual concentration amounts and compare them to the County standards. He mentioned that Kathy Prevost had asked for a copy of the soils report, and that report should be available at the County’s office on Tuesday.
Juliana asked, “What methods and techniques will you use to
test asbestos concentrations, and will there be any independent review by
outside County sources?”
Steve replied by saying that the report will be available for review by anyone who wants to see it.
Chris: Said he has been on the Board of the Foothills Girls Softball League (hereafter referred to as “FGSL”) for years. The lack of fields was brought to the County’s attention in 1998. This project is needed. There are 450 girls in the league. In 1999 this project was brought up as a solution. The “No project” alternative, is not, in his opinion, an alternative. He said the teams couldn’t use school fields. He agreed that there were some good points in our argument, especially about safety. He said, “The fact of the matter is, you’ve got to maximize the use by having lights.” He said the number of people the park is going to serve is tremendous. He said 4,000-5,000 kids could be using it. He said we have to “max out use of the park” and applauded the Supervisors for planning Bass Lake Park.
John: Said he lives on Bass Lake Road. When he bought three years ago, the County planned to put in the park and straighten the road. That was a plus to him and why he decided to buy. He said he was “100% behind lights.” He said he thought that with new technology the lights wouldn’t be a nuisance. He also said that when you get to junior and senior league play, you need the 300’ field length. He mentioned the County’s sign at the park site that says Phase 1 will open in the Fall of 2003. He said that won’t happen given all these meetings. He said the roads need to be improved prior to any building.
Joe: He is the President of Prospector Soccer. He said, “Personally, I want more fields.” He mentioned that there are 1,500 soccer players in El Dorado Hills and 5,000 in the County. He said they need lights to play through March. He said concerns about safety need to be addressed, but that you couldn’t have everything at once.
Bill: Said he lives in Green Springs Ranch and participated in all the workshops and supports the park. He has four concerns. Safety and Security. Serrano is erecting a six foot wrought iron fence at the border of his property for safety. He recommends the park do the same. Another concern is environment. He has a concern about noise and light pollution. He said they were assured there would be no PA system. Until the last plan, all the fields were down by Bass Lake Road. Now they have been moved to their border. That area used to be for passive use. He said, “We think it would be more neighborly to keep passive use near our property and put lights on Bass Lake Road.” He said he had a general concern about roads and safety.
Rocky: He is the President of FGSL. He talked again about the 450 girls in the league. They have 150 parent volunteers. He said “You guys are starting to wake up a sleeping giant.” He said he was disappointed there was some opposition to the park. As far as lights, he said the park has to have lights. He said light pollution can be minimized with the right kind of lighting fixtures. He said we need to do the best for our kids. He said, “It angers me to see resistance to a badly needed project.”
Karen: Affiliated with Foothill Girls Soccer and Little League. She said the County needs activities for kids. Sports is a great thing for family. Sports provides kids with future opportunities, e.g., college scholarships. Teaches them life skills.
Eileen: Said she has been in the area since 1975. She lives in Cameron Park. She asked if we wanted kids to be in front of the TV. She said Cameron Park knew a long time ago that they needed a regional park. They had 16 acres in an industrial area. They could have put their own field in there, and they didn’t do that. She said they looked at it as a regional thing, and Cameron Park let that acreage go.
Unknown Person: He said, “Let’s not force our kids to leave our community to be involved in sports.” He said he hadn’t heard anyone opposing the park.
Greg: He said the area is full of kids. Lights are an important issue. People are going to Folsom and Rancho Cordova to play. He wants the park built for maximum use.
Chuck: He manages the Ponderosa Little League. He said, “It’s all about the kids.” Regarding Frank Spencer’s concern about people from the “nether regions,” Chuck said that the kids will be playing ball, not causing trouble. He also said that no park should allow alcohol. He was also in favor of improving the roads.
Jill: She was for the park. She agreed that if she lived on Bass Lake Road she would have the same concerns as the residents. She said that there is a lot of congestion already from schools, implying that if we can live with that we can live with the congestion caused by the park. She said at Lyons Park the lights go off at 10.
Erik: He said one of the things that stood out for him at the meeting was all the little girls wearing their sport team tee shirts. He wants kids to be part of a team or league and thinks all the other concerns can be addressed in due time. He said he was all for the park.
Steve: Said he’s the father of three kids who all participate in soccer. He coaches soccer. He talked about how the fields are so terrible at Green Valley and how awful it is to play Little League there. He said fields need to be lit. He believes in safety and controlled growth.
Angela: Talked about Gateway Park being overgrown. She said she wanted a place to meet her friends after school and hang out and play games. Lighting is needed, or else how could they see?
Chris: Said he wanted the park developed to the maximum potential. He said, “We need four baseball fields, four soccer fields, and we’ll flood them with use.” He said he bought his house with the expectation that there would be a park.
Fred: Commented that his son had been expecting a park since 1998 and now is graduating from college. He said they used to play on school grounds. There was a Little League field that kept flooding. Thirteen and a half acres was owned by the Cameron Park Services District. They still own it. They went through a process to put 4 fields in. People who owned airplanes did not want fields next to their airport. Rasmussen was supposed to be a lighted park. When the homeowners moved in, they got the lights out. There are 15 acres in Cameron Park that was thought to be too valuable for building a park. The County sold that land.
Dan: Recent resident of Lafferty Homes. Been there two years. Have experience with fields and courts. “I’m supervisor of fields, and I don’t see why we can’t build satellite fields. I object to the amount of traffic on Bass Lake Road. Are they going to build a four-lane highway? I’m against lights in the park. 10:00 p.m. is too late. In San Bruno, lights were out at 8:00 p.m.” He suggested that players use school fields.
Alan: Board member of Cameron Park CSD. He said at a Board Meeting on August 20 the CSD will pass a resolution to support the park. He continually hears people say they need fields. Cameron Park gave up some valuable land to make this park happen.
Green Springs Resident: He said the park borders the whole back of his property. He has no trouble with the noise and lights. He had two sons who grew up in the area, and they had no place to go. He doesn’t want others to have that problem. He is concerned about the road and said the new one would not be in for 5-10 years and that we have to take that into consideration.
Dale: Board member of El Dorado Soccer. Spoke in favor of park and lights.
Ted: Said he supports the park He told the people who think residents of Bass Lake Road don’t support the park that they are wrong. He said he understands the shortage of fields. He’s the father of one and hoping for another. He said that people have to consider the concept of “following the money.” When you follow the money, you see the adult sports coming to the park. Practices by kids do not generate the money. Adult play does. If there are 8 teams playing on a night, times two fields, times three seasons, that generates money for the park. He also said he was concerned about safety of the park, lighting, the Bass Lake Road problem, and thought the park should be a children’s park.
Mark: He lives a block off Bass Lake Road. He was at the last meeting and was offended when Rusty Dupray was booed when he said we needed more ball parks. Mark said he grew up four blocks from a park with a PA system, lights, and bands, and it never bothered him. He would like to see tennis courts in the park. He said, “The real issue is, it’s going to obscure their sunset views.”
Judy: FGSL member. She wants planners to put more fields there than currently planned. She’s a civil engineer, and she said she could fit two more fields into the space of one of the planned ball fields at Bass Lake Park.
Maisey: FGSL member. She spoke for the park with lights.
Mary: She’s a teacher and mother. She likes the idea of having a large regional park, but her primary concern is safety. She said, “I live off Bass Lake Road, and for those of you who don’t live there, the road has to be addressed.” She said it needed to be four lanes or very good two lanes. Having nature trails is a good idea for older people. She’d like to preserve the area.
Kathy: Lives in Bridlewood Canyon. She said that no one is against the park, but we’re concerned with safety. She doesn’t want to see kids go out and be hurt because of unsafe drivers on that road. She said, “With all the groups you’re talking about [using the park], I don’t know how that will safely work. If you could explain it, and I could feel confident it would work, I’d be thrilled.”
Greg: He said, “I have a young daughter and would love to have a park.” He said he wanted to impress on the Supervisors the need for a safe road. It’s a case of what the Supervisors “ought to do” versus “can do” if the road isn’t safe.
Gene: He lives across from the park. He said he can’t find any neighbors who are opposed to the park, but they are concerned about the negative impact. He moved here from Orange County and was right next to Disneyland. He said if you see the fireworks display once a year it’s different from living right next to it all the time. He didn’t think he should have to give up his property rights for people who are going to commute in. “There’s something called the right of quiet enjoyment of my property,” he said. “You put those lights in and the property values will drop. Cut the lights at 8:00 p.m. We’d be in favor of it.”
Kat: She’s been playing softball for ten years. She said you learn good things from it. It takes to long for practice. She wants a park with lights.
Christine : She was a young girl who plays ball and wants the park with lights.
Sam: He coaches softball. “Me and my brother would not have made it through high school without sports,” he said. He was speaking for the lights. “They have a right to play.”
Al : He lives near the park. He said he heard excellent reasons why kids need a place to play. He agrees with that. He said, “What we’re dealing with is ten years of pent up demand.” He said the environmental plan says “be a good neighbor.” A park that would be open from dawn to 8 p.m. would be plenty of time. The road needs to be addressed first. It’s dangerous now. People seem to be talking about a major sports complex in 40 acres in a residential community, and there are impacts to it. It needs to be in balance with the community in which it is placed. People in the neighborhood are asking to make the park a good neighbor.
John: He related how he lived in a small condo in Sunnyvale and looked into his neighbor’s windows. When he came to look at his lot in Woodridge, he was awed by the beauty of the area and the view of the lake. He said the sunsets were the most beautiful he’d ever seen. He said it was a shame that the County was now pitting the residents against the kids because of its own failure to provide parks for the past ten years. He suggested both sides work together to find an acceptable alternative. He also mentioned Marble Valley and asked, “Is that flat?”
Howard: He lives in Cameron Park. Regarding lighting and noise, he recently had dealings with the Sheriff’s Department. and found that the real quiet time is 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and having a lighted park fits within that definition.
Jim: He is the President of the Bridlewood Homeowners Association. He said he also has been associated with parks and has coached sports. He said he had a question for Rusty Dupray. “I challenge you to figure out how to put parks in this County. It’s not fair to pit people against each other. We have to figure out how to compromise.” Jim said that issue No. 1 is the road. “Fix it. It’s dangerous. We’re going to have deaths. [You people who want to send your kids to play in this park] Do you want the kids to be dead? It’s not smart.” He said lights were an issue and that people have reason to be upset. He’s concerned about vandalism and wanted to know what the County is going to do about security. He said Bridlewood is a gated community, and yet they have pot smoking and drinking in their private park and tennis courts, and they are hiring people to deal with it. He wanted to know what the County is going to do after 10:00 p.m. when everyone is gone. He said regarding a PA system, “If we’re going where we are, there will be a PA system. It will come.” He wanted to know what the timeline on putting in the park was. “When are we going to do it?” He also referenced the green tank and how the residents objected to that and their wishes were run right over.
Rusty Dupray: He responded to a couple of questions directed at him. He said he has put in parks since he became a Supervisor, and the Board of Supervisors is currently working on two, one of which is Bass Lake Park. He agreed we need to improve the road. He said the County approved a financing plan to improve from Highway 50 to the south end of the lake—not four lanes. They will eliminate the culvert. When Marble Valley is developed, they will require the developer to set aside park space.
Steve: He asked, “Why are bike paths and sidewalks an afterthought? Why not do it right away. It would be less expensive to do all at once.”
Mary: She said, "The feeling I get is that you think we don’t want the park. We want the park to be safe. Our kids wouldn’t make it across the road to go there. Regarding lighting, I personally would not be affected. I suggest it be 8:00 p.m. during non-Daylight Savings Time and 9:00 p.m. during Daylight Savings time.” She asked, “Would you want lights in your backyard seven nights a week?”
Dave: Soccer Coach. He said that Bass Lake Road is a concern. He is for the park but not the lights. He said the adults are going to take preference over the kids at night. He said, “We want the park to be a good neighbor to us just as we plan to be a good neighbor to the park.”
Jack: He is with Prospector Soccer League. He has lived in El Dorado Hills for two years. He lived in Elk Grove previously. He said Elk Grove had a general plan, and then people moved into the area and fought the General Plan. He said he could bring 10,000 people to this meeting who were for the park.
Katie: A young girl from FGSL spoke in favor of the park, ball fields, and lights.
Walter gave his time to Juliana .
Scott: He lives in Hills of El Dorado. He is looking forward to the park. He said the plan fails to meet the needs of its neighborhood. “You’re not going to make up for ten years of neglect by cramming too much in this site.” He wanted to know if a child will be able to ride a bike to this park.
Joe: He is a coach. He said the park is not a “mega-sports complex by any means.” He also countered the argument that adult sports will take over the park by saying there’s a lot of money in youth sports.
Fran: She asked where the money to fund the park will come from. First the planners say they have $500,000 to grade the land, and that’s all. Then the Village Life article implies that there are millions available to build this park. If the County runs out of money after Phase 1, will they assess all the property owners to finish the park? [This questions was not answered.]
Juliana: She said that the Supervisors have knowingly continued to plan a park on an area that is hazardous to health. She also added that the park will have a detrimental impact on the wildlife in the area and showed a picture of the lake with pelicans that currently nest there.
Steve Peterson: Concluded the meeting by setting out the schedule for the production of the draft EIR. He said that the draft would probably be presented for public comment in January or early February 2004. There will be 45 days for public comment. The report will be available on the County’s web site. There will also be a public meeting in January or February on the draft EIR. The County must respond to all comments received during the 45-day comment period. The final EIR will be the basis for making decisions about the park. The County will certify whether the EIR meets CEQA requirements.