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FCA annual meeting brings county and community together
By Tina Richards
Crime prevention was the focus of the Foothill Communities Association annual meeting, sharing the limelight with updates on North Tustin activities from OC Parks, Public Works, East Orange County Water District, and issues raised by residents.
The March 4 meeting highlight was a keynote address by Orange County Superior Court Judge Cheri Pham. She noted that crime is on the increase in Orange County (although down slightly in North Tustin), and attributed that rise to reforms in the state criminal justice system that required 30,000 prisoners to be released over two years to combat overcrowding, moving non-violent offenders to local jails and reducing a number of felonies to misdemeanors.
Juvenile offenders of serious crimes, she said, are now less likely to be tried in adult court, making them eligible for release at age 25. Many other non-violent offenders had their sentences reduced and became subject to early parole. While Pham reported that there is no data yet on whether or not justice system reform has impacted crime rates, she clearly believes that it has.
Defense, the best offense
Sheriff’s Department Crime Prevention Specialist Anitu Pattanaik offered tips to avoid being a crime victim. As residential and vehicle burglaries are the predominant form of malfeasance in North Tustin (and surrounding areas), Pattanaik stressed that locking doors and windows, keeping garages closed, and removing valuables from cars are obvious deterrents. She also noted that environmental design – lighting, motion sensors, and keeping large shrubbery trimmed and away from porches and windows – makes it harder for a perpetrator to get into your home unnoticed.
Package thefts, too, are on the rise. The sheriff’s department recommends having them shipped to another location so they will not sit unattended on your porch, asking for a signature upon receipt, using Amazon lockers, or tracking packages using internet tools. To prevent mail theft, Pattanaik warned residents to never leave outgoing mail in the mailbox or put the red flag up. “It is,” she said, “a red flag for thieves who recognize that a lot of outgoing mail contains checks.”
Beyond criminality, residents raised issues that, while not necessarily illegal, are annoying: overflow parking on residential streets from apartment buildings in Santa Ana; mountain bikers seen in Peters Canyon Park after hours; homes obscured by weeds; potholes created by heavy rain. FCA President Rick Nelson assured meeting attendees that the association would look into those complaints or refer them to the proper governing agencies.
Who ya gonna call?
Representatives from OC Public Works stressed that complaints (potholes, code enforcement) can be filed and tracked on the department’s website.
Lisa Ohlund of the East Orange County Water District reported that both src=”https://fcahome.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Louise-Records.jpg”> Irvine Lake and Peters Canyon Lake are filling up, and that Prado Dam is releasing 3,500 cubic feet per second. “This is a great year for water in California,” she said. “Water is getting into the ground. We plan for seven dry years out of every ten, and this is a welcome wet year.”
She also said that a report on the district’s septic tank conversion project will be presented to its board of directors in April, and that residents would be welcome to attend.
Scott Thomas of OC Parks provided an update on the planned park at Crawford Canyon and Newport Avenue. Yes, he assured residents, it will be a park. The developer of the Clearwater Senior living residences has promised to spend $850,000 on the park, in exchange for entitlements to build the facility. The developer can either give that money to the county for park construction, or create the project himself. Clearwater has until July to let the county know which option it wants to pursue. Until that time, there’s nothing to do but wait.
The Tustin Community Foundation recognizes, once a year, individuals who make outstanding contributions to the Tustin area community. The Foothill Communities Association nominated Lori Chew. Lori was recognized for Chairing the Steering Committee to Save The Racquet Club and providing the necessary leadership.
Rick Nelson was recognized by the Tustin Community Foundation (TCF) for building the TCF float each year for the Tustin Tiller Days Parade, supporting many of the TCF events, supplying wine from his Red Hill Winery for many of the events, and for being the President Elect of TCF. TCF also nominated Rick Nelson for Tustin Area Man of the Year this year.
FCA organized a forum for candidates running in the special election for Supervisor of District 3. The forun opend with a two minute statement by each candidate, folled by one hour of Q&A, followed by a closing one minute statement by each candidate.
When: Monday, March 4, 6:30 PM
Where: Trinity Presbyterian Church
(Corner 17th and Prospect)
The Annual and Town Hall Meeting of the Foothill Communities Association is open to the public, and everyone is welcome. Note that we have a different venue – the Fellowship Hall at Trinity Presbyterian Church at the intersection of 17th St and Prospect Ave. All speakers and local agencies will participate in the Q&A. So have your questions ready.
Starting at 6:30 pm will allow a half hour for informal discussions with FCA committees and with OC agencies—many will have tables and handout materials. Presentations will begin at 7 pm.
For 55 years, FCA has strived to preserve our unique and highly valued living environment. Last year we continued our efforts to protect and enhance our community. We work very hard to resolve community issues for our members. Your membership demonstrates your commitment to these objectives. Member dues are due January 1 of each year. For continuing members, renewal is only $25 ($20 for seniors 65 and over). For new members, the first year is free, and Lifetime Membership is $300. An FCA membership is a low-cost investment in our community and helps to insure our quality of life. If you have not mailed your 2019 membership dues, please complete the membership form in this Bulletin and mail with your check today or fill out the form at www.FCAhome.org. Now is the time to join or renew! FCA memberships, except for Lifetime members, all expire on December 31 of every year
Attendees can join or renew membership and vote for FCA Directors at the Annual Meeting.
Bring your questions for answers by the experts
For the last year, FCA has opposed a proposed development along Newport Blvd. across from the Rocking Horse Ridge development. We were opposed to the proposed higher density (10,000 sq. ft. per lot) than the surrounding North Tustin properties, the view from Newport Blvd., and potential fire issues. We filed a lawsuit in January to protect a statutory time limit. After several months of negotiation, we have reached an agreement with the developer. We could have continued the lawsuit with a very uncertain result and considerable expense to the community. The agreement is a reasonable compromise that improves the development. The OC Board of Supervisors approved the revised plan on February 6, 2018.
Key changes to the plan are:
Reduction in the number of homes from 22 to 16.
Screening of the view from Newport Blvd. with landscaping and trees. This preserves the scenic view of this part of the highway (Newport Blvd.). This was included in the Conditions of Approval (COA) which mandates the HOA maintain and preserve this landscaping and trees.
Replacement of hammerhead turnarounds for fire authority equipment with full cul-de-sacs at both ends of the internal street.
Three car garages which will reduce parking on the street which will enhance fire safety.
FCA is grateful to the Steering Committee, comprised of Cowan Heights’ residents, for helping to bring this opposition to a reasonable conclusion. We are particularly thankful for the leadership of Jane Rice, Chair of this FCA initiative.
This was not a perfect resolution. The Supervisors did approve a rezoning of the property in spite of obvious very large objection by residents of North Tustin. Fortunately the project, as finally approved, will be less dense and considerably improved. With the existence of other large parcels in North Tustin, requests by developers for high density projects will continue. For example, there is current interest in development of the Tustin Hills Racquet Club. We must be tenacious in protecting the zoning of our community. As we have seen, it is a simple matter for the OC Board of Supervisors to rezone and provide a developer a denser and more valuable development. This is one reason North Tustin might want to incorporate.
FCA is not opposed to development, but developments need to be consistent with the neighborhood.
Rick Nelson, FCA President
The Foothills Community Association was organized as the Foothill Home Owners Association in 1964 to protect the interests of the residents. The HOA converted to non-profit corporation in 1973
Foothill Communities Association, Inc. P.O.Box 261, Tustin, California 92781