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Mega MAC Meeting Tackles Tough Topics

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Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2019 9:00 am

If last Thursday’s meeting of the Lake Arrowhead Municipal Advisory Council (LAMAC) was not the longest MAC session on record, it certainly must be a close runner-up. The May 2 meeting covered numerous important topics, beginning at 6 p.m. and adjourning at 9:55 p.m.

Three special presentations covered timely matters in depth: San Bernardino County addressed fire hazard abatement (weed abatement), Southern California Edison provided a wildfire update, and Caltrans announced lane closures. The presentations were informative, such that they merited separate articles in this issue of the Mountain News.

The hottest topic of the evening, short-term rental (STR) houses, was one of the last items on the agenda. Council member Michelle Ambrozic had been asked at the April 4 meeting to chair a committee to address the most important of many STR issues. Ambrozic was able to meet once with committee members Carol Banner, Jody Brumm and Charles Nieto. But communication snags resulted in no meeting with Leland McElhaney and Tricia DuFour.

The partial committee of four produced a three-page document outlining 11 issues and recommendations, and Ambrozic was asked to summarize it aloud for the attendees. Afterward, a motion to approve the recommendations was defeated by a vote of 3-1.

Council chair Scott Rindenow recommended that the committee meet as soon as possible with all committee members present, and to get a consensus from everyone. “Only four people were there,” Rindenow said. “This issue is too important to rely on one three-hour meeting.”

A new report will be presented at the LAMAC meeting on June 6, and the council members will vote on it before sending recommendations to San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford. The delay will present a timing challenge, as Rutherford is working on the issue with other county supervisors whose districts are also affected by STR issues.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Following the STR discussion, Rindenow announced that he had a phone conference call with Lewis Murray, Rutherford’s field representative, and a professor of economics at the University of California-Riverside. The LAMAC has asked for an economic development study to determine what is viable and what can be attained to improve the economy of Lake Arrowhead.

Rindenow summarized current conditions in the area and noted, “Lake Arrowhead has many of the same problems as other resort communities and small communities.” The goal is to identify the issues and find solutions that will improve the local economy.

SUPERVISOR’S REPORT

As Supervisor Rutherford’s field representative, Lewis Murray made several announcements. Top of the list: The reconstruction of the Lake Gregory Dam has been completed, after eight years and costs at $25 million. Some minor things remain to be done but the dam is finished at last.

Rutherford and Murray will be meeting with Land Use Services and Code Enforcement regarding traffic, parking tickets and littering fines in connection with snow play areas in winter. This is in response to concerns raised at previous MAC meetings because the fines are low and they fail to discourage people from violating laws. A $15 parking ticket, for example, is a bargain for people who park illegally on snow play days because no other parking is available in nearby areas.

The proposed Blue Jay Village Resort project had a short deadline for public input on the conditional use permit, and the deadline has already passed. But Murray noted that public comments will be sought during the Environmental Impact Report process and other steps that are taken.

Murray also reported on progress with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which he said will take some time. But it is to be hoped that a new route near Heaps Peak might be implemented by the end of this year.

Earlier in the evening, Friends of Lake Arrowhead Mountain Communities (FLAMC) encouraged people to sign up for an Air Noise Button, which enables users to “complain” about the noise from airplanes simply by pushing the button. For a modest subscription fee, the complaint is filed, letting the FAA know that the noise has not abated. It is necessary to keep the pressure on the FAA, to keep the complaints going out. Otherwise the FAA might conclude that the problem is solved before it has actually been remedied.

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