CAMBRIA FOREST COMMITTEE
TO CONSERVE AND MANAGE THE NATIVE FOREST OF CAMBRIA
Minutes March 2018
March 14, 2018, 6:30 PM
Cambria Rabobank, 1070 Main Street
A Quorum was established by the attendance of Crosby and Laura Swartz, Julie Jorgenson, JoEllen Butler, Nancy Anderson of Greenspace and Christine Heinrichs. Harry Farmer, Community Services District liaison, attended. Tony Church and Peter and Ruth Frey attended.
Public and Director Comments
Laura Swartz and Julie Jorgenson noted that smoke from a neighbor’s fireplace pollutes local air.
Crosby Swartz has information about the SOD Blitz, scheduled for April 20-22. He will add it to the April meeting agenda.
Christine Heinrichs will discuss the State Parks project to expand Monterey Pine forest north of the San Simeon campground with Mike Walgren and report.
Minutes of the January meeting were approved with two changes.
Treasurer’s Report: Laura Swartz reported a total of $1,723.99 in the Forest Committee account. Sales of the Invasive Weed Guide added $176 in the past month, including $156 sold at the January meeting when Sarah Bisbing spoke. A donation of $140 was received to defray Dr. Bisbing’s costs.
Laura will order 50 more copies of the Invasive Weed Guide and additional copies of the trifold brochure for use at the Greenspace Earth Day event April 22.
The cost will be $400, to be paid from the Cambria Community Council grant for that purpose, leaving $156 remaining. Moved by JoEllen Butler, seconded by Laura Swartz. Unanimous approval.
Website Update Suggestions: Crosby Swartz suggested updating the website section on the Buildout Reduction Committee by removing the progress reports and posting the final report.
Forest Manager Duties and Funding: JoEllen Butler reported that the fire chief has submitted seven grant proposals, including one for a forest manager. Crosby will contact Chief Hollingsworth and send him the Forest Committee’s Job Description for a Forest Manager.
Report from Fire Safe Focus Group
JoEllen Butler reported that Dan Turner, business manager for the county Fire Safe Council, has written grant applications, including one for a biomass plant. The problem with funding projects by reimbursement is being addressed in a bill sponsored by State Senator Bill Monning, SB 1079, for which he is seeking support.
Cal Fire burned piles of vegetation cut to reduce french broom along the east side of Bridge Street during the rain in the past week. They are also widening the fuel break up toward the cemetery.
The Fire Safe Focus Group will hold another forum March 27, 6-8 pm, featuring County Office of Emergency Services director Ron Alsop. The forum will focus on what commercial, business, and other organizations and churches can do after an emergency event to help the community recover.
Report from Coastal Commission Meeting
Crosby and Laura attended the Oxnard meeting. The significant local issue on the agenda was the appeal of the Vacation Rental application. The County Planning Commission had recommended the application be denied, but the County Supervisors approved an exemption for it. The permit application was denied in a 6-4 vote.
Harry Farmer commented that Air BNB and Vacation Rentals reduce the amount of long term rental units. They are often owned by absentee owners who are making money but are not committed to the best interests of the community. Businesses are affected because employees are unable to find local housing. Julie Jorgenson said that neighborhoods are changed by short term rentals. Tony Church said that the county has sent letters to short term rental unit owners requiring them to comply with the law, but not many owners have yet responded. Over time, county enforcement could reduce the problem. Crosby Swartz said that having a Vacation Rental License increases the value of the property, raising the cost of surrounding properties. The 6-4 vote indicates that the issue was not settled among the commissioners.
The San Simeon Wastewater Treatment Plant application was postponed to a future meeting.
Earth Day Fair April 22nd: Crosby applied for Greenspace Earth Day Fair. Tony and JoEllen offered to loan the Forest Committee a table. Christine will bring the large screen iPad to show the Invasive Weed app. Crosby will request a place in the shade. The table will included a sign-up sheet and accept donations.
Forest Resources Mitigation Measure Letter: Crosby shared a draft of a letter county planners, county supervisor, CSD general manager and the Coastal Commission, noting that the SWF Project EIR does not adequately address the impact of the SWF. The letter asks for a Forest Resources mitigation measure be added. JoEllen moved and Christine seconded to approve sending the letter.
Director Liability Insurance: Crosby’s insurance agent has not fully addressed the issue of liability for actions taken. Directors can be sued as individuals. Laura will research the issue in a book on the subject and report at the April meeting. Julie Jorgenson said that taking action in good faith with due diligence is a factor. Crosby’s insurance agent said they are covered. Not sure whether they are covered for actions taken.
Agenda Items and Speaker for Next Meeting:
Laura proposed inviting Cal Poly professor Matt Ritter to speak on the broad benefits of the forest to the community.
Public and Director Comments:
Peter Frey and his wife Ruth moved to Cambria from Colorado. Peter Frey is concerned about the amount of dead wood and debris in the residential areas. He had difficulty finding an insurance company to insure his home due to fire rating. Discussion of the issues, conflicting responsibilities among agencies and private property owners. He will continue advocating for fuel reduction.
Meeting adjourned at 8:25 pm