Pumping Water to Frazier Park Estates Illegal, Says Lawyer

By Patric Hedlund

Attorneys for the Lebec County Water District (LCWD) argue that the proposed Frazier Park Estates development in Lebec is prohibited by state law from “export” of water from wells on the Cuddy Creek aquifer to homes in the southern part of the proposed development.

Ownership of the overlying contiguous land is not adequate under the law, Attorney Joseph D. Hughes wrote in an advisory letter to the Kern County Planning Department July 17.

Because the proposed development straddles a ridgeline, water applied on the southerly portion of the site will drain not to the Cuddy Creek East Sub-basin but to the watershed that includes Gorman. Therefore, Hughes argues, water pumped from the project’s wells cannot be “exported” from the originating groundwater basin to another area.

In his letter, Hughes said, “it would be an abuse of discretion” for the Kern County Planning Commission “to approve the Project or certify its EIR in its current form.”

LCWD president Darren Hager said he plans to be at the Planning Commission hearing August 27 (1115 Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield in the Board of Supervisors’ chambers) at 7 p.m. Hager plans to testify at the hearing about the negative impacts the development could have on current LCWD water customers.

The district’s attorney said Frank Arciero, Jr.’s Fallingstar Homes development company needs to be told to redesign the project’s water supply if it wants to legally provide adequate water to the houses it proposes to build.

Hughes concludes that the Lebec County Water District is mentioned in the developer’s EIR, “but that there is no meaningful explanation of how the district could serve a project three times its current customer base.”

“Frankly, in our interactions with the developer, we have not seen evidence that it or its consultants appreciate the severity of the water supply issues presented by the Project,” Hughes wrote.

“Although some minor improvements to developer’s documents have been made since 2007, it still fails to demonstrate an adequate water supply. The reason is simple. There is not enough water in the East Sub-basin to supply a development as large as the Project during multiple dry years, and the developer has failed to identify an alternate source of supply,” the LCWD attorney concludes.


What: Planning Commission hearing on Frazier Park Estates Final Environmental Impact Report
When: August 27, 7 p.m.
Where: 1115 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield (in the Board of Supervisors’ chambers)

This is part of the August 14, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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