Watchdogs throw party to defend local water Saturday, March 23 1-4 pm

By Patric Hedlund
The TriCounty Watchdogs are holding a "Shake your Booty" party on Saturday, March 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Work of HeArt Gallery

Everyone is invited.

The group promises music, food and entertainment. There will be a thoroughly joyful band spinning a lot of fun, organizers say.  This is partying for a purpose.

The Watchdogs are on the eve of war. They are marching back into court to defend the legal victory they won last year against the proposed Frazier Park Estates development in Lebec. They need the community’s help to raise a legal fund, organizers said.

If the local group loses this second round, developer Frank Arciero, Jr. of Paso Robles hopes to build over 500 homes on the hills surrounding Frazier Mountain High School. Plans also call for a strip mall and a wastewater treatment plant.
The Watchdogs hope to raise enough money to fight the developer’s legal appeal. Last year Arciero was not able to show the court that he can supply water for his Fallingstar Homes building project.

The Frazier Park Public Utilities District and the Lebec County Water District (LCWD) both refused to annex the subdivision. Consultants told LCWD that if it had to double its output to serve the development, their own wells could go dry in a 7-year drought.

The water company did not want to serve a projected 1,500 more people who could draw down the aquifer from which existing Lebec residents, businesses and Frazier Mountain High School secure their water.

In fact, the high school well dropped 60 feet during the years Arciero has been trying to develop the land.

Kern County’s own planning commission voted unanimously against the project, and Lorilei Oviatt, now the head of the county’s planning department, said that no more than 188 homes should be built on that land. Arciero said that would not be sufficiently profitable.

The Kern County Board of Supervisors, led by Ray Watson, told their planner to change her analysis so Kern County could approve the plan. She did, and was promoted.

The Watchdogs, a group of local Mountain Community residents, sued the county and the developer, saying the project would endanger those who already live here. They won.

The developer sat out the worst of the recession, but now is going back to court to appeal the verdict and to try again.
Speaking of the party this Saturday, TriCounty Watchdog Mar Preston said: "Everyone is welcome. We all breathe the same air, drink the same water and want to preserve whatever we can of our quality of life in the Mountain Communities."

Work of HeArt Gallery is at 3011 Mt. Pinos Way, Frazier Park. There will be a silent auction. You are invited to bring a potluck dish if you wish.

This is part of the March 22, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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