Supervisor Ray Watson did all the talking May 11 when it came time for the Kern County Board of Supervisors to vote to certify the Revised Environmental Impact Report approving 557 houses to be built surrounding Frazier Park High School in Lebec. He pointed out that larger “planned communities” could be required to provide parks, playing fields water recycling and sewage treatment systems that cannot be required of smaller developers. Then his comments turned a bit personal.
“There was a petition that was circulated,” he said. “The TriCounty Watchdogs initiated that. I have no idea what the people asked to sign the petition were told. I don’t know if they are told that many of the concerns [raised previously] have been addressed. One of the people [who circulated the petition] has a website named “NIMBY” [for “Not In My Backyard”]. That is one attitude, but there are many people who do want the development. We have to balance the public opinion with good development concerns…not just one house at a time. The other thing is property rights. This is an improvement over what is there already.
“Most of Frazier Park right now is below the poverty level.” [After the meeting, Watson was asked to give a source with the data for making that statement. He said he’d 'have to look into it.' Current census data does not support his comment.—Editor] “This is not going to be a ghetto,” he said,“this developer is going to build something that is pleasant.”
He said that many things expressed about the mitigations and the applicant are misleading. “We have a community that is all up in arms, but there are others that are hoping that things will happen and don’t want to fight with their neighbors…. From the beginning I believed that if we impose the proper conditions, we will improve the area. I don’t think you are going to notice what is there unless you decide to ride your bicycle on those pathways…” Then the 5-0 vote was taken and new planning director Lorelei Oviatt certified the revised EIR.
On May 24 Jan de Leeuw, (who named his website NIMBY in a nod to ironic humor) said the TriCounty Watchdogs are preparing to file a lawsuit under CEQA against the county, to contest the May 11 decision.
He said they have selected San Luis Obispo environmental attorney, Babak Naficy, who represents the Sierra Club in Bakersfield. The grounds will be the water supply “and maybe broader” de Leeuw said, adding they have until June 11 to file the suit.
This is part of the May 28, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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