Letters to the Editor: April 14-21 issues

April 14 issue:

Carmel Valley Needs a Senior Center

With all the changes in our community of Carmel Valley over the last 30 years, with myself being one of many original homeowners, I have come to realize that I would like to grow old in the community I call home. We have all the amenities of a community with the exception of a senior center with activities and within walking or public transit for the future. We have parks for children and families, but nothing for active seniors. Even Kilroy’s attempt to change our community still does not address the lack of public transit planned for the future. We aging baby boomers need a place to fit in. Yes, we have a library and yes we have a recreation center to enjoy both swimming and exercise classes, however, other communities have such a facility, we do not. How do we start the process to find public or private land for a Senior Center? How did other communities get theirs? Isn’t it about time we have a discussion?

My present age is 65, semi-retired and I work out of my home. My husband and I are original homeowners in the Carmel Del Mar area since 1985. I am a past Planning Board member, was active in the early development of the Carmel Valley Library, Community Recreation Center and other public and private development with in our area. I am not alone; other people my age have given or are currently serving in various volunteer positions to make Carmel Valley the great place that it is to live. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a place for lectures, exercise, listen to music, play cards and connect with others of similar age in the future? What do 92-year-old seniors that live in their homes do to pass the day? They are lonely and not in engaged in life with others; just watching everyone around them go on with their lives. Wouldn’t it be great for them to be engaged with others too?

There is a definite need that a Senior Center can offer and the wheels of progress through the City of San Diego will go at a slow snail’s pace. Shouldn’t we start the process now.

Karen Cody, Carmel Valley

Del Mar Short- Term Vacation Rentals are a Threat to Our Residential Zone

Next door to you is a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home with pool. It is occupied by a family of four you know. You share small talk from time to time. You know their kids. They know your kids. You both hear each other yell, laugh, and entertain from time to time. They sell, and the people purchasing inform you that they plan on using this home as a STR (short-term rental). How do you respond?

That communities throughout Southern California are struggling with how to address STRs is evidence that a significant portion of these communities are negatively impacted by this issue. Anyone arguing that a STR in a residential zone is not a commercial venture is plainly incorrect. Next door to our home is a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home with pool advertised on VRBO at $575 per night (five- night minimum). The absentee owners have purchased it as an investment that can generate $2,875 every five days. This business creates significant revenue while producing issues that have absolutely changed my families’ experience within the neighborhood in which we have long resided.

I have no desire to sell our home. However, if I were to put it on the market, I would certainly have to disclose that the home next door is a STR. Arguably, the value of my home to a family seeking to purchase a home and reside full time in Del Mar is compromised. In contrast, those looking to purchase a second or third property as an investment might be encouraged to purchase my home to use as a STR. One fewer neighbor to object to a STR, and one fewer single family home occupied by a family invested in the community. The community begins to change from the inside out. Not a concern if you support STRs.

Good Neighbor Policies are touted as a way to curtail STR behaviors deemed disruptive. However, the responsibility of policing begins with the residents impacted by the non-compliant behavior. While I acknowledge that this is a first-world problem, it is very stressful to police multiple new “neighbors,” who are doing nothing other than enjoying their vacation in a short-term residential hotel located in one’s neighborhood.

Del Mar is faced with a transformative community issue. A STR opening next to one’s home will certainly create a very different quality, quantity, and intensity of home use often at odds with a mellow neighborhood vibe. As a long-term year around resident, I urge our city council and citizens and to say No to STRs in our residential neighborhoods.

Scott Renner and Family, Del Mar

Help Residents of Del Mar Get Right to Vote on Watermark and Other Similar Projects

The proposed 48-family dwelling compound of high density eliminates our zoning laws which maintain height limitations, set-backs, open space, mitigation considerations to protect adjacent fellow residents and their residential neighborhoods, adjacent natural environment and wild life, bluff areas, Torrey pines, etc., on the corner lot of our northern gateway.

At this time, approval by only three city council members could change the character of our community and zoning laws, thereby degrading our internationally-renowned, village-like beach community, which we cherish.

Encinitas enacted right for public vote. Del Mar did the same with Prop B. 1986, but unfortunately only covered downtown.

Del Mar residents are seeking signatures from Del Mar residents in order to place our right to public vote on the November ballot. Please expect your neighbors to share information and ask for your signature/support. We are all concerned.

Petition signing — we will also be located downtown for residents to come and sign.

Very important — we need everyone’s help ASAP, please contact us, so you can help be part and gather signatures.

Contact: Del Mar Hillside Community Association:; (858) 275-3849

Thank you,

Arnie Wiesel, Del Mar

Do You Want to Know How Much Your Water Bills Will Really Increase?

The eight-page “Notice of Public Hearing Regarding Proposed Rate Increases for Water Service Charges” mailed out last week to all Santa Fe Irrigation District customers did not provide a comparison of proposed percentage increases. A brief review of the Cost of Service Study reveals percentages ranging from increases of 46.8 percent (those using 5 units or less) to actual reductions of –4.6 percent for approximately one-third of all Single Family Residences. The SFID mailing was not transparent in informing customers with lots larger than standard city size, (Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks Ranch, Sun Valley area, Montecillo, and northeastern Solana Beach), that they could easily find their water bills increase by 15 percent - 20 percent or more in each of the three fiscal years for a combined increase of 45 percent - 60 percent or more.

The Rancho Santa Fe Association website is posting a one-page summary of proposed percentage rate impacts, along with a simple written protest form. As a recent article in the Review noted, 50 percent of the customers, or 3,253 written protests, are required to block the proposed rate increases. Readers who do not have access to the RSF Association website can find similar information under “Water” articles at SFID customers — take a few minutes to understand the actual three-year financial impacts of the proposed rates, and then consider if you wish to exercise your rights guaranteed in the California Constitution and submit a written protest before May 19, 2016.

The General Manager of the SFID has indicated the SFID will not do a mailing, completely at the expense of someone other than the SFID, which would provide you, the customer, with information showing you exactly how much your water bill will be.

Marion Dodson

April 21 issue:

Senior facilities in Carmel Valley

Regarding Karen Cody’s letter about the lack of senior facilities in Carmel Valley — she is absolutely right! I am an original homeowner for over 30 years and we had to “negotiate “ for so many of our facilities that the Carmel Valley population now enjoy, including our award-winning schools, parks, playgrounds and shopping facilities, as they weren’t here in the past. That was the major focus for so many parents at the beginning.

Now our children have grown, and we are the ones needing appropriate facilities. Carmel Valley has a large senior population, comprised of baby boomers and the elderly. There are very few senior activities that are community based. Yes, there are gyms and yoga studios, etc., but for many they are too physical or expensive, or difficult to get to for some of our population. We have the library, but that is heavily utilized.

Silver Age Yoga offers a weekly class at the library that is packed, so there is a demand to keep fit. Carmel Valley Pool offers excellent programs, but again these are not for everyone. I have taken classes at the Carmel Valley Recreation Center, but there are scant classes for seniors. Could this center be expanded to include a senior center? Is there room now that could be used?

I have followed the growth of Carmel Valley very closely over the last 30 years. As a baby boomer, who is able to drive to these activities, there are many who no longer can drive, and there is no public transportation. I am concerned for those seniors who must feel isolated at times. All seniors would benefit from a center that has a meeting place that provides classes and activities.

There are areas in San Diego that have senior citizen centers that do just that, such as Encinitas, Clairemont, and Mira Mesa to name a few. There is a plethora of senior centers in Europe.

Being a realist, I know that land is at a premium cost here in Carmel Valley, with tremendous growth, and a center would need significant funding. Just a thought, wouldn’t it be great if the expanding Del Mar Highlands, or One Paseo, could donate land for such a venture as a senior center? Then have a benefactor who would help with the cost? How wonderful that would be!

Ann-Marie Hornblower, Carmel Valley

Concerns about proposed Tier structure for new water rates

The following letter was submitted to the Santa Fe Irrigation District board and to this newspaper for publication.

We are longtime residents of the Rancho Santa Fe Covenant and are concerned about the major changes you are proposing to the Tier structure for the new water rates. In the past, there have been three Tiers for usage and payment. Now you propose to create four. We understand the effect of this to be as follows:

(1) The rates under your proposal for Tiers 1 and 2 will decrease some 7 percent this year and go up again in the following two years. At that point the rates still will be less than the current rates.

(2) Tiers 2 and 3 have been reconfigured and a fourth added. Tier 2, which used to be for medium water use, going forward will benefit a low water user. Tier 3 now would apply to medium water users and here the rate starts to jump. By the time you get to the new Tier 4, which used to be Tier 2, the rate is 25 percent higher.

(3) Proposition 218 and your Tier structure. You say the higher rates of Tiers 3 and 4 are because “Customers who use more water place greater demands and burdens on the District’s water system, resources and supplies.” However, Proposition 218 appears to stipulate that when Tiered water rates are imposed in a manner that deviates from “cost of service” requirements, creating an inherent inequality, those rates are in violation of Proposition 218.

In short, the new Tier structure penalizes those with large families and/or large properties. We also believe the changes made to the new Tier structure are not directly linked to the cost of providing water services to all customers, which would mean this is in violation of Proposition 218. For these reasons, we oppose your proposed changes.

With kindest regards,

Cindy Baker and Joanne Fishman, Rancho Santa Fe

‘A Shocking Proposal’

If you live in Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe or Fairbanks Ranch you are now at risk of seeing your water rates rise by up to 80 percent or more, unless you act now.

On May 19, the Santa Fe Irrigation District intends to vote to give itself the power to raise your rates dramatically. They want to be able to raise your rates even if their costs remain the same, and even though there is plenty of water in San Diego County for all of us. Their proposal would eliminate all incentive to push back against politically-motivated water cuts driven by a radical left-wing agenda in Sacramento.

You deserve better. We all deserve better.

The good news is that the California Constitution gives us the power to object to such outrageous proposals. If you are a resident of Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe or Fairbanks Ranch, you can stop this, by sending an objection form to the Santa Fe Irrigation District no later than May 18. To print a copy of the form, go to

To win, it is essential that every one of us sign the form!

Let’s send them back to the drawing board. They need to develop a proposal that is fair and reasonable, and that protects our communities and our pocketbooks from Sacramento politicians.

Don Billings, Solana Beach