Friends of Daley Ranch Minutes

November 17, 2011

Present: Fred Woods, Jerry Harmon, Rick Paul, Mike Whalen, Dick Althouse, and Rick Mercurio

Fred opened the meeting at 7 p.m. at the home of Rick M. The corrected minutes from the October meeting were approved. Rick P gave his treasurer’s report: we have $7034 in the checking account and we received two donation checks, including $1000 from Bill and Miriam Sherrard. Rick M will write a special thank you letter to the Sherrards, and we will give them a Daley Ranch hat in appreciation. Mike will again take over duties related to the iron ranger and replacing plant guides. Mike moved to reimburse Wendy Barker $156.60 for newsletter expenses. Rick M seconded and the motion passed unanimously.\

Utility Building Project: Dick, Jerry and Fred recently visited the HARRF yard to check on the suitability of natural rocks for the creek bank project. The rocks were perfect for the job. They also completed the creek measurement and Fred drafted a schematic plan for the rock bank. The next step will be to secure a dump truck and a backhoe. Dick estimates that we will need 40 yards of rock. Jerry will ask City maintenance supervisor Rich O’Donnell if the City might have a truck and backhoe to assist us. Mike reminded us that Sunrise Rotary will potentially help. Fred has ordered a sign to be placed on the utility buildings explaining FODR’s intentions and how folks can help. Rick M moved to approve the $25 for the sign. Mike seconded and the motion passed unanimously. Rick M will follow up with getting the information onto the FODR website, and also have Don P. investigate the dead end links that exist there.

Rick P provided an online grant application that FODR may want to use for busing Escondido students to the ranch for the educational day program. Rick M agreed to look into this. Fred will send him previous grant applications.

The Board discussed the City’s proposed annexation on the east side of the ranch, including the Sager housing proposal. Specific FODR concerns were expressed at our previous meeting and were reflected in those minutes. A planned road to the project running through Daley Ranch is a particular worry, and Fred noted that a road could be built on the east side of Valley Center Road to connect to the Von Seggren property. The Board plans to follow this annexation/development closely, and look for ways to communicate our concerns to the appropriate officials. Rick P agreed to contact Barbara Redlitz and Bill Martin on this issue.

Rick M explained his idea for geologic and viewpoint signage at various places at the ranch. He has contacted volunteer and geologist Jack Pomeroy as well as a local sign maker to get preliminary ideas. The Board likes the idea of metal signage rather than material that could fade. Potential locations for signs include the top of Stanley Peak, looking both east and west; Boulder Loop at its intersection with Rock Ridge Trail; and the overlook on Ranch House Road about a half mile north of the entrance. Rick M will do more research to bring back options.

The Board discussed the recent cutting of all vegetation along Ranch House Road. Rick M was told that the fire department required these drastic cuts. It was noted that in some cases the brush was cleared so much that the plant specimens identified by our new plant signs were now missing.

The Board would like a winter newsletter with a focus on renewing membership. Even though we will still email the newsletter to those on our list, we would also like to mail out hard copies to all members with return envelopes enclosed. Fred will send Wendy the “article” on the utility buildings, and write a president’s message about membership. Rick P believes that Wendy also has “leftover” articles from last time. Jerry will organize volunteers to fold and assemble the newsletters so that Wendy does not need to do so.

Jerry asked the Board to name an official representative to the Reveal the Creek group. Rick M agreed to this role.

The Board discussed the City’s proposed utility yard and structure in the vicinity of Caballo Trail. The Board agreed on the following concerns:

1. FODR would rather that the City did not build the new facility in that location. Aesthetically it does not make sense to house a large, industrial-type structure and yard next to the entrance to Daley Ranch's open space habitat.

2. Questions have been raised about the proposed facility's legality based on the permitted uses in that specific area.

3. FODR has expressed support for the Escondido Charros' ability to remain in that location, which is perfectly fitted for its equestrian theme.

4. If the City does build its facility, they must respect the Caballo Trailhead. Council members have already said that the trailhead would not be jeopardized by the new construction and we expect them to keep their word. This is the most critical point for FODR.

5. The facility, if it is indeed necessary, must not interfere with Caballo trailhead parking for equestrian-related vehicles and the staging area must be maintained.

6. The City should strive to minimize the visual impact of this large, industrial-type facility.

The next regular FODR meeting will be January 19 at 7 p.m. at the train depot. Our annual “retreat” will be at Rick M’s home, preferably on Jan. 28, but possibly on Feb. 4. Jerry will let us know his availability.

Respectfully submitted, Rick Mercurio, Secretary