Letters to the editor: Oct. 1 issue


RSF residents, you now have a choice

We now have in our mailboxes a survey to cast our vote on either roundabouts or traffic signals in the Delicias corridor.

If you vote for roundabouts, there are two things that will happen.

1) During the construction of roundabouts, (for) approximately 18 months there will be a massive detour of 15,000 vehicles daily into our side streets. These side streets will be several in number and most of those 15,000 vehicles will go by the school and through the main part of town, going west in the morning and east in the afternoon. Can you imagine … 15,000 vehicles daily.

2) Upon completion of the roundabouts, traffic flow will show level of service as failure. Which is what we have now with stop signs … lengthy delays, day after day. This is documented in a published independent study which was reviewed by the RSF Association staff and board, and San Diego County. This published 34-page report is available by going to So after spending over $6 million for roundabouts, we will have a failed system.

If you vote for traffic signals, two things will happen.

1) During installation of traffic signals, those 15,000 vehicles will not be detoured. See the report by the RSF Association Intersection Committee, available at the RSF Association office. Traffic will flow during construction through the Delicias corridor.

2) Upon completion of the traffic signals installation, traffic flow will show level of service as good. Again refer to the independent study by Urban Systems Inc. published in early 2015.

Remember — in 2030, traffic in the Delicias corridor is projected to be 23,000 vehicles daily!

If you do not like either roundabouts or traffic signals, then you can fill out your survey by writing in bold print “Do nothing.” This will keep what we have — stop signs — then we will see what happens in a few more years.

Sam Ursini,

Rancho Santa Fe

Traffic committee member comes around to preferring roundabouts

Several years ago, I joined the RSFA Intersection Committee to help expedite a solution to the traffic problem on Paseo Delicias. I live on the east side of the Ranch, so I am affected. Traffic lights seemed like a viable option — they could be installed quickly, and they would eliminate the traffic backup.

At the time, I did not know much about roundabouts, other than they may delay a decision. However, the more I learned, the more I realized traffic lights were a bad idea, and roundabouts were actually a much better solution. As a result, our committee ended up voting 6 to 1 to recommend roundabouts.

There are several reasons why I changed my mind. The roundabouts will serve as a beautiful gateway to our community. They will be more in keeping with the rural aesthetics of the Ranch, and will have beautifully landscaped center islands. They offer a visual traffic break entering RSF from the east by concealing traffic flow. There is no highway view plane.

I learned that traffic lights have up to eight overhead lights at each intersection, with 2,000 watts plus 1,000 watts of signal lights. They will have aggravating left-turn lanes with red lights. Worse yet, the bright lights and changing red-yellow-green traffic signals will be visible from The Inn and main street. Traffic lights violate our “dark sky” policy and are just not appropriate for RSF.

Roundabouts turned into the clear choice when I found out they move traffic more safely and 20 percent faster than traffic lights. There is no stopping and starting, just a continuous flow. As residents, we will always be waiting at annoying red lights. With roundabouts, we will always have access to roadways.

I also now appreciate the very real danger of the impending widening of Via de la Valle and Paseo Delicias to four lanes, a much larger problem for us than any other issue. The county owns the roads and can do as they wish. Traffic lights will make it easy for them to widen our roads, whereas roundabouts can stop it.

Since roundabouts may take several years to be installed, lights remain an option. Choosing traffic lights now will give us a quicker solution, but irreversible, and with many long-term negative implications, including 10 percent more traffic immediately and a potential for four lanes.

Richard Carlson

Member, Rancho Santa Fe Association Intersection Committee

Cost and impact of roundabouts: Covenant, Association will pay nothing

A rumor is making its way through the Ranch that the roundabouts will cost more than $6 million. Another rumor claims that Covenant residents will be on the hook for much of the cost. Yet a third rumor claims that the county will be taking a significant amount of land from the Village Church and Covenant residents along the Paseo Delicias corridor.

Contrary to these claims, all costs are paid out of the county budget — neither Covenant residents nor the Association pay anything. County literature states: “As of 2014, the installation cost of a round-about was around $1 million …” A county project manager mirrored this cost. He also informed us that the roundabouts are eligible for federal funds from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

County engineers have done a great job in designing the roundabouts to minimize impact on privately owned properties. Over the three intersections, Covenant residences will lose less than 9/100th of an acre combined. The Association will lose about 3/10th of an acre of open space. Each landowner will be paid fair market value for the land — tax-free.

The Village Church is not included in these calculations because it will not lose any land. The parking spaces it will reportedly lose were already given to the county of San Diego in 2008, in exchange for variance to build a sanctuary that was larger than code allowed. In addition, a signed 2008 MOU shows the Association will kindly gift neighboring land to the church to replace any lost parking places.

If we generously estimate fair market value for property along the corridor to be in the region of $1 million per acre, then the eminent-domain cost to the county will be in the neighborhood of $500,000. Next, if we project that each roundabout costs $1 million to build, then add the estimated eminent domain costs of $500,000, the cost is more likely to be in the neighborhood of $3.5 million. (The county will be budgeting a total of $4.5 million to account for any additional legal costs related to eminent domain.) Then subtract the assessments from Cielo and Crosby developers, and add federal funds from NEPA.

Roundabouts will end up being cheaper than traffic lights, especially over the long term.

Supporting documents can be found at:

Glen Griffin

Beautiful Roads Group

Paying more for using less water — really?

After reading the story on the front page of last week’s Review, I am stunned that the Water District is planning to raise their water rates.

Now, if I got this straight, RSF homeowners and district water users have been bombarded with multiple warnings of excessive water usage, and potential penalties threatened, We have (most of us) all complied with the drought restriction of water honorably, even though many of us have lawns that are half brown, or worse.

So now, having complied with mandatory water usage restrictions (at no small inconvenience to many of us) and our reward for all of this is they want to raise rates by 9 percent.

So, it’s cut your usage, kill your lawns and pay more for using less water? More for using less water? ... Whoever said that “the inmates are running the asylum” must have the SD Water District in mind.

This is simply a joke: Use less, pay more because the Water District can’t manage their overhead? ... Is anybody out there as outraged as I am?

Claude Turner, RSF resident since 1987

Why is Rancho Santa Fe Association delaying environmental report on Covenant Club?

On Sept. 18, the Covenant Club Design Subcommittee held a meeting at the Golf Club for representatives of the Association Board of Directors and the Golf Club Board of Directors. Kirk Mason, Covenant Club architect, presented an illustrated history of the many design concepts, alternatives, and refinements that have been considered thus far in the feasibility study. The members of the Association board and the Golf Club board asked numerous questions during the presentation which were answered by Mr. Mason or Jerry Yahr, chairman of the subcommittee.

Mr. Yahr then invited those in the audience to make comments or ask questions. One of the questions asked was:

“I don’t believe Kirk Mason, Jerry Yahr, or anyone on the Subcommittee mentioned getting an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). What are your plans for getting an EIR?”

Mr. Yahr answered that an EIR was required but also said the EIR would not be ordered until after the Covenant Homeowners “voted” because it was too “expensive.”

The Board of Directors of the Association is not impartially representing all homeowners on this issue as they should, because the board is extremely biased in favor of the Covenant Club being constructed on the Golf Club/Tennis Club campus. I’m sure the board is well aware that the EIR will be negative to some degree because the Covenant Club definitely will not improve existing traffic and noise.

Therefore, it is certainly reasonable to assume the Association board wants to avoid the inevitable negativity, which will stem from the EIR, until after the community vote.

The Association recently revised the budget for the $350,000 feasibility study of the Covenant Club by allocating an additional $15,000 to the Membership and Marketing Subcommittee where it can be used for building scale models of the proposed Covenant Club, advertise, and have presentation parties while the RSF community is going to be denied the opportunity to review an EIR, before we vote.

This is grossly unfair and wrong, because the EIR is one of the most important components of any “feasibility study.”

Carol Magoffin Ninteman

None of the above

We are two years into the Covenant Club project, one year removed from our vote on the feasibility study, and all we know for sure is that this community activity center, if approved, would be on the golf/tennis club campus. We don’t know where on the campus, how big it would be, what it would look like, what it would cost, what kind of memberships would be offered, and, most of all, we don’t know who would pay for it.

Their logic for keeping us in the dark is impeccable.

Covenant Club committee heads say they can’t answer those questions until they know where it might go, how big it might be, and, in the interest of transparency, they are asking for our help in making these decisions. That involvement by homeowners has slowed the process but they believe it will result in a better decision. Sounds reasonable.

Still, many of us don’t yet support the Covenant Club, not because of what they have told us, but because of what they haven’t.

For instance, no matter where it will be located on the Golf/Tennis Club grounds, we know the plan is to integrate the existing facilities into a country club. It will have a pool or two, fitness rooms, equipment, a kids’ camp, activity rooms, locker rooms, and a cafe.

The activity level on our campus will increase dramatically over what we have now, with a bigger parking lot and considerably more traffic on Via de la Cumbre. Above all, we know it will be large and expensive. The financing will probably include a combination of Community Enhancement Funds and debt, possibly with the Community Enhancement Funds covering the debt as well.

They are not telling us about those things yet because they want the process to play out, yes, but also because they would like us to get so wrapped up in what site, or what design, that we lose sight of the big picture. They act as if the major decisions have already been made and all they need from us is input on the little ones; what amenities should we have, how close to the golf course, two-story or one-story, all without telling us the cost of our decisions. Pretty clever.

But, don’t fall for it. Your answer at this point should be: None of the above. Between the Golf and Tennis Clubs or on the hill? None of the above. Which amenities? None of the above. Use debt or Community Enhancement Funds? None of the above.

And when they finally ask the right questions for the Ranch. High-speed Internet or our own water source? Wireless service or natural gas? That’s when your answer should change to: All of the above. It is about priorities. No matter how much of our money has accumulated in the Community Enhancement Fund, we can’t afford something as extravagant as the Covenant Club at this time.

Bob Mulholland