Newberry Springs Community Plan
Is Yet Another Community Sham
Posted February 21, 2012
On Tuesday, February 14, 2012, the Newberry Community Service District Board
in a dud Valentine gift to the community, finalized their Community Plan draft. Despite
comments from the board that the plan represents the community's will and was not the CSD Board's
plan, the plan held minimum community input.
The reality is that the vast majority of the Newberry Springs' property owners
have yet to be notified that a community plan was being prepared; and of the few that have heard of
a plan being developed, most have never been informed of the significant impact that a plan will
have upon them.
The plan's draft committee has previously held feel-good workshops that were
poorly publicized and attended as part of a process in which the committee's individuals' work was
mostly pre-solidified as a done deal. Much of the plan has been copied and pasted from other
community plans from distant communities.
In response to public inquiry as to why irrelevant matter was contained within
the draft, the committee documented response was that the matter was "Common language in plans
used as [a] shell document." ... "Again, we followed existing language [of other plans]."
The methodology was to throw a package together despite irrelevant content and the individuality
of Newberry Springs.
Even the Community Alliance was caught off-guard by the February 14, 2012
CSD Board meeting in that the meeting's
(Item 6B - bottom of the page) had the Community Plan matter Noticed
(legally publicized) as simply a board review. What it turned out to be was an unnoticed
board/public workshop where the public's few attendees were ambushed and unprepared. Some
had not even brought their notes to the meeting as there was no expectation of a workshop.
At the end of the "workshop," the president inquired if the public had any
further input. As some of the public were unprepared by the non-publicized workshop,
they were unprepared to respond. This meeting paralleled other meetings of the plan's
formulation whereby the draft's content was highly controlled and absent
of wide-spectrum community input.
Keeping Other Opinion Out
An earlier prepared community plan in 1984 had a community plan advisory
board of 23 members; most of the current plan was developed with only 5 individuals
who promoted their own special interests. (A sixth individual was added towards the end.)
Due to a lack of public notice, disclosure and education to the public about
the Community Plan, the planning committee had a free reign in planting their agendas.
This allowed the committee to place items into the plan that would unjustly benefit certain
individuals, limit the water rights of all property owners, and place numerous restrictions
upon how residents can use and enjoy their property. Some of these items were fortunately
addressed, modified or removed at the February 14, 2012 meeting.
The CSD's Board of Directors have undertaken the task of developing the
Community Plan despite not having a necessity to have one. The CSD is strictly limited in
its power to that allocated to it by LAFCO (the Local Agency Formation Commission for San
Bernardino County) which itself is regulated by state law.
LAFCO likes to see community leaders have a community plan in place as a means
to focus the long-term direction of growth. This is similar to any business having a
business or marketing plan. LAFCO, however, does not and cannot require a CSD to
have a community plan. Thus, as a CSD acquires its authority from LAFCO, and as LAFCO has
not authorized the Newberry CSD to develop a community plan, it is questionable whether
the Newberry CSD is a proper authority to develop and place a community plan before a county
LAFCO cannot, and will not, derate a CSD for not having a plan. Therefore,
the Newberry CSD appears to have undertaken the specialized development of a community plan solely
on its own and has incurred a liability by cutting its costs through the use of untrained and
unskilled local citizens who have voluntarily stepped-in to place their special agendas,
above others, into the plan.
Is The CSD Board Misrepresenting Its Authority ?
The proposed Newberry Springs Community Plan is not intended as simply an
internal CSD working document; but rather, it is intended to be sent to the San Bernardino county
government with the fraudulent claim that its contents represent the wishes and the desires
of the entire community; and that the contents of the community plan should be formally
incorporated into the county's planning for Newberry Springs.
A CSD does not have Land Use powers. Its directors were not elected
nor have any authority to represent Land Use issues; yet the community plan is
laced with Land Use and water issues that the CSD board is recommending,
outside of its alleged authority, for the county to incorporate. This appears to be
an unprecedented attempt by the board of directors to exercise undue influence and exceed the powers
granted to it by the electorate and LAFCO.
Usually a community plan is initiated at the county level which solicits the
local CSD, community organizations, and the public to participate in the planning process.
The Newberry CSD has initiated their plan and has been the driving force; not the
county. Although hoping to avoid an Environmental Impact Review, an EIR will likely be
required and the CSD, and the county, have no funds for one. The plan will likely be
shelved by the county as was the earlier Newberry Springs community plan 28 years ago.
Although much of the plan appears reasonable, some portions appear
problematic. During the February 14th workshop, the CSD Board did add, modify and
remove proposals in the draft. Most pleasing to the Community Alliance
was the removal of the idiotic policy (of previous NS/LU 1.6) that "Prohibit billboards
within the plan area except along freeway corridors." This wording stated no billboards
but implied community acceptance along the Interstate highways.
From the meeting, it appears that local realtor Sandra Brittian is still
unknowledgeable regarding the law on billboards as she continued to stubbornly spew out the Spike
Lynch and the Newberry Springs Property Owners Association's disinformation.
The fact of the matter is that billboards, along the local Interstate highways, is a moot matter for
a community plan because such billboards are regulated by both federal and state law.
The CSD Board, to its credit, properly removed the billboard reference.
Billboards along I-40 in Newberry Springs have been clearly demonstrated as
illegal as documented in the Community Alliance earlier articles
Whether or not the courts will rescind the county issued billboard permits, earlier granted locally
under the corrupt Postmus-era Board of Supervisors, remains to the seen.
The Hot Chili Peppers !
The CSD board meeting, that was chaired by President Robert Seeley, was among
one of the best conducted and cordial meetings in years. The only outburst was between
Director Wayne Snively and Sandra Brittian when Snively tired of spectator Brittian rudely
interrupting him repeatedly while he was speaking. President Seeley quickly restored
order and an excited Brittian decompressed.
The Board voted to incorporate the changes made to the Community Plan's draft
at the meeting and to then have the Community Plan sent to the county for its input of maps, data
and comments. The plan will then be returned to the CSD for the board's final approval before
being returned to the county for requested inclusion into the county's operational plans.
The Community Alliance will be reviewing the final wording of the approved
draft after it is made available. As of this writing, the draft still has some embarrassing
minor errs in its foundation statements that alludes to the unprofessional background of the draft's
creators; and it fails to address many community issues such as blowing sands and toxic heavy metals
that were allegedly spread earlier on farmlands and orchards that a proper draft plan would include.
The biggest failures in the plan were in not opening the plan's committee to a
much larger number of committee participants. The committee's chairperson demonstrated a
lack of integrity by taking unfair advantage of the community's apathy; and by restricting the
number of committee seats to only a favored few.
The committee failed to take the time and steps necessary to adequately
inform, educate, and perform a concentrated outreach to the community about the plan.
Little effort was made to get the churches and other Newberry Springs stakeholders involved.
Due to the massive failure in vesting the community behind the project, the plan does not
represent the vast majority of the residents and the property owners. The committee and the
CSD do not have the legal nor moral authority to now claim that their plan represents the
desires of the community.
The committee and the CSD Board failed to adequately satisfy the minimum community
consultation criteria. They have basically derived a plan that has only been accepted by
Some always fall 'n da ho !
The CSD board appeared to be more concerned about time, than working to get the
community properly involved. This was demonstrated during a 2011 CSD board meeting when the
draft committee submitted the first half of the plan to the Board. Director Robert Royalty
stated that enough time had been spent on the draft and suggested that the entire plan be
immediately voted upon for passage to the county. When informed that the second half
still wasn't completed, in which Royalty appeared to be clueless about, the matter continued.
A community plan is a serious matter and should not be done in a community vacuum
nor promoted forward until the community has solidly embraced the plan. The Newberry
Springs Community Plan was unfortunately developed by yet another pompous Newberry Springs'
Oligarchy without the community.
In not having been built upon a genuine consensus of the community, the plan
should not be accepted as representing the community; and should be highly opposed at the
county level. Otherwise, there is an acceptance of the relinquishment of our local
governmental democratic process.