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Brawley council delays decision on property division

March 07, 2001|By ANTHONY LONGORIA, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — A home at 4255 Dogwood Road here and its surrounding property were the topics of an at-times heated discussion for nearly an hour and a half Tuesday at the Brawley City Council meeting.

Property owners Joe and Martha Anaya appealed to the council to overturn a Jan. 3 city planning commission decision that denied a four-parcel subdivision of their 7.98 acres.

A staff review of the application expressed concern with future development of the remaining parcels. Staff raised concerns that health issues regarding the land's access to potable water and the unavailability of access to the city's wastewater treatment system could put the city at risk for future litigation.

The review cited that underdeveloped roads leading into the property could inhibit access of emergency vehicles to the property.

Following the review, the city found that the proposed subdivision could make the city liable should a public health issue arise from the lack of treated water options to the area.


The Anayas' attorney, C. Dan Conaway, said the home has access to potable water and a building permit was issued to the Anayas for development of their home.

Conaway told the council the Anayas and any subsequent owners of the land would not develop the subsequent parcels "without first providing city water and sewer facilities."

Community members voiced opposition to the proposed subdivision.

Bill Brandt, whose supply ditch delivers water to homes in the area, said he would not grant access to future homes developed on the proposed parcels.

Brandt said he was concerned about possible contamination of the water feed to the homes, citing that herbicides and sulfur used in surrounding alfalfa fields could cause "run-off" issues.

He said while there hasn't been significant trouble with run-off issues, such problems had arisen in the past.

"The more (people) we get out there, the more accidents are prone to happen," Brandt said.

Lance Hicks, speaking on behalf of his LLR Development Co. partners Terry Patton and Ed LeMert, who reside in the surrounding area, said a building permit should never have granted for the Anayas' home. He cited a 1995 subdivision improvement agreement between the land's previous owner, Jacob Kappeler, and the city. Hicks alleged that the home violates the stipulations of the agreement and said, as a developer, he was concerned that the city was disregarding agreements.

"(The city) is trampling all over the rights of future landowners," Hicks said.

City planner Jesse Soriano told the council that the development of the land "kept with the agreement" and disregarded the accusation, saying that whether the city was in error to grant a building permit for the Anayas' home was a separate issue.

"That's not what I thought we were here (tonight) for," Soriano told the council.

The council unanimously voted to defer a decision on the matter until June 5.

Councilwoman Jo Shields advised staff to review the city's building permit process and ways of protecting the city from similar situations arising.

Over the next three months, the council has directed staff to meet with the Anayas, their legal and engineering team and opponents to provide more information for the council's future decision.

In other action Tuesday, the council approved memorandums of understanding with all but one of the city's employee groups. Those groups that have settled include the police management and sergeants associations, firefighter's association, and Teamsters.

The one group that has not settled with the city is the Public Safety Employees Association, which represents police officers. Police officers have been involved in an ongoing labor dispute with the City Council.

Police officers have said the raise offered by the council is insufficient.

Also Tuesday a scheduled presentation by the California Department of Transportation was postponed as CalTrans officials canceled the presentation for the second consecutive time.

Caltrans was expected to present the upcoming reconstruction of Highways 78 and 86 from Las Flores Drive to the Orita Curve.

Mayor Wayne Johnson noted that the Chamber of Commerce is planning an April 6 cultural block party and CalTrans has been asked by the chamber to avoid a conflict between the event and the road construction.

Staff Writer Anthony Longoria can be reached at 337-3452.

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