TOAV to host public scoping session on EIR for AVRWC acquisition (July 6, 2015)

Comments to be received by July 27

APPLE VALLEY — The town is hosting a public scoping session on the environmental impact report being prepared as part of the proposed purchase of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co.

The session is open to public comments and scheduled at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Although council members will not attend, Planning Department staffers will hold the session in the Council Chambers, 14955 Dale Evans Parkway.

Apple Valley Ranchos supplies the town and most of its residents with drinking water, and the town with irrigation water for its parks and town-owned golf course. It has come under fire from the town and many ratepayers for requesting a rate hike of more than 30 percent for 2015-17. The project involves the acquisition, operation and maintenance of its system.

That’s fluffing the pillows a little bit, said resident Richard Rorex, who is opposed to the town’s proposed acquisition. He said an acquisition really will not cause environmental impacts of note but the purchase of the system will engender unintended consequences for the town in expenses and delivery of water services.

They’re spending our tax dollars without regard to future impacts, he said.

The scoping meeting for the project EIR and its initial study will apply to the company’s water system and wells, utility plants, water rights, water supply contracts and records, books and accounts.

It also will address the water system’s operation by the town or a qualified private contractor or public agency. A relevant nearby example is that of the City of Adelanto hiring PERC Water to manage its municipal water system as the Adelanto Public Utilities Authority.

We believe the town has appropriately called for the scoping meeting as the lead agency on the EIR, Town Attorney John Brown said Monday. He contrasted it with the recent acquisition of Yermo Water Co. by AVR that was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission without an EIR — over the town’s objection.

Typically notices on EIRs are meant to engage early input only from other agencies, utilities and affected businesses, Brown said.

The EIR requires council approval at a future meeting to be implemented, followed by reports, approval from the CPUC and partial review and approval from the San Bernardino Local Agency Formation Commission.

A 30-day comment period began June 26 and will end July 27. Comments will be accepted by mail to Assistant Town Manager Lori Lamson, Town of Apple Valley, 14955 Dale Evans Parkway, Apple Valley CA 92307; email to [email protected], or fax to 760-240-7910.

Source: Gary Brodeur, Daily Press

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