Ordinances that I think are just great. Particularly those having something to do with the non-issuance of new water meters for the sorts of unhappy projects certain people would like to build at such bucolic locales as the Monastery and Stone House sites. The good news here being that while the drought might be a first rate natural disaster, it does have a distinctly slow growth bias.
And would you like to know what's up with all that? In particular the effect it is going to have on certain large housing development projects here in Sierra Madre? From what I can tell it certainly does appear like these developers are screwed. In a big and possibly even irreversible kind of way.
The necessary background is this. The water levels in Sierra Madre's at-risk wells continue to drop. Despite the fact that most of our water is being piped in from the Chlorameanies at the SGVMWD, and this is supposedly the rainy season.
Back when the weather behaved as we thought it always would, this was the time of year when wells and aquifers would be replenished to the point where there would be adequate water to get The Foothill Village through the rest of the year. Including those summer and fall dry seasons.
As we all know, it doesn't happen like that anymore.
What this means is that Sierra Madre's waterless water company will not have adequate supplies for a long time. City Hall has estimated that this period of liquid insolvency could last for seven years, or the length of bad luck you could suffer if you broke a mirror. And that is only if it starts to rain again some time fairly soon. If it doesn't? Then all bets are off.
So here is what my coffee shop research turned up.
1. June 24, 2014 Staff Report - This one goes into detail on the specifics of both the Water Code and Government Code moratoriums. Here is an overview.
2. July 8, 2014 Staff Report - this was the night the City Council voted in Phase III of the Water Conservation Policy, Ordinance 1357U and Ordinance 1356U.
3. Ordinance No. 1357U - This is the Government Code for the celebrated two year building moratorium that includes no new water connections.
But as good as 1357U might be, it is the next one that could easily cripple any attempts to start building at the Monastery and Stone House, and for quite a few years.
4. Ordinance No. 1356U - Water Code - Moratorium on new water meters, which is in effect until Sierra Madre's water supply has returned to normal.
You get that? And will Sierra Madre's water supply ever return to normal? Do we even know what normal is anymore? It could be that this has been going on for so long now nobody even remembers.
On July 8, 2014 the City Council voted in Phase III of the Water Conservation Policy, ordinances 1357U and 1356U. As the drought continues, and our water well supplies continue to drop even further like they did last month, you can easily draw you own conclusions about when any development will finally begin at the Monastery and Stone House.
All the signs point to that being a long long time away.
There is one catch
We all know how unhappy some folks are with the city for imposing fines for water overuse, especially with the yellow water problems. But many of them are the same folks who want to keep the water moratoriums in place.
However, there is this problem. The city needs to be able to show the world that it takes this drought seriously, and one way to do that is imposing fines on water hogs. Because you know that sooner or later one or both of the developers mentioned above will be pounding on some Superior Court door, claiming there is no "water emergency" in Sierra Madre. Their claim being based on the huge amounts of water being used to water lawns, and at all hours of the day.
And if City Hall hasn't done anything to curb the over usage of some of our more carefree residents, then how will they justify not allowing developers to build at places like the Monastery because there isn't any water?
It is a good question.