The San Diego County Water Authority approved a resolution establishing preliminary informal terms and conditions for the Valley Center Municipal Water District to annex the Meadowood area into the SDCWA.
The CWA’s Oct. 25 vote also requests that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California grant conditional approval for annexation of the 267-acre area into MWD as well as into CWA.
“We’re pleased to see this,” said Southwest Strategies chief executive officer Alan Ziegaus, who represented Meadowood at the CWA meeting.
“We’re happy that they approved the preliminary terms and conditions,” said Valley Center Municipal Water District general manager Gary Arant, who is also Valley Center’s representative on the CWA board. “Our board has been very clear about its willingness to serve the property.”
On Jan. 11, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved the vesting tentative map, specific plan and general plan amendments, rezone, major use permit, site plans, and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Pardee’s Meadowood project. Meadowood will include 397 single-family housing units, 447 multi-family housing units, 13 acres for an elementary school which will be built by the Bonsall Union School District, four acres of park land, 128 acres of biological open space, 47 acres of agricultural open space, 5.9 miles of trails, and a wastewater treatment plant in the Interstate 15 corridor area of Fallbrook.
The Meadowood area is currently in the San Luis Rey Municipal Water District, which is not part of the San Diego County Water Authority. The Board of Supervisors’ conditions included annexation of the Meadowood property into the CWA. The current proposal calls for the area to be detached from the San Luis Rey district and annexed into the Valley Center district. San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission, which is responsible for jurisdictional boundary changes, will make the official determination on the proposal should all water agencies support the reorganization.
“This is really the first step,” said Dana Friehauf, the CWA’s Principal Water Resources Specialist. “It’s just the first step in a process to a member agency’s request to annex lands to the Water Authority.”
The CWA’s Oct. 25 action establishing preliminary terms and conditions and requesting MWD approval is actually the second step, as the first step was for the CWA to receive a resolution from the Valley Center district requesting concurrent annexation to the CWA and MWD. The Valley Center board unanimously approved that resolution April 16, and prior to the CWA board approval CWA staff reviewed the documents for compliance with CWA annexation policy.
The third step will be for the MWD board to adopt a resolution granting conditional approval. The CWA will then adopt a resolution accepting MWD’s conditional approval and request that MWD set formal terms and conditions. MWD will then adopt a resolution along with consent for the annexation while fixing terms and conditions. The CWA will follow by adopting the resolution to approve, conditionally approve, or deny the annexation and accepting MWD’s terms and conditions for any approval.
LAFCO will file a notice of completion after the terms and conditions of the water agencies are satisfied. A formal LAFCO hearing for the annexation will also be required, and LAFCO will also need to update the Valley Center district’s sphere of influence to include the area.
“It’s a lengthy process, and it goes back and forth between the various agencies,” Ziegaus said.
“It’s probably a year-long process and I think it’s important to make sure we have our due diligence in approving the annexation,” Friehauf said.
Ziegaus estimated a 16-18 month timeframe between the CWA’s Oct. 25 approval and final LAFCO approval.
“Approval of this annexation will be consistent with our board policies to ensure that the supply reliability of our agencies isn’t harmed by the annexation,” Friehauf said.
In February 2006, the CWA board adopted a set of 13 annexation policies covering relationship to LAFCO and MWD policies, protection of member agency supply reliability, conservation and local supply use requirements, annexation fees, priority for annexations to an existing CWA agency, concurrent annexations to other water agencies, necessary connection facilities, environmental compliance, consistency with land use approvals, annexation of commonly-owned lands, avoidance of surrounded annexed or unannexed territory, administrative costs, and annexation of tribal lands.
In April 2010, the CWA updated the policy to address sufficiency for supplies of other member agencies. The determination of a potential adverse effect includes whether the additional supply needs were already considered in the Urban Water Management Plan, whether actual demands are exceeding forecasted demand, whether a Drought Management Plan has been activated, and whether facility constraints exist. That update also requires a member agency which would be annexing the new area to develop additional supply as an offset for the increased demand. The policy directs the CWA to evaluate the adequacy of water supplies and facilities to meet the needs of the proposed annexed territory based on adopted CWA facilities and supply plans including the most recent Water Facilities Master Plan and Urban Water Management Plan.
“That helps tremendously in evaluating these annexations and what our recommendation would be to the board,” Friehauf said.
The only policy which was not satisfied was the payment of the annexation fee, which will be part of the final conditions. A $3,000 administrative fee was received to cover processing costs, and the annexation fee itself will be $781,881.91, which matches the CWA rate of $2,929 per acre. Pardee Homes is responsible for all annexation fees including all Valley Center and San Luis Rey district fees, all CWA and MWD fees, and all LAFCO and State Board of Equalization charges.
The EIR for Meadowood cited an approximate water demand of 329 acre-feet per year from the CWA and a projected maximum daily demand on CWA facilities of 1.1 cubic feet per second. During winter months recycled water from the treatment plant would meet irrigation demands, although during the summer irrigation demand will likely exceed the available recycled water and groundwater would also be used for irrigation. The total estimated annual demand of 609 acre feet includes 189 acre-feet of recycled water and 91 acre-feet of groundwater in addition to the 329 acre-feet of imported water from the CWA.
Valley Center would also need to establish a new connection to the CWA aqueduct system to serve Meadowood. Other facilities would include a flow control facility, a water transmission pipeline from the CWA’s First Aqueduct or Second Aqueduct, and potable reservoir storage.