‘Water war’ makes waves (December 28, 2015)

APPLE VALLEY — With the year drawing to a close, the Daily Press looks back at three key stories that took place in the town in 2015 and will continue to develop in 2016.

1. Advancements made in ‘Water war’

The Town Council took significant steps in 2015 toward its proposed acquisition of the water system owned and operated by the Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co. despite vocal opponents raising concerns and expressing frustrations at Council meetings.

Following scoping meetings held in order to hear comments and questions from residents concerning the draft Environmental Impact Report, the Council finished the draft process, which included a two-month public comment period, and approved the final EIR in November. In addition, the Council also approved two Resolutions of Necessity to take Ranchos’ water system by eminent domain.

In response, Ranchos petitioned the Superior Court of San Bernardino County in December with a request for suspension of any action related to eminent domain and cited multiple violations in the town’s final EIR that the company believes resulted in the town’s failure to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.

Not long after Ranchos’ petition, Apple Valley residents Chuck and Pat Hanson proposed a ballot measure that would allow Apple Valley residents to vote on the town’s use of bonds to acquire the water system by eminent domain.

The ballot measure was submitted to the town clerk on Dec. 21 and the town has 15 days from that point to review the proposed initiative and return the title and summary back to the public relations firm Passantino Andersen. The measure would need approximately 3,600 signatures from registered Apple Valley voters to make its way onto a ballot.


Source: Matthew Cabe, Daily Press