Historic meeting takes place

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On Tuesday, Mar. 26, at 6 p.m. at the lodge, the POA Board and the Canyon Lake City Council met for the first time in a noticed meeting. For many years, residents had been asking for the two boards to meet and discuss items of mutual interest.  It has long been thought that there may be economies in both budgets if some activities can be combined.  Legal opinions held up the decision to meet jointly.

Councilman Jeremy Smith made it a goal during his campaign for city council last fall to make such a meeting occur. It was a bonus that both POA General Manager Eric Kazakoff and City Manager Chris Mann were in attendance. While all five POA Board members were there, only Mayor Larry Greene, Councilman Jeremy Smith and Councilman Randy Bonner were able to make it from the city.

The first order of business was to recognize Spencer Massicot, Student of the Month; the Urban Craft Eatery, a restaurant in the Towne Center that was named Best Casual Restaurant by the Inland Empire Magazine; Ron Carson, an employee of the POA for 31 years who is retiring; and POA Director Mike Harris, for his thousands of volunteer hours on committees and serving as the president of the board.

This first meeting was agendized to introduce all the participants and generally inform the audience of approximately 30 people to the organization of the POA and the city, which are very different. The city, incorporated in 1990, a general law city, is governed by the Brown Act. The Fair Political Practices Commission was charged with investigating and fining any elected official who violates the Brown Act. There are strict rules, such as only two City Council members may privately discuss an issue and cannot tell the other members. Emails between more than two City Council members are prohibited and considered serial meetings. City documents are passed at meetings as Ordinances, which become City law, and Resolutions.

The POA, established in 1968, is a private non-profit corporation governed by the Davis-Stirling Act. While it has some of the same rules, there is little or no enforcement. The governing documents are bylaws; Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions; and Rules and Regulations.

The POA has departments with employees, such as Member Services, Accounting, Operations, Security, Compliance, HR, IT, etc. They all report to the general manager, who is the sole employee hired by the POA Board of Directors.

The POA has CCRs which govern what members may and may not do within their tract. Violators are fined. There is an appeals process.

The Architectural Control Committee, made up of residents, gives residents help in their permitting process by advising them on the aesthetic rules. There are fines and stop work orders for those who do not follow the guidelines before or after meeting with the ACC.

The city has only a few employees, according to Chris Mann. The city manager, community services director, acting city clerk and two office staff are full time. The code enforcement officers and special enforcement officers are part-time. All other services are contracted out, such as building and planning, police department, fire department and city attorney.

This has meant great savings for the city over many years and has helped the city survive during economic downturns and loss of revenue.

One of the most confusing things for residents is when to call Community Patrol (POA) and when to call 911 (fire and police departments).

Call Community Patrol when there is an issue with POA Compliance (a trailer is parked in front of your house for more than 24 hours, your neighbor puts up a six-foot fence between your two properties without a permit, you have seen vandalism at a park, a neighbor’s dog barks constantly).

Call 911 when you see a suspicious person in your backyard at night, you spot a fire at your neighbor’s house, you witness a car accident with injuries, you or a loved one has suffered a heart attack or stroke, or your home has been robbed.  Precious seconds can be wasted by making the wrong call.

The meeting allowed public comments of three minutes and three residents spoke, Steve Libring, Nancy Horton and Jack Wamsley. Steve urged the city and POA to work together jointly on the management of the traffic on the road approaching the main gate to improve the backup issues and the effectiveness of gate access.

Steve, a 36-year resident and licensed traffic engineer with more than 46 years of experience, asked to be appointed to a subcommittee in the interim to start exploring the traffic management approaching the gates.

Nancy, an 18-year year resident and former EVMWD Board member, urged the POA and city to engage in a partnership to fund testing for harmful algae blooms in the lake for the health, welfare and good of the citizens of Canyon Lake.

Jack Wamsley, a resident for more than 30 years, expressed his concerns over the condition of the roads within the community. “The biggest asset we have is our roads,” said Jack.

The POA and city plan is to hold these joint meetings quarterly. The next meeting will be held on June 24 at 6 p.m. in the Holiday Bay Room at the lodge. The topic will be security. Residents who wish to be heard during public comments should attend with their ideas.

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