Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Lucerne residents hear plans for community, get chance to participate

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The event was the second in a series of town halls Rushing is hosting throughout her district in the coming months.


Several county officials also attended the Saturday meeting to tell community members about plans to improve Lucerne, and also to respond to questions.


Those officials included county Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Cox, Sheriff Rod Mitchell, Public Services Director Kim Clymire, Deputy Redevelopment Director Eric Seely, Senior Planner Emily Minton, Code Enforcement Manager Voris Brumfield, Code Enforcement Officer Larry Fabisch and Debra Sommerfield of the county's Economic Development division.


Rushing told the audience that many of the issues Lucerne faces – including illegal dumping, crime and  improving the community as a whole – can't be solved by government alone, but can only be meaningfully addressed by everyone working together to find solutions.


She said that those problems wouldn't be solved at the Saturday meeting, but that the process of solving them – which begins with identifying the primary issues – would get started.


She also reminded the audience that, “Democracy is messy.” Democracy also takes time, she said, but the hope is that the ultimate solutions will work for everyone.


“We're all in this together,” she said.


Kelly Cox, who was invited to speak about current county projects in the town, thanked Rushing for her efforts on behalf of the Northshore.


He reminded the audience that Rushing has only been in office for six weeks. “Believe me, she hit the ground running,” he said.


In his 27 years with the county, Cox said he has worked with numerous supervisors, but Rushing's ideas and work ethic are unique. “You've got to keep her here,” he said.{playerflv}KCLASCTH32.flv|210|150|#000000|false{/playerflv}


Major points from the other officials' presentations related to the following areas.


Parks and recreation


Kim Clymire followed Cox, giving an update on Alpine Park. New playground equipment have been installed, he said, with new restrooms recently completed. The old restrooms are due for demolition shortly, he added.


“Alpine Park has certainly grown by leaps and bounds over the past several years,” he said, a process that's been aided by county and state funds.


Regarding the Lucerne Creek area, a block-long parcel the county took ownership of last year from the town's former park and recreation district, Clymire said the use of that land will be up to the community. The county, he said, will not force Lucerne to accept any plan designs.


New uses for important community buildings


Cox told the audience about a county effort to purchase a building from the senior center to help the center wipe out its debts.


Cox also gave an update on the county's recent application for grant funds for a feasibility for the Lucerne Hotel – known locally as “the castle.” The study will eventually look at mixed uses for the building, he said, which could include senior housing, a hotel or a destination resort.


He said the county has approached the current owners, Castlepoint Ministries, which has said it would be interested in possibly selling the building to the county.


Cox went on to discuss options for the Lucerne Clubhouse, which previously had been scheduled for demolition to make way for a parking lot. However, Cox said the county is willing to reconsider that plan and retain the building for other uses, such as a community center, an interpretive center or museum.


All of those options, Cox said, will require financial investment. The property's highest and best use also must be determined, he said.


New welcome signs are in the works for Lucerne, said Cox. The county gave grants for new signs to the Northshore Business Association, and the county parks division is now building the signs, he said.


Redevelopment


Eric Seely explained plans for Lucerne Harbor Village, located on Lucerne Harbor Park's west side, where so far four of the five structures have been remodeled. Those buildings eventually will be rented out to small businesses, Seely said, and the county is seeking a property manager for the site, preferably a Lucerne resident with property management experience.


Another redevelopment project, the Third Avenue Plaza, Seely reported, will be an extension of the Alpine Park area. The county is waiting for a $470,000 grant to help replace a public dock that was removed.


Off street parking is a concern for redevelopment as well, said Seely. The county is now exploring location options for where such parking could be located, and they want community input on best locations – either on the lake side or the north side of Highway 20.


Seely told the audience that redevelopment's implementation plan, now going into its sixth year, is “flexible,” and can be changed according to what the community wants.


Long-term goals, he said, include continued acquisition of properties to extend the promenade, traffic calming, encouraging retail and office development along 13th Avenue, building facade improvements, and improving infrastructure, including water, drainage and flood protection.


Code enforcement


Voris Brumfield spoke about code enforcement goals, and a primary issue is stopping illegal dumping.


“It is not something the county can do alone,” she said of the fight to stop activity that has left many of the hills and creeks around Lucerne littered with trash.


Brumfield said the Code Enforcement Division has developed a list of popular illegal dump sites around the county and is working to stop activity in those areas.


She also briefly explained the code compliance process, reported on a series of vehicle amnesty days scheduled for May and tire amnesty days starting in March.


Brumfield encouraged everyone to check out the Code Enforcement Web site, www.co.lake.ca.us/countygovernment/communitydevelopment/codeenforcement/news.asp, for information on filing a code enforcement complaint, updates on enforcement activities and department news.


Shoreline Area Plan


Emily Minton explained that Lucerne is included in the Shoreline Area Plan, which is currently in the process of working on planning guidelines for Northshore communities.


The effort started in 2000, she said, and in 2001 released design guidelines for Lucerne.


She brought copies of those guidelines, and invited community members to take them home, write comments and ideas on them, and send them to the Planning Department so the plan can be updated with current community needs and wants.


Law enforcement


Responding to a question from an audience member, Sheriff Rod Mitchell said that Lucerne does not have a higher crime rate than other county areas.


He said Deputy Tom Andrews is assigned to Lucerne, and explained how important a partnership effort between the community and local government – in the form of the Oaks Task Force – proved to be in helping improve Clearlake Oaks.


Mitchell said he is trying to keep up with Rushing, and has appreciated her “solutions-oriented representation.” While she has brought issues to him, Mitchell said she is also offering solutions and ways to help his department meet the community's needs.


After the two-and-a-half-hour meeting ended, Rushing invited the audience to sign up for five work groups – park and public space, creek management, neighborhood cleanup (enforcement of codes and law), economic development/vitality and water/roads.


Results from a quick survey of attendees, asked to identify community priorities, will be published on Rushing's Web site, www.deniserushing.org, in the coming weeks.


Anyone interested in being involved with those groups who didn't sign up at the meeting can contact Rushing at the Boards of Supervisors' office, 263-2368, or e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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