Saturday, 13 July 2024


NICE – A solo-vehicle accident late Tuesday afternoon sent one woman to the hospital.

The accident, which took place on Highway 20 at Carson in Nice, was reported to the California Highway Patrol at 4:50 p.m.

A white Toyota Corolla went off the roadway and into a ditch, striking a light pole and sustaining major front-end damage, according to the CHP incident log.

The female driver reportedly suffered moderate injuries and was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Responding to the accident were CHP, Lake County Sheriff and Northshore Fire Protection District.

No further information about the victim or her injuries was available.

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CLEARLAKE – A collision Sunday evening between a vehicle and a California Highway Patrol pickup truck resulted in minor injuries.

The collision was reported at 7:14 p.m. along Highway 53, according to the CHP incident logs.

Initial log reports did not detail how the accident happened, but that the CHP vehicle was not at fault.

The drivers appeared OK, however, there were reportedly medical transports to Redbud Hospital, but who was taken and the extent of their injuries was not stated.

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A Cal Fire helicopter drops water the wildland fire near San Joaquin Avenue on Thursday. Photo by Kristin Dugan.


CLEARLAKE – Fire crews were able to quickly contain a small wildland fire near San Joaquin Avenue in Clearlake Thursday afternoon.

The fire was reported at 1:27 p.m., said Justin Benguerel of Cal Fire's Emergency Command Center.

Captain Brice Trask of the Lake County Fire Protection District said the blaze was about five acres in size and originated on San Joaquin Avenue, burning up to the west end of Carter Lane.

Trask said his department sent 14 personnel to the blaze – including the chief, and assistant and battalion chiefs – along with one water tender and three engines.

Cal Fire dispatched two air tankers, one air attack, one helicopter, two fire crews consisting of 36 firefighters, one dozer and five fire engines with three firefighters each, Benguerel reported.

The fire didn't immediately threaten any homes, said Trask, but if it had burned about 600 yards farther it would have reached a number of residences.

Trask said the fire was contained quickly, by about 2 p.m., but crews had just returned to quarters at 6 p.m.

“We did mop up for quite awhile,” he said, which included knocking out fire hot spots.

The fire's cause is under investigation, Trask said.

Fire season is well under way, said Trask. Because of that, he reminded homeowners that it's important to keep 100 feet of defensible space – free from weeds, brush and other flammable materials – around their homes.

But be careful about when you're doing your mowing, Trask said.

One of the major causes of fires during hot and dry weather is using lawnmower or flail mowers, he said. When the blade hits a rock, it can cause a spark, which can then result in a blaze, Trask said.

That was the case in a small fire at Anderson Marsh State Park on Thursday afternoon, he said. While mowing, a maintenance worker set off a small blaze that, luckily, was quickly contained.

Trask advised not mowing after noon during the hot weather.

In other fire-related news, Trask said that insurance and workman's compensation investigators are looking at the Brown's RV blaze.

That fire was set off June 1, reportedly from a propane tank explosion. One person was injured but Trask said he couldn't report on the victim because of legal requirements.

“That's going to be under investigation for quite a while,” he said.

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NORTHSHORE – Fires along the Northshore kept firefighters busy over the weekend.

Jim Robbins, chief of Northshore Fire Protection District, reported Monday that his district responded to three fires on Saturday.

The first, according to witnesses, took place at about 4 p.m. Robbins said it was located outside of Glenhaven in the direction of Clearlake Oaks.

The cause? “A young man playing with a magnifying glass, trying to cook some bugs,” said Robbins.

Northshore Fire sent three fire engines, and Cal Fire assisted in fighting the acre-and-a-half-sized blaze.

Robbins said Cal Fire's juvenile fire setter program is going to talk to the youngster about being careful and not starting more fires.

Firefighters had barely gotten their units back in from the Glenhaven fire when they had to leave once again to fight a fire that had broken out along Highway 20.

The fire, located two miles east of Highway 53 past Old Long Valley Road, came across the scanner at 6:17 p.m. Saturday. Robbins reported the blaze was located in heavy timber, and estimated it burned between six and eight acres.

Northshore Fire sent five units and Lake County Fire Protection District sent two units, Robbins said. Cal Fire added an air attack, two air tankers, two hand crews and five engines, according to Cal Fire's incident command center.

That fire was contained by 7:02 p.m. Saturday, but Robbins said he thought Cal Fire still had some firefighters on the scene Monday for mop up. Cal Fire said that fire's cause is still under investigation.

At about 9 p.m. Saturday, Northshore Fire responded with three units to a small fire off Carson behind the Aurora RV Park and Marina in Nice. The fire was quickly contained but Robbins didn't have a final report on the cause.

With it already shaping up to be a busy fire season, Robbins and his staff are in the midst of their weed abatement program. He said they're consolidating the property owner databases from the several departments that have since combined under the Northshore district. They recently sent out about 900 letters asking property owners to keep weeds and grass cut short.

Weeds and grass cut now aren't likely to come back very much during the rest of the summer due to dry conditions, Robbins advised.

For those who don't comply, the district will have the lots mowed and then send out a bill, he said. If the property owners don't pay, a lien may be attached to their property.

Robbins said he was grateful to those property owners who make sure their lots aren't fire hazards. “We really don't want to be in the weed abatement business,” he said.

The Northshore Fire Protection District's main office can be reached at 274-3100.

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CLEARLAKE – A head-on collision early Friday afternoon claimed the life of a Clearlake Oaks man and sent two other Oaks residents to the hospital with major injuries.

The California Highway Patrol's Clear Lake office reported that the accident took place along Highway 53 approximately one-half mile south of Highway 20 at 12:52 p.m.

Ronald Neville, 53, of Clearlake Oaks was driving his 1990 Mazda pickup southbound on Highway 53, the CHP reported. Coming from the opposite direction was 63-year-old Carla Sawyer of Clearlake Oaks in a 1993 Dodge minivan. Both drivers were traveling at between 50 and 55 miles per hour.

For an unknown reason, Neville's pickup drifted to the left and into the opposing lane, which was directly in Sawyer's path, the CHP reported.

Sawyer was unable to avoid the collision, and the two vehicles hit head-on in the Highway 53's northbound lane, according to the CHP report.

The CHP incident logs reported that there was “utter chaos” at the scene, with both cars blocking the roadway and emergency personnel on scene to help the three accident victims.

At just after 2 p.m., CHP confirmed that Neville had died of his injuries.

Sawyer and her passenger, 56-year-old Craig Sawyer of Clearlake Oaks, both sustained major injuries. Carla Sawyer suffered a fractured pelvis and a fractured upper arm. Craig Sawyer had a fractured neck, fractured leg, a broken sternum and broken ribs.

One of the injured was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, but CHP did not specify which.

Highway 53 was completely shut down for about 15 minutes before one lane was reopened, CHP reported. Both lanes once again were clear by 2:16 p.m.

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LAKEPORT – A local California Highway Patrol officer will be in court Friday morning to face allegations of elder abuse and fraud arising from a Lake County District Attorney's Office investigation.

District Attorney Jon Hopkins said his office filed the felony charges against CHP Sgt. Timothy Poindexter, 48, on Wednesday.

Specifically, Poindexter was charged with elder abuse of a financial nature, and grand theft of personal property, according to Hopkins.

The charges, Hopkins explained, arose out of a real estate transaction, in which Poindexter was purchasing property in the Finley area from an elderly couple.

The CHP placed Poindexter on administrative leave after the charges were filed Wednesday, pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, Hopkins reported.

Hopkins said Poindexter has not been arrested or taken into custody, an issue that will be addressed when he appears in court Friday at 9 a.m. in Superior Court's Department 2.

The Clear Lake CHP office declined to give details about Poindexter's employment or his length of service with the CHP.

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Officer Mark Lenahan's enforcement vehicle after the Sunday's crash. Photo courtesy of Officer Josh Dye.


CLEARLAKE – A California Highway Patrol officer heading home after helping conduct traffic control at the weekend triathlon event was hit by a Clearlake Oaks woman Sunday.

CHP Officer Josh Dye on Monday that the collision took place at 7:12 p.m. on Highway 53 north of Ogulin Canyon Road.

Officer Michael Lenahan of the Willows CHP office was traveling back home after serving on the Triathlon One O One traffic detail on Sunday, said Dye. The CHP had a heavy presence at that event, Dye added.

Lenahan was driving a 2003 Chevrolet pickup, a CHP Commercial Enforcement Vehicle, northbound on Highway 53. Driving southbound was Corrina Cuppoletti, 27, of Clearlake Oaks in a 2000 Dodge Neon.

Cuppoletti swerved across the highway's double yellow lines to avoid a collision with a car slowing to the front of her car, said Dye. Lenahan swerved to the right but was unable to avoid being hit by Cuppoletti's vehicle.

Dye said Lenahan was transported to Redbud Hospital for back and neck pain while Cuppoletti, who complained of pain to her neck, decided to seek her own medical help.

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LAKEPORT – A local California Highway Patrol officer pleaded not guilty on Friday to allegations of fraud and elder abuse.

The Lake County District Attorney's Office filed the felony charges on Wednesday against 48-year-old Kelseyville resident Timothy Poindexter, a sergeant with the Clear Lake CHP office.

District Attorney Jon Hopkins said the charges arose out of an investigation his office conducted on a real estate transaction in which Poindexter was purchasing property from an elderly Finley couple.

Poindexter pleaded not guilty during his Friday morning appearance before visiting Superior Court Judge Galen Hathaway, Hopkins reported.

Hathaway released Poindexter on his own recognizance, Hopkins said, and ordered that Poindexter be booked the same day at the Lake County Jail.

Fran Clader, a spokesperson with the CHP's Sacramento headquarters, said Poindexter has served with the CHP for 26 years. He has worked at CHP offices around the state, including Napa, Alturas and Gilroy. He joined the Clear Lake CHP office in August 2001.

Hopkins told Lake County News on Thursday that after the charges were filed the CHP put Poindexter on administrative leave, pending completion of an internal affairs investigation.

Hopkins said Deputy District Attorney Joyce Campbell is prosecuting the case. Representing Poindexter is Judy Conard, an experienced defense attorney with Alvord & Conard law firm in Lakeport.

A call to Conard's office seeking comment on the case was not returned.

Poindexter is set to return to court for a preliminary hearing on July 13, Hopkins said.

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Jim Harris, now 83, was 19 when he took part in the D-Day invasion. Photo by Ginny Craven.


LAKEPORT – “OK, let's go.”

That was the final order from General Dwight Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, on the morning of June 5, 1944, after receiving word that a few days' break in the North Atlantic's stormy weather was forecast.

That, Eisenhower decided, was enough time to carry out what would become the greatest invasion in military history.

The following day, an estimated 150,000 men would invade Normandy by land, sea and air, an effort that included 5,000 ships and 11,000 airplanes.

On Wednesday morning, veterans gathered at the Pearl Harbor memorial flagstaff in Lakeport's Library Park to remember that day 63 years ago.

Among those gathered was a man whose boots actually touched the sands of Omaha Beach, where US forces were concentrated during the invasion. That beach would later be called “Bloody Omaha,” because or the estimated 2,200 casualties the American forces took there under the Germans' fierce defenses and the coast's high cliffs.

Allied forces overall suffered about 10,000 casualties on D-Day, according to historical reports.

Ronnie Bogner was the master of ceremonies for Wednesday morning's commemoration, which featured the singing of the National Anthem by former Miss Lake County Saundra Combs, and a three-volley salute and Taps by the United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team.

Sea Scout Ship Whisper Bosun Desmond O'Connor and Mate Trina Lane helped raise the American flag. Also in attendance were members of the California Highway Patrol and Lakeport Police. (For a full picture gallery of the ceremonies, visit our Gallery section.)

Captain Woody Hughes led the invocation and was a featured event speaker.

Hughes emphasized the Normandy Invasion's importance in breaking Adolf Hitler's stranglehold on Europe.

The invasion, Hughes noted, was the first invasion to cross the English Channel in nine centuries.

He shared the story of visiting Devon, England, where he met Ken Small, who helped discover the untold story of Slapton Sands, a practice invasion that took place along the English coast in April 1944.

While walking Devon's beaches, Small – who had retired and moved to the area, where he bought a a guest house – discovered US military artifacts and began to write the government and talk to locals. During the course of his search he helped locate a US Sherman tank underwater just off the coast, on which fishermen often hooked their nets.

During the Slapton Sands practice invasion, two German torpedo boats appeared and attacked the destroyer flotilla, according to a US Navy history. What followed was the death of 749 men.

Those battle dead are part of the D-Day story, which Hughes said is important to remember.

Following Hughes was Lucerne resident “Gypsy” Jim Harris, 83, who has witnessed more history than most people have read about.

Harris has the distinction of having been at Pearl Harbor at the start of the war and at D-Day toward the war's end. He grew up in Oakland and joined the Navy at age 15. At 17 he was present when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. He was a 19-year-old second class petty officer and sonar man by the time of D-Day.

He also was at Slapton Sands, where he estimated 3,200 men died – more than four times the official report.

Harris shared the story of being aboard the destroyer USS McCook (DD 496), damaged in a bombing raid just days before the invasion. He said the ship sailed around England, up the Irish Sea and down to Wales, where the McCook was repaired in 36 hours.

On June 4, he said, the invasion nearly launched, but was called back due to bad weather.

In an interview later on Wednesday, Harris said mine sweepers and smaller boats the sailors called “spit kits” had already started out toward the French coast when bad weather forced the commanders to call of the invasion.

“We had to go out like a bunch of cowboys and herd them back to Portland,” said Harris, which was a city on the east coast of England.

Finally, with a predicted break in the weather, the invasion went forward on June 6.

Early that morning, they headed for Omaha, Harris explained during the ceremony. “At 4:30 in the morning, we started to see the mists of Normandy.”

Harris said he and his fellow sailors watched as the Germans destroyed Army tanks on Omaha Beach. The USS McCook, the USS Carmick and two other destroyers in his squadron then began returning fire on German Tiger tanks high above the beaches in the woods. The firing ships destroyed about 20 German tanks, he said.

Down on the beach, US soldiers struggled to get past German guns, Harris recalled.

“Our troops who landed on the beach were in a murderous crossfire,” said Harris.

From the USS McCook, Harris said the gun control officer spotted machine gun muzzle fire from the cliffs above the beach, which the Germans had hallowed out and were using a a firing position. From there, the Germans were able to place a “withering fire” down the length of Omaha, Harris said.

The gun officer reported spotting the German guns to the captain, and the ship fired on the position. “They just tore up that whole cliff,” said Harris.

The ships were so close to the beach they were actually in the surf, and had to reverse their engines to keep from running aground, said Harris.

Over the three days that the battle ensued, ships like the McCook – which Harris said were “floating artillery” – helped destroy German positions and command posts, Harris told Lake County News.

Later, Harris and the McCook would head south to participate in Operation Anvil, the invasion of southern France, where Vichy forces helped resist the Allied invasion.

Later in 1944, Harris would go on to Corsica and Italy. But by year's end, an injury he suffered while on duty in the South Pacific earlier in the war, earned him a trip back to the states and his new wife.

Harris said he's undertaking a project to encourage county residents to send the names of loved ones, friends and relative who served at D-Day to the Veterans Service Office, where they'll be compiled. He said he'd like to get names, ranks, military branches and phone numbers where he can call for more information.

To send in names of D-Day vets, drop them off or mail them to the Veterans Service Office, 255 N. Forbes, Lakeport, 95453.

Why is he taking on that project, which he calls a labor of love?

“When you're over there, you're scared to death. You haven't got time to think about it. But later, it gets to be something that was important in your life,” Harris said.

“An old man has nothing but his memories,” he said, adding, “They're memories that should be passed on.”

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The United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team fires a three-volley salute. Photo by Ginny Craven.


Bugler Austin Ison of the United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team plays Taps at Wednesday's ceremony. Photo by Ginny Craven.




Dave Thompson led the field and won $10,000. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


LAKEPORT – Elite level athletes from around the world came to swim, bike and run their way through 101 miles of grueling competition on Sunday during Triathlon One O One's inaugural Lake County event.

More than 150 athletes took part in Sunday's competition, which was the culmination of months of preparation. Organizers and athletes began final preparations on Friday, with athlete check-ins, practice swims and meetings.

Twenty-nine-year-old Leandra Cave of Hilperton, England, a professional triathlete, won in the women's competition in a time of 6:39:05, which earned her a $10,000 prize, and also put her in seventh place overall.

David Thompson of St. Paul, Minn, another 29-year-old pro triathlete, led the entire field and won the men's division, taking $10,000 for his performance, timed at 6:03:07.

The race began at 7 a.m. Sunday with a 1.86-mile swim that included two laps around a rectangular course which began and ended at Third Street.

Next, competitors completed an 80.6-mile bike ride, which consisted of three laps from downtown Lakeport, along Lakeshore Boulevard and into Scotts Valley, and back to Library Park.

The triathlon's last leg was an 18.6-mile run that lapped twice around a course that extended from downtown Lakeport, along Hartley Road to East Hill Road and back.

Several hundred spectators gathered for the finish, to see Thompson, Cave and the rest of the field come across the finish line.

The race offered a $50,000 purse, with cash prizes in both the mens and womens divisions down to seventh place.

Top finishers after Thompson in the men's division were: second place, Jordon Rapp, Scarborough, NY, 6:07:36, $6,000 prize; third place, Brian Lavelle, Los Gatos, 6:09:15, $4,000; fourth place, Victor Plata, Sacramento, 6:17:15, $2,000; fifth place, Ted Aas, Molndal, Sweden; 6:18:48, $1,500; sixth place, Chris Hauth, Mill Valley, 6:24:52, $1,000; seventh place, Jeffrey Piland, San Carlos, 6:42:42, $500.

In the women's division, top finishers following Cave were: second place, Kim Loeffler, Colchester, VT, 6:44:06, $6,000; third place, Alexis Waddel, Monterey, 6:51:31, $4,000; fourth place, Karen Holloway, Richmond, VA, 7:00:38, $2,000; fifth place, Kelly Liljeblad, Burlington, VT, 7:00:52, $1,500; sixth place, Erin Ford, The Dalles, OR, 7:02:34, $1,000; seventh place, Gabriela Loskotova, Prague, Czech Republic, 7:09:08, $500.

Most of the competitors came from California and the U.S., with international competitors coming from Canada, Great Britain, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Belgium and Sweden.

Several local competitors also put in strong efforts. Paul Farley of Lakeport finished 68th overall, with a time of 9:21:41; Michael Murray of Lakeport finished 81st overall in 9:53:24; and Mike Clifton of Lakeport ranked 119th, but no time was recorded for finishers after 99th place.

Shannon Kurek, executive director of Triathlon One O One, told Lake County News that this is the inaugural year of the 101-mile race. It's a middle-distance competition, not the shortest on the circuit but not as long as the 140-mile Ironman Triathlon, the competition that he said helped bring triathlon into the public consciousness.

The One O One race, Kurek said, is the “longest, most raceable distrance.”

Lake County came to the attention of competition organizers after they began looking for more Northern California venues for triathlon events, Kurek explained.

An athlete then told them about Lake County, suggesting they check it out. After he visited, Kurek was sold. “This is postcard perfect,” he said, adding that the county's scenery offered an amazing race venue.

Event director Doug Grout said preparations for the event began in December.

“We typically work 11 months organizing Tri 101 events,” he said. But when they came across Lakeport, toured the area and realized they'd found someplace special, they decided to make a push to put the event on this summer.

Denise Combs helped lead preparations locally, which included numerous tasks such as recruiting volunteers, organizing volunteer meetings, sending out publicity and more.

"We are so very pleased with the results, and we look forward to even greater participation next year, on both sides the public as well as the athletes,” said Grout. “We hope to announce within a month or so a date for next year."

Kurek said he hopes to see the event grow from the four Triathlon One O One events planned this year to 20 events worldwide within three years. The legion of triathletes is growing, he said, and it includes professional athletes as well as those who only compete in one event a year. He believes the demand will help the competition grow.


Grout commended the gracious participation of the local sponsors, city and county officials. However, he emphasized the contributions of the dozens of volunteers who helped make the event possible – from working on the courses, to directing traffic, organizing personnel, standing by with medical services and running special errands.

For more information about the Triathlon One O One events, visit


For a full gallery and slideshow of the event, visit our Gallery page,,com_wrapper/Itemid,37/.


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Harold LaBonte contributed to this report.


Leandra Cave traveled from Great Britain for the triathlon event, where she won the women's division and a $10,000 purse. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



LAKE COUNTY – More than a year after a boating accident resulted in the death of a Willows woman, charges are being brought against a Carmichael man who was operating the sailboat on which she was a passenger.

District Attorney Jon Hopkins announced Thursday that he was charging Bismarck Dinius, 39, with felony vehicular manslaughter involving a vessel and misdemeanor boating under the influence of alcohol.

Dinius is scheduled for arraignment in Department 2 in Lakeport at 9 a.m. Friday.

Hopkins said Dinius was at the tiller of a a 27-foot sailboat owned by Willows resident Mark Weber after 9 p.m. on April 29, 2006.

While sailing near Konocti Bay, the sailboat – which included three other passengers besides Dinius and Weber – was hit by a 24-foot Baja motorboat driven by Clearlake Park resident Russell Perdock, who is a chief deputy at the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

In the collision, one of the sailboat's passengers, Willows resident Lynn Thornton, was seriously injured. Days later, she died at U.C. Davis Medical Center, according to the original statement by Sheriff Rod Mitchell.

Hopkins reported that after the accident Mitchell called on the District Attorney's Office to participate in the investigation in order to avoid “any appearance of impropriety” because of Perdock's involvement.

A sergeant and a deputy from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office Marine Services who are experienced in investigating boating accidents also took part in the investigation, said Hopkins.

Before moving forward with prosecuting the case, Hopkins said he referred the case to the California Attorney General’s office. In doing so, Hopkins again cited the desire to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

He said he asked the Attorney General for an independent opinion on who should be charged in the case and if his office should be recused because of its close working relationship with the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

After a complete review of the case, Hopkins said the Attorney General’s Office found no reason for the District Attorney to step down.

In charging Dinius, Hopkins alleged that he was operating without running lights and was under the influence of alcohol. An original report of Dinius' blood alcohol level reported it was 0.12, which is above the legal limit of 0.08.

Hopkins said no charges were filed against Perdock or Weber. Hopkins added that Weber was allegedly under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

Deputy District Attorney David McKillop, whose position is funded by the new Office of Traffic Safety grant for prosecuting driving under the influence cases, is prosecuting the case, said Hopkins. Tom Clements, who recently retired from his position as a lieutenant with the Clearlake Police Department, is assisting McKillop as a part-time investigator, which the grant also funding Clements' position.

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LAKEPORT – After nearly three hours of discussion by the Local Area Formation Commission Wednesday, a decision on the Parallel Drive annexation was postponed until July, with the commission asking the city for more information.

LAFCO consists of city and county representative and members of the public who decide on issues concerning formation of special districts and municipal boundary issues such as the proposed annexation.

The City of Lakeport asked the commission to approve a proposed annexation of 157 acres along Parallel Drive, as Lake County News reported earlier this week.

But the city's sewer capacity issues posed a concern for commissioners. Specifically, they wanted more information about the city's ability to provide sewer services to the new area, which currently includes 24 dwellings on about 30 parcels, according to Lakeport Community Development Director Richard Knoll.

There's also a 130-lot subdivision Tom Adamson has proposed for the area, said Knoll.

If annexed, about 100 acres of the land would be designated residential, with the rest slated for commercial development, officials explained.

Residential zoning in Lakeport allows as many as seven units per acre, but Knoll said the city's average is four. He said many of the lots in the area already are developed.

Earlier this year, the state placed a cease and desist order on Lakeport because of capacity issues that manifested last year in a treated wastewater runoff from the city's sewer facility. Part of that order included a temporary connection ban to the city's sewer system.

The state has lifted that ban on condition that the city meet certain requirements by November. Meeting those requirements also would give the city 77 residential unit equivalents – or 77 residential hookups to the sewer system.

Lakeport City Manager Jerry Gillham told LAFCO commissioners that he believes they have much more capacity even than that to cover the new annexation area and future development.

Since the connection ban, Lakeport officials have argued that the state water quality control board's calculations of the city's sewer capacity were faulty.

Annexation would give the city impact and development fees – to the tune of as much as $14,000 per residence that hooks up to the system, Gillham and Knoll explained.

But LAFCO Commissioner Denise Rushing said she was uncomfortable with Gillham's argument that the state's numbers aren't to be trusted.

Rushing said she wanted more information about studies of the sewer facility capacity issue the city has conducted.

Gillham pushed for annexation on the basis of contingencies – that the request would be approved based on the city fulfilling certain requirements by a certain date.

LAFCO Executive Officer John Benoit said the commission's five-page resolution on the annexation could be altered to include such requirements.

The resolution includes a condition that the annexation could only go forward if the city did, in fact, receive the 77 residential unit equivalents from the state.

Rushing, however, questioned if the city could meet the annexation area's needs. “I think LAFCO's job is to make sure the plan matches the annexation.”

Commissioner Ed Robey asked Benoit if it was typical for LAFCO to make a decision based on a contingency, because he didn't believe he had encountered that before. Benoit admitted the situation was “somewhat unique.”

Robey said he wasn't opposed to the project, but wanted a commission decision to conform with policy.

Gillham said he was concerned that holding the annexation too long would hamper the city's ability to get financing for a sewer facility expansion project, but he didn't object to the one-month delay.

Rushing moved to have the decision postponed so the city could provide more information on how many residential hookups will be added through the city's expansion projects, as well as a report on the current flows into the city sewer system versus the system's maximum flow capacity.

Alternate commissioner Jeff Smith said he also wanted the city to provide updates on what development projects it has approved so the commission can know how many hookups are available to the annexation area.

“We need those exact figures before we can make an informed decision,” said Smith. “That's the bottom line.”

Gillham said after the meeting that the one-month postponement shouldn't hamper their funding application to US Department of Agriculture Rural Development, which the city hopes will help fund its sewer expansion.

“If it had been much longer than that I would have been a little squeamish,” Gillham said.

LAFCO will return to City Hall at 9:30 a.m. July 18 to continue its consideration of the Parallel Drive annexation.

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