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Jan Scott, left, and Shirley Fender, right, are leading the effort to get action from the County of San Diego concerning problems with Rocky Crest Rd.
Jan Scott, left, and Shirley Fender, right, are leading the effort to get action from the County of San Diego concerning problems with Rocky Crest Rd.

Residents request County’s assistance with Rocky Crest Rd.


Thursday, April 4th, 2013
Issue 14, Volume 17.
Debbie Ramsey
Managing Editor
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It’s an effort that has spanned 14 years, but residents along Rocky Crest Road in Fallbrook aren’t giving up. Approximately 40 people attended a meeting March 25 to add their voices and support to a plea for the County of San Diego to address problems associated with the roadway. Four representatives from the Department of Public Works were on hand to hear their statements and questions.

Shirley Fender and Jan Scott, who are leading the current effort, appeared to have done extensive research into the various issues concerning the road, and said "it is time" for the county to address the problem.

"We have shown more facts and more problems that are backed with facts, data, and logic to the county," said Fender.

Rocky Crest Road, which connects to South Mission Road just north of Los Jilgueros Preserve, is traveled by about 1,400 vehicles per day, according to a privately-commissioned traffic study, Scott said.

Originally designated as a private road with public access, maintenance responsibilities at its origination were placed on the property owners. However, residents have said repeatedly that numerous actions, many of which were reportedly approved by the county, have created a mushrooming problem that is "too big and too expensive" for the property owners to handle, necessitating the need for it to be changed to a county-maintained road.

County representatives have repeatedly replied that because the road is private, it is not possible for the agency to spend funds on it, despite the problems.

"There is no doubt you have an issue with the road," said Mohamad Fakhrriddine, deputy director of engineering services for the county’s department of public works. "We have spent time trying to find a way to help the situation, but we can’t spend funds on a private road, and we have a job to comply with county policy."

Scott replied that she had researched the possibilities and said, "The county Board of Supervisors can do something if it is a financial burden to the property owners. They can override the public works dept. and say ‘fix the road!’"

Fender added, "This road has so many issues that eventually [the county] is going to have to do something. They will have to look outside their box."

Property owners and representatives from the Masonic Lodge and Fallbrook Historical Society shared historical information they had about the various changes that had occurred over the years that worsened the problem. Items included plans for water drainage, submitted by contractors and developers who had built homes off the road over the years, which had been approved by the county, but resulted in a negative impact to the road and its condition.

Scott pointed out that the county had also installed a turn lane off South Mission Road leading to Rocky Crest.

"You invited the public to use this road to access Camp Pendleton and apartment complexes in the area," she said, indicating that it led to increased through traffic to Hill Street and points west. Discussion then ensued about commuters using the road to avoid traffic problems leading into the Naval Weapons Station gate.

Scott then presented information dating back to the 1960s included in topographical maps indicating where natural water flow was indicated.

Attendees also repeated conversations they had individually had with county representatives over the years. All mentioned the problem with water collection on the east end of the roadway.

"One county representative told us (indicating board members of the Fallbrook Historical Society) that another storm drain was needed up on Hill Street to help deal with the drainage problem," said Bev McDougal.

Most information that was presented was followed by statements that personnel turnover within the public works department over the years kept stalling the chance of residents achieving success in getting the problem addressed.

Joe Fedorchak said to the county representatives, "You have a responsibility to respond to what your predecessors did and approved when it comes to water runoff and safety factors with this road."

Steve Ron, project manager for the public works department, said, "At this point, the board policy that is in effect now prevents us from making any improvements to a private road." However, Cid Tesoro, program manager for the watershed protection program, said he would take one action.

"I will have a forensic analysis of the drainage done in order to gather more information; things might have shifted over time and a new path for water may have evolved," said Tesoro.

Terry Rayback, Land Use and Environment Group program manager for capital improvement projects, said, "If the road was brought up to county standards, the county would accept it (for funded maintenance) at that point."

"Other than that, our hands are tied," said Fakhrriddine.


 

9 comments

Comment Profile ImageDisgusted
Comment #1 | Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 5:29 pm
Typical bureaucratic red tape. They will shuffle you from department to department and nobody will actually do anything because they don't have to.
Comment Profile ImagePessimistic
Comment #2 | Friday, Apr 5, 2013 at 6:09 am
I would be ticked off if I lived on that dilapidated road, with all the non-residents who use it regularly (yes, I have even used it many times myself). If that road is private property then let the residents there block it off! They can then install a private entry gate for access. I personally believe since the county installed that turn pocket from northbound S. Mission Rd "inviting" the public to use someone's private road (private property) then they need to take responsibility for it.
Comment Profile ImageYou are NOT ALONE!
Comment #3 | Friday, Apr 5, 2013 at 7:50 am
I sure wish the county would pay for the improvements of the "private roads" in my neighborhood! It is entirely the responsibility of the homeowners. Good luck!
Comment Profile ImageYou never know
Comment #4 | Friday, Apr 5, 2013 at 11:30 am
I think Pessimistic is right on. Where I came from, in the LA region, there is a very nice, narrow winding private road that has huge oaks on either side shading the street. Everybody loved driving through the neighborhood. A motorcyclist was injured on the road and sued the homeowners. The homeowners paid and then put up a gate to eliminate future liability. If I lived on that street, I'd be checking to find out what my liability is going to be if somebody gets hurt.

This quote says it all.........
"personnel turnover within the public works department over the years kept stalling the chance of residents achieving success in getting the problem addressed" This is the way civil service works. Retirements are paid based on their highest year's salary. These guys promote up to the head of some department for their last year and then retire with the big $$$.
Comment Profile ImageCall the Turko Files
Comment #5 | Friday, Apr 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm
It's not right!
Comment Profile ImageUnfair but legal
Comment #6 | Friday, Apr 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm
Because theowners of this private road have "allowed" access by the public at large for more than the past 7 years, an easement has been granted by default, the private parties that are still responsible for the road. You can not just put up a gate or chain it off now, the public has a "right of way" and law is on the public's access side. I've seen it several times growing up here in Fallbrook. Private roads that are not blocked regularly, over time lose their exclusive access rights by the landowners.
You find the exceptions to this in the newer "gated communities" that start off with gated or blocked access such as Peppertree Park. County allowed access lanes to the private road, but it isn't a public "right of way".
For years, Laketree was connected to Wilt and a certain retired airline pilot living there would put a chain across the road by his house midway and he was sued for blocking a public right of way.
It's not fair, but it is the law.
Comment Profile ImageCurious
Comment #7 | Saturday, Apr 6, 2013 at 7:12 pm
I'm wondering, is there any signage on Rocky Crest saying that it is a private road and that the right to pass is revocable at any time? I have driven through there as a shortcut myself but I don't remember seeing a sign to that effect. I know several private roads in Fallbrook that have signs like that, there is one adjacent to La Paloma school, I take it to mean that the residents there can put up a gate anytime they wish??
Comment Profile ImageLatitude 33
Comment #8 | Saturday, Apr 6, 2013 at 8:21 pm
Put speed bumps every 100 yards so the people that go 40-50 miles per hour will slow it down. The lack of humanity as one of these people avoids a pothole and swerves towards a pedestrian without slowing down is astonishing. It's also funny that, as "Unfair but legal" says, that the road is now a "right of way" after 7 years of all access but yet, the law doesn't include the county to take care of the road.. just allow use of it. Speed bumps is one answer, but the water issue is still a big issue.
Comment Profile Imagecounty is too busy
Comment #9 | Monday, Apr 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm
just like the condition of the rest of our roads. poor.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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