San Elijo Hills Fire Safety Compliance Campaign Issue
Here is a campaign flyer from current San Elijo Hills Association Board President/candidate Jeff Tuller and email from San Elijo Hills Community Association.
Here is email from San Elijo Hills Community Association:
Subject Line: Clarification About Fire Safety Compliance
Dear San Elijo Hills Homeowner:
I understand homeowners received campaign material that touched on fire safety in San Elijo Hills and suggested the Association is not in compliance with fire safety standards. This has also been a topic of discussion amongst current Board members and other candidates running in the current election. This sparked a number of questions regarding the actions the HOA has taken in the past regarding fire safety concerns, and I am hoping the following summary helps clear up any concerns and assures residents that the HOA is in compliance with fire safety standards as directed by the San Marcos Fire Department.
In addition to what is included below, please rest assured the Association is in regular communication with the San Marcos Fire Department and is immediately responsive to requests and suggestions from this governing authority.
Since concerns were first presented to the Board in 2006, the San Elijo Hills Board of Directors has worked attentively toward addressing resident concerns regarding fire safety within the community. Their efforts included holding special community meetings, appointing a homeowner committee, retaining consultants, consulting with legal counsel, and working with local agencies, most notably the San Marcos Fire Department and City of San Marcos Planning Department. Throughout this process, the Board tried to keep homeowners informed, responded to questions raised at meetings, and distributed information to the community. Some of this information is still available on the San Elijo Hills Community Network, and requests to review additional documentation can be made to Walters Management.
The Board of Directors takes concerns regarding fire safety seriously and, in the past, relied on the governing authority≈the San Marcos Fire Department≈to provide direction on necessary maintenance and fire suppression efforts in order to protect community assets, including common areas, private residences, and community members, from threatening fires. In September 2008, a designated Board member, along with management and the landscape maintenance contractor, met with Officer Mark Baldwin of the San Marcos Fire Department. Officer Baldwin works directly for the Fire Marshal and is primarily responsible for inspecting the communities of San Marcos for compliance with fire safety regulations. The group inspected the entire community, including areas identified as “high issues” by residents. The group took diligent notes based upon the feedback and direction of Officer Baldwin. These notes are available at Walters Management; however, highlights are as follows:
Overall, Officer Baldwin noted that the common areas in San Elijo Hills were in good shape and well-maintained in accordance with the department’s fire suppression standards. Officer Baldwin provided suggestions for brush management for both irrigated and non-irrigated areas. In addition, he noted that the fire department is not concerned with the pine trees in San Elijo Hills as they are planted and maintained on irrigated slopes. Typically, pine trees are a concern in wooded areas where they are not maintained, they have little water, and they are susceptible to beetle infestations and other diseases. That being said, he noted that mature pine trees should be lifted six feet off the ground (as indicated in the San Elijo Hills Brush Management Plan). He acknowledged that the pine trees in San Elijo Hills are not yet mature, and he would like to see the lowest limbs of the trees touching the ground removed at this time.
Following this meeting with Officer Baldwin, the Board of Directors approved the expense of adding three extra full-time landscape crew members to the job for several weeks in order to respond to the direction of the San Marcos Fire Department as quickly as possible. The landscapers were directed to lift the pine trees 2-3 feet off the ground and complete all other fire suppression work. The work cost approximately $80,000 and was completed in October 2008.
In 2009, the Board of Directors retained the services of an arborist and conducted an additional review of all of the trees planted in San Elijo Hills. While the Board and the San Marcos Fire Department agreed that concerns regarding fire safety were addressed, it was also important to the Board that the trees throughout San Elijo Hills are properly maintained and did not pose other risks to the community. In response to this review, the Association spent an additional $100,000 to complete a tree maintenance program, which included the removal of a number of trees along parkways and on slopes.
Homeowners are encouraged to continue to report concerns regarding landscape maintenance to the Association through its management company so that these individual concerns may be appropriately addressed. Should you have any questions or wish to report a concern, please contact Jean Salvia, Community Association Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (760) 930-7823. You are also welcomed to contact the San Marcos Fire Department with questions regarding fire safety.