Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Hector Guerra, Aaron Bock, and Dave Bryant (seated at table, left to right) address the audience at Monday’s town meeting with David Wood, local moderator, looking on.

Community Plan discussed at monthly town meeting

Updates provided by local agencies
By: 
John Elliott

 

The monthly Three Rivers Town Hall convened Monday, March 5, at the Three Rivers Memorial Building. The meeting, organized by the Three Rivers Village Foundation, started one hour later than usual, at 7 p.m., to give more working residents an opportunity to attend.
Approximately 60 people were in attendance including some county staff who did not speak.
 
 
Tulare County Fire Department
 
Charlie Norman, Tulare County fire chief, said there were 2,106 county-wide calls for service in the first two months of 2018. Three Rivers logged 54 calls during the same period although none were for fires. Three calls for assistance occurred during the recent rain storms.
 
 
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
 
Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, public information officer, furnished updates on national park news and activities. The Park Service is in process of adding free WiFi at the Foothills and Grant Grove visitor centers. 
 
Erik Frenzel has been named to fill the vacancy of Wilderness Coordinator. Frenzel was previously working in Resource Management at the parks.
 
Kawasaki-Yee also said the park is hiring 300 seasonal employees for the upcoming busy season. That’s in addition to the 255 permanent positions.
 
Three Rivers business owners and workers in the local tourist industry are invited to attend the next session of the Concierge College (see the Kaweah Kalendar on page 4 for details).  
 
The recent storms brought 2.5 feet of snow to Grant Grove and Lodgepole. More snow is in the forecast so the popular snowshoe walks hosted by the Sequoia Parks Conservancy have resumed.
 
 
Three Rivers Community Plan Update
 
Tulare County planning staff — Dave Bryant (special projects), Hector Guerra (chief environmental planner), and Aaron Bock (chief planner) — were on hand to update the community plan process and answer questions by those who want to submit comments. Dave Bryant admitted that the latest version of the draft community plan document and the plan’s draft EIR have some organizational problems. 
 
“The Three Rivers plan is more than twice the size of the county’s other community plans owing to the unique quality of resources that are present here,” Bryant said.
 
Three Rivers residents Karen Bodner and Laurie Schwaller expressed disappointment with the plan’s number of pages that seemed to be “raw data mixed in extraneously that does not apply to Three Rivers,” said Schwaller. 
 
“From what I’m seeing, the documents contain an enormous amount of duplication,” she continued. “The page numbering is inconsistent and makes it difficult to find any specific topic.”
 
Bryant answered by saying he would attempt to move more project-specific information up front and add tabs so certain topics would be easier to locate.
 
“We could do a better job connecting the dots between implementation and standards,” Bryant said.
 
County staff is confident that there is sufficient information to fulfill the requirements of the plan. But several attendees are concerned that some items have not been addressed and there is a disconnect between policy statements and mitigation of potential impacts.
 
Items that might be emphasized but are not addressed are specific ways to promote Three Rivers’s identity as a national park gateway community, a transportation plan to provide a community shuttle since Sierra Drive is not walkable, and how and where open space might be preserved.
 
The plan contains sufficient and specific data in the areas of water and biological resources. Where policy dictates that historical resources be preserved, the plan does not define or identify (with the exception of the Kaweah Post Office) what these resources are and how they are to be preserved.
 
George Tomi of Three Rivers urged the county planners to be diligent in the plan’s treatment of wastewater disposal and the engineering of septic systems. 
 
“Without specific measures in the plan, the whole town could be red-tagged by the state and we could be effectively shut down,” Tomi said.    
 
County staffers feel that the programmatic plan contains more than adequate information and what they are hearing so far are mostly edits and organizational shortcomings that can be corrected.
 
“We [county staff] are fairly lax on holding the comments to the process deadlines.” said Bock. “Any comments that we receive up until the Board of Supervisors approve the plan will be addressed by staff and incorporated where appropriate.”
 
Bock also said an additional hard copy of the draft community plan documents is on file at the Three Rivers Library and could be checked out as needed. 
 
For questions about the plan or for more information, call Dave Bryant or Hector Guerra at the county’s Resource Management Agency, (559) 624-7000.       
 
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