From Mary Barrie of Friends of Hahamongna:
Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee Meeting
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 6 p.m.
La Casita del Arroyo
177 S. Arroyo Blvd
The Hahamongna Advisory Committee will consider recommendations on the adoption of the Annex Plan which has undergone a considerable odyssey since it was brought before the Committee in May of this year. It has gone through two revisions and the most controversial aspect of the plan, the 50 then 30 foot recreational corridor, has gone through at least four variations. From meeting to meeting, it was hard to keep track of what the plan was. In fact, even now a final draft version of the Plan is not yet available for the Hahamongna Advisory Committee or the community to review.
On its journey, the plan has gone before the Transportation Advisory Commission, the Planning Commission, and the Design Commission, all of whom rejected the concept of a recreational corridor which could become a road at a later date. These Commissions supported the concept of separating trail users to different locations since this allowed the corridor footprint to shrink from its original 50 foot width.
The Design Commission accepted the Solutions proposed by the Friends of Hahamongna to support a bike/hiking path along the northern edge of the public equestrian area and an equestrian/hiking path along the southern edge of the Annex. Spur trails would permit direct access from the east and the south to the public equestrian area. This alternative is environmentally superior to the proposed alternative because it impacts no trees, requires almost no grading and utilizes areas of the Annex which are already disturbed. You can view this alternative at http://soxo.net/foh/
Another controversial aspect of the plan is the removal of all non-native trees from the Annex. This will result in the loss of 32 non-native trees in the bikeway study area, including a number of large canopy trees which shade the trail and provide valuable habitat, particularly in light of the devastation in the forest just to the north. The plan will remove the trees not just from the bikeway alignment but from the entire corridor, thus clearing the way for future development. The plan, although this is not specifically stated in the Staff Report, would also result in the loss of several large non-native trees which have shaded the equestrian picnic area for decades.
Obviously, this is only the briefest of summaries of what has been a difficult process to follow, even for those of us who have spent hundreds of hours trying to puzzle it all out. The city has posted lots of information on their website including the letter from the attorney for the Friends of Hahamongna, which gives a good summary of what are the problems and outstanding issues with the plan and its environmental document. If you are interested in learning more, take a look at this. If you have trouble getting into the city's new website, just google Hahamongna Annex Plan and you'll get right to it. Please come to the meeting on Tuesday as well. This is a critical meeting for the future of the park.
The rumor mills that go into action before important meetings are working overtime these days so if you hear anything that sounds odd or just plain incorrect, send me an email. I'd be glad to go through my extensive Hahamongna document collection and find the correct answer.
Friends of Hahamongna