The Poway City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to hire a consultant to review multiple studies on the groundwater conditions surrounding Maderas Golf Club.
The owner of Maderas requested to revise the golf club’s operational plan and groundwater monitoring program, which was established in 2000 in response to residents’ concerns regarding the golf club’s water usage. The proposed conditional use permit amendment would modify monitoring requirements but keep Maderas’ annual limit on water usage in place.
City staff recommended the council hire an independent, third-party consultant from Dudek to analyze the research and conclusions of three engineers hired by the city, Maderas and residents of the nearby Old Coach Estates neighborhood.
Council members had postponed hiring a consultant after members of the public requested additional time to review the matter during the Sept. 18 council meeting. Following that meeting, staff received two letters and three emails from community members. One citizen called staff to schedule a meeting with Dudek so Old Coach Estates residents could express their concerns. The company agreed to set up a one-hour meeting in the near future.
Although the council voted on Tuesday to hire Dudek and didn’t discuss the proposed amendment to the club’s conditional use permit, a few speakers used the opportunity to voice their concerns about the water levels in the area.
“We cannot continue to just let people drill and not pay attention to what's happening," said resident Robert Myers.
Jack Tripp of the Green Valley Civic Association thanked council members for delaying their decision for two weeks and asked for time to review the new report if they decided to hire Dudek.
“We really can do irreparable damage to our biological system all up and down that valley for the sake of a benefit for a very few people,” Tripp said. “So when the time comes, we want to get your commitment that we’ll have time to review the report adequately and express an opinion at that time when you’re actually considering the CUP.”
Tom Story of Sunroad Enterprises encouraged the council to approve the contract so members of the public could receive answers to their questions.
“I think that will help clarify and perhaps avoid a lot of confusion that might exist right now,” he said.
Councilman Dave Grosch assured the public he would make an informed decision.
“I promise, folks, I will do my homework,” he said.
Dudek was one of three firms that responded to the city’s request for proposals in June. Staff believed Dudek to be the most qualified applicant because of the firm’s expertise in hydrogeology, in addition to having both engineering and environmental staff.
Dudek’s work is expected to be completed by January 2013. Maderas will pay for Dudek’s services, which is estimated at $64,220. Following a neighborhood meeting, the City Council is expected to consider the amendment at a public hearing in the spring of 2013.