By CLAIRE M. TEETERS
and RACHAEL M. GUSTUSON
Published: Thursday, March 10, 2011 11:07 PM PST
San Bernardino County Third District Supervisor Neil Derry spoke to community members and city officials at a special joint town hall meeting of the Yucaipa City Council and Derry on March 1.
The community meeting room at city hall was full of residents with questions. Primarily on their minds was the Lazer Broadcasting Tower application that is being processed at the county’s planning department.
Derry was very open in discussing the existing investigations going on at the government center.
He explained the goal is “to open county government up and make the county do the right thing. We are making changes. We have a new county administrative officer, county counsel, public defender and planning department director.”
He also said there are a number of investigations that are still on-going.
He said the last two years have been exciting and challenging. “We have been able to get things done and we are getting good things done.”
Derry went on to say he was really enjoying the position and working at it full time. He enjoys “the great people in the nine cities” he represents and the diversity of the district.
“Yucaipa is a great city and a model for the region,” Derry said. “I am honored to serve you in making a difference.”
Resident Frank Sissons opened the questions section asking about the 18,000 square foot residence that Lazer Broadcasting has filed a grading plan for at the county.
“They have a right to file and there is a grading plan filed at the county adding there are no dramatic changes in the current tower application from the previous one,” he said.
When one citizen asked is someone looking over staff’s shoulder, Derry responded that “there is a dependable planner working on the applications. It is a high profile issue. we have new and responsible people there now.”
Derry said he could not comment on the tower issue, but said he was watching it closely.
Santa Ana River trail
Another subject brought up by local residents was the 110-mile Santa Ana River Trail from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.
The Santa Ana River Trail and Parkway is overseen by a 10-member Policy Advisory Group, of which Derry is a member. Other PAG members include representatives from county and city government, a member of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority Commission and a representative from the Wildlands Con-servancy.
“All opportunities (like the Trail) bring in others from the other counties,” Derry said, (The) tourism part of our economy is growing. People are spending money locally. If you got kids who are involved with sports, they are all over the place and as a county, we are taking advantage of it.”
Derry continued by saying the county is looking for ways to extend off-road biking trails. “It’s good for quality of life and a real benefit of our communities.”
An unidentified woman shared more about the cell tower and the ruling by the county Planning Commission.
“One commissioner was sleeping during the item. It’s not about the ethnicity, it’s about a beautiful location. I’m more concerned about the negative tactics, putting up the tower. We are not okay with 0this. It will never be okay with us.”
“I know it’s a controversial issue for this community,” replied Derry. “I can completely understand that. You value open space. You’ve got the beautiful foothills here…those are the types of things we need to preserve.”
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