April 2019

Canyon Beat

Red Rock blues

In overturning approval of 200-guest commercial events at a Santiago Canyon single-family residence, Judge William Claster stated that the proposed use would violate the county’s General Plan, the Silverado-Modjeska Specific Plan (Sil-Mod Plan), and the Zoning Code.

That was what county planning staff told the project applicants in the first place.  Yet the county Board of Supervisors, seemingly unconcerned about this legal technicality, voted for approval anyway, once the applicants agreed to pay the county’s legal fees if the decision was challenged in court.

One wonders if the supervisors apply the same reasoning in other situations. “Dad, OK if I take the car out for drag racing on the freeway tonight, if I use my own money for the speeding tickets?”

The judge also said that a “fair argument” could be made concerning the project’s impacts on traffic safety, noting “well-documented” accidents and evidence “of recent vintage.” But he dismissed noise complaints from 2000 through 2004 as “not substantial,” partly because they did not consider later mitigation proposals like stopping events at sundown. Still, for any problem from 15-18 years ago that’s still the same today, it might help to “keep those cards and letters coming.”

Election issue
At two candidate forums, five office-seekers running for Third District Supervisor were nearly unanimous in their support for specific plans like the Sil-Mod Plan. After Don Wagner won, Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Park District Board Secretary Isabell Kerins sent him a congratulatory letter.  And gifted him with a copy of the Sil-Mod Plan.

Septic tanks—the latest poop
To allow existing septic system users to comply with current clean water regulations, Orange County Public Works (OCPW) has created a Local Agency Management Program (LAMP) for such systems.

OCPW invited Inter-Canyon League (ICL) representatives to a March 29 meeting to review the latest LAMP draft and its associated implementing ordinance. Both would then be submitted to the Santa Ana Regional Water Board for approval. 

A fee schedule was also slated for discussion, which could be important if, as stated at a recent ICL meeting, changing a plumbing fixture could require upgrading a septic system.

Meet, swap, recycle, read
The annual Friends of the Library swap meet will take place the weekend of April 13-14 at the Silverado Community Center.

An ideal time to drop off donations or to offer volunteer help is during setup the day before. An ideal time to shop is Saturday morning, when cans and bottles will also be accepted for recycling to benefit the Inter-Canyon League. All swap proceeds, however, will go toward services and programs at the Library of the Canyons. For more information, contact Connie Carter at (714) 624-0940, or Fran Williams at (714) 649-2069.

Paschal pancakes
Continuing a 50-year canyon tradition, firefighters in both Silverado and Modjeska will offer an Easter morning pancake breakfast to the public, April 21.

The Silverado event, at the Community Center from 7:30 a.m. to noon, will feature an egg hunt for children at 9:30 a.m., raffles benefiting the Fire Safe Council of East Orange County Canyons, T-shirts for sale, and maybe some live music. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children.

Modjeska’s breakfast and egg hunt will take place at that community’s fire station from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.  “For about five bucks, these are the best breakfasts anywhere in the county that morning,” according to one completely unbiased anonymous source from Modjeska.

Garden variety
John Olson and Deborah Johnson are leading community garden activity next to the Children’s Center every Saturday at 9 a.m.  Writes John, “We are harvesting winter lettuces and greens, expect to pull carrots soon, and are doing bed prep for summer plantings. By March 30, we should have in tomato, pepper and eggplant starts, and we will try to plant seeds for winter and summer squash.”

Newcomers and visitors are welcome. Produce is picked, washed, and split up each week, with expenses for seeds and plants worked out, as needed. Write John (john9olson@gmail.com) or Deborah (dljmail@aol.com) for more information.

Featured Flora
California poppies recently turned some hills here orange. Lupine, another native wildflower, added complementary blue or purple here and there.  And in the accompanying photo, the tiny yellow blossoms of a third native, Strigose lotus, are peeking through the lupine leaves. (Thanks to Celia Kutcher of the California Native Plant Society-Orange County Chapter for identifying Strigose lotus.)

Lupine seeds, as with other pea family plants, grow in pods resembling green beans, which ripen and dry up in summer. Which, unfortunately, leads to their inspiration for what Canyon Beat researchers believe is The World’s Worst Wildflower Riddle. Caution: continue reading at your own risk.

Q.  Why is a lupine like the head of Al-Qaeda?

A.  Because it’s all summer bean-laden.

You were warned.