In February, Crestview told the City it “will step into the shoes of any neighbor whose septic system repair or replacement encounters any issue arising out of Well #8.” However, Crestview will only get required permits, leaving neighbors responsible for $75,000 “advanced treatment units,” if required, and costs up to $7,000 per year thereafter.
Crestview was responding to the City’s question about Crestview’s plans to “mitigate the potential impacts of construction on adjacent property owners and the possible impacts now and in the future on their septic systems.” The problem is that the installation of a new water well would make the septic systems of neighbors within 600 feet of Well #8 subject to a more onerous regulatory system than the one they are in now. The same problem exists for Well #7 and all alternative well sites being considered by Crestview.
In order to get Crestview to clarify its position, a shareholder sent the following questions to Crestview on March 12. Crestview’s incomplete answers are in bold, and our editorial comments are in italics:
- Has the Crestview Board approved the language in your letter?
- If so, may we receive a copy of any resolutions adopted by the Board?
- In addition to permitting costs, will Crestview pay the costs of installing a required Advanced Treatment Unit, or other non-standard equipment or sewer hookup? (FYI, two years ago, I got bids to install an ATU at my home that came to about $72,000, not including permitting costs.) Answer: “No one will need an ATU to receive a permit so those questions are moot.” [Crestview has zero supporting evidence for this statement. The fact that Crestview refuses to take all these risks entirely off the backs of the neighbors suggests it indeed has doubts about how much risk exists.]
- Will Crestview pay the annual operating permit fees charged by LARWQCB and any continuing professional maintenance and sampling fees? (FYI, if an ATU is required, these costs would be about $7,000 per year.) [Even without an ATU, the well would cause incremental annual permitting costs of $1,424 per year.]
- What protection would a homeowner have against delays while Crestview is negotiating to avoid an ATU requirement? (FYI, at present, we can get ministerial permits from the City of Camarillo for replacement seepage pits with no delay, no ATU, and no continuing fees.)
- What kind of document(s) would homeowners get to assure lenders and buyers their properties have no disadvantages compared to similar properties without a nearby public water well?
- Could the document(s) be recorded in the land records? Answer: Maybe, but that might “draw undue attention to the situation.” [Not only will sellers have disclosure obligations, but successors cannot benefit if their attention is not drawn to Crestview’s commitment.]
- To which homeowners would Crestview’s step-into-the-shoes protection apply? All within 1,500 feet, 600 feet, 200 feet, 150 feet, or some other distance? Would the protection cover all lots within the specified distance, or only to those whose owners request it or meet certain conditions imposed by Crestview?
- Would the protection be fully applicable to successor owners and last for the lifetime of the well, or would there be ways in which Crestview could end its commitment (such as by revoking a Board resolution of the sort Crestview offered in the Well #7 permit proceedings). Answer: “The assumption is they [the documents] would be recorded or something similar and would be applicable to the successors.”
- Would Calleguas (which would get almost all the benefit of Well #8) stand behind all of Crestview’s obligations?
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