General Manager Robert Eranio told the board on August 26, 2021 that Well #7 had so far cost $1.3 million, including land. The land may be saleable for near its purchase of price $505,000 but $800,000 will be a total write-off. Construction costs would have been in the neighborhood of $2 million more. Even after the well had come online, Crestview would have been exposed to “inverse condemnation” suits in which damages and attorneys’ fees could have been as much as the cost of the well itself. (For context, that would have been about $10,000 per average shareholder, and the cash would have been needed in ten years or less; would an assessment have been necessary?)
Crestview ran into three major issues which it never seemed to understand and for which it never seriously sought solutions.
- Crestview knew the drilling would involve so much noise and vibration that in September 2018 it offered to put neighbors up at hotels during drilling.
- The well was forbidden by the CC&Rs and by no later than March 2019, Crestview knew it would not get HOA approval and had threatened a condemnation suit to override the CC&Rs.
- In August 2019, Crestview was advised in writing by the County that installation of the well would impose additional regulatory and financial burdens on neighbors with seepage pits.
Instead of recognizing that the project would directly cause large, specific, and permanent losses on the neighbors and finding ways to mitigate them, Crestview tried hard to persuade County staff that none of these problems actually existed and charged ahead with a hearing before the Planning Director in March 2020, a hearing before the Planning Commission in June 2020, and an appeal hearing before the Board of Supervisors in September 2021. Only just before the BoS hearing did Crestview adopt a “resolution” that would have reimbursed about 10% of the affected neighbors some part of their added out-of-pocket costs arising out of the septic system issue. This had never been discussed with the neighbors. At the BoS hearing, Crestview’s lawyer asked for more time (they had already had 15 months since the Planning Commission hearing) to solve the problems, but it was too little too late. The Board unanimously denied the permit, and Well #7 can never happen at that location.
Now, here we go again. Crestview is poised to hire the same consultants to do the same studies for the Well #8 project that were rejected in the Well #7 application. Crestview is doing nothing to mitigate the very same neighborhood impacts that Well #7 would have caused. They are doing the same thing again and apparently expecting the result to change. Remember what Albert Einstein said about that?
Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.