At the annual meeting and on Next Door, shareholders urged Crestview to reapply for a critical Well #7 permit. They focus on CC&Rs and HOA consent and seem unaware that existing septic systems are the biggest obstacle to getting the critical land use permit for Well #7. We explain in this post.
A process started June 19, 2012 to have State regulations replace long-standing local regulation of private septic systems. On August 7, 2018, Ventura County replaced its old regulations with its new “Local Agency Management Program” for privately-owned septic systems. This recent rule change explains why people who have seen water wells and septic systems coexist for decades in Camarillo are puzzled by the controversy about 200 feet versus 600 feet minimum distance between a septic system and a public water well.
Crestview and its consultants may have been unaware of these rule changes when it submitted its Well #7 application May 15, 2019. In fact, it was not until a month before the Board of Supervisors hearing on September 14, 2021 that Crestview seemed, grudgingly, to accept the new reality that up to 30 septic systems within 600 feet of the planned new well would be made “nonconforming uses” by Well #7.
What that means is that the owner seeking to modify or replace the system, would be subject to the new rules. He would have to find and engage a qualified professional to prepare a report showing that effluent from a new seepage pit would not reach groundwater or the well in less than two years. If the County were unpersuaded, the owner would be required to install an “advanced treatment unit” at a cost in the neighborhood of $77,000 and to engage a professional firm to maintain the system and analyze water samples for about $3,500 per year. All this would be about $200,000 over 25 years.
That unusual risk would have to be disclosed to lenders and buyers and would immediately and permanently drive down the value of the property by about $100,000, according to one local real estate professional. Imagine what would happen to a seller who encounters this problem in escrow.
There seem to be two alternatives: Crestview could assume all the extra costs and risks imposed on neighbors by the existence of Well #7, or the well could be relocated to an area where there are no septic systems. Some people who have looked at alternative locations think they would be cheaper–and faster–than the current site, but Crestview has announced it is not considering such options.
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