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Reader Andy wrote on July 18, 2007 7:30 PM:

Is the alternative a housing development? I don’t understand the problem with the training camp. It sounds like a use of the property that would be rather low key as opposed to more permanent residents. Is the property owner allowed to make money off his/her private property? Just a few questions. I really don’t have an opinion. I just wonder if it is inevitable that the property will be developed in some way and if this isn’t a viable alternative to a more dense development.”

Andy, it is not true that every piece of land must be turned into houses or used for urbanized development. The National Forest system was originally founded by Teddy Roosevelt in an effort to preserve our precious national heritage. The local mountains were originally about 2 million acres set aside for that forest system. Since then, it has been reduced to about 1/3 of its original size, and swiss-cheesed with private lands and the like. The valley in question is one of only a few remaining precious natural valleys that extend from the Descanso area south to this valley.

As you may know, we rely on these valleys for our watershed, that is, well-water used by most of the unincorporated areas.

The private owner can make money by using the property according to the zoning standards agreed to by the regional plan. We all have an interest in preserving these mountain valleys, that is, if you drink water. If the property were proposed to be used for a winery, let’s say, with visitors who would visit the tasting room and the like, I’m sure no one would have a strong objection to that plan. I would hate to see it turned into a set of ranchettes, but that is at least in compliance with the plan. My personal opinion is that the property should be purchased from the owner and incorporated into the Hauser Wilderness.

— RAYMOND LUTZ

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