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Alpine Resident Has Questions After Many Sunrise Powerlink Grant Requests are Denied

letter to the editorWas YOUR Sunrise Powerlink Grant DENIED? – Posted submitted by Alpine Resident “Dee”

All of my neighbors were denied powerlink grant money this year even though we are two blocks from Alpine Blvd. After our denials came in I heard that many others have been denied as well. I am interested in starting a discussion on this so that we can compare notes so to speak. How many others have been denied and what types of grants were accepted?  Where is the money going this year?  Here is the gist of my denial letter…

“The 2016 Sunrise Powerlink Fire Mitigation Grants Program application review and approval is complete. For the first time since its inception there were more applicants than available funds. Where in the past most qualified applicants were awarded their grant request, this year the overwhelming response did not allow for this to happen. The oversight group, Sunrise Powerlink Fire Mitigation Group (SPFMG) made up of representatives from the jurisdictional fire agencies along the power link route established a matrix for discerning and prioritizing applicants to determine which applicants would be approved and for what amount. A mix of criteria including proximity to the power link, relative fire risk, and grant approval history was considered for each applicant.

As is the case in any “Grant” application process approval is not guaranteed. After review of all applicants your Structure Hardening application for parcel #### was not approved for funding this year. We hope that defensible space or structure hardening protection remain a priority for you and if you are within the 2017 area of eligibility you would apply again next year. Thank you, Sunrise Powerlink Fire Mitigation Group”

***If you have any comments or information about this please leave a comment in the comments section below this post

 

 

116 comments to Alpine Resident Has Questions After Many Sunrise Powerlink Grant Requests are Denied

  • Jon Green

    Ms. Harris, I never lied to you. I told you that we would look into the cost of adding signage – which we did add, by the way, at every trailhead. The same place where all the other signs are posted. There are a lot of factors that go into managing a nature preserve that is open to the public other than just one person’s opinion.

  • Mary Harris

    Mr.Greene

    The first time you lied to me was when you lost credibility in my eyes.

    You know doubt do good work. But we got a bad start when you lied to me saying that Wright’s Field could not afford to put up signs warning the users of Wright’s Field about the use of Roundup and other herbicides.
    Thank you for your service.

  • Louis Russo

    BCLT has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from SDGE as well as “management” of 2500 acres of land in Potrero, land which SDGE bought for Sunrise PowerLink but ended up not using….all while our SDGE bill escalate and we live through numerous power outages. BCLT’s tax returns also show it has over $8 million in assets, including over $100,000 in cash. Alpine has 17,000+ people. Assuming that “thousands of residents” do indeed benefit from improvements at Wright’s, that’s really only 10% of Alpine, at the most. What Ms. Harris is trying to say is that a typical resident might get $2,000. Most of the residents who want this grant live next to CNF or other lands with large amounts of fuel. Wright’s has little to no vegetation fuel on it save low scrub grass and plenty of its own money. Residents also find it interesting that BCLT would chastise residents for not having professional grant writers. Really?

  • Just to clear up any misunderstanding about fund sourcing, the SPL Community Protection Grant Program comes from the same limited funding as Structure Hardening and Defensible Space. The funds are based on the original 1,409 homes “at Highest Risk.” The amount deposited every year for the life of the Powerlink is $2,000 (USD2008) for each of those homes. This year it is just over $3,000,000. Overhead costs have soared— now there are only enough funds to for approximately 1,100 homeowners.

    Consider:

    The Community Protection Program was an add-on in the MOU, and is NOT funded separately. All funds come from the SDG&E yearly deposit.

    Alpine was specifically excluded from the grant because the lines were “undergrounded” — we wish they were underground here. That is the ONLY way to safely run lines through the flammable backcountry. It’s not just the lines themselves that can cause an ignition, it is the inability to fight a fire near the lines from the air or ground.


    …”Underground transmission lines do not have the capacity to result in long-term operational wildfire ignitions…
    …The fireshed boundaries were delimited by the location of the overhead portions
    …areas substantially upwind of the overhead portions of the transmission line would not be affected by a Santa Ana wind-driven wildfire with its origin in the transmission ROW [Right of Way]
    …It can also be seen that the community of Harbison Canyon, located in the southern portion of the figure, was reasonably excluded from the El Capitan Fireshed boundary due to its location, which is directly downwind of the underground portion of the transmission line.

    So when talking about “Highest Risk,” Alpine needs to take a backseat to those areas downwind of the overhead lines. YES, we are ALL at high risk of fire— but SDG&E’s decision to underground one segment means Alpine has no significant risk of fire “from the overhead transmission lines.” And that is the purpose of the Grant Program. Your stream rehabilitation efforts are laudable, but SPFMG awarding “Bridge Loans” and Grants to areas not-at-risk of fire from overhead lines is not.

  • Jon Green

    Since BCLT seems to have such vocal critics, let me respond with some facts…. Regarding BCLT’s application for Community Protection funds, we’ve been denied 3 of the 4 times that we’ve applied for grants. Not sure how that makes our organization “cozy” with the grant committee. If anything, it appears to be the opposite. Only 1 of our projects has been funded and that was for defensible space and emergency access gates at Wright’s Field, which benefits hundreds if not thousands of residents by allowing easy access to our nature preserve by fire-fighters and law enforcement. As to the claim by Ms. Harris that we’re greedy for money, or that volunteers should do the work, our project proposals involved professional removal of mature eucalyptus trees and 30-acres of fuel reduction through poison oak and chaparral – not a quick project to be done over the weekend!

    And let’s put all these numbers into context, considering that there are millions of dollars available each year for Community Protection grants (separate from homeowner grants), and every single year funds go unspent for these community-scale projects, I’d say the problem isn’t too many people applying for too much money, it’s that not enough communities are asking for funds for their own projects. Don’t blame those of us in Alpine because we’re actually putting in the work to develop good fire prevention projects and spending the time to write these applications every year. If your community wants a grant, then maybe go out and write your own application for your community project. All of us in Alpine are going to keep applying for these funds, and doing anything and everything we can do to keep our town safe from wildfire and prepared for the day that emergency does arrive here again.

  • Mary Harris

    I am not a property owner but my friends suffered great losses.Some had homes burned down to a pile of ashes. My heart sank when I saw Harbison Canyon after the devastation.I empathize with property owners affected then, and at risk now.
    Back Country Land Trust: Jon Greene says that their application for $60,000 for brush clearing around the perimeter of Wright’s Field, was denied. I say, really, you wanted $60,000? That seems like a very large piece of the pie! Hell,brush clearing can be done by volunteers, for a fraction of that price (or free).Leave it for those who truly need it.

  • HERE ARE THE CLASS I IMPACTS (highest risk and unmitigable) THE GRANT PROGRAM WAS INTENDED TO PARTIALLY MITIGATE:

    Impact F-2: Presence of the OVERHEAD TRANSMISSION LINE would increase the probability of a wildfire (Class I)- The presence of the OVERHEAD TRANSMISSION LINE would create an ongoing source of potential wildfire ignitions for the life of the project. Line faults can be caused by such unpredictable events as conductor contact by floating debris, gunshots, and helicopter collisions; these events are rare but would be unavoidable. Impact F-2 is considered a significant impact because certain ignition sources are unavoidable. Due to the potential for unavoidable ignitions related to the presence of the overhead transmission line to occur during extreme fire weather, the presence of the project would significantly increase the likelihood of a catastrophic wildfire (Class I). The risk of ignitions and the risk of damage from a project-related ignition can be reduced, though not to a level that is less than significant.

    Impact F-3: Presence of the OVERHEAD TRANSMISSION LINE would reduce the effectiveness of firefighting. (Class I)- Aerial and ground-based firefighting efforts would be compromised by the introduction of an OVERHEAD TRANSMISSION LINE due to the introduction of various hazards as identified in the Containment Conflict Model results, including increasing the risk of transmission line contact by aircraft or water buckets, creating indefensible landscapes, and obstructing historical fire containment boundaries. The outcome of not fighting a wildfire in an otherwise defensible landscape under favorable weather conditions is that it is able to build in size and intensity unchecked by firefighters who are forced to wait until the fire passes through the area. Delays in containment allow for rapid fire perimeter growth. With the increase in the fire perimeter comes the potential for wind-blown embers to ignite spot fires ahead of the fire front, which further complicates fire suppression activities.”

  • Definitely late to this discussion, but Alpine— you were never a part of the Grant Eligibility. It was only for those in danger from the overhead lines. “Underground lines do not have the capacity for long-term ignition.” per the EIR and Mitigaton. Overhead lines prevent fire attack from both ground and air. So those of us in the shadow of the overhead lines are seeing the funds designed to protect us going to downtown Alpine. Pardon us if we don’t feel all that much compassion for you. Our community was devastated in 2007, losing almost half of our 350 homes. Our parcels are many acres, and we border wild, unmanaged chaparral of the Cleveland Forest.
    And most of us were denied or had grants cut so drastically we had a hard time just maintaining our defensible space. Far too many funds have gone to Alpine… there is a definite cozy relationship between your fire department (BTW we have only a volunteer station}, your BCLT, and the Fire Mitigation Administrator and Group that makes these decisions. All resident in Alpine. What a surprise. Hope you enjoy your upgraded doors and windows. We’re just hoping to get thorough another fire season with our homes standing and families safe.

    Those original 1400 homes? That would be all of Deerhorn Valley, Lyons, Lawson, Japatul, Dulzura, and Potrero. But this year (2018) they sent out 15,000 application packets. No wonder the admin costs are so high. And those two Open Houses held at the Alpine Library? Total cost was $120,000. Explain that. I can’t They didn’t even serve mints to 100 max folks that attended. We couldn’t. Too darn far on dark winding roads on a weeknight. They told us the next one would be closer. But, nope. Alpine again.

  • Louis Russo

    BCLT got to “manage” 2500 acres of “excess” SDGE land (e.g. it was purchased by SDGE for Sunrise PowerLink but wasn’t needed) and over $300,000 in “grants”. Guess who’s on the BCLT board and was head of Alpine Community Planning Group Sunrise PowerLink AdHoc subcommittee? Also, anyone notice how the vaults were not properly compacted on Alpine Blvd and how the asphalt is cracking? Seems that some people get to “monitor” SDGE and get lots of land and “grants”…and the rest of us get “denied”.

  • marilyn

    wasting our time, applying, then denying 2nd year in row. We are to old to wait @ 86? Don!t offer gravy then give us beans.They say when it!s to good to be true it usually is.

  • John

    John April 2017
    East Victoria Dr. I was denied. I tried to look up the original wording of the grant and found a Memorandom of Understanding that was from SDGE and their was no mention of limited funds or frequency of approvals. The MOU was done in 2012 if someone can find the original agreement it would be helpful as SDGE is notorious for lying.

  • Mike

    Denied for structure hardening in Alpine, South Grade Rd.

  • Pdr

    I believe an itemized list showing how the funds were distributed is in order.

  • Morgan Sterling

    We live on Tavern Rd and ours was denied as well, we were accepted the last 2 years prior

  • Lou Russo. BCLT did not receive our grant request for brush clearance around the edges of Wright’s Field.

  • DKB

    Denied as well- first time applicants in Deer Creek area- we were hoping to use it for removing Eucalyptus trees and dead brush behind home. All neighbors we have spoken with were denied also.

  • Clinton R. Friday

    CRF Denied…second year applicant…

  • Denied as well for brush and tree clearance

  • Ellen C.

    First time applicant in Alpine- denied for window replacement. I do understand it is a competitive grant application process but is any organization involved in the process accountable to the public on how the grants are awarded? Are there any stats on previous years on how many grants requested and how many projects actually completed, passing final inspections and receiving the grant money? Is there any transparency to this process? Or is this as convoluted as an SDG&E electric bill?

  • Sherie Hubble

    Accepted for roof replacement. We live on Carveacre. Been accepted every year so far. We’re adjacent to Cleveland Forest and the PowerLink would definitely effect our egress and the ability to safely fight the fire over our hamlet.

  • Denied for fencing. Alpine resident

  • Louis Russo

    Jon Green. I saw that BCLT asked for $60,000 for clearing around Wright’s Field from SDGE. Did you get it?

  • I was told its for certain areas only each year, you have to check each year to see if your parcel number qualifies .

  • I was told its for certain areas only each year, you have to check each year to see if your parcel number qualifies .

  • Jon Green i would like to know what exactly are “the impacts of the sunrise power link project?” And if the project put us at risk , even more than before 2003 fire us here in Harbison Canyon almost lost the whole canyon, and now must pay an extra fire protection fee, are we left to stand alone , like when we were abandoned during the that disaster.
    We even lost our fire station.
    We were denied this year, but got help year before last.
    I will still trim trees and cut weeds, to the best of my ability, but what about those who can’t or won’t?

  • I am so glad to see this discussion. I received the Grant the previous three years for replacement of wood fencing. Last year I had the gates and fencing attached to the house replaced. When the inspector came, he told me he would not approve the work until I had the weeds on my very steep and long slope taken care of. This year, the weeds were much, much, worse, and overgrown with invasive plants as well. My application was DENIED.

    I found a letter to Billie C. Blanchard, Project Manger for Sunrise Powerlink Project, CPUC Energy Division, CEQA Unit, dated June 1, 2010, from Tim Knowd, Safety and Compliance Manager, Sunrise Powerlink, SDG&E. This letter explains the proposal for utilization of the mitigation funds. One paragraph of this letter states: “Mitigation Measure F-1e Compliance Contributions of the Final Mitigation Monitoring and Compliance and Reporting Program: the Defensible Space Mitigation Fund annual value was calculated using the 1300 homes at risk identified in the Fire Behavior Trend Model multiplied by $2000 per home for a total annual value of $2,600,000 (in 2008 U.S. dollars) per year for the life of the transmission line.”

    Based on this paragraph and the rest of the letter, I have some questions.

    1. How much was set aside this year? Was it only enough to cover the originally identified 1300 homes?
    2. How many community groups received funds this year?
    3. How much was taken from the Fund to cover administrative costs?
    4. What happened to the excess funds not used in previous years? Were they rolled over, or just reabsorbed by SDG&E.
    5. Was the priority defensible space or structure hardening.or was there a difference?
    6. How many homeowners in other communities were denied?

    I understand that the Sunrise Powerlink Fire Mitigation Group reserves the right to prioritize which properties will receive funding based on “Fire Behavior Trend Models,” but it seems odd that properties very close to the Powerlink were denied when others a mile or two away were approved.

  • Lynn Field-Karsh

    Denied for window replacement. We had been approved for the three years prior for other structure hardening projects.

  • Barrus

    First time applicant denied for tree removal. Live on Sneath. I agree we need a meeting with these people to tell us where all the money went, what types of projects were approved and why? I don’t see how new windows are more of a fire safety problem than our huge dying pine tree that was real close to our house and our neighbors!

  • Mercedes

    First time applicant. Bought a home in need of many repairs. Denied. Would like to see accountability of past few yesrs pay outs, along with this years reports when completed. seems to me first in should be first in approved. Something we can work on. And while discussing, can we get rid of the toxic chemicals polluting our water / earth. Should be no grant to pollute our earth.

  • Denied. Weed abatement and tree clearing. Off Eltinge

  • Denied- Exterior door replacement- Off Midway Dr. in Alpine- 3rd yr. applicant, first 2 yrs accepted.

  • sandra

    This is so important. Thanks for bringing this to life. The more people denied, there less they have to pay.. SDGE that is.

  • Alanna Light

    First time applicant…Off is South Grade…denied. (Replacing wooden fence with vinyl)

  • Howard Nielsen

    Excepted this year and the past four years. Our neighbors denied we live off of East Victory Dr.
    Brush clearing and dead trees removal
    The CPUC is not our friend.
    SDG&E has the CPUC in its back pocket.

  • Third year applicants and have been approved all three times for brush clearing. We live in Japatul Valley and border Cleveland National forest on two sides of property.

  • Third year applicants and have been approved all three times for brush clearing. We live in Japatul Valley and border Cleveland National forest on two sides of property.

  • I almost feel guilty saying this after seeing all of the denials, but we were approved for the grant for brush clearing. I will add that our property in RPV borders Cleveland National forest, and we have had to evacuate our home due to wildfires three times.

  • MICAH

    This is year 3 for us. We live in Deer Creek/ Harbison Canyon. This year was the first we have been denied after submitting for structural hardening again. We have been approved in the past for both structural hardening and clearance. They also denied my sister on Alpine Blvd/ Boulder Creek development near Alpine Elementry this year for hardening.

  • Melissa

    Denied for brush clearing this year. Aprroved previous 3 years.

  • For those that are unaware, this is a competitive grant process, meaning not everyone is going to get funded. For the first time in the history of this grant, they received more applications than they could fund. When that happens, the process becomes even more competitive and some folks are simply not going to be funded. Lastly, for those saying SDG&E can afford this, etc…. this money is not coming out of SDG&E’s operating budget, it is a special endowment fund set up for 50 years of grant awards to offset the impacts of the Sunrise Powerlink project – there is a certain amount of money available per year, and that’s it. The good news is it’s set up as a balloon payment, so more money is available each year until it is all spent at year 50. The moral of the story: keep applying every year and you are likely to receive funding if your project is good. That’s how competitive grants work.

  • Denied on both our primary residence and rental property

  • We were denied. 🙁 We have applied three other times and been approved. I never realized that we could be denied for lack of funds. I thought the grant was guaranteed if we met the criteria. Doesn’t sound like many got approved. Wonder where the funds went?!

  • Katie chaney

    Denied on both our rental and primary residence. Approved last year. First time

  • Angie

    First time applying – DENIED. Boooo! No new front door for us.

  • For those that are unaware, this is a competitive grant process, meaning not everyone is going to get funded. For the first time in the history of this grant, they received more applications than they could fund. When that happens, the process becomes even more competitive and some folks are simply not going to be funded. Lastly, for those saying SDG&E can afford this, etc…. this money is not coming out of SDG&E’s operating budget, it is a special endowment fund set up for 50 years of grant awards to offset the impacts of the Sunrise Powerlink project – there is a certain amount of money available per year, and that’s it. The good news is it’s set up as a balloon payment, so more money is available each year until it is all spent at year 50. The moral of the story: keep applying every year and you are likely to receive funding if your project is good. That’s how competitive grants work.

  • Diane Durant

    I received a grant three years ago for tree and brush removal. The last two years we were not in the eligible area. I was eligible this year, but was denied. I called to ask if there was a process to be reconsidered and was told all decisions were final. Very upset.

  • Denied! Happy for those approved as we have been previously.

  • Denied for windows. We’d been approved two years prior. We live right off of Alpine Blvd.

  • Mari

    Alpine resident off of Willows road. First time applicant and approved for full amount for new Windows.

  • Denied, first time applicant for tree trimming and dead tree removal. ?

  • We were denied as well as 60+ people in Crest. We lost our house to the Cedar fire, we couldn’t be in a more fire prone zone.

  • We applied for the first time last year (for windows). This year we applied in order to replace an old wooden fence. We were denied. We are in Alpine.

  • Pamela Kearns

    We were approved last year (our first application) but denied this year. We are in Alpine.

  • Denied, garage doors, first time applicant.

  • Steve

    We have applied for the past three years. The first two years we were approved and this year we were denied.

  • 1st year applicant, denied for windows. Our neighbors as well for tree & brush removal.

  • I was also denied. Harbison Canyon Resident. I applied to remove some trees from the property that are a fire hazard. First time applicant.

  • Deb

    I am a first-timer . . . denied. Three of my neighbors were also denied.

  • Denied too. We have received it the last 4 years. First time denied 🙁

  • Sherry

    Denied – tree and brush clearing. Another property with same claim in same neighborhood – just around corner – got the award!!! What’s the criteria??

  • We have been approved every year….replaced wooden siding on the house, new windows and door the next year, brush clean up around the property, then tree removal this year. We live on Carveacre.

  • First year living in Alpine, so this was the first year we had applied, but were denied just the same. We are off South Grade.

  • Larry Cochran

    We were denied also. We were able to get it the last 3 years.

  • Cindy

    This is our second year up here and the first year we were accepted, tree trimming, this year we wanted to replace some wood fencing-denied. We live off South Grade.

  • Steve H

    Alpine resident, first time applicant; denied.

  • We were denied along with 3 neighbors

  • Totally pissed off been here six year, never applied before. First time this year and was denied. What a scam!!!!!!!!!! I called them and they told me others had more important and closer to the sun rise power link. What a totally messed up scam.

  • Denied – as well as at least one of my neighbors! Have used it for Windows for 3 of the 4 yrs it has been in existence! Thought it was because of previous acceptance but my neighbor was a first time applicant. We are in Deer Creek.

  • Diana

    First time applicant in Alpine, and we were denied.

  • Denied…In Alpine. Totally bummed!

  • Louis Russo

    First, take a drive along Alpine Blvd. You will notice that improper construction of the underground vaults is causing the asphalt to sink and crack. Although those at the County I have contacted tell me “the County and SDGE will coordinate the repairs”, they refuse to say when or how.

    Second, although a group I am part of wrote the PUC/Governor/SDGE asking to have the EMF issue addressed, we have yet to see action of any kind. (Contact me and I will email you a copy of the letter, it is too large for this comment block.)

    Third, here is a link to the annual report the PUC requires SDGE to file showing top management pay and donations.
    https://www.sdge.com/sites/default/files/documents/182622780/2014%20Redacted%20SDG%26E%20GO-77M.pdf

    You will note that there sure seem to be a lot really well paid people working for that company. Next, check out the “donations”. In that it is a PDF document, you can hit the CTRL and F key on your computer to search for a particular organization (a search box will open, just type the name, or part of a name in there).

    You will see, as I did, that SDGE spreads a lot of money around, yet for some reason it “runs out” of money for its most important responsibility, the safety of its customers, not to mention upkeep of its underground lines.

    Connect your own dots.

  • We were denied as well…I guess billion dollar SDGE can’t afford it.

  • Charles Kirohn

    It would be nice to consider paying the grants this time around and maybe shortening up the number of years that were going to be paid out.

  • Anna-Marie

    We were denied.

  • Accepted. First time applicant for tree trimming/removal of dead/falling trees

  • Samantha

    This was my first time applying and my grant was accepted. We have a lot of overgrowth on our property due to lack of interest from the previous owner as well as dead or falling trees that are very cumbersome and could pose a potential fire hazard.

  • Accepted, first time applicant. Might be because our property borders Cleveland National Forest and we lost some property in the Cedar Fire.

  • Denied. Tree removal. Dehesa Valley

  • We applied 2 out of the previous 3 years. First time we had tree trimming performed, the second wooden fencing replaced. We applied this year for tree trimming again and were denied..

  • KC

    Ours was denied as well.

  • Linda Holt

    We were denied a powerlink grant and this was our first time applying.

  • We live in Alpine and we were denied 🙁

  • Dee

    Subscribing to comments

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