Lakeside Fire Protection District may acquire Pepper Grove area in move to annex CSA No. 115

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Backcountry fire services are changing hands.

The lack of any protests to dissolve County Service Area No. 115, which had been responsible for fire protection and emergency medical services for the Pepper Grove area, and to annex the CSA No. 115 area into the Lakeside Fire Protection District and the San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District allows the reorganization to be forwarded for recordation.

Backcountry fire services are changing hands.

The lack of any protests to dissolve County Service Area No. 115, which had been responsible for fire protection and emergency medical services for the Pepper Grove area, and to annex the CSA No. 115 area into the Lakeside Fire Protection District and the San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District allows the reorganization to be forwarded for recordation.

San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission held an Oct. 1 hearing on the dissolution of CSA No. 115 with the Lakeside district annexing the northern area and the San Miguel district expanding its boundary to include the southern portion.

That LAFCO decision was followed by a protest hearing Nov. 8, but no objections from landowners or registered voters occurred at the hearing or were received in writing.

Prior to Santee becoming an incorporated city in 1980 the Santee Fire Protection District served Pepper Grove.

The Santee Fire Protection District was replaced by the City of Santee fire department, but because Pepper Grove was not part of the new city CSA No. 115 was created to provide fire protection and paramedic service to that area.

A county service area is a dependent special district, meaning that the San Diego County Board of Supervisors members are the actual board of the district (a dependent special district for a city may have the city council as its board members) although an advisory committee of residents makes recommendations to the county supervisors.

Fire protection and paramedic service was provided through a contract with the City of Santee.

In 2008 LAFCO and the Board of Supervisors created the San Diego County Regional Fire Authority by a phased approach; the original creation brought in territory not within the boundaries of a public agency but served by a volunteer fire department while the 2011 phase added five of the seven county service areas providing fire protection and emergency medical services.

County Service Area No. 107, which covered Elfin Forest and Harmony Grove, was more appropriately consolidated with the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District than with the county agency serving more eastern parts of the county (DeLuz was also part of the original SDCRFA), and the consolidation of CSA No. 107 with the Rancho Santa Fe district occurred in 2016.

LAFCO worked with the Lakeside and San Miguel districts on the replacement of CSA No. 115, which was also more logically consolidated with an adjacent agency rather than with the SDCRFA.

The Grossmont-Mount Helix and Spring Valley fire districts merged in 1988 to create the San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District, and in 1994 the Crest and Bostonia districts consolidated as the East County Fire Protection District.

The East County Fire Protection District was absorbed into the San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District in 2008.

The CSA No. 115 area has approximately 441 acres and 2,500 registered voters.

In 2015 the Lakeside and San Miguel districts both submitted proposals to annex the CSA No. 115 area.

The fire districts and an ad hoc committee of four LAFCO board members, including two former professional firefighters, worked on a proposal which divided CSA No. 115 into approximately equal halves based on assessed value.

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