Speakers Address RID on Law Enforcement, Health Care in Shelter Cove

Matt Rees, new chief executive officer of the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District, hopes to reinstate the district's weekly clinic in Shelter Cove if staffing permits. (Photo by Sandy Feretto)

Matt Rees, new chief executive officer of the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District, hopes to reinstate the district's weekly clinic in Shelter Cove if staffing permits. (Photo by Sandy Feretto)

Lt. Dennis Young of the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office told the Resort Improvement District that Measure Z funds will bring new deputies to outlying areas including Shelter Cove. (Photo by Sandy Feretto)

Lt. Dennis Young of the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office told the Resort Improvement District that Measure Z funds will bring new deputies to outlying areas including Shelter Cove. (Photo by Sandy Feretto)

The Shelter Cove Resort Improvement District (RID) Board of Directors heard presentations from representatives of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District at their regular meeting on Thursday, April 21.

Matt Rees, new chief executive officer of the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District, introduced himself to the board and the 25 members of the public in attendance, and spoke about the challenge of building a new health care facility in Southern Humboldt. He noted that there had been a weekly healthcare district clinic in Shelter Cove in the past, and said when district staffing of health care providers is increased that may be possible again. He encouraged Shelter Cove residents to participate in the healthcare district’s survey so that their needs can be considered in strategic planning.

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Dennis Young addressed the spotty law enforcement coverage in Shelter Cove and talked about the issues of marijuana grows and abandoned vehicles in Shelter Cove. 

Lt. Young said that with new recruits being trained with Humboldt County Measure Z funding, the department has been working to staff four outlying areas in the county, including Shelter Cove. 

He fielded questions about large, environmentally damaging or dangerous growing operations in Shelter Cove, and said the department had a small staff for marijuana eradication. He noted that Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office enforcement of growing operations was complaint-driven. 

Other Reports and Board Actions

RID general manager Philip Young reported that he had heard back from the State Water Resources Contol Board about the district’s request to dam Humboldt Creek to create a reservoir. At the previous RID meeting Young had announced the Water Board had rejected the district’s first application due to deficiencies and asking for clarifications. Young explained that as a result, he had submitted a case-by-case exception request that the Water Board returned quickly, he said, “saying it was too much information but not enough information.” Young told the board that in an hourlong teleconference with the Water Board he found out the Humboldt Creek Reservoir project is the first case-by-case exception request the Water Board is entertaining. Young told the board he sent back an abbreviated, bullet-point request as a result of the teleconference with the agency, and had not heard back yet.

“I imagine it’s going to be a bumpy ride,” Young said of the application process, “and we won’t stop ’til they say ‘Hell no.’”

Young announced that RID received a $99,000 grant from the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection for more shaded fuel break work in Shelter Cove. He noted the grants for the work are paid for by the State Responsibility Area (SRA) money collected from property owners. The SRA is the area where the state is financially responsible for the prevention and suppression of wildfires. The fuel break work will be done by California Department of Forestry inmate crews, he added.

Young updated the board on a road repair memorandum of understanding (MOU) the district is seeking with the Humboldt County Public Works Department. The Shelter Cove share of public works money is $85,000 a year, Young explained. He said the district is proposing that the county give that money to the district and let the district do the work. Young responded to questions from the public by saying the MOU is still in the concept phase and the details have not been determined.

As part of the Shelter Cove Volunteer Fire Department report, a video was shown of Shelter Cove resident Cheryl Antony receiving the state Volunteer of the Year award. Other reports in the fire department presentation included discussion of fire and other disasters, and the news that the Shelter Cove warning system needed to be upgraded.

The board voted to accept the proposed Schatz Energy Research Center (SERC) scope of work agreement to assess RID’s existing electrical infrastructure, electrical load and proposed solar sites and then develop a preliminary design for a renewable energy microgrid for Shelter Cove. Young explained that a microgrid is defined as a system that can generate its own power and distribute it to customers without having to send it back to the main grid. He said solar arrays can be staggered around Shelter Cove in the greenbelts. 

Young characterized SERC engineers as “giddy” about the project, and board members commented that the innovation will draw tourists to Shelter Cove. 

“Once we do it, once we get started, once we implement it and once we get done, at that point where we’re generating all our own power, we’ll be even more of a unicorn,” Young said. The cost to the district of participating in the design phase of the project will be $43,944.

The Shelter Cove Arts and Recreation Foundation (SCARF) requested an annual permit to use the Community Clubhouse for a total of $375 for the year instead of paying per event according to the RID use fee schedule. The board denied their request, saying they had worked hard to create a fair and equitable fee schedule for clubhouse rental. Board president Susan Fox reiterated that the board would hear requests for waivers of fees for specific events at the clubhouse.

The board announced it had met in closed session to negotiate employee wages and benefits with IBEW Local 1245 AFL-CIO. They voted to approve the negotiated changes.