Letters to the Editor

Trail vote no compromise

By From page A5 | August 23, 2017

EDITOR:

The recent vote by three El Dorado Hills Community Services District board members to allow mountain bikes in the New York Creek Nature Area was not a compromise at all. That is just the “spin” these three locally elected officials have used to cover up their shameful decision to ignore an overwhelming consensus of residents to keep this area as nature trail for pedestrians as the CSD promised 30 years ago. This year the CSD conducted a six-month stakeholder process costing at least $30,000 that showed a clear consensus for keeping the entire trail pedestrian only.  Based on this community input the CSD general manager has recommended the entire area be preserved as pedestrian-only.

These three CSD board members did not compromise; they were forced to abandon their initial plan to make a mountain bike trail through the northern half of the trail since this section crosses private property. The CSD was unsuccessful in in getting an easement from those homeowners — voluntarily or involuntarily. Legal documents accidentally released by the CSD prove that board members sought to obtain a prescriptive easement to force these homeowners to allow a mountain bike trail across their property. After failing in this secretive legal action, three board members voted to proceed with their plan to open the rest of the trail to mountain bikes.

The southern half of the trail still in question was given to the CSD 30 years ago by the developer of Stonegate Village with an expressed agreement that it would be preserved as a pedestrian only nature area. Signs that have been in place 30 years cite a CSD ordinance prohibiting bikes. CSD claims it cannot find any records regarding this ordinance or the establishment of the trail. However, homeowners have provided copies of official CSD board documents from 1986 confirming the CSD’s promise to the community to preserve New York Creek as a pedestrian-only. Emails the CSD was forced to release under a public record request also show that a member of the board of directors in 1986 and a former general manager have both confirmed in writing that the area was restricted to pedestrians only under CSD regulations dating back 30 years.

The actions of these three board members is deceitful at best. The specific written CSD regulations that prohibit mountain biking have never been rescinded or amended as would be required under law by an publicly noticed vote of the board.  These board members cannot ignore the rules, process and promises that have been made by CSD itself over the last 30 years,

ERIC HILDEBRANDT
El Dorado Hills

Letter to the Editor

Discussion | 16 comments

  • TommyAugust 23, 2017 - 9:02 am

    Hey Hildebrandt..... you're not only a hypocrite but a stain on the fabric that makes EDH special. I hope I catch you or your family in NYC on a bike....

    Reply
  • KevinAugust 23, 2017 - 9:59 am

    "Pedestrian Only" means no dogs, right?

    Reply
  • ScottAugust 23, 2017 - 6:42 pm

    Oh no, this was about Eric and hi dogs need to wander and poop freely without bikes to scare them. I don't know if Eric keeps scooby (or whatever his dog is called... I've tried to forget all the sign litter since this drama began) on leash or not but imagine if some of us cyclists were to stalk the trails taking pictures of all pedestrians not respecting the leash laws? It wouldn't be creepier than photographing young kids getting exercise which they did to help "make a case" for all the community good they weren't doing.

    Reply
  • Mark AllenAugust 23, 2017 - 1:13 pm

    Spin? “Clear Consensus”? 30-years ago? Eric, get off your high horse and learn how to play nice with your neighbors. When did you move into the neighborhood? Not that it doesn’t give you the right to voice your opinions, but freshly moving in just two or three years ago and then trying to turn over a very established precedent of multi-use trail? The audacity! The “Clear Consensus” is that more trails be opened to biking – The El Dorado Hills Community Services District Master Plan 2015 – 2016 study on what our community wants: (http://www.eldoradohillscsd.org/parks-facilities/mpu15.html) – “As was clearly identified by participants in the surveys, trails and bikeways once again ranked at the top as the most important recreational development need for the CSD to focus upon in future planning and capital improvements. “ 30 years ago? Were motorcycle helmets required back then? Were seat belts required? How about pollution controls? It’s called progress. “Regulations”? City and county “ordinances” give authority to the local CSD board to create regulations and rules. Without the ordinance there is NO authority to create regulation or rules. So they do not need a public notice to rescind anything that wasn’t official in the first place. All of your efforts have caused community discord and ill will against neighbors, not to mention creating an un-safe situation for children. The CSD came to a great compromise, even though I don’t agree with it. At least children can now access the CSD and Oak Ridge High School without having to go via Silva Valley Parkway (which is quite dangerous). And as Kevin above points out, does “Pedestrian Only” mean no dogs? I see dogs defecating out on the trail all the time, not to mention they are all off-leash. Where is the outrage about that? Don’t tell me you have been outraged about the dogs, because I haven’t seen one comment about it from you. Oh, there’s a special dog play area at the CSD…but no “official” CSD biking trails in any CSD controlled lands. Regards, Mark Allen

    Reply
  • Karen RuddyAugust 23, 2017 - 1:58 pm

    Eric, don't you have anything better to do but complain about that which you know nothing about? Maybe if you participated in something fun, your eyes would be open to new experiences and you might understand that "fun" is a good thing and not a destructive thing that needs to be stomped upon. All you are doing is dividing our community and spreading hostility. We didn't have that before you and Washburn moved into that neighborhood. I mean really, you act as if the CSD was going to dam up the creek and put a freeway through it. Clearing brush, opening sight lines and allowing bicycles (not motorcycles, duh) is all they wanted to do. But you had to create lies to fit your agenda. And that misinformation spread like wildfire. Shame on you.

    Reply
  • Steve C.August 23, 2017 - 4:38 pm

    Mr. Hildebrandt: You definitely win the award for being the worst neighbor in El Dorado Hills. Congratulations. Now you are complaining that CSD spent $30,000 dealing with this? YOU are the reason CSD had to spend that money! Good grief!

    Reply
  • Living next to a Chronic ComplainerAugust 23, 2017 - 5:17 pm

    Wow, Hilde, you are sure making friends around this neighborhood. It appears that you've ticked off your neighbors, CSD, AND the town. Great job on creating division & wasted unnecessary money that could have been put to good use.

    Reply
  • Scott BlevinsAugust 23, 2017 - 6:03 pm

    Eric, give it a rest. You and a vocal minority have already done enough to divide this community. Wish I was retired and had the time to make it my mission to close the trail to all dogs given the ecological impact of the feces left behind and number of people with off leash dogs. I don't take my dog on that trail for exactly that reason so no, I'm not a dog hater... I just think it's beyond hypocritical to claim any form of environmental concern when your interest in keeping it for people and dog walking only. I won't do this because I have a family to raise and better things to do than regulate your activities but please for the love of God stop trying to spin the facts. The only thing overwhelming about the feedback from the community was the disproportionate amount of whining and moaning coming from a few residents who think their opinion matters more than others because they paid 4% more than someone not backing up to the trail. The section of the trail that backs up to your house stays closed to bikes unless I'm mistaken. If that isn't good enough consider moving to a town without so many families with kids and a trail that connects to the elementary and high school.

    Reply
  • RealDarinChesterAugust 23, 2017 - 8:23 pm

    Eric - is 130mm enough for me to ride NorCal? Wondering if I should opt for a longer travel fork, its 140mm. Curious what your take is on volume spacers. Go to a bike shop, tell them who you are and that you need at least 160mm bike for NYC and come ride with your neighbors. Bicycle Guys is a great place, very neighborly. Then if you like beer stop at Mraz, DOG FRIENDLY, i'll have a beer for ya on the board if you take my advice.

    Reply
  • Jeff BarkerAugust 23, 2017 - 10:37 pm

    When will you be filing your tantrum lawsuit, Eric? For your next act, are you going to try to restore the Lakehills Estates' CC&R's to enforce the racial clause that disallowed non-whites from living here? What kind of home made signs will you post all over Lakehills to keep things like they were yesteryear? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YkXiv9GreA You are a cancerous individual who successfully used unfactual fear mongering tactics to scare and rile up enough EDH citizens to sway the sensible plan CSD originally wanted for this community asset. Pretty impressive, I must say, since you have almost zero social media presence. But you cost our community a lot of money. Because you have an irrational fear or dislike of bicycles. Nice work. Not. Please don't bring your cancer to anything else trail related in El Dorado Hills. You've set us back nearly 30 years already.

    Reply
  • Mark AllenAugust 24, 2017 - 8:07 am

    And $30,000.

    Reply
  • Jennifer AllenAugust 24, 2017 - 12:08 pm

    Eric and Gavin, I think the other comments have covered most of what I was thinking. There are a few things I would like to add. Often when we are unhappy with a decision it is because we cannot see things from anyone else's perspective. With that in mind, I would like to challenge you to look at things from the perspective of an outdoor enthusiast. I challenge you and Eric and all the other people who are against the New York Creek Trail being open to bikes to get on a bike and ride on Silva Valley. Maybe after that experience you will understand why so many people choose to mountain bike or simply allow their children to use a safe trail vs the dangerous street to ride their bikes. If that is too far fetched because you can't imagine riding a bike, then I challenge you to go to the Parkway Trail System in Folsom on a weekday morning. Perhaps your observation will help you understand how people can coexist. I was there today. What I witnessed is something I don't know if you can comprehend. There were runners, cyclists, walkers, dog walkers, and moms pushing strollers. Guess what? We all shared the trail without a single incident. Let me repeat that. There were multiple activities on the same trail and there wasn't a single problem. These trails bump up against backyards just like the NY Creek Trail does. However, the trail system is very public. It is welcoming and there is a good sense of community. Another point I feel strongly about is the fact that Fairchild Village has been a welcoming neighborhood until recently. Our family has lived here for over 15 years. We have always known this neighborhood to be a welcoming, family friendly neighborhood full of outdoor enthusiasts. We have also used New York Creek Trail on foot and on bike for those 15 years without a single incident until the two of you moved into the neighborhood. Perhaps a neighborhood at an active adult community would be a better fit for you. If active families with active children are a threat to you, maybe you didn't choose the right neighborhood to live in. Lastly, I want to make something very clear. My children are minors. You do not have permission to take pictures of them (Shame on you, Eric), nor do you have permission to bully them like in the past (Shame on you, Gavin). They only listened respectfully to you because that is how they were raised. However, they have been instructed to ignore you. If you have a problem with how they are behaving, you can come discuss it with us. And, you most definitely do not have permission to lay your hands on our children or their property (like in a recent incident on the trail).

    Reply
  • Karen RuddyAugust 24, 2017 - 4:17 pm

    Another comment I want to make is in regards to the $30,000 that the CSD spent for these stakeholder meetings. At the second meeting, I spoke with you Eric in which you informed me and my husband (actually it sounded like bragging) that these meetings were being held "because I [Eric Hildebrandt] am responsible for all of this." So, if you are the one responsible, why is your bff (Gavin Washburn) claiming that the mountain bikers are the ones to blame for the CSD spending that $30K? Hmmm? In agreement with Jennifer Allen's post, I also want to state that my child is also a minor and you DO NOT have permission to film, photograph, or touch her or her property in any manner.

    Reply
  • Craig PetersenAugust 24, 2017 - 11:25 pm

    Eric, from your letter, it is clear that you don't understand the concepts of either compromise or community. Compromise is something that happens when a plan is agreed upon that attempts to resolve an issue to as much satisfaction of all interested parties as possible, not just the resolution you would like. Community often refers to a fellowship with others, which is what the various NYC trail users experienced for decades, before you came along with your hateful attitude and rhetoric. And since you mention prescriptive easement as part of your legal commentary, you might want to check out California law regarding this. The decades of uninterrupted passage through the neighbors' property along the trail far exceeds the 5 years required to establish a prescriptive easement in California. This isn't something the trail users need CSD to obtain, it has already been established by the trail users of ALL types. You and your ilk may want to consider this when objecting to what is a very reasonable purposed compromise to address YOUR concerns. If the disenfranchised trail users accept this compromise, in spite of their established legal rights, you should consider yourself lucky and move on to your next anti-community activity.

    Reply
  • Michael FowlerAugust 30, 2017 - 5:50 am

    It's about public safety for the walkers and their pets. I walk nearly everyday on the trail with our lab and I agree with wishing all dog walker would pickup after the dogs. I nearly got hit just two days ago by a biker going very fast near the start of the Falkirk trail. After missing us he went down the North trail and came back on it later. There were many bike tracks on the north section as well. Looks like the bikers don't care about the laws at all.

    Reply
  • Pat M.August 30, 2017 - 9:31 am

    Michael Fowler: I wasn't going fast and I wasn't even close to almost hitting you. I have managed to never hit a person, a dog, a tree, or a fellow "speeding" bicyclist on this trail or any other trail. And this trail is no different than every other trail that allows multi-use. I also saw so much dog poo along the trail. Looks like the dog walkers don't care about the laws at all. Ban dogs, right?

    Reply

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