SV Well Aerial Pix

It happened that we got these two views of the SV well on a recent flight. To me they demonstrate the heroic work being done to preserve and protect our well while future improvements and alternatives are being studied.

SV Pump System
SV Pump System
SV Holding Ponds
SV Holding Ponds

Flood Channel

Here are some aerial views taken 2/18 after the heavy rain, of the flood channels that run through SVMHP down into Arroyo Burro Creek. First is a look at the inlet  (bottom of pic, just right of center) to the box culvert that runs under Foothill at Hwy.154. Note that the top of the pic is toward the Southeast, unlike the gMaps image at the bottom of this post.

5603 Inlet to Box Culvert
5603 Inlet to Box Culvert

Next an overview, with the inlet at the bottom near the left corner and the new Sansum clinic at the top-left.

5605 Inlet Bottom-Right
5605 Inlet Bottom-Left

Below is a look at the wide grass channel it opens into (bottom-left), that runs across SVMHP into Rancho SB golf course.

5607 Channel & Bridges
5607 Channel & Bridges

There’s another storm water inlet (right of center, beneath trees & shrubs), to a culvert pipe that runs under Cathedral Oaks from the Northeast intersection with Via Chaparral across from the SVMHP back gate. It comes out on the corner of SVMHP near the bend of Stage Coach into Indian Wells, and joins with our larger channel on the Rancho golf course.

5609 Rancho SB Culvert Inlet
5609 Rancho SB Culvert Inlet

When we feared flooding last year, the County cleaned debris from both of these two inlets at our request, so they wouldn’t flood across Foothill / Cathedral Oaks thus limiting our access and emergency exit routes. Lastly, here’s a look more toward the East, at the Rancho SB golf course where these two storm channels join.

5620 Rancho SB Drainage
5620 Rancho SB Drainage

The footbridge near the top-left is where our channel enters Rancho, with SVMHP homes on Gatehouse across the top. Here’s a link to a satellite view on gMaps:

Below is a gMaps screen capture of this area (North at the top) from drought times back when Sansum was being built, with a pin about where our box culvert inlet is, next to the electrical substation.

SVMHP Storm Channel
SVMHP Storm Channel

Tom Fayram Flood Prep DPG Talk

Here are the slides from the PowerPoint file that was displayed during Tom Fayram’s presentation on flood preparedness for the Nov.19, 2015 DPG meeting. Tom is Deputy Public Works Director for the Water Resources Division of County Public Works.

We also have an audio recording of his talk (10MB MP3 file), and if anyone would like to put it online please contact us. In coming days I may add more notes from his talk.

His talk began with this photo of flooding. We were surprised when he told us it’s the 101 Fairview exit during previous El Niño flooding, where the current creek underpass work is in progress to reduce flood risk there.


He showed us this slide of drought years.


He talked about how the County and other agencies must work within their budgets, and therefore we all share responsibility for disaster preparation.


This next slide shows the differences between the current El Niño and 1997, noting that the current one is already stronger than 1997. Later he also pointed out the large red areas indicating warmer water off CA and AK (called “The Blob” by forecasters), noting that there’s no historical precedent for this and the effects on our Winter weather are unknown.


He said that El Niño years don’t always result in heavy rainfall or a high annual rainfall total.


He pointed out that despite the current record El Niño offshore, this year so far has brought unprecedented low total rainfall.


He talked about the effects of heavy rain on saturated soil, and sustained high rainfall rates.


He outlined preparations being done by various agencies. He stressed the value of Federal flood insurance (government program with private companies providing coverage), and emphasized the 30 day “grace” period before insurance takes effect. In other words, if you buy flood insurance 29 days before your home is flooded there is no coverage. He suggests buying now.


Note that the “Flood Prevention” pamphlet shown above-right is available as a PDF file here. Despite the above image of a sandbagged home, he didn’t have time to go into detail on how to place them. That information is available on the County website (links below).


Tom described some of the flood preparation work the County does every year, beginning in March. Below is an example of debris they remove to prevent blockage of drainage channels. He pointed out that the County provides 25 free sandbags 24/7 just West of Old Mill off Calle Real. Stuart Clyde pointed out that San Vicente also has free sandbags available.


Tom talked about how the County has no access to or responsibility for most creeks and other drainage channels because they’re on private property, but they do all they can.


He briefly outlined some of the flood response capabilities they have, and talked about how hard these crews work in any disaster. They often work for many hours without rest to protect and assist the public, but the crew is very small for the size of their service area.


This is why it’s so important for each of us to do all we can to prepare. He is extremely impressed with our DPG and how much we’ve done to prepare. He several times reiterated the value of flood insurance and sandbags if needed. He also stressed the importance of a disaster kit (supplies to survive an extended period without power or other utilities), and an evacuation plan (see the “911” DPG section of this website for helpful info here).


He provided the link for info on Flood Insurance at


He displayed this FEMA map of San Vicente & Rancho that shows areas subject to flood potential (larger version in a previous post here on our website).


In this satellite image of our parks, there is a blue line indicating the course of Atascadero Creek which runs through our parks.


In the next slide he listed some online resources he suggests for further info. Here are the same links in a format you can click on to visit: (no www prefix)


Below is another photo of earlier flooding at the Fairview intersection with 101.


He shared this cartoon of Godzilla representing El Niño and the Blob being what forecasters are calling that unprecedented red area shown offshore of the West Coast in the NOAA slide above.


To end his talk and introduce our brief open question period, he showed this slide of Lake Cachuma nearly dry and stressed how badly we need rain.


Flood Map & Prep Info

Note: Since first publishing this post 10/16/2015 I have made a few updates. For this final update, here are some links for satellite images of El Niño and the “Blob” Tom Fayram mentioned, to find the latest and historical status:
Though still alarming compared with earlier El Niño images, the most recent show some easing of conditions and particularly a reduction in the “Blob” along with the strongest remnant of that having moved North beyond Point Conception where it had been. There is also a CA Corps of Engineers video about preparedness featuring Tom here:

I appreciate the support of the SV office for our 11/19 meeting, and they have kindly provided me a copy of their “Emergency Preparedness & Evacuation Plan” containing much of the information here in the DPG “911” section of this website. Their plan may be available from the office in print or via email. For your reference, below is the Table Of Contents page of that document.

SV Evacuation Plan Contents
SV Evacuation Plan Contents

In case the predicted El Niño floods affect SB this Winter, I was curious if and how we might be affected here at SVMHP. I found an insurance “100 year” flood risk map at this FEMA link and have downsized & cropped it for an easier to manage map of our area. The blue outlined area affects mostly lower Rancho Santa Barbara homes but several of ours are included. I note that this map represents flood risk if the channel is kept clear of debris, and since most of the creeks and channels are on private land, government agencies would not do that during a major regional flooding event.

Here’s my downsized and edited version of the FEMA flood risk map (click on it to enlarge), with the Legend cropped to relevant items and moved to the left side.

FEMA Flood Map (edited)
FEMA Flood Map (edited)

There’s a different version of this map that’s interactive and in color at this FEMA Flood Hazard link. Here’s a zoomed in and cropped area of that map (actually a satellite view) of our affected homes along the green belt. More would probably be affected if there were any debris blockage of the bridges or other factors in an unprecedented exceptional flood.

SVMHP Main Flood Risk
SVMHP Main Flood Risk

There’s a description of terminology and more info at this FEMA Community info link. You can find more local info and links on the County Flood Prep link and their new site.

Although there is no history of damaging floods at San Vicente, in an exceptional rain event access to the Cathedral Oaks exit could be blocked. Our bridges over the Atascadero Creek barranca running through San Vicente are unlikely to be blocked by debris. There is some possibility that the culverts under Cathedral Oaks at the base of Hwy.154 or Via Chaparral could block and flood the Hwy.192/154 intersection. That wouldn’t affect San Vicente unless Cathedral Oaks then filled up and spilled over the wall or through the upper gate, in which case it would probably run down our streets into the barranca and/or through the lower Old Mill gate. Here are some aerial views of the terrain above San Vicente (click to enlarge).

Image 4265 San Vicente to North
San Vicente to North

The basic watershed drainage area above San Vicente extends from this side of San Antonio Creek angling toward the Northeast across to the first ridge across the above pic, and East to a ridge running South on this side of Cieneguitas Creek (beyond the right side of this pic). A small section of that creek is marked by the line of trees running across the bottom-right corner of the above pic.

SV to N. - Sunset
SV to N. – Sunset (Atascadero Creek from lower-left to upper-right)

Just before sunset, shadows help to reveal the terrain contours as seen in the above pic. The ridge across the top where 154 disappears from view is the top of our watershed, extending just beyond the top-right corner.

I found a website for County storm drain maps and have stitched together maps G36, G27, G18 and G9 to cover Atascadero Creek from 101 to the top of their maps. Here then is the area immediately around SVMHP (click to enlarge).

SV Storm Drain Map
SV Storm Drain Map (County)
Storm Drain Map Legend
Storm Drain Map Legend

Here is a full-size version of this composite map (click to enlarge) with more of the surrounding area included to show nearly all of the watershed above San Vicente. The two main sources of runoff are to the Northwest (NW) above Via Chaparral, and to the North along Atascadero Creek.

San Vicente Watershed
San Vicente Watershed

DPG Radio Info

Radio Check Procedure
At 6:30pm before each DPG meeting the DPG head calls out each Block Captain number and name. That person is monitoring Channel 8 on their radio and presses the Talk button on the side of the radio to acknowledge.

Radio User Manual
I haven’t been able to find a downloadable manual for our radios online, so I got a printed copy. I’ve scanned and enlarged it, divided it into three pages for printing in case (let me know if you want that version), and also made this 1-page Quick Reference sheet image file. If you click on it twice you can see a larger version, that you can then download and print. In case you have trouble downloading or printing this image file, I’ll also add a link to download a PDF version below.

Radio Quick Ref 5-2015
Radio Quick Ref 5-2015

Note that the battery life is double with alkalines and our rechargeable batteries may be losing capacity, so you might want to remove the rechargeable and keep four (or 8) AA alkalines in a baggie next to the radio. That way if any of the batteries leak, it won’t destroy the radio. If you’d like to have the radio ready to go at a moment’s notice, you could also put a note in your calendar to change the batteries twice yearly to prevent a damaging leak.

-svRadio-battAs described in this excerpt from the full manual, leaving the radio plugged in with the rechargeable can cause damage and of course unplugged the rechargeable could go dead within a month or two.

Click here to Download a PDF Version of svradio-quickref5-2015 for printing.

New Aerial View

Here’s a new aerial view of San Vicente from the West, taken the afternoon of 3/3/2015. You can see the surrounding neighborhoods including part of Rancho Santa Barbara, and even beyond Hwy.154 at the top. If you’ve studied the earlier photos here, you’ll notice the new homes and other changes since. This one is also taken with a better camera and lens, so if you’d like to see the largest version just click here to download it to open in your favorite image viewer.

SVMHP Aerial 3.3.15
SVMHP Aerial 3.3.15

Rob Rice Newsletter 2014/3


FROM THE DESK OF ROB RICE-p3Every other month I will be writing a column to keep you informed of what is going on at San Vicente Mobile Home Park.

I want to thank all who participated in the Meet and Confer meetings held at the Clubhouse on March 12th. It was a pleasure to see you and meet many of our new residents, hear your questions and understand your concerns. It is with open communication between homeowners, management and the park owners that we can eliminate misinformation and rectify issues that may rise to the surface.

For residents who were unable to attend the Meet and Confer meetings, please note that we are not moving forward with the revised rules, but returning to the signed rules and regulations of September 2006. We will be amending a few items of importance from the existing Rules and Regulations in the next few months.

Several requests for additional parking spaces were suggested. We will be adding a few spaces by the clubhouse this summer and Miguel has already installed a light in the keypad at the back gate to more easily read the keypad numbers at night.

For some residents, water pressure was a concern and we have contacted Laurence Price to review the spaces that seem to have low water pressure and solve this issue as soon as possible.

As you are aware the land lease with the Sisters of Charity at St. Vincent’s next door expires in July of 2017. We will start negotiations with the sisters in early 2015, and I will be keeping you updated with the progress of the negotiations.

Please join me in thanking the San Vicente HOA for their tireless efforts to help create the survey questions that will be distributed soon. Your HOA is great source for gaining information regarding the park. The beautiful web-site created by John Wiley is another way to stay informed on issues and events here at San Vicente:

Any questions, comments or concerns can be addressed to me at the park office or to my E-mail at:

Rob Rice