"Reviving Clearlake Oaks"


Clearlake Oaks In The News

The Clearlake Oaks has been in the news lately and you can read a selection of the stories below. 

Progress in the Oaks community
By Denise Rockenstein
A progress update on the Lake County Community Recovery Task Force (CRTF) was provided to the public on Wednesday at the Clearlake Oaks Moose Lodge. Leading agents were on hand to offer information about the project as well as provide statistics resulting directly from the implementation of the task force.

CRTF is an innovative new program that combines the efforts of several county agencies as they work together to enforce laws and increase public safety in various Lake County communities.
The program is county-funded and will continue over a two-year span with the initial "pilot" project covering the greater Clearlake Oaks area from Spring Valley to Glenhaven.
The CRTF combines the efforts of the Lake County Sheriff's Department, Animal Care and Control, Code Enforcement and Probation. The program also receives assistance from the California Highway Patrol, Lake County Narcotics Task Force and Lake County Department of Social Services.
All agencies involved with the CRTF work together to promote a team approach to solving community problems with the ultimate goal of generating community pride and improving economic growth and development.
"It's a pretty unique project; I don't know of any other counties doing the same," said CRTF Coordinator Sheriff's Sgt. Rob Howe. "We started this thing the beginning of the year, January. But to actually get things off the ground, get the man power, it took a few months."
Howe reported that since January, more than 100 arrests have been made, stemming from minor citations all the way to felony drug possession arrests. More than 20 citations have been issued for such offenses as traffic violations while approximately 100 probation searches have been conducted. "These guys are out there contacting the probationers," he said, adding that more than 150 probation code caseload contacts have been made as well.
Probation Officer Dean Thornquist later reiterated the success of the task force from his standpoint. "Rest assure that the people here, the Oaks, Spring Valley, Glenhaven, are basically on intensive supervision. The program has really intensified what probation does.
"As a general rule, a person on probation is required to be seen once a month." he explained. "In this area, because of this task force, everybody is probably being seen here at least twice a week."
According to Thornquist, there are more than 1,000 adults in Lake County currently on probation, 28 of which reside in the Oaks. Juvenile probationers total 450 countywide with 15 on informal probation and 10 on formal living in Clearlake Oaks.
"When we first started in January, we averaged nine (probation) arrests a month for warrants, violation of probation. And now, actually because of the compliance with probationers, I'm lucky to get an arrest in any given month which is a good thing. That's what we want from intensive supervision probation," Thornquist concluded.
Sgt. Howe also reported that Animal Care and Control has issued 20 citations; Lake County Code Enforcement has tagged more than 80 vehicles, 40 of which have actually been removed. Code Enforcement has also red-tagged 13 homes and has conducted well more than 500 site visits.
"(We've had) a couple of demolishes which is not something we're really shooting for," Howe continued. "No one wants to take someone's house unless it's a serious safety issue and it has to be done, and sometimes it does."
Code Enforcement Officer Allison Garrett was also on hand to field questions from the public. She began with an overview explaining the lengthy process of abatement and the workload of the area. "Before I got on the Task Force I had 286 cases in Clearlake Oaks, Spring Valley and Glenhaven," she said. "That's a big case load for one person. Now I get to concentrate on the Task Force issues and work with them. And with the Task Force, it seems that things get done a lot quicker."
Also on hand were Sheriff Deputy Ed Bean as well as Deputy Jim Samples, representing the Lake County Narcotics Task Force. Bean introduced himself and described his position on the CRTF as a proactive enforcement agent while Samples gave specific examples of crime activity in the area. "There are a lot of different aspects we deal with besides drugs," said Samples, citing his involvement in a recent murder case conviction.
The CRTF is a "pilot" project that will operate in a two-year span prior to being brought back before the Lake County Board of Supervisors for analysis. "We'll be looking at everything collectively with the community to see if it works," said county administrator Kelly Cox from his seat in the audience.
Third District Supervisor Gary Lewis, who represents the Clearlake Oaks, Spring Valley and Glenhaven areas, was also present for the meeting. Lewis said if the project is successful, he would like to see it introduced to all communities in Lake County.
It is suspected that the CRTF will transform into a mobile unit operating in other areas of the county in need of attention, after the initial Clearlake Oaks project ends in 2005


Oaks residents discuss site for community park
By Denise Rockenstein
Residents of Clearlake Oaks gathered at the Eastlake Grange hall on Thursday, Oct. 14 to discuss a possible site for a community park. A 12-acre parcel located near Orchard Shores is obtainable and could be the ideal site the community has been looking for.
Third District Supervisor Gary Lewis and Lake County Administrator Kelly Cox were on hand to field questions and receive citizen input on the potential park site.
"We have an individual that has a big piece of property who would like to offer part of that property to Lake County for a park," explained Lewis beginning the meeting. "Before we decide to do that, it was necessary to come to you and say Is this where you would like to see a park built?"'
Ideally, the park will consist of a ball field, soccer field, benches and other standard park amenities such as playground equipment and drinking fountains. In order to accommodate such requests, the County of Lake has been searching for land between eight to 10 acres.
"I want you to know it's been tough finding acreage," said Cox. "There is just not a lot of acreage around here for a large-scale park."
Cox indicated that the county is still looking at an area near Red & White grocery store on Highway 20 for use as a town center-type of park. Cox reported that the project, which is being conducted under a separate source of funding, is continuing and that the funds are still secured. "We are still working with Mr. Nylander and he is considering selling it to (Lake County) for a downtown, town center- type of park. But we also needed a park with acreage, which is what was promised to the community several years ago."
The land proposed to the residents for a community park is situated on a 32-acre parcel that is currently on the market. The area stands as a walnut orchard at present and does not house any native vegetation. The land is flat and has sewer and potable water lines running through it. It also has three-phase power as well as a 500-gallon per minute well.
"I don't know of any other options that are so perfect for a park," said Richard Kuehn, the developer considering purchase of the property who in turn has offered to sell the 12 acres to the county.
The most notable concerns cited during the meeting included accessibility to the park and impact that would be absorbed by residents of Orchard Shores. Several residents voiced a concern for noise generated by visitors to the park that could disturb a residential area made up primarily of retired, elderly people. However, a lady who recently purchased a home in Orchard Shores stated that it was never disclosed as a retirement community and she and her young family would love to have a park in the area.
Another resident of Orchard Shores also voiced her support of a park near the residential community. "Sometimes you have to compromise," said Sabina Hue De Laroque. "The park will be there for my children and my grandchildren and I think it is our responsibility to pave the way for them."
Other concerns included safety and security, park hours and use, and law enforcement patrol.
"If we have certain provisions in place and it's done properly, this could be such a boom to our community and something we could be so proud of," said Margaret Medeiros, who is an active community member. "I think it's terrible we don't have Little league here; we don't have soccer. We've got kids. We need a place to do it. We need this very badly.
Lewis indicated, closing the meeting, that the county will continue to pursue this option given the support received. He further informed the group that the county will be looking to the community prior to construction. The county will seek input for design and amenities to be included in the park's development.


Oaks residents to meet to discuss Housing Element

By Staff Reports

CLEARLAKE OAKS Residents of this lakeside community will meet next week to discuss their concerns regarding the county's new Housing Element and its possible impacts on Clearlake Oaks. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25 at the Clearlake Oaks Grange, located at the corner of Highway 20 and High Valley Road.
At a public hearing on Aug. 3, the Lake County Board of Supervisors discussed and approved a new Housing Element which includes potential sites for low and low-low income housing.
A total of 972 units have been designated for Clearlake Oaks, with 891 of those units slated for two empty parcels located between the Clearlake Oaks Keys/Old Keys Landing Building and Shoreline Realty/Orchard Shores on Highway 20.
The need for affordable housing in Lake County is critical, but some residents believe the density of the proposed units for Clearlake Oaks at up to 19 units per acre would have a detrimental impact on the community.
While the population of Clearlake Oaks comprises roughly 5 percent of the county, over 50 percent of the low and low-low income units have been designated for Clearlake Oaks, which could potentially double its population.
Currently the Housing Element is with the California Department of Housing for final approval. If approved, this becomes part of the General Plan and would be very difficult to change in the future.
While Clearlake Oaks needs to shoulder its share of affordable housing, residents believe that it should be equitably spread throughout the county. Currently there are no building plans to start a project there, but there could be in the future.
Residents are encouraged to attend this important community meeting to voice their concerns. Supervisor Gary Lewis and a member of the Planning Department will be available to answer questions.
A copy of the final Housing Element sent to the State is available at the Clearlake Oaks Senior Center, the Planning Department, and online at For more information e-mail or call Chuck Lamb at 998-0135.


County accepts updated housing element

Elizabeth Larson - Record-Bee staff

LAKE COUNTY The board of supervisors last week accepted an update of the county's housing element, but critics said the document doesn't make provisions to ensure for the necessary ratio of affordable and handicap-accessible housing.
Per state law, the county needs to assess its housing needs and inventory of restraints, which is the purpose the housing element serves. Among its requirements, the element must analyze the population and employment trends of an area; look at special housing needs; document and analyze household characteristics; and look at opportunities for energy conservation in residential development.
The last housing element for Lake County dates from 1995.
Larry Mintier of Mintier and Associates the consultants who have worked on the element with the county for a year and a half joined Rick Coel of the Planning Department to discuss the plan with the board.
The revised element has gone through several rounds of review, said Mintier. It includes a discussion of what was learned from 1995's housing element; identifies sites or zones where permanent and seasonal farmworker housing is allowed; and considers potential governmental restraints on development for people with disabilities.
"We feel really good about this housing element," said Mintier.
Santa Rosa-based attorney David Grabill submitted a letter to the board that morning that was greeted with annoyance by Board Chair Rob Brown, who felt the letter wasn't submitted with enough time to let the board consider the concerns it outlined.
Grabill, who said in his letter that he represents several farmworkers who live in Lake County, stated he believes the updated housing element does not comply with state requirements, and added, "The county has a poor record in meeting its regional need for lower income housing over the past decade."
According to Grabill, the draft element is "ambiguous about how many units affordable to lower income households were actually built in the unincorporated areas of Lake County during the previous planning period."
During the portion of the meeting devoted to a public hearing about the element, Lakeport attorney Andy Rossoff spoke extensively about his concerns regarding the document.
Rossoff is an advocate for seniors and the disabled through his work for the Senior Law Project and Legal Services of Northern California. He also works with Clearlake Housing Now, a housing advocacy organization whose mission is to improve housing possibilities for the disabled.
Rossoff defended the letter from Grabill, who he said is a colleague of his.
Rossoff also said said he felt the public hasn't been actively brought into the process of updating the element.
And the process itself, Rossoff suggested, has been "unfathomable."
The element is suppose to analyze the previous element's success or failure, said Rossoff. "I can't tell from the new draft housing element just how we did over the last nine years," he said.
"Over the last nine years, the need for affordable housing in this county, I think, has reached crisis level," said Rossoff.
That need, he said, affects seniors, farmworkers, the disabled and low-income residents.
Rossoff said measurable standards needed to be inserted into the housing element to go with the policies stating support for affordable housing.
But Brown said the private sector is responsible for actually creating affordable housing, "Not us."
"There's only so much that can be done by us," he said.
Brown pressed Rossoff for examples of measurable goals. In turn, Rossoff suggested counting how many homes are accessible for the disabled.
But Brown questioned the value of those numbers. "You can't force people to make their homes handicap accessible," said Brown.
"You can educate people," replied Rossoff. "Common sense doesn't fit into this discussion too often."
Rossoff also suggested the county give incentives to developers who met the goals of making homes handicap accessible.
Brown said he understood where Rossoff was coming from, but "warm and fuzzy goals" don't accomplish anything, he said.
As the discussion progressed, Rossoff also stated that he perceived a "lack of reality" relating to plans to expand the low-income housing inventory.
As an example, he cited plans for 972 low-income housing units to be built in Clearlake Oaks,
"Is that appropriate?" he asked, pointing to concerns of density and resources. "Is that suitable planning for the county?"
If a developer were to propose the plan, "is there any possible reality for that being approved?" Rossoff asked.
Brown agreed the plan had problems.
Rossoff asked the board not to approve the element at this point in the process, citing the many flaws he believes the document possesses. He said he understood the board's desire to get things done, but "it's important to get it right," he said, adding, "getting it approved is not necessarily getting it right."
To that he added a concern that the document could be legally challenged if it's not correct.
Supervisor Anthony Farrington asked Rossoff about setting target goals for meeting housing needs.
"I would like to set the numbers at the need level," said Rossoff.
"This housing element is a guide, the way I look at it," said Supervisor Gary Lewis, adding that he thinks "it's a good plan."
The board eventually approved the document 5-0.
With the county's approval secured, the housing element will go to the state for a final 90-day review process, said Mintier.


Southern Comfort Band appears at chili cookoff
Attendees at the Clearlake Oaks Community Support Network's inaugural "Chili Cook Off" will be privy to a public appearance by the Southern Comfort Band.
The cook-off takes place from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7 at the Plaza in Clearlake Oaks. Look for the band to be onstage from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Jerry Toler, band manager and the only founding member of the band still alive, said the band has been in operation for 21 years. "Now well into the 21st century, Southern Comfort Band is an icon and still what country music is really all about."
Toler said he has worked with quality musicians over the years to keep the sound alive. The band has worked every honkytonk, rodeo, county fair and music event in these parts, including Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa as an opening act for the stars and lounge band.
"The band now-days is a little more low key, doing mainly private parties, but in August they are going public for the first annual Clearlake Oaks Chili cook off on August 7th," Toler said, adding that the band will also perform on Saturday, Aug. 28 at Richmond Park Resort.
For band booking information, call Toler at 995-9602. To find out more about the inaugural "Chili Cook Off," call Sabine Hue De Laroque at 350-4067 or visit the Clearlake Oaks Community Support Network's Web site at


Abatement discussed in Clearlake Oaks

Wednesday 19,2004 -Lake County Administrator Kelly Cox and Public Services Director Kim Clymire were guest speakers during Clearlake Oaks Community Support Network's public meeting held on Wednesday. Cox gave an overview of the county's budget concerns highlighting park acquisition in the Oaks while Clymire outlined the current position of the park project.


Lake County Wines Featured In Mercury News

September 25, 2003 - A story about Lake county and the wines produced here were featured in the San Jose Mercury News recently. You can read the story on the Mercury News site by clicking here.

Oaks To Start Community Patrol Soon

August 26, 2003 - The Clearlake Oaks Community Service Network (CLOCSN) will be starting community patrol soon.

The community group has purchased a used Sheriff's Department patrol car, said CLOCSN's President Sabine Hue De Laroque. "We are trying to get it ready, fixing the logo and the lights. After that, we will start patrolling."


Aggressive plan for marketing, economic growth

August 15, 2003 - The county has appropriated close to $4 million for its marketing and economic development program in the new fiscal year.

This amount represents a significant increase over the $2.4 million used for those programs in fiscal year 2002/03.


A Vibrant Vision For The Community

August 8, 2003 - In almost every community, there is a downtown where most people gather. In Clearlake Oaks, residents there would tell you it is the Clearlake Oaks Town Plaza.

But don't be mistaken; it is not a shopping mall. It is a big parking lot surrounded by homes on three sides and the Clearlake Oaks United Methodist Church on the fourth.


Clearlake Oaks Gets Ready To Go

July 17, 2003 - Close to 120 people from Clearlake Oaks gathered at that northshore community's first town hall meeting to see how they can improve the image of their area.

Within a week, 31 people signed up for the different projects that the community wants to see fixed, said Roger Hue De Laroque, owner of Pascal's Discount Market and one of the meeting's initiators.