Ramona has plans for a new emergency evacuation route along Rangeland Road.
Community Planning Chair Jim Piva expressed gratitude Thursday to county supervisors, including Dianne Jacob, the Ramona Municipal Water District and SDG&E for their help in creating the route for Ramona residents.
"There is a really good relationship with the county, Supervisor Jacob and SDG&E that will give us more say in our community," Piva said at the monthly planning group meeting in the library. "It's a win-win all the way around."
Piva said that both the water district and Ramona's new sheriff's lieutenant, James Bovet, approved the plan.
According to Piva, the north part of Ramona will have a new route and SDG&E has donated lights and power to help illuminate the way. The lights are amber and shielded, sitting no higher than 18 feet off the ground, according to Bovet.
"It's about as minimal as we can get," Bovet said.
Three low-pressure, sodium lights will be installed—placed on poles along Rangeland Road and before the gate at Highland Hills.
Planning group member Kevin Wallace expressed concern over the fact that the lights will always be on, not just in case of emergencies. He said he wished they could be more "green," but Piva said: "It is what it is."
Planning member Torry Brean publicly thanked Piva for all his hard work in obtaining a new emergency evacuation plan for Ramona, but said he still thought the route needed to be a full road.
The new emergency evacuation route comes at no cost to Ramona or the county; SDG&E has donated all materials and time needed for the plan.
"This is a goodwill gesture by SDG&E," Piva said. "They put their money where their mouth is."
The group voted in favor of writing SDG&E a letter, publicly thanking them for its generosity. The item was passed 12-1, with Wallace opposing. Planning member Chris Anderson and Chad Anderson were absent.
The new route will hopefully help with congestion during emergency evacuations due to fires. Piva said that during Ramona's last evacuation, it took cars five hours to get out of town.
Editor's note: This article previously stated that the water board will discuss the new route at its bimonthly meeting at 2 p.m. Oct. 9 in the community center. The evacuation route will, in fact, not be on the agenda at the Oct. 9 meeting and discussion for it has been postponed due to paperwork issues.