The owner of a remote mobile home park on Marsh Creek Road outside Clayton cannot be compelled to hook up the homes of a dozen landowners along the route of its emergency water pipeline.
The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously rejected a lower panel's demand that a water district upsize a line to accommodate the residents who live between the end of the existing pipe and the Clayton Regency Mobile Home Park and require park owner, General Electric, to foot the bill.
In 2007, county health inspectors declared a public health emergency at the mobile home park after a series of failures of its water system.
In what was supposed to be a temporary fix, the park began trucking in water daily for its 280 residents.
Contra Costa Public Health Director Wendel Brunner, who ruled four years ago that the use of trucked water leaves open the chance of contamination during transport, warned supervisors that he will be forced to shut the park and evict the residents unless he sees substantial progress toward construction of a permanent source of clean water.
The supervisors' vote clears the path toward the installation of a 4-inch, 3-mile pipeline for the sole use of the mobile home park.
The intervening landowners along Marsh Creek Road who have been denied access to a pipeline that will be constructed in front of their properties expressed frustration and anger.
"We are not rolling over and we are notgoing away," said Harry Williamson, a Marsh Creek resident since 1973.
"You have to realize that General Electric ... has very deep pockets," added homeowner Walter Molina. "They can afford to put in a larger pipe. They can afford to put in fire hydrants. They can afford to make peace along that stretch. They can afford it, and I don't understand why you aren't sticking it to them a little bit and making them pay."
Supervisors were sympathetic to the residents' plight but said they could not force General Electric to pay the extra costs associated with a bigger pipeline.
"All of you have the right and ability to pursue (and apply to) the Contra Costa Water District ... to obtain your service," Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho told the residents. "I get that it is expensive. I understand that. But it's not General Electric's responsibility to be Robin Hood."
The board was acting on an appeal of a July decision by the county Planning Commission, whose members ordered the construction, at General Electric's cost, of a pipe large enough for all possible uses, including the intervening landowners and fire hydrants.
County planning and legal staff said the bigger pipe would trigger a costly and lengthy full-scale environmental analysis, attract significant environmental opposition and lead to the delay, or the possible rejection, of the emergency waterline to the park.