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Fifteen-year-old David Youngman appeared before the Escondido city council yesterday to ask for help getting permission to move forward with a public service project he’s been working on since late 2009 as part of his involvement with Eagle Scouts. Youngman wants to build a concrete platform at the edge of a pond to provide safe access to families who come to feed the resident ducks. At present, the muddy edges of the water pose a hazard to young children and hamper wheelchair access.

After several months of meeting with contractors and engineers to figure out how best to complete his project, Youngman met with the city last October, who expressed concern that if any portion of the platform came into contact with the water that the project might require approval from the state Department of Fish & Game. After further consultation with architectural engineers, he returned to the city and got approval for a plan featuring a cantilevered platform extending to the water’s edge.

On April 20, a permit application was filed. On May 3, the city responded to the permit with a request that Youngman get approval from Fish & Game. The agency, in turn, suggested that he hire a consultant to help with the application process.

Youngman, frustrated with the bureaucratic runaround, appealed to the mayor and council for assistance in expediting the approval, as funds for construction had already been raised and the work needed to be completed before his group left on a trip in early July. While no concrete progress was made, the council applauded the young man for his efforts. “I think that took a lot of guts,” commented councilmember Ed Gallo in response to Youngman’s speech.

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