Preserve Lamorinda Open Space


VICTORY! On April 11, 2018, the Moraga Town Council unanimously voted to update and strengthen its open space development regulations, a process which began in 2013 when first proposed by Mayor Dave Trotter. For nearly five years, the Town gathered community input through a series of public meetings, workshops, study sessions, and focus groups. This input overwhelmingly favored stronger protection for open space, ridgelines, scenic views, and hillsides.

THANK YOU MORAGA RESIDENTS FOR YOUR STRONG AND SUSTAINED PARTICIPATION IN THIS PROCESS! This result would not have been possible without your many hours of participation including community workshops, study sessions, public hearings, and letters.

The Town Council has now adopted a set of revisions to the General Plan, Municipal Code, Moraga Open Space Ordinance (MOSO) Guidelines, and Design Guidelines that clarify and strengthen the rules governing development on steep slopes, grading of “high risk” areas, viewshed protection, and ridgeline protection.

These new rules accomplish the following:

- Ridgelines: The new regulations have extended protection to visually significant undeveloped ridgelines that are not already protected by the Moraga Open Space Ordinance (MOSO). These include ridgelines on the Saint Mary’s College campus and the Painted Rocks scenic corridor

- Viewshed Protection: The new regulations protect views of ridgelines by preventing new hillside development from blocking the ridgeline views behind them. Also, the maximum size of new houses visible from a scenic corridor (such as Moraga Rd., Moraga Way, etc.) will be capped to prevent “mega-homes” over 5,500 square feet from being visible from the scenic corridors.

- Steep Slopes: In 1986, Moraga voters adopted the “Moraga Open Space Ordinance” (MOSO) which prohibited any development on designated open space slopes steeper than 20%, but loopholes have allowed this prohibition to be skirted for years. The new regulations will at last meaningfully enforce this voter-approved prohibition.

- Development of “High Risk” Open Space Land: MOSO says that “high risk land” (i.e., land with landslides and/or other geologic hazards) may not be developed with more than one house per 20 acres. Over the years, the interpretation of this law was watered down to allow developers to build on high-risk lands at higher densities by conducting massive grading operations to reduce geologic hazards (such as that which occurred along Rheem Blvd. over the past several years). The result has been damaging grading and more development in open space, precisely what MOSO was intended to prevent. The revised MOSO Guidelines will eliminate density increases for massive remedial grading projects, enabling the Town to once again implement faithfully MOSO’s prohibition on densities greater than 1 home per 20 acres in high-risk MOSO lands.

These revisions were unanimously supported by the Moraga Town Council: Mayor Dave Trotter, Vice-Mayor Teresa Onoda, and Councilmembers Jeanette Fritzky, Kymberleigh Korpus, and Roger Wykle. Huge thanks go to all of them for their demonstrated commitment to preserving Moraga’s open space!

HomeAbout PLOSLatest