Preserve Lamorinda Open Space

HELP SAVE BOLLINGER VALLEY:

Your voice is needed to protect this beautiful rural area on the edge of Moraga from a damaging housing development.


WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1. ATTEND THE PUBLIC HEARING ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 15.
On Monday, October 15, the Moraga Planning Commission will hold a hearing on this project at 7:00 pm in the Town Council Chambers, 335 Rheem Blvd. The Planning Commission’s task is to decide whether or not to recommend this project to the Town Council for approval. A good turnout sends a strong signal to the Commission that the community really cares about this issue. Even if you don’t wish to speak, please attend this hearing if you can.

2. SEND AN EMAIL TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION.

Please write a polite letter or email to the Planning Commissioners letting them know how you feel about this project. If possible, submit your letter by Friday, October 12 so the Commissioners have time to read it prior to Monday night’s meeting on October 15.

Address your letter to the Moraga Planning Commission as follows:

Moraga Planning Commission
329 Rheem Blvd.
Moraga, CA 94556

Re: Bollinger Valley Development

You may email your letter to planning@moraga.ca.us or send it by U.S. Mail. (Emails and paper letters are equally helpful.)

In your email, be sure to ask that your letter be circulated to all members of the Planning Commission prior to Monday’s hearing.

LETTER CONTENT:

This development may not be approved unless it is consistent with the Moraga General Plan and local and state environmental laws. The Town has prepared an Environmental Impact Report intended to analyze the project’s environmental impacts and consistency with these laws. The EIR documents are available at:www.moraga.ca.us/dept/planning/Major%20Projects/BollingerValley and the staff report at: https://townofmoraga.worldsecuresystems.com/commissions/planning/meetings/2018/1015/Packet.pdf The applicant is currently seeking approval for 85 houses, referred to as “Alternative 6” in the Final EIR documents.

You may wish to mention, in your own words, one or more of the following issues in your comment letter:

TOWN STAFF RECOMMENDATION:

• Town of Moraga Planning Staff is recommending denial of this project, citing multiple inconsistencies with the Moraga General Plan.

GRADING AND LANDSLIDES:

• More than 50 landslides have been found on the property so far.(FEIR, p. 2-45.) Grading for the 85-lot plan would cover 108 acres of the 186-acre site and move over 1.8 million cubic yards of soil.(FEIR, Table MR-6-2.) The grading volume is enormous because most of the houses would be located in landslide areas, triggering the need for extensive remedial grading.

• Moraga’s General Plan requires new development to “retain” and “respect” site topography and natural features (Policies CD1.2 and CD4.4), but this project’s mass grading would replace the site’s naturally varied topography with a massive engineered slope.(Moraga 2002 General Plan, pp. 4-1, 4-9.)

• Moraga’s General Plan Policy CD1.1 urges that new development be concentrated in the “least sensitive” areas including “areas of flat or gently sloping topography,” but this project’s proposed houses are concentrated on steep, unstable hillsides.(Ibid., p. 4-1.)

TRAFFIC:

• The applicant is now seeking approval for 85 houses (“Alternative 6”) which would generate over 800 additional daily vehicle trips on local roads.(FEIR Tables 4.L-6, Table 5-1.) The FEIR concludes that there are no measures that can adequately mitigate all of the regional traffic impacts from the project, designating them “significant and unavoidable” impacts.(FEIR, Table 5-1.)

FIRE SAFETY:

• The FEIR finds that due to the site’s location at the edge of town, it violates the General Plan Policy requiring emergency vehicles to be able to respond within 3 minutes. The proposed mitigation for this impact is to amend the General Plan to relax this safety standard.(DEIR, p. 4.J-18.) In light of California’s increase in devastating wildfires in recent years, this is an inappropriate time to relax such standards.

WILDLIFE, CREEKS AND TREES:

• The project would cut down 216 trees, contrary to General Plan policies to preserve trees, particularly those in Bollinger Canyon (GP Policies OS2.8, OS2.9).(Ibid., p. 7-6.)

• The project would disturb 108 acres of grasslands and oak woodlands that provide breeding, foraging and/or dispersal habitat for diverse wildlife such as raptors and songbirds, foxes and coyotes, bobcats, bats, and the federally-listed threatened Alameda whipsnake.(DEIR, pp. 4.C-23 through 4.C-26.)

• The project will eliminate 0.26 acres of “marshes and ponds with associated wetland and riparian habitat.” These areas provide “habitat for special status species in the Project Area and vicinity, have been declining, are at risk of declining in the region…”(FEIR, p. 3-73)

SCHOOLS AND PUBLIC SERVICES:

• The FEIR found that the cumulative impact of this project plus Moraga’s other approved developments could cause elementary school capacity in Moraga to be exceeded, resulting in a “cumulatively considerable impact” that “may decrease the quality of public school facilities.”(FEIR, p. 2-88)

EXCESSIVE DEVELOPMENT:

• Moraga has already approved or envisions another ~1000 housing units (for details click here and scroll down to see table) in the coming years, to be added to its ~5,800 existing housing units. Given the expected cumulative impacts from these new units on traffic, schools, public safety, air quality, population, wildlife, and natural resources, it does not make sense to approve yet more large-scale development in the undeveloped hills of Bollinger Valley.

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