Preserve Lamorinda Open Space


On March 7, 2018 the Moraga Town Council will conduct a study session to review draft revisions to Moraga’s existing open-space development regulations. These revised policies have the potential to protect remaining hillsides and ridgelines from excessive development much more effectively.

You can have an impact on these critical decisions!



The meetings will be held Weds., March 7 at 6:00 pm in the new Town Council Chambers, 335 Rheem Blvd. A good turnout sends a strong signal to the Council that the community really cares about this issue. Even if you don’t wish to speak, please attend this hearing if you can.


Send your email directly to both the following email addresses:

Moraga Town Clerk:
Moraga Planning Department:

Address your message to:

Mayor Trotter and Members of the Town Council

On the subject line include the following:

Hillsides and Ridgelines Project

Tell the Town Council what Moraga’s hillsides, ridgelines, and scenic beauty mean to you, and why you support strong new regulations to protect them. Even a short letter has a big impact! You may wish to mention, in your own words, one or more of the following policy issues in your letter:

  • Ridgelines: Moraga’s scenic ridgelines should be off limits to further development. The Town’s existing ridgeline restrictions failed to protect Rheem Ridge from the Rancho Laguna II (“Bellavista”) project now under construction. New ridgeline regulations should protect all visually significant undeveloped ridgelines. The currently-proposed 200-foot “no-development” buffer is a good solution for visually significant ridgelines that are currently unprotected.

  • Viewshed Protection: Moraga’s scenic beauty is at the heart of its quality of life. Hillside grading to replace natural landforms with engineered slopes and clusters of hillside houses will erode Moraga’s unique semi-rural character. Protecting ridgeline views is not enough: the new regulations must specifically protect views of the hillsides themselves with clear standards to prevent new housing from destroying hillside viewsheds.

  • Steep Slopes: Moraga’s open spaces are largely composed of steep, unstable slopes with weak soils. 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 10,000 square foot “development envelope” currently proposed for adoption in the new regulations will be an effective means to close this loophole and should be approved.

  • Development of “High Risk” Open Space Land: The Moraga Open Space Ordinance says that “high risk land” (i.e., land with landslides, faults, unstable soils, 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 has been watered down to allow developers to build on high risk lands at higher densities by conducting massive grading to reduce geologic hazards. The result has been damaging grading and more development in open space, precisely what MOSO was intended to prevent. The newly proposed revision to the MOSO Guidelines eliminating density increases for massive remedial grading projects will again enable the Town to implement faithfully MOSO’s prohibition on densities greater than 1 home per 20 acres in high risk MOSO lands, and the Town Council should adopt this revision.

  • Home Sizes: Recent housing developments approved in open space scenic corridors include very large homes, some in excess of 5,000 square feet. Clusters of such homes can dominate the landscape and destroy the semi-rural character of the scenic corridor. The size and heights of houses built in open space areas visible from scenic corridors should be limited to reasonable sizes to preserve the landscape’s scenic value.

  • Thank you for writing to the Town Council to help protect Lamorinda’s scenic beauty and quality of life!
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