Preserve Lamorinda Open Space
MORAGA TOWN COUNCIL TO CONSIDER STRONGER PROTECTION FOR OPEN SPACE AND RIDGELINES ON SEPTEMBER 25TH!|
Please send an email or letter to the Town Council!
Please attend the public hearing on September 25, 2013
at Joaquin Moraga Middle School Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.!
For years, developers have said Moraga’s open space and ridgelines are adequately protected by existing policies…but is this true?|
These open-space protection policies were put to the test recently when the Rancho Laguna II proposal came before the Town Council in 2011. The Council ended up approving a 27-lot subdivision along a “protected” scenic corridor that will remove the crest of a ~1,500 foot-long section of Rheem Ridge to depths up to 30 feet to make way for a road and houses. The soil grading volume is estimated at an astonishing 358,000 to 470,000 cubic yards, much of it on steep and unstable slopes. And unbelievably, all this development will occur on land that is considered “protected” open space under the Moraga General Plan.
Unfortunately, Rancho Laguna II is not an isolated project. Under Moraga’s existing land-use policies, over 1,000 new units have been approved or are proposed for Moraga, many of which are to be built in open space areas:
|MORAGA HOUSING UNITS APPROVED OR PROPOSED:|
|Development Project||# Housing Units||Status|
|Augusta Dr. Extension (Moraga Country Club)||65||Approved|
|Rancho Laguna II*||27||Approved|
|Moraga Center Specific Plan||up to 630||Approved|
|Painted Rocks Project*||15||Proposed|
|*Denotes project to include development of hillsides, ridgelines and/or ranching lands zoned “open space”.|
These new units alone would amount to an 18% increase in Moraga’s total number of housing units. And the table above does not include those areas where development applications have not yet been filed, such as ‘Indian Valley”, another pristine open space area which could be developed with up to 200 more houses under Moraga’s current zoning laws.
Imagine the traffic with approximately 20% more cars coming in and out of Moraga, not to mention the loss of precious open space, wildlife habitat, and the “semi-rural” character of the town.
But Moragans have a major opportunity to save some of Moraga’s most beautiful remaining hillsides and ridgelines threatened by development. Please click here to find out what you can do to help!
|TOWN OF MORAGA PREPARING FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT FOR BOLLINGER VALLEY DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL|
Last spring the Town of Moraga circulated a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for Bollinger Valley, a 126-home proposal on 186 acres of undeveloped open space adjacent to Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. The public comment period is now closed and we are awaiting release of the Final Environmental Impact Report, which will contain the Town’s responses to the public comments it received.
If Moraga’s leaders approve this project, nearly 1,400 daily car trips will be added to Lamorinda’s already congested roads, 1.5 million cubic yards of soil will be bulldozed, more than 300 mature native trees will be cut down, and a pristine ridgeline will become lined with rooftops.
Precious habitat for raptors and songbirds, foxes, coyotes, deer, and bobcats, as well as threatened species such as the California red-legged frog and Alameda whipsnake, will be lost forever.
Massive development of this pastoral valley on the very edge of Moraga’s greenbelt is inconsistent with the Town’s General Plan policies meant to preserve remaining open space, and its environmental costs are simply too high.
To see photos of Bollinger Valley click here.
The Draft EIR is available at: http://www.moraga.ca.us/dept/planning/Major%20Projects/BollingerValley .
MORAGA PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVES HETFIELD ESTATE DEVELOPMENT
In July the Moraga Planning Commission approved the Hetfield Estates residential development near Sanders Drive. The approved project consists of 7 houses on 58 acres of designated open space.
The original proposal called for six ~6,000 square foot houses on a grading footprint of approximately 7 acres. Thanks to several years of sustained public testimony, technical input, and discussions with staff and the applicant by neighboring residents and Preserve Lamorinda Open Space, the project was scaled back significantly. The approved project now consists of 7 houses limited to a maximum of 4,000 square feet each on a grading footprint covering approximately 3 acres.
While the approved version of Hetfield Estates is a significant improvement over the original proposal, it will nevertheless require significant remedial grading (~85,000 cubic yards) to accommodate 7 home sites that will be located almost entirely on remediated landslides. This land was designated “MOSO” open space when Moraga voters adopted the Moraga Open Space Ordinance in 1986. MOSO’s stated purpose includes “restricting development on steep or unstable slopes,” and the approval of this project illustrates the extent to which the Town’s interpretation of the original MOSO ordinance has been watered down to accommodate increased densities on MOSO lands.
RANCHO LAGUNA II DEVELOPMENT AWAITING NEXT PHASE OF REVIEW
Last year the Moraga Town Council approved the 27-lot Rancho Laguna II development on the open space immediately east of Rheem Blvd south of Moraga Rd. by a vote
While some project impacts were reduced compared to earlier proposals, the approved project includes massive grading to remove over 30 feet of elevation from the crest of Rheem Ridge to make way for houses and a road. This decision was a major disappointment for those who wish to see Moraga’s remaining ridgelines left intact. Councilmembers Karen Mendonca and Howard Harpham voted in favor of the development. David Trotter voted against.
Although the project is approved, the developer must now prepare more detailed plans laying out the homesites, etc. before construction can begin. There is no word yet on when those plans will be available.
PLOS can be contacted at:
Preserve Lamorinda Open Space
P.O. Box 6632
Moraga, CA 94570-6632