Saturday, July 5, 2014

Famed director sells Malibu ranch to parks dept.

State and L.A. County Pool Resources for Land Preservation

June 2014-- In May, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a $6 million allocation to assist in purchasing land in Malibu's Puerco Canyon, currently owned by film director James Cameron. This allocation augments dedicated state funding of $4.5 million from the Wildlife Conservation Board and $1.5 million from the California State Coastal Conservancy. State and county funds will go toward purchasing the 703-acre property in the Santa Monica Mountains.


This acquisition connects popular recreation trails from the neighboring 1,000-acre Corral Canyon Park and the 7,000 acre Malibu Creek State Park. The property will contribute to completing the new Coastal Slope Trail from Topanga State Park to Point Mugu State Park. Equally important will be the preservation of a rare chaparral ecosystem that supports native vegetation and wildlife, ranging from mountain lions to desert cottontails.
The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) will be the property caretaker working towards open space preservation and habitat and resource protection. MRCA will set a date for public access once the land purchase is finalized.

http://sd27.senate.ca.gov/sites/sd27.senate.ca.gov/files/outreach/sd27-201406-enewsletter.php

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

$300 million for Bay open spaces


West SF Bay Measure AA Victorious as Voters say “Yes for Open Space” 
Final count: Historic open space measure wins with more than 67 percent of the vote
 
 

June 9, 2014....Palo Alto, Calif. – Measure AA, the Peninsula’s historic open space preservation measure, officially claimed victory today, winning more than 67 percent of the vote throughout the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, better known as “Midpen.” The measure needed 66.7 percent to pass.
 
Voter approval of Measure AA now authorizes Midpen to issue bonds of up to $300 million to add 200 miles of new trails, increase recreational access for residents of all ages and preserve and restore thousands of acres of open spaces, forests, watersheds and farmlands throughout the Midpen district, which stretches 550 square miles from Los Gatos and East Palo Alto to north of Half Moon Bay.
 
“Peninsula residents have just made an incredible investment in the future, preserving the beautiful open spaces that make this region so special,” said Walter Moore, president of the Peninsula Open Space Trust, which, along with the Sempervirens Fund, served as Measure AA’s chief sponsor. “It is terrific to live in a place that puts such a high value on protecting our scarce natural areas for future generations, and we’re incredibly grateful to this community’s strong support.”
The funding approved by Measure AA will support 25 key projects identified through an extensive public planning process as providing the broadest public benefits. An independent oversight committee will ensure that funds are spent as promised.

Support for Measure AA was widespread and included nearly all the elected officials, community groups, chambers of commerce and housing advocates on the peninsula, as well as more than a dozen local newspapers and media outlets. Representatives said overwhelming community support and help from committed volunteers brought this measure over the challenging two-thirds majority needed to pass.
"We want to thank the thousands who shaped the Vision Plan and supported Measure AA--those who visit the preserves and use the trails, conservationists, parents, educators, employers and many, many others, who voted for the health of our environment and the health of our community,” said Steve Abbors, Midpen General Manager, “Now it’s our turn, we're hitting the ground running, and we look forward to the day in the near future when we come together again to celebrate the completion of the first Measure AA-funded project."
 
For a complete list of the 25 top open space projects that will benefit from this measure, click here. For details about Midpen, visit www.openspace.org.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Summertime at the L.A. park agency meetings...


Developments and Park Purchases in the L.A. and Ventura County Mountains

From park agency agendas for July to September of 2013


NOTE: some attachments were not posted on the SMMC website at the time I posted this story. When they are posted, they will be here: http://smmc.ca.gov/attachment.asp?agendaid=438


SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS:

comment letter to the City of Los Angeles on the Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report for the Harvard-Westlake School Parking Improvement Plan Project (env-2013-0150-eir), 3700-3701 N. Coldwater Canyon Avenue, Studio City. [no attachment yet] SMMC 9/23/2013

comment letter to the City of Los Angeles on Revised Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Curtis School Project (env-2009-836-mnd), 15871 and 15801 Mulholland Drive and 15800 and 15850 Mulholland Place, Encino. [no attachment yet] SMMC 9/23/2013

establishment of a Mulholland Scenic Parkway Core Trail Fund and entering into agreements with the City of Los Angeles regarding said fund. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map] MRCA 9/4/2013

acceptance of 54.4 acre open space dedication in the Triunfo Canyon watershed associated with PM 071223, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Map] MRCA 9/4/2013

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SIMI VALLEY:

Consideration of resolution authorizing a comment letter to the City of Simi Valley regarding All Valley RV Storage project, cp-s-591-mod#1, Arroyo Simi and Alamos Canyon. [Comment Letter] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map] SMMC 8/26/2013

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SIMI HILLS:

comment letter on NASA Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Demolition and Environmental Cleanup Activities at Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Ventura County. [no attachment yet] SMMC 9/23/2013

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SANTA SUSANA MOUNTAINS:

comment letter to United States Army Corps of Engineers regarding the proposed Hidden Creeks Residential Development Project (Application No. SPL-2013-00425-AOA) in Browns and Mormon Canyons, unincorporated County of Los Angeles. [no attachment yet] SMMC 9/23/2013


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Another Step in Completing L.A. Loop Trail

City Kicks in $$ for Major Link in L.A. Parks Loop


On Last Tuesday night (July 9th), Santa Clarita's city council OK'd $2.6 million out of a total price of $4.6 million for most of the former Las Lomas development site. The 302 acres is part of a 550 acre 5000 home proposal that was considered but then rejected by L.A.'s City Council 5 years ago. The land is the connector between the Angeles National Forest/San Gabriel Mountains and the Santa Susana Mountains. Along with the Simi Hills, Verdugo Mountains and Santa Monica Mountains, both large chunks and narrow corridors in these ranges have been assembled together into the Rim of the Valley Corridor park system over the last 40 years by parks agencies.

To complete this deal, another $2 million is being sought from the State and L.A. County parks funds.



Details from the Council agenda:
http://apps.santa-clarita.com/agendas/CouncilItemPrint.aspx?ID=6826

For past stories from our site:
http://rare-earth-news.blogspot.com/search?q=Las+Lomas

Maps of the Rim of the Valley parks:
http://www.modernhiker.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/RimValleyMap.jpg

http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley/studyarea.htm

applications to the CalTrans Environmental Enhancement Mitigation Program grant program for:
City of Santa Clarita’s 300 acre Gateway Ranch purchase project; [Resolution A] [Map A]
[Staff Report] SMMC 12/3/2012
(Parcel to be purchased is in blue--click on map to enlarge)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

State $ saves another 10,000 acres


WILDLIFE CONSERVATION BOARD Purchases
From meeting on June 4, 2013

SUMMARY:
4649 acres purchased in full
5048 acres of development rights retired
COST: $13.8 million

Royal Gorge $3,010,000, Placer and Nevada Counties
grant to Truckee Donner Land Trust to acquire two parcels totaling 2,520± acres for the purposes of protecting alpine forests and meadows, … approximately 10 miles west of the City of Truckee, in the Donner Summit area

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MORE PURCHASES:

Sardella Ranch Conservation Easement, $520,000, Tuolumne County
grant to the California Rangeland Trust to assist with the acquisition of a conservation easement over 523± acres located 7 miles southeast of the town of Sonora

San Diego County MSCP/HCPLA 2009 $578,750,  (Kemerko)
acquire 132± acres of land to protect core areas of habitat that will benefit threatened and endangered species, and secure key regional wildlife linkages located near the communities of Crest and Harbison Canyon in an unincorporated area of San Diego County.

Ten Mile River (Perry-Smith Ranch) $3,510,000, Mendocino County
grant to The Nature Conservancy to acquire a working forest conservation easement over 872± acres of native forest lands located adjacent to, and along the Ten Mile River, north of Inglenook on the Mendocino Coast.

Garden Bar Preserve $1,452,000, Nevada County
grant to the Bear Yuba Land Trust to acquire 652± acres along the Bear River, approximately 10 miles northwest of the City of Auburn

El Dorado Ranch $3,000,000, El Dorado and Amador Counties
grant to the American River Conservancy (ARC) to acquire in fee 1,059± acres fronting the Cosumnes River, located approximately 15 miles south of the City of Placerville

Wilmar Ranch, Diablo Range Oak Woodland $275,000, Conservation Easement
Monterey County
grant to California Rangeland Trust to acquire a conservation easement over 2,114± acres

Rancho Vierra Oak Woodland $660,000, Conservation Easement
Monterey County
grant to Big Sur Land Trust to assist with the acquisition of a conservation easement over 964± acres 6 miles northeast of the City of Salinas

Bufford Ranch Conservation Easement $570,000, Kern County
grant to the California Rangeland Trust to assist with the acquisition of a conservation easement over 575± acres located approximately 12 miles south of Lake Isabella

Arrastre Canyon $260,000, Los Angeles County
grant to The Nature Conservancy (TNC), acceptance of settlement funds from the U.S. Department of the Interior Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Fund (aka ARCO funds), and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Land Acquisition grant and the approval to subgrant the ARCO funds and grant funds to TNC to acquire 286± acres of land to protect habitat for threatened and endangered species, and maintain habitat connectivity within the upper Santa Clara River floodplain and watershed in Arrastre Canyon, a tributary to the Santa Clara River located just south of community of Acton



Friday, June 28, 2013

L.A. and Ventura park agency purchases for April to June 2013


Purchase of 56 acres in Malibu and 22 acres in Tujunga Canyon; plus lots of studies

Taken from agendas of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the MRCA


MALIBU AND L.A. COUNTY PORTION OF SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS:

56 acres-acquisition of apn 4465-004-045 and 4465-004-084 in the Ramirez Canyon watershed, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] [Attachment] SMMC 4/29/2013

project planning and design for the Escondido to Ramirez Canyon habitat and trail linkage project in the coastal watersheds of Santa Monica Bay, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Map] SMMC 4/29/2013

project planning and design for the Little Sycamore to Encinal Canyon Coastal Slope Trail zone project, in the coastal watersheds of Santa Monica Bay, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Map] SMMC 4/29/2013

project planning and design for the upper Malibu Canyon tributaries project in the coastal watersheds of Santa Monica Bay, unincorporated Los Angeles County and cities of Calabasas and Agoura Hills. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Map] SMMC 4/29/2013

project planning and design for the upper Topanga watershed project in the coastal watersheds of Santa Monica Bay, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Map] SMMC 4/29/2013

comment letter to Los Angeles regarding proposed modification to recorded Tract Map No. 38931, Dark Canyon watershed, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Attachment] [Staff Report] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] SMMC 4/29/2013

acquire approximately 6.28-acre parcel APN 4448-018-018 (1809 Tuna Canyon Road), adjacent to Rocky Ledge; [Staff Report] [Resolution] MRCA 7/3/2013 [Staff Report] [Resolution] MRCA 7/3/2013
[Staff Report] [Resolution] MRCA 7/3/2013 [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map 1] [Map 2] [Map 3] SMMC 6/3/2013

Carbon Canyon riparian habitat mitigation project in the Carbon Canyon watershed, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map] SMMC 6/3/2013

mitigation project in the Malibu Creek watershed. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] SMMC 6/3/2013

------------------------------------------

L.A. CITY PORTION OF SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS:

project planning and design for the Mulholland Drive Scenic Corridor in the upper Los Angeles River watershed and coastal watersheds of Santa Monica Bay, Santa Monica Mountains, City of Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Map] SMMC 4/29/2013

comment letter to the City of Los Angeles regarding a development proposal for 8145 Willow Glen Road, Case No. za 2013-0664(zaa), Laurel Canyon. [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Attachment 4] [Attachment 5] [Comment Letter] [Map 1] [Map 2] SMMC 6/3/2013

regarding apn 5565-026-900, Willow Glen Road, and assigning rights to said acquisition to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Laurel Canyon. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Attachment 4] [Attachment 5] [Map 1] [Map 2] SMMC 6/3/2013

trail improvements and construction at Fryman Canyon. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] [Attachment] SMMC 6/3/2013 [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 5/29/2013

acquisition of APN 2274-018-014, approximately 1.6 acres, Sherman Oaks. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 6/5/2013

price and terms on APN 2292-010-032, Encino. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Map] [Map 2] MRCA 6/5/2013

East of the 405-Santa Monica Mountains Open Space Preservation Assessment District No. 1, Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] MRCA 6/5/2013
[Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] MRCA 6/5/2013

West of the 405-Santa Monica Mountains Open Space Preservation Assessment District No. 2, Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] MRCA 6/5/2013
[Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] MRCA 6/5/2013

project planning and design of the Griffith Park to El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park Recreational Trail Corridor, City of Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map] SMMC 6/3/2013. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 5/1/2013

acceptance of a conservation easement over an approximately 0.13-acre portion of APN 5577-017-016 (6696 Lakeridge Road), Cahuenga Pass, City of Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Attachment 2] MRCA 5/1/2013

--------------------------------------------

SAN GABRIEL AND VERDUGO MOUNTAINS AND SAN RAFAEL HILLS:

license agreement for the operation of a nursery on a portion of La Tuna Canyon Park, Verdugo Hills. [Staff Report] [Resolution] SMMC 4/29/2013

San Gabriel Mountains-Rim of the Valley Trail implementation and Angeles National Forest trail and habitat connections project in the upper Los Angeles River watershed. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Map 1] [Map 2] [Map 3] SMMC 4/29/2013

project planning and design from the confluence of Tujunga Wash along the Pacoima Wash Recreational Greenway to the Angeles National Forest. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map] SMMC 6/3/2013

project planning and design grant for the upstream of Pacoima Wash Recreational Greenway to Angeles National Forest. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 5/1/2013

trail improvements and construction at Millard Canyon. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 5/29/2013

acquisition of APN 2552-001-008, approximately 22 acres, Big Tujunga Canyon, unincorporated Los Angeles County. Negotiators: Joseph T. Edmiston and David Thomas. Under consideration: price and terms. (This item may be heard in closed session pursuant to Section 54956.8 of the Government Code.) [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 6/5/2013

trail improvements and construction at Millard Canyon. [Staff Report] SMMC 6/3/2013

project planning and design in the San Rafael Hills, Verdugo Mountains, and Northeast Los Angeles Open Space, including Arroyo Seco and Verdugo Wash. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map] SMMC 6/3/2013 [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 5/1/2013

--------------------------------------------

SANTA SUSANA MOUNTAINS AND SIMI HILLS:

project planning and design for the Browns Canyon watershed project in the upper Los Angeles River watershed, Santa Susana Mountains, Chatsworth area. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Map] SMMC 4/29/2013

project planning and design for the Alamos Canyon habitat and trail linkage project in the coastal watersheds of Santa Monica Bay, Calleguas Creek watershed, Santa Susana Mountains, Ventura County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Map] SMMC 4/29/2013

project planning and design for the Sage Ranch to Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park habitat linkage project in the upper Los Angeles River watershed and coastal watersheds of Santa Monica Bay, Simi Hills, unincorporated Ventura and Los Angeles counties. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Map] SMMC 4/29/2013

----------------------------------

SANTA CLARITA VALLEY:

mitigation project in the Soledad Canyon watershed, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] SMMC 6/3/2013

---------------------------------

L.A. RIVER:

project planning and design in Los Angeles River Master Plan Reaches Five and Six. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] SMMC 6/3/2013 [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] MRCA 5/1/2013

Consideration of resolution authorizing a grant of Proposition 50 funds to Community Conservation Solutions for the Los Angeles River Greenway project, Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] SMMC 6/3/2013

Consideration of resolution authorizing entering into a lease agreement with an adjacent property owner for an unused portion of Marsh Park. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 5/1/2013

--------------------------

BALLONA CREEK AND BALDWIN HILLS:

project planning and design in the Ballona Creek and Ballona Wetlands area from Culver City to the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Bay Watershed. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map] SMMC 6/3/2013. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 5/1/2013

Park to Playa – Stocker Corridor project. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] MRCA 5/1/2013

Presentation on the on-going Park to Playa Regional Trail project connecting the Baldwin Hills to the Pacific Ocean in the Santa Monica Bay Watershed. [Staff Report] [Presentation] MRCA 5/1/2013





Sunday, June 9, 2013

Finally, the L.A. Sierra Club creates a blog....

Success Means Less Newsletters

When I got first got active to save open spaces back in 1985, we had no email, internet or blogs to distribute action alerts. It was all paper. So over the years I built up many piles and boxes and file cabinets full of research on saving the last natural areas in the L.A., Orange and Ventura County areas. I eventually joined the Sierra Club and served on its board for 5 years, collecting piles of the monthly Southern Sierran newspaper. Now they have gone totally electronic, not just to save paper but because they're low on funds. So the Southern Sierran is no longer sent out to all Club members anymore, except by special request.  Back in the day the Club spent around $200,000 a year on conservation campaigns and I mapped out all the natural areas left in these 3 counties and there were 12 large mostly natural areas that were threatened with development. Fast forward to today when 10 of those 12 natural areas are mostly preserved due to our work. So success has meant less work to do for environmental activists. And so even though fundraising is harder, this area is no longer being overrun with bulldozers except in a few spots.

Anyway, here are L.A./OC and Ventura stories from the last 2 years of the Southern Sierran which you might have missed:

SAN ONOFRE NUKE PLANT TO BE PERMANENTLY MOTH-BALLED




----------------------------------

JOSHUA TREE—EAGLE MOUNTAIN LANDFILL PROPOSAL ENDED

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SAN GABRIEL NATIONAL RECREATION AREA PROPOSAL REFINED BY FEDS



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NORTH L.A. COUNTY: SANTA CLARITA'S WATER COMPANY BUYS NEWHALL'S LAND'S WATER COMPANY, AND OTHER DEVELOPMENT PLANS




SANTA CLARITA VALLEY—CREST TO COAST TRAIL

CEMEX MINE PROPOSAL EAST OF SANTA CLARITA

----------------------------------------

SOUTH BAY TOXIC SITES TO BE CLEANED FINALLY

STRAWBERRY PEAK TRAILS TO BE FIXED AFTER STATION FIRE

61% OF FULLERTON VOTERS REJECT COYOTE HILLS/CHEVRON'S HOUSING TRACT

L.A COUNTY PLANNING—SIGNIFICANT ENVIRONMENTAL AREAS

MONTEBELLO HILLS

CADIZ VALLEY—DESERT WATER GRAB

GRIFFITH PARK

FED APPEALS COURT TRASHES NATIONAL FOREST ADVENTURE PASSES

PALOS VERDES LANDFILL

L.A.'S RIM OF THE VALLEY PARKS SYSTEM MAY BE EXPANDED


L.A. RIVER'S NEWEST PARK

CHATSWORTH NATURE PRESERVE

CHANDLER'S SAND AND GRAVEL—PALOS VERDES-HOUSING TRACT

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Politicians Consider changes to Calif's Main Environmental Law

CEQA Roundup - The Good, Bad & Potentially Bad: What business thinks of reform bills


6/7/2013, swiped from:
http://www.caeconomy.org/reporting/entry/ceqa-roundup-the-good-bad-potentially-bad-what-business-thinks-of-reform-bi 


Bills addressing legal uncertainty around the Ballona Wetlands decision received some resistance. (Photo Credit: stonebird/Flickr)

The CEQA reform debate was put largely aside this week as lawmakers work to finalize the state budget before next week's deadline. The short breather provided an opportunity for a post-mortem on the legislative process so far—with one analysis by a group of land use attorneys offering an early glimpse of where business interests, in particular, are likely to seek changes in the months ahead. (More on that below.)
What CEQA proposals are still moving
Of the more than two dozen CEQA bills introduced this winter, only five made it out of their house of origin last week, meaning they could still become law this year.
Perhaps the biggest surprises were the stumbles of the most comprehensive CEQA changes backed by environmentalists, Asm. Ammiano's AB 953 and Sen. Evans's SB 617. Both bills contained the same proposal to address lingering legal uncertainty surrounding the recent Ballona decision, a legal change that is popular with some Dems—but particularly unpopular with the state Chamber of Commerce, which tagged both bills as "job killers." It will be worth watching to see if the bill's legal language makes its way into one of the five CEQA bills still moving.
The Land Use & Development Law Report offers a helpful roundup of the CEQA changes that are still on the table. Their summary:
Active CEQA bills:
  • SB 731, the "CEQA Modernization Act of 2013.″ (See CAeconomy's summary of what the bill does—and doesn't do.)
  • AB 37, which would require lead agencies to prepare their records of proceedings at the same time they prepare environmental documents for certain projects
  • AB 543, which would require translation of certain CEQA notices and CEQA document summaries if 25% of nearby residents are non-English-speaking
  • AB 436 and AB 380, which would impose additional CEQA notice and filing requirements
CEQA bills that did not make the cut:
  • SB 787, the same far-reaching and controversial CEQA reform proposal that first surfaced in August 2012
  • Proposals for specialized divisions within superior courts to handle CEQA case
  • Efforts to overturn recent appellate court decisions [including Ballona] holding that CEQA concerns the effects of projects on the environment—not effects of the environment on projects
  • Three bills, or portions of those bills, that would have extended the 2011 Environmental Leadership Act's CEQA streamlining provisions to additional categories of projects
Where business may push back
Sen. Steinberg's SB 731, with its focus in streamlining the CEQA process for infill developments, remains the most comprehensive piece of reform legislation. As we pointed out last week, in spite of the unanimous support for the bill in the Senate, disagreements still exist over many of the bill's details.
While environmentalists haven't detailed their quibbles in the last few weeks, a group of land-use attorneys at the law firm Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips recently posted a critical analysis of the bill's provisions—offering a window into where business interests may seek changes in the months ahead.
The Manatt analysis divides the bill's proposals into four categories: Good, Bad, Potentially Bad, and Status Quo. The attorneys consider only one of the bill's provisions "good:" Steinberg's removal of "aesthetic" impacts from the CEQA process. As Manatt puts it, this "removes a subjective matter from environmental review, resulting in possible time/cost savings for qualifying projects.
Many of the other changes the bill would make—including Steinberg's proposals to set new thresholds for common urban environmental impacts like noise, traffic, and parking—are viewed by Manatt with a fair bit of skepticism.
These proposals seem likely to be the focus of debate—and amendments to tighten up language—now that the bill has moved to the Assembly:
  • Setting new "thresholds" for common urban environmental impacts – Manatt's take: "Potentially Bad: Noise, traffic and parking are quintessential local issues. Statewide standards may result in local battles over the need for more specific local thresholds of significance, and the nature/scope of local thresholds."

  • New requirements that draft CEQA findings be made public sooner – Manatt's take: "Bad: Additional noticing will result in increased processing costs for project proponents and could result in significant delay if revisions to findings and additional public review are necessary."

  • Allowing administrative record to be prepared concurrently with the project (instead of at the end): Manatt's take: "Potentially Bad: Currently written such that only the applicant may make this request. May encourage CEQA litigation since administrative record will already be prepared (and paid for) at time of project approval."

  • New annual report requirements to demonstrate mitigation of environmental impacts: Manatt's take: "Potentially Bad: Heightened local agency oversight of project implementation and ongoing CEQA compliance. Additional opportunities for CEQA lawsuits where report identifies deficiencies with implementation of mitigation measures. Additional annual costs to project proponents until satisfaction of all MMRP conditions."

  • Prohibiting project opponents from performing last-minute "document dumps" to slow down CEQA review process: Manatt's take: "Status quo: While the legislation states that it intends to make changes to Section 21091, no changes to Section 21091 are actually proposed in SB 731 as currently drafted."

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A few State Wildlife board land purchases in March...

LAND PURCHASES BY CALIFORNIA'S WILDLIFE CONSERVATION BOARD
FOR JANUARY THROUGH MARCH 2013

SUMMARY:
1640 acres of development rights purchased
124 acres bought in full ownership



HUMBOLDT COUNTY: Arcata Community Forest (Humphry) 2 acres for $190,000. WCB 3/2013
MENDOCINO COUNTY: acquire 64± acres, located adjacent to the Inglenook Fen-Ten Mile Dunes Natural Preserve – MacKerricher State Park. WCB 3/2013
YUBA COUNTY: exchange easements between the State and two separate property owners to provide clear title to the adjoining landowners and improved access to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Daugherty Hills Wildlife Area (Howard Hill Unit). WCB 3/2013
YUBA COUNTY: Marysville ranch--acquisition of a conservation easement over 1,277± acres of land by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) for a cooperative project with the U.S. Department of Defense, California Department of Transportation and the Trust for Public Land for the protection of oak woodland and grassland habitats and habitat linkages and open space buffers between DFW’s Spenceville Wildlife Area (SWA) and Beale Air Force Base (BAFB). $265,000. WCB 3/2013
BUTTE COUNTY: Little Chico Creek Oak Woodland, 363 acres,  $555,000.00
Conservation Easement, and Expansions 1 and 2 (Mott, Smith and Brigham). WCB 3/2013
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY: Puma Canyon, and $488,000  Expansions 1 and 2 (Swart, J. Cox, and M&B Cox)
To consider the allocation for a grant to the Transition Habitat Conservancy to acquire the fee title of three separate properties totaling 124± acres. WCB 3/2013
----------------------------------------------------

There was also a WCB Board Meeting on January 24, 2013;
There were no land purchases on the agenda for that meeting


End of the "Preservation Ranch" forest development scheme

$24 million to Save 20,000 acres of Redwoods in Sonoma County


NEWS COVERAGE ON THE PURCHASE:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/center/articles/2013/press-democrat-02-28-2013.html

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130226/ARTICLES/130229626/1350?p=1&tc=

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130228/OPINION/130229575/1350

BACKGROUND FROM OUR WEBSITE:
http://rare-earth-news.blogspot.com/search?q=preservation+ranch




State taxpayers to contribute $10 million:

Coastal Conservancy Public Meeting – April 18, 2013
http://scc.ca.gov/2013/04/05/coastal-conservancy-public-meeting-april-18-2013/#more-2216
disburse up to $10,000,000 to The Conservation Fund to acquire the approximately 19,650 acre Preservation Ranch property in northern Sonoma County.


--------------------------------------------

SEVERAL OTHER PURCHASES AND LAND DEALS BY THE COASTAL CONSERVANCY AT FEBRUARY AND APRIL MEETINGS:

disburse up to $100,000 to the Mendocino Land Trust for coastal trail planning and to acquire the approximately 73-acre CIES property south of Point Arena, Mendocino County. SCC 4/2013

disburse up to $415,000 to the Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District for the acquisition of a conservation easement in the Arroyo Grande Creek Watershed in southern San Luis Obispo County for the protection and restoration of natural resources and compatible public access. SCC 4/2013


Coastal Conservancy Public Meeting -- Feb 14, 2013

http://scc.ca.gov/2013/02/01/conservancy-board-meeting/

authorization of a revised implementation plan for the disposition of the “Parcel 07” of the Bel Marin Keys Unit V property (Marin County Assessor’s Parcel Number 171-157-07) directing transfer Parcel 07 to the County of Marin for habitat, open space and public access program. SCC 2/2013

L.A. and Ventura Mountain land deals...


SMMC AND MRCA LAND PURCHASES AND DEVELOPMENT BATTLES FOR FEBRUARY-APRIL 2013

...from the agendas of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority

TOPANGA:

Project Agreement with the Los Angeles County Regional Parks and Open Space District for the Summit Valley - Mulholland Gateway Park Gap Closure Project, Topanga Canyon watershed, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 3/6/2013

project planning and design grant for the upper Topanga watershed project, Santa Monica Mountains, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 4/3/2013

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MALIBU AND L.A. COUNTY PORTION OF SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS:

acquisition of 31 lots in an unincorporated area of Escondido Canyon totaling approximately 98 acres. [Staff Report] [Map 1] [Map 2] [Resolution] MRCA 2/6/2013

acquisition of 31 parcels totaling 86 acres in Escondido Canyon, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map 1] [Map 2] SMMC 2/25/2013

acquisition of APNs 4461-035-001 and 004, Escondido Canyon, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] MRCA 2/6/2013 --adds in 2 parcels left out of 11/7/2012 resolution for 98 acres total

acquisition of APNs 4453-020-008 and 4453-016-008 totaling approximately 27 acres in the Carbon Canyon watershed, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 2/6/2013

public access improvements to Las Tunas Beach, City of Malibu. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] [Map 2] MRCA 2/6/2013

comment letter to California Coastal Commission regarding Cease and Desist Order Amendment No. CCC-09-CD-01-A, Lisette Ackerberg Trust, including for beach access easements, 22466 and 22500 Pacific Coast Highway, Carbon Beach, City of Malibu. [Staff Report] [Comment Letter] [Resolution] [Map 1] [Map 2] MRCA 3/6/2013

acceptance of a coastal access easement over a portion of the property located at 22548 Pacific Coast Highway, City of Malibu. [Map] [Staff Report] [Resolution] MRCA 4/3/2013

project planning and design grant for the Escondido to Ramirez Canyon habitat and trail linkage project, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 4/3/2013

project planning and design grant for the Little Sycamore to Encinal Canyon Coastal Slope trail zone project, Santa Monica Mountains, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 4/3/2013

project planning and design grant for the upper Malibu Canyon tributaries project, Santa Monica Mountains, unincorporated Los Angeles County and cities of Calabasas and Agoura Hills. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 4/3/2013

acquisition of APN 4465-004-045 and 4465-004-084 in the Ramirez Canyon watershed, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 4/3/2013

comment letter to the City of Malibu regarding 24024 Malibu Road Project. [Comment Letter] [Attachment] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Attachment 4] [Attachment 5] [Attachment 6] [Attachment 7] [Resolution] [Attachment 8] [Attachment 9] SMMC 2/25/2013

(a) acceptance of proceeds from the Estate of Edith Carrillo for the acquisition of public parkland and (b) entering into an agreement with the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to complete the acquisition and take title to the property. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] SMMC 2/25/2013

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INLAND SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS:

comment letter to the City of Calabasas on 17 acre project and Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration, 23401 Mulholland Highway, Dry Creek Canyon watershed. [Comment Letter] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Map] SMMC 2/25/2013

comment letter to Los Angeles County regarding the Canyon at Triunfo project, 3324 and 3272 Triunfo Canyon Road, SCH No. 2012111061, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Comment Letter] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Map 1] [Map 2] SMMC 2/25/2013

acquisition of APNs 2063-004-023, 024 and 025 totaling approximately 525 acres in the Triunfo Canyon watershed, unincorporated Los Angeles County and entering into a Project Agreement with the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District for said parcels. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 2/6/2013
[Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map] SMMC 2/25/2013


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L.A. CITY PORTION OF SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS:

acquisition of APN 2076-017-025 totaling approximately 5.3 acres in Woodland Hills using funds from Santa Monica Mountains Open Space Preservation Assessment District No.2. Negotiators: Joseph T. Edmiston and Kristine Dekreon. Under consideration: price and terms. (This item may be heard in closed session pursuant to § 54956.8 of the Government Code.) [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 2/6/2013

acquisition of APNs 2172-028-027, 028, 029 totaling approximately 0.5 acres in Woodland Hills using funds from Santa Monica Mountains Open Space Preservation Assessment District No. 2. Negotiators: Joseph T. Edmiston and Shawna and Arnold Verbiesen. Under consideration: price and terms. (This item may be heard in closed session pursuant to § 54956.8 of the Government Code.) [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] [Map 2] MRCA 2/6/2013

acquire APN 2274-018-014 totaling approximately 1.6 acres in Sherman Oaks. [Staff Report] [Resolution] MRCA 2/6/2013

acceptance of a conservation easement over an approximately 0.01-acre portion of APN 5570-024-011, near Briar Summit Open Space Preserve, Nichols Canyon, City of Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map] MRCA 3/6/2013

acceptance of a conservation easement over an approximately 0.3-acre portion of APN 2381-028-005 (2971 Laurel Canyon Boulevard), Berry Canyon, City of Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Attachment 2] [Map] MRCA 3/6/2013

project planning and design grant for the Mulholland Drive Scenic Corridor, Santa Monica Mountains, City of Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 4/3/2013


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SANTA SUSANA MOUNTAINS AND SIMI HILLS:

acceptance of a donation of 18.9 acres, APN 2821-011-017, adjacent to Rocky Peak Park, unincorporated Chatsworth area. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 3/6/2013

project planning and design grant for the Browns Canyon watershed project, Santa Susana Mountains, Chatsworth area. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 4/3/2013

project planning and design grant for the Sage Ranch to Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park habitat linkage project, Simi Hills, unincorporated Ventura and Los Angeles counties. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 4/3/2013

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EAST SAN FERNANDO VALLEY:

San Gabriel Mountains Rim of the Valley Trail implementation and Angeles National Forest trail and habitat connections project. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 4/3/2013

acquisition of APN 2581-013-005 for $27,500, 2.51 acres, using in lieu mitigation funds, Lopez Canyon, unincorporated Los Angeles County. Negotiators: Joseph T. Edmiston and Linda Caine-Alderman Under consideration: price and terms. (This item may be heard in closed session pursuant to § 54956.8 of the Government Code.) [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 4/3/2013

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VENTURA COUNTY:

project planning and design grant for the Alamos Canyon habitat and trail linkage project, Santa Susana Mountains, Ventura County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map] MRCA 4/3/2013

Memorandum of Understanding with the Ventura County Watershed Protection District for planning and coordination of land acquisition and restoration projects. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] MRCA 4/3/2013

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ASSORTED AREAS:

comment letter to Los Angeles County regarding December 2012 Draft Hillside Management Area Ordinance. [Comment Letter] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] SMMC 2/25/2013

comment letter to County of Los Angeles on Draft Significant Ecological Area Ordinance. [Staff Report] [Resolution] SMMC 3/18/2013