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--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors



WE POST NEWS THREE WAYS:
1. long detailed stories on blogspot (here!)
2. short messages on Twitter
3. automated news feeds from CA enviro websites in the right-hand column which change frequently and are not archived by our website (that's why we now have a twitter account to permanently capture the memorable feeds)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

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Developer Wins Close Election Battle over Plan for Clover Valley


From http://saveclovervalley.org/

Thank You Voters of Rocklin - 7,295 of You Came out and Cast Your Vote to Stop This Horrible Development, But Even with the Big Money and Powerful Influence that was Poured into this Election it was ONLY Passed by 2.6% or 883 Votes out of 15,473 Voters. Please Ask our Elected City Officials About the 'Deal' with Thunder Valley Casino to Purchase 154 Lots and ALL the Valley Floor within Clover Valley as stated in their Campaign (Contingent on Measure H Passing). Ask for the Details - The City of Rocklin Must Disclose this Information. They never will if we do not ask. Can they some day build on these Lots? Where are these Lots? Ask to see a Map of the Modified Plans. Let's Keep our City and the Owners of Clover Valley and Thunder Valley Casino Honest and Make them Keep their Word.

Read more on the natural value of Clover Valley:
http://www.savingclovervalley.org/files/CVcommonsreport.pdf

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Housing plan's foes push to ensure 65 acres are preserved as open space

By Jennifer K. Morita, Sacramento Bee, 2/7/2008

Rocklin citizens group that tried unsuccessfully to stop a Clover Valley housing project at the ballot box wants assurances that land purchased by an Indian tribe will be saved as public open space.

"Going forward, we want to make sure that we know what the deal was between the owners of Clover Valley, the tribe and the city," Save Clover Valley Chairwoman Elaine O'Deegan said Wednesday morning.

"That really needs to be disclosed to the public … Is there a guarantee the land is going to be left as open space?"

Rocklin voters passed Measure H with 52.8 percent of the votes Tuesday, ratifying the City Council's approval of a 558-home housing development in Clover Valley.

Yes on Measure H spokesman Doug Elmets said the developer has been waiting years to move forward with his project.

"It's a great opportunity for the city of Rocklin and its residents," Elmets said.

"For the first time in a generation, people will be able to experience the cultural significance of Clover Valley and the incredible beauty."

Although the approved plan preserves more than 300 acres as public open space, project opponents say building homes in the 622-acre valley would destroy wildlife habitat, sacred American Indian historical sites and increase traffic and air pollution.

Measure H was backed financially by project developer Rick Massie and the United Auburn Indian Community, a Placer County tribe that owns Thunder Valley Casino.

The tribe's plan to buy roughly 65 acres along the valley floor surrounding the most significant cultural sites was contingent on Measure H passing.

Mayor Brett Storey said Wednesday that he's already asked to meet with the developer and tribe.

"We want to ensure that everything is as it seems and that the tribe is indeed going to purchase the land for open space," Storey said.

"We need to make sure that that is included in all the documentation. … Even though it's a private land deal, we want to alleviate those fears."

Community leaders, elected officials and members of the business community actively campaigned in support of Measure H, including the mayor and other City Council members.

"The community leadership, and ultimately the voters, realized that this development was going to happen at some point so it was best to try and do what they could to make it a positive development," Elmets said.

O'Deegan said money and the powerful influence of the developer, tribe and city officials chipped away at the grass-roots campaign to save Clover Valley.

"I don't think you could find a campaign that had more power and influence and money going against it," O'Deegan said.

"Our campaign was grass roots, and we basically got our money from the people of Rocklin."

There is still an ongoing lawsuit against the city and developer over the environmental review for Clover Valley.

"That is a barrier they're going to have to overcome," O'Deegan said. "We got 7,200 votes. That's 7,200 people who were dissatisfied with what they're planning to do in that valley. I think there's probably a good chance people will be challenging the three City Council members whose seats are up in November."

Residents went to bed Tuesday night not knowing whether Measure H had passed or failed.

Unlike in recent past elections, numbers from Placer County were slow coming in due to new state regulations that prohibit modem transmission of precinct results, said Assistant Registrar of Voters Ryan Ronco.

Semiofficial final results came in shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday, while in previous elections, voter counts from most, if not all, precincts were posted online by 10 p.m.

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Preliminary election results indicated the controversial development plan for Rocklin's Clover Valley, otherwise known as Measure H, could receive the go-ahead by Rocklin voters during Tuesday's primary election.

"The trend looks very good for 'Yes on Measure H,'" said Doug Elmets, spokesperson for the Yes on H campaign. "Ultimately it's a very good deal for Rocklin and they will be glad that they voted for it."

The decision could end a debate that has virtually divided the community for more than a decade, as illustrated by election results.

Preliminary results of mostly absentee ballots as of 10 p.m. Tuesday night indicated nearly half, 47 percent, of Rocklin voters decided against the development, but 53 percent of voters approved the project.

Measure H is the general plan amendment that allows for the construction of 558 homes in Clover Valley, an historic and undeveloped parcel of land located in the Northeast corner of Rocklin bordering Loomis.

Plans to develop the valley have been in the works between land owner Rick Massie and Clover Valley Partners and the city of Rocklin for about 10 years, after environmental activist groups challenged the original zoning of the property, which was for more than 900 homes.

"I think it's all going to depend on how we did on our 'get out to vote' this afternoon," said Elaine O'Deegan, chairperson for the No on H campaign. "They spent $750,000 on this campaign and ours is based on volunteers. One way or the other, I think it's going to be close."

Under the development agreement with the city of Rocklin, developer Massie would be approved to build 558 residential houses in Clover Valley while retaining 366 acres of public open space.

Massie would also contribute $1 million towards the construction of a new fire station in the area as well as fund a two-lane road connecting Park Drive to Sierra College Boulevard.

Opponents of the plan said the new connector road would bring 14,000 cars per day to Rocklin Streets and act as a short cut to Thunder Valley Casino for those outside of the city.

In a signed letter of intent with the developer, officials of the United Auburn Indian Community agreed to purchase 65 acres of Clover Valley to preserve the valley floor and historic cultural sites dating back to 5,000 B.C.

With that agreement, the number of homes that will be built in Clover Valley will be reduced to 404 with more open space, Elmets said.

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