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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

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Tassajara Valley Urban Limit Line Threat; Calling Urban Sprawl "rural" Doesn't Make it So

3-4-2008

Voters approved the Contra Costa County Urban Limit Line (ULL) in November 2006, putting Tassajara Valley off-limits to development. However, developers recently proposed a 193-unit housing development outside the ULL on a 770 acres of land east of San Ramon and Danville.

County Supervisors agreed to review the proposal, setting a bad precedent, as they were essentially agreeing to consider allowing suburban development outside the ULL.

If this proposal is accepted, it could open the floodgates for similar development proposals throughout Contra Costa County, putting thousands of acres of land at risk.

What's at Stake

The current proposal, entitled New Farm, attempts to skirt the law by not requiring the County to physically alter the ULL. Instead, the developer is attempting to convince County Supervisors that the proposed housing development project is “rural” in nature.

But New Farm is not rural, and it’s no farm.

The proposal blatantly breaks the ULL by extending water and sewage lines across the line. Rural development has traditionally been defined as parcels using septic tanks and wells, whereas urban development requires the construction of public utilities—such as water and sewage lines.

The New Farm 193-unit proposal will allow massive development on prime agricultural land. On the land, only one housing unit per 80 acres is currently allowed, to support true farms. But the New Farm proposal would subdivide the land into 5-acre parcels. The developer is even requesting “density bonuses” for consolidating development on 40 acres, to allow more units.

The proposal is sprawl development, pure and simple.

Even if it were a better proposal, New Farm is in the wrong place. Contra Costa County voters agreed on a growth boundary with the understanding that no urban or suburban development would be allowed beyond that point until at least 2020, at which time the General Plan will be reevaluated.

Calling this project “rural” is a transparent attempt to get around the law, and is in clear opposition to the will of the people of Contra Costa. Greenbelt Alliance opposes this threat to farmland, and to the policies protecting farmland and natural areas.


FOR THE FULL STORY:

http://www.greenbelt.org/regions/eastbay/camp_tassajara.html

http://www.redorbit.com/news/politics/1024376/voterapproved_urban_limit_line_faces_challenges/index.html

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