Condors and Wildlife Corridor be Damned--Here's the Tejon Lake EIR!
Here's the developer's press release:
(We're still looking for the EIR on the county's website)
5/27/2009--LEBEC, Calif. - (Business Wire) The proposed Tejon Mountain Village (TMV) resort community reached an important milestone Wednesday with Kern County's release of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). The DEIR was prepared by the County to study the environmental impacts of the proposed TMV community in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. TMV is located 40 miles south of Bakersfield, east of the I-5 and the community of Lebec.
The proposed plan would preserve 80% of TMV's 26,417 acres – a total of 21,335 acres of permanently protected open space – while creating a sensitively planned mountain resort community on the remaining 20%. The proposal, first introduced to the community four years ago after years of initial planning, is part of the Tejon Ranch Company's long-term vision of conservation, continued ranching and farming, and limited development.
"Today marks a significant milestone. We've studied these lands thoroughly for nearly a decade and have worked closely with the County, stakeholders and our neighbors to refine and improve the plan," said Roberta Marshall, vice president and general manager of TMV. "Now the public has an opportunity to review our plan and the County's environmental report and see for themselves the great level of care that has been taken to ensure that TMV is sensitively planned to be a good neighbor within the Mountain Communities and make a positive contribution to Kern County's economy."
TMV will provide a unique experience set within Tejon Ranch, one of California's historic ranchos. A collection of 3,450 homes, ranging from clustered resort residential homes to large, low density home sites, will offer future residents an exceptional mountain ranch lifestyle. Resorts as well as community amenities, including two golf courses, and approximately 75 miles of trails and equestrian facilities, will make TMV a remarkable place to live and visit. A commercial center in the community's Village Mixed Use area along Interstate 5 will also provide new shopping, dining and business opportunities for local residents.
Economic & Civic Benefits
It's expected that the community will create approximately 1,500 permanent jobs, 1,600 construction jobs and contribute millions of dollars in annual tax revenue to Kern County. Additionally, TMV will expand and enhance local public services, including:
* New and expanded Fire Department facilities and equipment including three station sites;
* Funding for the expansion or construction of new Sheriff station facilities in the Mountain Communities;
* Funding for a new Deputy Sheriff for the Lebec area and onsite office space at the onset of construction;
* Funding for library books and materials; and
* Funding for school classrooms and renovations.
TMV's planned world-class resort, golf courses and other recreational opportunities will also offer other benefits to the local economy and to Kern County. "We believe that TMV will be a catalyst that will bring more tourism and commerce to the Mountain Communities," said Marshall. "And, TMV will create a gateway to Kern County, helping to further establish Kern County as an exciting place to visit with an extraordinary quality of life."
Environmentally & Ecologically Sound
The TMV plan was designed to avoid and protect important natural resources as its primary means of achieving its conservation goals. As such, the plan preserves 80%, or 21,335 acres, as permanently protected open space. The TMV plan also relies on a series of science-based conservation and sustainability strategies to ensure the community is designed in the most environmentally responsible manner possible.
* Resource Management Plan – Ensures that biological, hydrological, cultural and other resources are managed in the most environmentally sensitive manner possible; provides residents and guests educational opportunities that encourage the ongoing stewardship of the land;
* Sustainability Plan – Sets a maximum water use limit on homes and businesses; defines an energy-efficient building program requiring TMV's homes and businesses to exceed current Title 24 (2005) standards by at least 25%; and calls for the establishment of a community fund to benefit local non-profits and charities;
* Fire Protection Plan – Requires fire sprinklers in all structures; prescribes customized fuel modification zones for each area of the community along with measures to ensure compliance; and prohibits the use of highly flammable plants;
* Design Guidelines – Includes measures to enhance the aesthetics of the community, minimize grading, and limit outdoor lighting to protect dark skies.
In addition, TMV already entered into and has begun implementing a Voluntary Emissions Reduction Agreement (VERA) with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. This voluntary agreement requires that TMV become emissions-neutral by fully offsetting criteria pollutants identified by the air district (NOX, ROG and PM10).
TMV also protects local groundwater sources by introducing three new sources of water to serve the community. Drinking water supplies will be provided by the California Aqueduct (State Water Project) and water banks in Kern County. When available, recycled water from a proposed on-site treatment facility will be used to irrigate TMV's golf courses. Local groundwater is not proposed as a source for TMV.
TMV's 21,335 acres of open space are included in an agreement between Tejon Ranch Company and the nation's leading environmental organizations to preserve up to 240,000 acres of Tejon Ranch. TMV residents will provide funding to the Tejon Ranch Conservancy from the sale of each home that will be used to further conservation efforts and provide controlled public access to this vast open space. TMV is also part of and is consistent with Tejon Ranch Company's proposed 142,000 acre Tehachapi Uplands Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan which, upon approval, would provide protections for 27 species, including the California condor.
Public Review Process
The County's DEIR studies a comprehensive list of environmental issues. The documents are available for a public comment period and can be reviewed at the County's website at: www.co.kern.ca.us/planning/.
It is expected that TMV will be considered by the Kern County Planning Commission for recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for a final decision later this year.
About Tejon Mountain Village
As a part of the Tejon Ranch Vision of conservation, continued ranching, and limited development, Tejon Ranch and DMB Associates are carefully planning the development of Tejon Mountain Village. With approximately 80 percent of its land preserved as natural open space, Tejon Mountain Village will be a remarkable, environmentally sensitive mountain resort community.