June 29, 2018
Elk Grove News.net
In a lengthy presentation and public comment that was followed by a relatively short deliberation period, the Elk Grove City Council approved a change to the environmental impact report for the city’s Southeast Policy Area (SEPA) at their Wednesday, June 27 meeting.
By a unanimous 4 – 0 vote (council member Stephanie Nguyen was absent) the city council changed the manner in which mitigation can be handled for the Swainson’s Hawk. Specifically, at the Behest of Kamilos Development, the city amended the certified EIR so that mitigation land set-aside for the threatened species can be placed on the 4,768-acre Van Vleck Ranch near Rancho Murieta, California, which is further away from the SEPA than initially approved in the SEPA EIR.
Under previous requirements for SEPA projects, the mitigation land was geographically closer. In both cases, the standard replacement continues to be that each acre of lost habitat must be mitigated with one acre of conservancy.
During the staff report from Antonio Ablog, it was noted a review of the change by California Department of Fish and Wildlife highlighted that the new habitat is 18 miles from the SEPA project, which exceeds the recommended distance of 10 miles. Additionally, the CDFW said the new mitigation area on the Van Vleck ranch was lower quality foraging for the hawks.
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On June 25, 2018, ECOS submitted our comments/testimony on the latest changes to the City of Folsom’s General Plan.
Here is an excerpt:
ECOS and Habitat 2020 are greatly relieved to see that the Study Area for new City growth south of White Rock road has been removed from the General plan.
Further growth in this area would pose potentially un-mitigatable impacts to invaluable agricultural and biological resources and severely inhibit successful implementation of the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan (SSHCP), currently in its final phase of adoption after decades of development.
Further growth in this area would be critically inconsistent with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments’ (SACOG) Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS) for meeting State mandated greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, Federal mandates for Air Quality Attainment under the State Improvement Plan (SIP), as well as myriad regional goals for social equity, public health and natural resource conservation.
Finally, ECOS is extremely concerned about the ability of the City to supply adequate water supplies to this potential growth area, or any new expansion area. With the decision to supply the City’s current expansion south of US 50 solely with conservation efforts of existing supplies, it is apparent that the City has fully allocated those supplies. We remain concerned that the City will not be able to supply the current expansion area without severe burdens on existing residents with the mandatory cut-backs in supply that the City is subject to in Dry and Extremely Dry years. We have not seen evidence that the City has yet acquired back up supplies to prevent these burdens, and given this, it is extremely difficult to see how the City could speculate on further expansion of their footprint.
Elk Grove is at it again. At the request of developer Gerry Kamilos and rancher Stan Van Vleck, the City is considering changing its mitigation requirement for Swainson’s Hawks impacts of development in the Southeast Policy Area. This change will put mitigation more than 18 miles from the site of impact. The current requirement is within 10 miles. The Elk Grove area is one of the densest nesting areas of Swainson’s Hawks in California. The Van Vleck Ranch is not. The hearing is June 27, Wednesday at 6.
The agenda and staff report (Item 9.1) are found here http://www.elkgrovecity.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_109585/File/cityclerk/citycouncil/2018/ag-06-27-18.pdf
California Department of Fish and Wildlife prepared an analysis of the suitability of the proposed Van Vleck mitigation property for mitigation for development in Elk Grove and concluded that the property was too far from the site of impact to be appropriate mitigation. That report is included in the Staff report on line. Also included are our previous letters (with allies) explaining why this is a bad idea.
Please send an email to the Elk Grove City Council before June 27 to oppose this change.
Here is what you should include in your comment:
Item 9.1 A Public Hearing to consider a resolution adopting an Addendum to the Certified Environmental Impact Report for the Southeast Policy Area Strategic Plan involving text changes to the EIR and previously-adopted Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP) [p. 1-252]
I oppose the proposed change in mitigation measure for the Southeast Policy Area development impacts on Swainson’s Hawk foraging.
1. The mitigation land proposed is too distant (18 miles plus) from the site of impact to be appropriate mitigation land for development in Elk Grove. Until now, development in Elk Grove has mitigated for impacts within 10 miles of the development.
2. An Addendum to the Final EIR for the Plan area is no way to make a major policy change in Elk Grove’s protection of the Swainson’s Hawk population that its growth is and has impacted. This is a significant change requiring an override of existing Elk Grove policy. It affects 900 acres of mitigation and sets a precedent for much more.
3. The City claims to have an exemplar Swainson’s Hawk mitigation program. Invoking a loophole in its Ordinance to provide a significant deviation from its policy would disqualify the City from claiming its distinction as a protector of the Swainson’s Hawk.
Your name and area/city of residence.
Contact info for emailing City of Elk Grove: you can use this email string –
stevely[at]elkgrovecity[dot]org, dsuen[at]elkgrovecity[dot]org, phume[at]elkgrovecity[dot]org, sdetrick[at]elkgrovecity[dot]org, snguyen[at]elkgrovecity[dot]org, jbehrmann[at]elkgrovecity[dot]org,aablog[at]elkgrovecity[dot]org, swainsonshawk[at]sbcglobal[dot]net
Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk
By Ryan Sabalow, Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak
Updated June 18, 2018
The Sacramento Bee
It’s like a new city springing to life: 11,000 homes and apartments, seven public schools, a pair of fire stations, a police station, a slew of office and commercial buildings and 1,000 acres of parks, trails and other open space. Expected population: 25,000.
But will it have enough water?
As construction begins this month on the first model homes at Folsom Ranch, a 3,300-acre development in the city of Folsom south of Highway 50, state regulators continue to have questions about the project’s water supply. They still aren’t convinced the city has secured enough water to keep showers and spigots flowing as California contends with increasing uncertainty about rain and snowfall.
. . .
The drought, which officially ended last year, seems to have done little to impede development. No cities or counties appear to have curbed their development plans as a direct result of water-supply limitations,
. . .
Alan Wade, former president of the Save the American River Association, said it’s baffling state water officials would tell Folsom they had doubts about its water supply yet would let the development proceed.
“The reply from Folsom essentially told them to go pound sand: ‘We’re going to go ahead anyway,'” Wade said. “I don’t know how you can get away with that.”