Elk Grove and Swainson’s Hawk Mitigation

Dear Friends:

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
swainsonshawk [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
Judith Lamare

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Suit filed to block step toward annexation of land by Elk Grove

June 5, 2018

By Ben van der Meer

The Sacramento Business Journal

A coalition of environmental groups has filed suit to block a step that the city of Elk Grove must take before it can annex more than 1,100 acres to the south.

The plaintiffs, led by the Environmental Council of Sacramento, filed suit in Sacramento County Superior Court alleging that an environmental impact report for the move doesn’t adequately address impacts on water, loss of farmland and at-risk species such as the sandhill crane and Swainson’s hawk.

The suit also claims that the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission went against its stated policies to discourage sprawl when it approved a sphere-of-influence amendment for Elk Grove earlier this year.

. . .

Click here to read the full article.

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Lawsuit filed on Elk Grove Sphere of Influence

June 1, 2018

Sierra Club, ECOS, et al. File Legal Action to Reverse Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) Approval of Expansion of Elk Grove Sphere of Influence

On June 1, 2018, the Environmental Council of Sacramento, Sierra Club, Friends of Swainson’s Hawk, Friends of Stone Lakes Wildlife Refuge and Habitat 2020 filed an action to block Sacramento LAFCo’s approval of an expanded Sphere of Influence for the City of Elk Grove.  “Numerous legal errors occurred in the Commission’s consideration and approval on a 4-3 vote of this landowner*-initiated amendment to Elk Grove’s potential boundary. The decision permits previously protected farmland to now be considered for annexation into the City,” said Don Mooney, attorney for the environmental groups.  “My clients represent the public interest in curbing sprawl and preserving farmland in this region.”

The Sierra Club, Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) and associates have long maintained that the health and sustainability of the Sacramento region depends upon the preservation of farmland and avoidance of further urban sprawl.  “LAFCo has pivoted away from long established regional goals with this approval,” said Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Conservation Chair Sean Wirth,” and we aim to hold them accountable.  All of our region’s planning for infrastructure, the Regional Transportation Plan, the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan, water supply, sanitation, and the Air Quality Plan are based on an Urban Services Boundary that LAFCo pushed aside in its February 7 decision.  This blatant disregard for decades of careful planning must be challenged.”

Ralph Propper, President of ECOS, noted that “Although the Sphere of Influence Amendment is just the first step in urbanization  ­—no dirt will be turned soon—, the Environmental Impact Report identified 22 significant and unavoidable impacts from this decision that cannot be mitigated.  This is a damaging land use decision that threatens the health of our community.”

Jim Pachl, Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Legal Chair, pointed out that “there are over 4000 vacant acres zoned for new development within the City of Elk Grove, including 1800 acres with residential project approvals that remain unbuilt.  Some projects were approved over ten years ago and remain unbuilt.  Lent Ranch Mall remains a half-built shell.  LAFCo lacks a legitimate reason to allow a conversion of farmland for expansion of Elk Grove’s footprint.”

LAFCo denied a request to reconsider its decision on May 2, setting the stage for the filing of litigation. 

*The Sphere of Influence Amendment was sought by landowners of 1,156 acres south of Kammerer Road and west of Highway 99.  The applicants are Gerry Kamilos and Martin Feletto.

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Pitch In!

Lawsuits are pricey! If you would like to provide monetary support for this, you can donate online HERE OR send a check to the Environmental Council of Sacramento, P.O. Box 1526, Sacramento, CA 95812. Please include a notation “for Elk Grove lawsuit” in the memo field of Paypal or your check to ensure that your donation goes to the lawsuit.

In The News

Suit filed to block step toward annexation of land by Elk Grove
June 5, 2018
The Sacramento Business Journal
https://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2018/06/05/suit-filed-to-block-step-toward-annexation-of-land.html

Environmental Groups File Lawsuit Against Sacramento LAFCO, Seek to Halt Elk Grove Expansion
June 5, 2018
ElkGroveNews.net
http://www.elkgrovenews.net/2018/06/environmental-group-files-lawsuit-against-elk-grove-expansion.html

Environmentalists sue to block city’s southern expansion
Elk Grove Citizen
June 8, 2018
http://www.egcitizen.com/news/environmentalists-sue-to-block-city-s-southern-expansion/article_e06d57f0-6b55-11e8-a42c-274a961568ea.html

More Information

Click here for the project application.

Click here for more background information on this issue.

Click here for a PDF of the media advisory.

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