Photos Loading
previous next
  • Randy Pench / Bee file, 2012

    SB 731 -- Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg
    Would overhaul the California Environmental Quality Act.

0 comments | Print

Environmentalists sue to block Cordova Hills development

Published: Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Mar. 6, 2013 - 4:28 pm

The Environmental Council of Sacramento and the Sierra Club have sued Sacramento County over its approval of the Cordova Hills development on the eastern edge of the county.

Environmentalists complain that the project is a continuation of suburban development that leads to more driving and pollution. They also worry about the loss of vernal pools, seasonal wetlands that provide habitat for protected species such as shrimp.

"This project is classic leapfrog sprawl development," said Sean Wirth, conservation chair for the Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club, in a news release.

In late January, county supervisors approved the 2,700-acre development, which calls for up to 8,000 housing units and commercial development off Grant Line Road next to Rancho Cordova.

Developer Ron Alvarado defended the project.

"Cordova Hills has been collaboratively planned under some of the most stringent, substantial and environmentally sensitive criteria ever seen for a land-use plan in the region," he said.

In the lawsuit filed Friday in Superior Court, environmentalists accuse the county of violating the California Environmental Quality Act. They ask the court to set aside the county's environmental impact report and overturn its approval of the project.

The county's environmental impact report failed to take into account that the developer has not secured a university for the project, which means residents of the new development will drive more to reach employment and create more pollution, the lawsuit claims.

The impact report wrongly makes the assumption that the university will offset pollution that would otherwise be expected, according to the lawsuit.

"The premise of the application is that this project is justifiable, regardless of location, because it has a feature that helps reduce the impact," said Rob Burness of the Environmental Council of Sacramento. "When the university disappeared, that argument went away."

County supervisors approved the project even after the head of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments told them it could push the region out of compliance with Senate Bill 375, a state law that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through land-use and transportation planning.

County spokeswoman Chris Andis said the county would not comment because it has yet to see the petition.

In the past, county officials have pointed to the developer's agreement to commit time and money to try to attract a university to the project, and to give the county land set aside for the university if he is not able to find a school for the site.

County officials have also defended the project by saying that it will contain a number of environmentally sensitive features, such as a shuttle service. Call The Bee's Brad Branan, (916) 321-1065. Follow him on Twitter @bradb_at_sacbee.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Brad Branan



About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "Report Abuse" link below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

• Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.

hide comments
Sacramento Bee Job listing powered by Careerbuilder.com
Quick Job Search
Buy
Used Cars
Dealer and private-party ads
Make:

Model:

Price Range:
to
Search within:
miles of ZIP

Advanced Search | 1982 & Older



Find 'n' Save Daily DealGet the Deal!

Local Deals