The Placer County Planning Department will host two more community forums to discuss the proposed Placer County Conservation Plan. There will also be a presentation to the Agricultural Commission.
One forum will be held on Thursday evening, Jan. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m., and will be targeted to the biological stakeholder working group. A second forum is planned for Friday, Jan. 5 from 1 to 3 p.m., and will be targeted to the landowner subcommittee. The public is welcome to attend either or both of the forums.
Both forums will take place in the hearing room at Placer County’s Community Development Resource Center, 3091 County Center Drive. The Resource Centeris a new building at Bell Roadand Richardson Drivein the DeWitt Centerin North Auburn.
The presentation to the Agricultural Commission will take place during their meeting Monday, Jan. 8, which takes place beginning at 7 p.m. in the old Planning Commission hearing room. It is located on Richardson Drive between B and C avenues in the DeWitt Center.
At the forums, staff will report on the information collected during public meetings held in December. Attendees may ask questions and offer additional comments and suggestions which will be shared with the Board of Supervisors in January.
The conservation plan is being written to help balance the impact of the county’s population growth with the preservation of agriculture and open space resources. Written as a draft strategic plan, it could generally shape where major growth and development may take place beyond what is currently anticipated by the county’s general plan, and where major sections of land could be preserved as natural resources, for agriculture and to provide open space values.
Current land use proposals in the western part of Placer Countycould bring an estimated 224,000 new residents, and if approved, create an additional 67,000 acres of additional urban and residential growth. The conservation plan addresses agriculture and open space resources outside of these proposals in unincorporated Placer County.
Under state and federal law, significant development that takes place must meet the requirements of the Endangered Species and Federal Clean Water Acts. Currently that means that development interests must submit their plans for approval to state/federal agencies and usually will be required to mitigate by purchasing or otherwise protecting resources to make up for resources impacted by the development.
The City of Lincoln, the Placer County Water Agency and the South Placer Regional Transportation Authority (SPRTA) have expressed interest in joining with the county in the proposed conservation plan.The first phase of the plan involves predominantly the western section of the county.
Currently, the county is in the process of considering whether to select a draft reserve system map which will identify general areas in where urban growth may be concentrated and general areas where resource preservation may occur. A series of draft maps have been created, and will be available at the meetings or on the countyweb site.
The map would be used as a starting point for negotiation with state and federal agencies about whether they could support a conservation plan. If state and federal agencies, the Board of Supervisors and other participating local jurisdictions ultimately agree on a plan, more resource-protection decisions could be made by local agencies.
Cost of land acquisition for the conservation plan would not be borne by the county, but by development interests as it is today.
On January 23, the Board of Supervisors will hear a report on feedback obtained at the community forums and may decide whether to choose a draft reserve system map and whether to continue with conservation planning efforts. The meeting will occur at 1:30 p.m. in Board of Supervisors chambers at the County Administrative Center,175 Fulweiler Ave., in Auburn.
Similar conservation planning efforts are underway in Yuba, Sutter, Sacramento, Yolo, Solano, Contra Costa and Santa Claracounties as a means of addressing the complicated issues of balancing growth with resource protection, and replacing project-by-project review with a comprehensive, long-term regional plan.
For more information, call the county Planning Department at 530-745-3000 and ask for Melissa Batteate, Breann Larimer or Loren Clark.