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Call to Action

Saving Vernal Pools – Action Alert

Summary:  

This is an Action Alert.  Your action is needed on or before Thursday, September 10th. This Alert is brought about by the County’s approval of a 10,039-vehicle parking lot and 190,000 sq. ft. auto repair and fueling facility on 111 acres of vernal pool wetland in west Placer in Supervisor Robert Weygandt’s district.

You can reach Supervisor Weygandt at 530-889-4010 or at rweygand@placer.ca.gov.  Public comment for the September 10th, 10 AM  Planning Commission Hearing will be offered virtually through a Zoom meeting webinar https://placer-ca-gov.zoom.us/j/92050940254 utilizing the “raise hand” function for public comment; or by calling 877-853-5247 or 888-788-0099, Webinar ID: 920 5094 0254.

Citizens who wish to comment can also call 530-886-1810 to sign up for public comment prior to the meeting. Commenters that are signed up will receive a call-back prior to the Chair calling for public comment on the item and will be allowed to comment during public comment on the item. Sign-ups for Public Comment will be accepted starting at the posting of this agenda, but will close at the start of the meeting. Please ask the Commissioners to uphold the appeal of the Zoning Administrator’s decision. We believe Caravana uses are inappropriate on sensitive wetland, that a project level EIR should be prepared and/or that Carvana should redevelop the myriad of existing abandoned auto dealerships, big box stores and shopping malls rather breaking new ground and paving over 118 acres of precious, carbon sequestering vernal pools.

This meeting is on the Enviro Events Calendar here.

Background: 

On Thursday, September 10 at the Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing to consider an appeal  of the Zoning Administrator’s approval of the Carvana Project which would allow construction and operation of a +/-190,000 square foot vehicle storage and inspection center with 10,029 parking spaces on vernal pool wetland in the Sunset Planing Area.This is the same area where the Alliance for Environmental Leadership proposed the Citizen Initiated Smart Growth Plan (CISGP) which would have protected vernal pools and created a walkable high job generating mixed-use community.  This is also the same area where Placer County promised to attract primary wage earner jobs and quality high-tech uses for job generation in the recently approved Sunset Area Plan.  The approved Carvana project satisfies neither AEL’s CISGP nor Placer County’s SAP goals – yet it was approved without a project level EIR by the Placer County Zoning Administrator on July 16th.

It is for these reasons that AEL is supporting the appeal by “Placer County Tomorrow”, a local citizens’ group. In addition to the storage and inspection center, the approval authorized the construction and operation of ancillary structures such as a fueling island and car wash facility, parking lots for cars and trucks, stormwater facilities and water quality basins, and landscaped areas. The Land Cover  map below shows 111.6 acres of impacts including 12.422 acres of Marsh Complex and 61.451 acres of Vernal Pool Complex.  The precedent setting application uses: (1) in lieu of protection paying fees under the Placer County Conservation Program (PCCP) that’s pending approval, or another in lieu fee program, and (2) the programmatic level Sunset Area Plan/Placer Ranch Specific Plan (SAP/PRSP) FEIR which is being litigated by the Center for Biological Diversity, instead of site-specific CEQA evaluation.

Action:

Please call into the public hearing on Thursday at 530-886-1810 before 10:00 and ask the Placer County Planning Commissioners to uphold Placer County Tomorrow’s appeal of the Zoning Administrator’s decision approving the Carvana project. Why? 1) Because the Sunset Area Project is in litigation. 2)  is in conflict with goals of the Sunset Area Plan, 3) requires a project level CEQA analysis and 4) is in conflict with State Policy that protects vernal pools.  The uses proposed ought to be located in existing urbanized areas where there are a myriad of abandoned auto dealerships, big box stores and shopping malls with an abundance of heat generating surface parking lots that adversely impact our climate, blight our County and generate no tax revenue because they are vacant.  Breaking new ground and paving-over 111 acres of precious carbon sequestering vernal pools is simply a poor use of a critically-endangered wildlife habitat.  

Thank you so much for responding to this Action Alert.  

Together we’re a stronger voice.  

Sincerely,    

Leslie Warren,

Chair Alliance for Environmental Leadership

 

Useful links

Meeting agenda: https://www.placer.ca.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_09102020-3475

Appeal staff report: https://www.placer.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/47260/SR-F-PC-20-00053-VIC-Appeal-091020-ALL-PDF

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