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PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
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Supes say no to contract for San Stino project EIR

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From page A1 | March 04, 2013 | 32 Comments

El Dorado County Supervisors took unanimous action related to Supervisorial District 2, represented by Supervisor Ray Nutting. Nutting, however, was absent from the regular Tuesday board meeting, so the vote was 4-0 to stop the process that would have hired an environmental consultant. The consultant would have been contracted to prepare an Environmental Impact Report based on the proposed San Stino housing development in Shingle Springs.

Tuesday afternoon Nutting’s Assistant Kitty Miller explained that the supervisor and his wife were away on a vacation they had planned and paid for long before the San Stino issue got on this week’s agenda.

Despite the fact that the agenda item addressed only a proposed contract for EIR work, numerous area residents spoke to the board expressing varying degrees of concern and outrage at the size and scope of the proposed 645 acre, 1,041-unit housing project. Bordered by French Creek Road and Mother Lode Drive in Shingle Springs, the project’s “developer has been very interested since before 2010,” according to Joel Korotkin who represents the project.

Professional staff including County Counsel Ed Knapp and Planning Division Director Roger Trout redirected the discussion several times to the agenda item as written and explained that the board was only required to deal with the proposed contract to hire an EIR consultant.

Board Chairman Ron Briggs asked early in the hearing if the county “is obligated to do this.”

In response Knapp clarified that, “Yes. The developer has the right to submit an application and get an EIR done.” And he noted that the cost, $318,335, would be borne solely by the developer.

“The developer pays, but the county is the supervisor of the study,” Knapp said.

Briggs went on to relate an earlier discussion on the project. “I cautioned the developer that this is dense housing on roads that are ‘interesting.’ It seems a little bit too much, but that’s not to say I’m for or against it.”

Earlier, Trout had tried to explain, “This is not a for or against vote (on the project) but rather approval of a contract for the EIR … which is needed due to the application for development.”

Much of the opposition focused on the adequacy of the “interesting” roads within the area to handle “as many as 2,200 or 3,300 additional vehicles on the roads, especially in the event of a fire,” one resident warned.

Steve Schultz called attention to potential hazards from asbestos accompanying the exposure of serpentine rock from grading and earth moving on a project that large.

District 1 Supervisor Ron Mikulaco also sought to put the discussion in perspective, “We’re determining the need for an EIR and considering the selection of a contractor. We’re not approving the project,” he said.

Despite the focus of the supervisors, however, area residents continued to come to the podium in the board chambers and lambaste the project in general and occasionally the board in particular. Several introduced the theme that “the developer wouldn’t put up a quarter of a million dollars unless he had some expectation that the project would be approved.”

Lisa Martin described the project as “the beginning of a cancer” on the rural environment that attracted her family to Shingle Springs. Another local resident said, “this project is a fool’s errand, utterly stupid.”

Doug Jarman advised that the developer should “follow the rules, like everyone else, and Shingle Springs can’t handle 1,000 additional homes.” He concluded his remarks also suggesting that a developer doesn’t spend a quarter million without some expectation of favorable treatment.

A number of speakers prefaced their testimony noting that they should not be considered “no growth” advocates but that the current lack of adequate infrastructure including water, roads, schools and Internet access should be an obvious limitation to large-scale development.

Sue Taylor, representing the Save Our County group, called the issue before the supervisors a “fast-forward to super projects” and noted opposition to any “streamlining of the CEQA process.”

Generally referring to the majority of the audience, Taylor continued, “NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard) are people who care about their community, so I’m proud to be a NIMBY.” And she urged the board to “uphold the general plan.”

County Counsel Knapp again pointed out that “part of the the proposed contract agreement for EIR work contains clear language that there is no expectation of approval (of the project).”

“Can we just say no?” Briggs asked. “Yes,” Knapp answered.

District 3 Supervisor Brian Veerkamp at that point acknowledged that “the community is concerned and the community is talking, so I will move for denial of this. We’ve got to get this straightened out and decide what we want to be when we grow up (as a county).”

Later Veerkamp suggested that a vote for the EIR contract would be “sending the wrong message (to developers and to the community).”

In seconding the motion, District 5 Supervisor Norma Santiago noted the issues of infrastructure and asbestos and repeated an earlier comment that the contract for an EIR was “putting the cart before the horse.”

Trout responded, once more putting the need and value of the EIR in context. “All the issues you’ve just mentioned are the tools of the EIR,” he said. “The point is that the applicant has the right to ask. Approval of this is not an approval of the project.”

Trout sent an e-mail to the Mountain Democrat later Tuesday explaining that, “The action today provided us direction from the board that our normal process for preparation of an EIR was not approved. (However), we are continuing to process the application for San Stino, and county staff will continue to work with the applicant on options to satisfy CEQA.”

He added that he had just concluded a phone conversation with Joel Korotkin and had further explained “some of our contracting rules for professional services that he was not aware of.”

Nutting called the Mountain Democrat late Tuesday and Wednesday morning. He expressed considerable frustration that the issue came up when he was going to be absent.

“I didn’t know about this (when we made our plans) or I would have directed staff not to put it on while I’m away,” Nutting said. “I told the developers quite some time ago that the project has to have community support and it has to solve problems, not create infrastructure problems. I’m an extension of my community and I’m going to support my community. I would have voted with my colleagues on this if I had been there.”

Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or cdaley@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @CDaleyMtDemo. 

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 32 comments

  • Phil VeerkampMarch 03, 2013 - 8:49 pm

    . . . . so . . . uh . . . How do the GOBs feel about this development? Are EDC cynic's going to have to revise their simplistic take on GOB development and corruption? Or will a theory be proffered suggesting that Tuesday's surprise was simply a scrap tossed to th' peeps? Ray, really, you were surprised??? You admit to being clueless, Ray? Really!!!

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  • Foaming at the MouthMarch 03, 2013 - 10:29 pm

    I have a right to do whatever I want with my property, but I'm not so sure about you.

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  • Sue TaylorMarch 04, 2013 - 12:22 am

    Foaming - First this is not the property owner asking for favors, it is a future developer that probably has options on the property. Second the property owner has every right to develop his property - as zoned, 5 to 10 acres, pretty much just like the properties that are surrounding the parcels. No General Plan Amendment necessary for that!

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  • Foamie Mouth®March 04, 2013 - 6:24 am

    Foaming never misses a chance to flash his credentials.

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  • Kathleen NewellMarch 04, 2013 - 6:36 am

    If this project is built as proposed, say goodbye to Shingle Springs rural charactor and identity. San Stino's high density layout will become the defining point for the area. It's a horrible project for the community. Doesn't fit the footprint of the town. The property owners for that land need to stop pushing this mega tract on the surrounding residents and build what it's zoned for.

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  • Foaming at the MouthMarch 04, 2013 - 8:35 am

    Oh, I get it Sue, they have no right to try to amend the GP and zoning? By the way, how's that renovation coming on the Herrick building? Thought so.

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  • Michelle H.March 04, 2013 - 8:59 am

    One of the biggest problems here is that these devopers come in and throw their monies around and tear up our land, make their millions and dont care about the impact of what it does to the community. We have lived here our entire life, and watched the flatlanders come in and tear down OUR history (Shingle Springs Mill) Instead of preserve it! This is just another way of doing just that!

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  • DivinoMarch 04, 2013 - 9:02 am

    Of course, they have a right to ask for a change in the General Plan. That doesn't mean it has to be as easy as it has been in the past. This just means that they have to do their due diligence prior to buying the property. Developers have been successful in getting their way in El Dorado County, specifically in Shingle Springs. This action is a shot across the bow of the developers. The community is now watching and taking action. This will be interesting.

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  • James SmithMarch 04, 2013 - 10:28 am

    Looks as if the BOS just now required only a Negative Dec from the applicant...way to go! Much less costly and much quicker!

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  • Kathleen NewellMarch 04, 2013 - 11:11 am

    Shingle Springs residents are going to keep fighting the San Stino project as proposed. Press Release posted on the Shingle Springs Community Alliance web page this morning. "Shingle Springs Community Alliance and No San Stino are asking the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors to immediately deny San Stino General Plan Amendment, Zoning Ordinance Amendment and Tentative Subdivision Map. In a letter dated March 1 by the groups' legal advisor, Joel Ellinwood, they point out that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process does not apply to the denial of a project. The CEQA process only needs to be completed as a pre-condition of project approval." READ MORE HERE http://www.shinglespringscommunityalliance.com/news/Press-Release-3-3-13

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  • Walking TallMarch 04, 2013 - 2:23 pm

    Interesting to say the least, Ray would like to have everyone believe that he didn't know, sure Ray and I am sure you have a bridge under water or on fire you want to sell. The bottom line is that you tried to insure that your developer friend had a pass and got caught, this is a new board Ray and a new game. You forgot to tell anyone about the Native Americans who are buried there and the stopage of any building even if passed, just another way of filling your pockets at the expense of the people you are to protect. The attempts that you do to undermine this county are crystal clear and we can't wait to see what other development you will try to push through. Your agenda hasn't and won't ever change and at least now there are people who will stop you, sonner or later you will be held accountable and have to pay. Just tell the truth Ray, even you will forgiven in time, but until then know that the citizens of this county are well aware of you and your tactics.

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  • Old JoeMarch 04, 2013 - 11:01 pm

    @Foaming at the mouth. Absolutely right you are, we all have a right to do what we want with our property. We agree on that. Give me your parcel number so I can purchase a lot next to you. I plan on asking for a rezone and with your belief that all can do what we want with our property, I plan on a pig farm. I'm sure you'll support me on this. Stinking to high heaven endeavor....amending the GP and zoning to my liking.

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  • Phil VeerkampMarch 06, 2013 - 12:08 pm

    Hey, Old Joe, does that mean you'll be closing down your meth lab or will you be introducing flying pigs to your business plan?

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  • CosMarch 06, 2013 - 2:10 pm

    So, Foaming, I'm pleased to know that if I rent the trailer next to yours, you won't complain about my meth lab and all the traffic 24/7. Thanks, buddy. I knew I could count on you.

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 06, 2013 - 8:07 pm

    One of the BOS was sent packing back to S. Cal for his constant votes to violate current zoning and rezone property and add density bonuses and endanger the public. Was this lesson learned? Zoning as is where is is what people will allow and can live with. Any further of these clowns who want to dismantle the county zoning need to leave and join the circus.

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  • Bill E.March 07, 2013 - 7:33 am

    What should not get lost with this project is that the all of the neighboring 1-5 acre parcels including Holiday Lakes subdivision were once part of this ranch or a neighboring ranch. That means the degradation of "rural" started to occur a long time ago and the neighbors property are actually part of that degradation that they oppose. The letter from Joel Ellinwood, legal adviser to the Shingle Springs Community Alliance, is an interesting read. Missing from that letter is the informal request made by the SSCA and No San Stino to remove the 3 parcels totaling 645 acres from the Community Region. This would seem to represent a change just as significant as any rezone request that affects the proposed project. Mr. Ellinwood's bio proclaims he "has special interest in sustainable communities". Really now. The conclusion is that the anti-Agenda 21 crowd has secured the services of a pro-Agenda 21 legal adviser. This is either a case of a tangled web or a mercenary lawyer. Fascinating....

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  • Foaming at the MouthMarch 07, 2013 - 8:11 am

    Old Joe and Cos - you are welcome to try to get permission to locate your enterprises next door to me, which is more than you would allow San Stino to do. I like pork and a pig farm might be a step up from the junkyard next door. As for meth, never tried it but I'm pretty sure it's illegal, which makes it a penal issue, not a land-use matter. Illogical much?

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  • shingle springs nativeMarch 07, 2013 - 3:38 pm

    I think the real dispute with this proposed development is the fact that it requires a re-zoning to allow high density housing to be built where it never was initially intended. Yes an owner has the right to sell/develop the property he or she owns but where the dispute comes in is when they try to increase the density of houses on the proposed project. These people ( property owners & developers) only see money signs and have no regard for the community. The owners don't live in shingle springs, they live in an area that has this high density housing already. They don't understand the reason people choose to live in this awesome town. Development must be done responsibly, it wasnt that long ago that old French town rd used to be dirt or French creek rd was chip sealed or cows were pushed up the roads being moved from pasture to pasture. This fight to preserve our rural community is a fight just for that, keeping it rural !

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  • Joel Ellinwood, AICPMarch 07, 2013 - 6:50 pm

    Mr. E: My services to Shingle Springs Community Alliance and No San Stino are pro bono (free - from "pro bono publico" or Latin for "in the public interest"). So much for being a mercenary. Agenda 21 in a UN-sponsored voluntary program to enlist all levels of government to adopt sustainable development practices in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activity. The San Stino project has none of the characteristics of a sustainable development. Part of supporting sustainable development is opposing non-sustainable, leap-frog, greenfield developments, especially in environmentally-sensitive areas like San Stino project site. One principle of sustainable development is leaving rural places rural. That is the basis for the request by Shingle Springs Community Alliance and No San Stino for the removal of the Shingle Springs Community Region Line, which under the General Plan allows the potential for high intensity urban or suburban type development. The request is to remove that line from all of Shingle Springs, not just the 3 San Stino parcels. Rural is not necessarily the same as agricultural. Preserving agriculture means preventing large lot residential development - which is the predominate land use pattern that has already developed in Shingle Springs. It's too late to put that horse back in the barn. Agricultural preservation in areas of El Dorado County where that transformation has yet to occur is part of the current General Plan, and one that I strongly support as part of sustainable land use policy. Thank you for the opportunity to clear up some misinformation about what sustainable development is all about for anyone who actually reads these online commentaries.

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  • Bill E.March 07, 2013 - 8:08 pm

    @Mr Ellinwood. The title of "legal adviser" implies pro bono so that begs the question as to why here, now and this project. Sustainable has become an overused word by many, including the A21 crowd, so the very definition is elusive. This is indeed the case in defining "interest" in "sustainable" development. The definition of rural is also elusive as it is really in the eyes of the beholder. The transition from grazing land as part of agricultural lands to "rural" and "rural" to more suburban uses is a common theme throughout California. Agricultural property owners typically sell off pieces of their land to help pay the bills creating both the rural conflict and expectations. Nothing stays static within eye sight of a metro area and 5 minute access to the freeway. People do read theses comments as it is often the source of misinformation. Thank your for your response.

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  • Old JoeMarch 07, 2013 - 10:35 pm

    @Bill E: "The definition of rural is also elusive as it is really in the eyes of the beholder. The transition from grazing land as part of agricultural lands to "rural" and "rural" to more suburban uses is a common theme throughout California" Agreed. The definition of rural is indeed in the eyes of the beholder. Shingle Springs residents are those very eyes. It's residents define rural as having property (agricultural or large parcel) responsively developed. Is it fair that three individuals sell off land to be developed in a manner that will negatively impact 4,000+ individuals? The voice of Shingle Springs is speaking, stating "We Define Rural" in the very manner you stated. Listen, rather than hear it's voice.

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  • Suzy QMarch 08, 2013 - 12:12 am

    Well said shingle springs native. You are right on the money.

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  • Joel Ellinwood, AICPMarch 08, 2013 - 12:50 am

    Mr. E. and readers of these comments: Sustainability has a specific meaning in Agenda 21, which is available from the UN and other sites such as Wikipedia. Agenda 21 itself has become a cause celeb for conservatives, who have a long history of opposing anything to do with the United Nations. A word such as sustainability is not overused in the appropriate context as one means of addressing human induced climate change - something many conservatives don't believe is real - when many informed people, including the overwhelming majority of the scientific community has identified human activity as a significant factor in climate change with severe consequences for all inhabitants of the earth, including human. Sustainability also has specific meaning in California as the result of the passage into law of SB 375. In SB 375, the primary goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to land use with the principal strategy of reducing the metric "Vehicle Miles Traveled" or VMT. Examples of means of VMT reduction include transit-oriented development calling for increased density in areas serviced by rail, or light rail systems, having street patterns and road designs that facilitate walking or bicycling to school or for shopping, mixed use development to reduce distance of work or shopping trips, increased development densities near employment centers, etc. The San Stino project proposal has none of these features, but creates yet another exurban residential development requiring long commutes in an area with an already overburdened road network. As to why I have offered my services to these grass-roots community organizations opposing the project, I have a friend who has lived on land adjacent to the project for over 40 years who asked me to meet with the developers to find out more about the project. My friend joined with other neighbors and Shingle Springs residents who were already active in the community in an effort to protect Shingle Springs identity as a rural community. I attended one of the early meetings of this group and was impressed with the passion and commitment of a broad range of individuals who have come together to protect their community. I offered my knowledge, training and experience as a land use and environmental attorney to help. It is a pleasure and a privilege to work with such a dedicated, energetic and hard working group. I encourage anyone living in Shingle Springs to attend the next public meeting to be held by these groups on March 14 at 7 pm at the Discovery Hills Church to become more informed about the organizations and their objectives.

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  • EllenMarch 10, 2013 - 11:20 am

    I find it most intersting that Mr. Nutting was not present at the BOS meeting since this was about a big and much contested development in his district. I think he knew how much opposition there was to the San Stino project and didn't want to face up to it. To say that he missed the meeting because he had planned a vacation is simply stupid, but that's not new for Ray. He knew what was coming on the agenda and, if he REALLY wanted to engage with his constituents, he would have had the item continued until a time that he could be there. But his excuse is simply silly---5 year old style. Also,it seems he knows little about his district, not apprently knowing where family ceneteries like the Turnboo cemetery were and the Native Americans buried outside its walls--all this being affected if the project went through. But in the course of planning this development, of which Ray was well aware, he said nothing about cemeteries. He doesn't care. He only wants developer money. Also, look at the 460's that Ray has filed at the Elections Office. They show his campaign contributions come very heavily from developers. They also show that he is financially supported by lots of landowners along the railroad tracks from SS to the county line. Ray wants to rip up the tracks, as do those landowners, as without the tracks, building density can increase, and those landowners and Ray make more money. Look it up. For those of you in District 2, you sure elected the wrong guy. Ray could not care less about you and doesn't even know the facts about his own district.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 10, 2013 - 11:37 am

    Ellen please start looking at the links I have put up on the pollock town meetings...it is not about Ray--The whole thing is about the general plan and how many are manipulating it. Go to their site (Bos) look up agendas and just just watching. Look up Reno/Tahoe Olympic games. Look up these economic advisory boards meetings--read their links. BOS as a whole needs to be watched. People have been working on these behind the scene items for awhile. look at my links. Really look at the portal areas coming into El Dorado County...where is money going? come to our so called town meeting in Pollock march 25th at 6...better yet go to the bos meeting that morning where this advisory group is asking for 10$ of the tot taxes--then come to our meeting. good luck my friend...hopefully at the end of your own search for the truth--you wont be as jaded as I have become.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 10, 2013 - 11:39 am

    10% sorry

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 10, 2013 - 11:59 am

    At one of our town meetings Santiagos Facilatator stated ...that sometimes you have to put history on a shelf. Contact the Nation of Indians that are there--they will always protect their ancestors. They protect their heritage (their history.)

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  • A country loverMarch 11, 2013 - 1:46 am

    What a mess!!! I see this Agenda 21 crystal clear.... Go sell it to as many marked communities you can..."smart meters, smart zoning, smart guy (as my dad used to say). And they say we're dumbing down our kids! Well, Mr. San Stino, you DON'T have my families support!!! Mr. Nutting, did you hear that???

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  • No San Stino Facebook PageMarch 12, 2013 - 7:03 pm

    All those opposed say "No San Stino"! and come to the community meeting on March 14, at Discovery Hills Church, 4270 Shingle Springs Drive, at 7 PM. Join the No San Stino Facebook page!

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netApril 07, 2013 - 8:47 pm

    Susie O there was this article as well

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netApril 07, 2013 - 8:53 pm

    Susie O some voices speaking out...hope this all helps...again Im sorry my link was in the wrong place.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netApril 07, 2013 - 8:55 pm

    http://www.shinglespringscommunityalliance.com/news sorry left out the link--happens when im trying to be polite to family members talking to me.

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