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Here’s a message from Preserve Lamorinda Open Space.

MORAGA TOWN COUNCIL TO DECIDE FUTURE OF RANCHO LAGUNA OPEN SPACE NEXT MONTH—YOUR LETTERS URGENTLY NEEDED!

Last August, the Moraga Planning Commission voted to approve the 27-lot Rancho Laguna residential development project. Moraga residents appealed this decision, which will be considered by the Town Council on Wednesday, February 24, at 7:30 pm in the Joaquin Moraga Middle School Auditorium, 1010 Camino Pablo, Moraga. (Please note: the hearing was originally scheduled for tomorrow Wednesday, Jan. 27, but has been rescheduled for Feb. 24.)

The proposed development area consists of 180 acres of open space lying immediately east of Rheem Blvd. between St. Mary’s Rd. and Moraga Rd.  (The foreground in the photo above shows the valley, creek, and ridgeline to be developed, as seen looking south.  Rheem Blvd. is at the far right.)

Despite the fact that this area is designated a scenic corridor in Moraga’s General Plan, the project would build 21 houses on the southern end of the ridgeline running parallel to Rheem Blvd., and 6 more houses in the valley adjacent to Rheem Blvd.

The project would also eliminate the natural creek parallel to Rheem Blvd. using soil excavated from the ridge to fill the stream, thereby destroying its riparian canopy and cutting 73 mature native trees.  Town staff has pushed for this plan as a means to stabilize Rheem Blvd.

The proposed project conflicts with numerous provisions of the General Plan, including its protections for ridgelines, creeks, and scenic corridors.  Additionally, the Regional Water Quality Control Board has sharply criticized the project (see: www.lamorindaopenspace.org/RWQCBletters.html).

A majority of Moraga’s current Town Council members were elected on pro-open space campaign platforms, and they will now have an opportunity to act on those principles.  Here’s what you can do to help persuade them to overturn this project approval:

1.      If you are a Moraga resident, please write a letter to the Town Council expressing your objections to this project. For more information, go to www.lamorindaopenspace.org/letterwriting.html.

2.      Please attend the hearing on Wednesday, February 24. Even if you don’t wish to speak, your presence sends a strong and critical message to the Council that the community cares deeply about preserving remaining open space and ridgelines.

The Town Council heard detailed presentations from the appellants, the developer, and the public at an earlier hearing last October 28th, and will likely make its decision at the February 24th hearing.  This may be the end of the line for Moraga’s most prominent remaining open space corridor.  Please write a letter and attend the hearing if you possibly can.  It may be the last chance!

As always, thank you for your commitment to preserving this beautiful area and your support for open space protection!

Sincerely,

Preserve Lamorinda Open Space Steering Committee

Please visit our website at www.lamorindaopenspace.org for more information.

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