Measure D was adopted by the voters in 2000 to revise the urban growth boundary of eastern Alameda County, reserving less land for urban growth and more land for agriculture and open space.
Measure D similarly amended the plan governing the Castro Valley and Palomares Canyonlands to maintain existing land uses because of the susceptibility of the Canyonlands to damage. Additional harm was foreseeable unless strong protections were enacted.
“Resource Management” designation is reserved for land having special characteristics such as habitat for special status species or creeks containing riparian corridors. The designation encompasses “areas typically unsuitable for human occupation due to public health and safety hazards such as earthquake faults, floodways, unstable soils, or areas containing wildlife habitat and other environmentally sensitive features…”
Construction and operation of an outdoor recreation facility, including camping cabins, shower/restroom facilities, a multi-use building, and an agricultural caretaker dwelling are now proposed for Resource Management-designated land in Cull Canyon of the Castro Valley Canyonlands.
County planners noted with an earlier project concept that “…the development of the site as a commercial retreat center has to be considered as the ‘real’ consequence of the project proposal.” This new development proposal could set a precedent for intensive uses in Resource Management-designated areas in the Canyonlands and in other areas of East Alameda County.
Sierra Club local volunteers placed evaluation of the project on their agenda for June 24. On July 16, a response was sent, not by local Sierra Club volunteers, but by Sierra Club staff.
Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter Director Minda Berbeco wrote: “We understand you have been waiting for a letter from the Sierra Club on Project Referral Case No. PLN2020-00093 seeking a Conditional Use Permit and Site Development Review... We wanted to let you know that the Sierra Club will not be submitting comments on this project.”
Members of the Sierra Club should ask the Club what is going on.
The Sierra Club apparently has at least a perceived double standard in commenting on various projects depending on the politics of the project proponent. The Sierra Club's credibility and stature, certainly with public agencies, is diminished if the Sierra Club takes positions based on political considerations and not on the facts. This, in turn, harms Sierra Club’s long-term goal of protecting the environment.