Appeals filed against Hopkins Ranch
Two neighboring landowners have filed appeals on Hopkins Ranch, the first development approved by Placer County under the recently instituted Martis Valley Community Plan.
The appeals on the 65-unit gated golf course project are in addition to a challenge by environmental group Sierra Watch on the project planned for north of the Lahontan development. Objections to the project center on a clubhouse, parking lot and 6-foot-high, 1,000-foot-long masonry wall planned to go between the parking lot and neighboring developments.
“We don’t think that there should be a clubhouse, a parking lot and a wall on top of a bluff that can be seen for miles,” said Mark Percin of Intermountain Development.
Percin owns an adjoining 5-acre parcel, and has approval to develop 20 homes on the land – a development he has named Coyote Run.
He said that originally he proposed affordable housing for the site, but was pressured by DMB Highlands, the owners of Hopkins Ranch, to redesign until he ended up with homes projected to start at $600,000.
“They started redesigning our project, moving our streets,” Percin said. “Now I have to charge my clients an outrageous amount of money because of design guidelines.”
Percin said that although DMB Highlands forced these guidelines on his development, they did not follow the same guidelines in placing the clubhouse and parking lot up against his development and in an area designated as open space.
“The thing that prompted the appeal was the inaction of the developers to work with neighbors,” he said.
But aside from the effect that Hopkins Ranch has and will have on his development, Percin opposes the project on environmental grounds, and says that he will sue to stop the project if the Placer County Board of Supervisors approves it.
“We need another golf course like a hole in the head,” he said. “If we do have another golf course, we need it to be developed responsibly.”
Although he projects that the approval of Hopkins Ranch has added value to his lots – possibly even doubling their value, the placement of the clubhouse, parking lot and wall are enough to prompt him to litigate.
“We will file suit. That I will guarantee you,” Percin said.
The other appellants, at Steiner Development, said that they will withdraw their appeal if DMB Highlands alters the project to lessen impacts on Steiner’s neighboring 18-acre parcel.
Changes discussed between the developers include removing the wall, realigning parking and increasing landscaping between the properties. However, Placer County officials said that Steiner’s appeal will not be considered because the developer did not make official comments on the proposal before filing the appeal. Whether their appeal is valid or not is relatively inconsequential, as two challenges are enough to begin the appeal process, which will open up the project for comment from anyone with complaints.
“I believe that they are going to alleviate our concerns,” said Mark Steiner, president of Steiner Development.
Hopkins Ranch has already received strong criticism from Sierra Watch for placement of the golf course on Martis Valley meadowland. Sierra Watch and other environmental groups are also in a broader legal fight to overturn the Martis Valley Community Plan, which sets the maximum number of dwelling units in Martis Valley at 8,600.
Although a relatively small development, Hopkins Ranch is the first in a line of larger proposals for the Martis Valley area, including Siller Ranch, and Eaglewood.
DMB Highlands declined to be interviewed or provide any information to the Sierra Sun.
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