My Turn: Donner Summit is a legacy to pass on | SierraSun.com

My Turn: Donner Summit is a legacy to pass on

Bill Oudegeest

People have been going back and forth in the Sierra Sun for some time now about the proposed Foster/Syme development on Donner Summit.

Lately the focus has shifted to who will talk to whom? That’s really silly.

I am president of the Serene Lakes Property Owners’ Association with about 650 families as members. We are ready to sit down and talk with the developers about the proposed development but discussion must be substantive and about issues that the Donner Summit community sees as important.

The really important issues make up the core of a list of 41 issues I tried to talk with the developers about many months ago:

– water sources and storage

– density

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– sewage disposal

– traffic

– safety

– density

– nature of the development

– land preservation/dedication

– the Yuba and American Rivers

– fragile lands

– Serene Lakes

– wetlands

The Serene Lakes Property Owners’ Association has been working with more than half a dozen other concerned groups who all think the issues listed above are the real issues.

The developers bought the Royal Gorge lands on Donner Summit and without any study, planned a large dense development the details of which the reader can find in many places on the Web. They didn’t even check to see if there was enough water or sewer capacity before they began planning. A more sensible approach would have been to study the resources and carrying capacity of the land and then plan compatibly, paying close attention to the special history, climate conditions, and fragile environment on the Summit.

That is exactly what we are proposing. Now, following the lead of the Donner Summit Area Association and following up a process we helped DSAA start last fall, we advocate the development of a visioning process.

What are the resources and conditions on the Summit? What do the residents want and consider important? What is the carrying capacity of the land? What is compatible development?

We’d love to have Placer and Nevada counties involved. Indeed, we invited Placer and Nevada counties, as well as the developers, to participate in the initial step, the Summit Summit last fall which was attended by hundreds of Summit residents.

That visioning process has the support of two neighborhood groups, two watershed organizations, a local land-use group, a regional land-use group, and a national environmental organization.

Mr. Foster and Mr. Syme don’t want to engage in such a responsible pro-active and positive process where dialogue would be key.

I dare you Mr. Syme:

– Let’s be responsible and positive.

– Let’s be pro-active.

– Let’s treat the Summit as a legacy to pass on to the future.

– Let’s plan based on facts rather than wishes.

– Let’s talk about substantive issues rather than “red herrings.”

I dare you.