Our View: Martis Valley not ‘saved’ yet
Looking back, it would be easy to say that conservation groups sued willy-nilly to hinder private property owners in the Martis Valley from exercising their rights ” namely to develop their land to the extent allowable under the law.
But it would be just as easy to argue that developers and Placer County planned willy-nilly without taking into consideration the public trust or environmental law.
When two opposing ideas clash and negotiations fail, as they did in this case between developers and conservationists, the recourse is a lawsuit, which makes the parties more amenable to really hashing things out.
In the end that’s what happened with the Martis Valley suits. Now that there are no legal hammers poised above people’s heads. The players in the drawn-out legal battles over development around the valley are understandably positive. It’s called compromise.
Developers will still be able to build hundreds, albeit fewer, of homes and golf courses while conservationists will see millions of dollars from real estate transfer fees for decades to come.
That’s because the future of Martis Valley, as it relates to other property holders who haven’t trotted out definitive plans, remains unclear. There remain nearly 8,000 acres of private property on the east side of the valley that are, to one degree or another, still in play for some form of development.
The funds conservation groups and developers agreed to agree on could very well be leveraged to acquire all or some of the remaining land around the valley in the future at what would have to be fair-market price.
We see that as a win-win situation.
However, that scenario is another part of the development saga that remains to be played out, meaning those “Save Martis Valley” bumper stickers aren’t obsolete quite yet.
For the time being, though, we can all agree to disagree on methods like lawsuits but recognize developers got something now and the rest of us will get something in the future.
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