What are the Siller Ranch facts? | SierraSun.com

What are the Siller Ranch facts?

Ron Parr

In an article published in the Sierra Sun on April 27, representatives for Sierra Watch offered their opinions regarding the Siller Ranch project. We respectfully disagree with their opinions and remain convinced the Placer County officials and Board of Supervisors struck the correct balance between the need to preserve and conserve important elements of the natural environment in the Martis Valley while allowing reasonable human use and enjoyment of a portion of the Siller Ranch site.

So what are the facts?

When we purchased the Siller property in 1999, the 1975 Martis Valley General Plan (MVGP) designations for the property would have allowed as many as 1,600 residential units and as much as 400,000-square feet of public commercial space ” with approximately 95 percent of the allowed development directed south of Martis Creek.

The Martis Valley Community Plan, adopted by the Placer County Board of Supervisors in December of 2003, reduced and “capped” the number of residential units on Siller Ranch to 850, all but eliminated any public commercial space and severely limited disturbance on the Siller Ranch site to specific areas both north and south of Martis Creek.

Then, after working with county staff and more than 30 state and federal regulatory agencies, after collaborating with more than 40 consulting scientists and professionals, and after the production of more than 7,000 pages of technical and scientific data and extensive public comment, we proposed an even less dense 726 unit Siller Ranch project.

The proposed project was studied, publicly debated, refined and further conditioned to meet the strict environmental standards of Placer County. The revised Siller Ranch project was approved and adopted by the Board of Supervisors in January of 2005.

The Siller Ranch project is a carefully planned community with a decidedly rural character that, among other things:

– balances human and wildlife use of the property;

– offers average 1.8 acre single family home sites;

– limits disturbance on individual home sites;

– retains more than 80 percent of the entire 2,177 acre site in native vegetation;

– results in approximately 10 percent impervious coverage;

– will not affect threatened or endangered species, including the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout or other species considered as special status by the regulatory agencies;

– protects the Martis Valley viewshed by restricting development to inside the tree line;

– maintains a healthy, fire-safe forest;

– buffers, conserves, preserves and manages natural resources, especially Martis Creek, its tributaries and adjacent uplands;

– preserves the connectivity of animal movement and migration corridors;

– incorporates open space and connections to large conservation areas within the Martis Valley; and,

– avoids permanent impacts to wetlands to all but one-third of one acre (preserves 99.3 percent of all wetlands on site).

Some of the numerous public benefits that would be provided as the Project proceeds are:

– affordable housing for new employees;

– an endowment that funds long-term water quality and open space management;

– financial assistance for the reintroduction of the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout;

– access and funding for improved public transit;

– millions of dollars for seven miles of new, interconnected public trails and other public recreation facilities;

– property tax revenue in excess of cost for services of more than $5 million annually;

– millions of dollars for improvements in the local school district;

– a private foundation expected to generate millions of dollars for local charities, scholarships for local students and a host of other beneficial community needs;

– positive cumulative impacts of over $1billion to the local economy over the next 20 years.

Questions? Comments? Want to know more of the facts? Want to meet? Please free to call (530.550.2990) or e-mail me rjp@dmbhighlandsgroup.com. Or visit our web site at http://www.dmbhighlandsgroup.com.

Ron Parr is a partner in DMB/Highlands Group, LLC, which is developing the Siller Ranch project.