Ione rezone approved by Amador BOS

Foothill Conservancy staff and volunteers have been working hard in recent months, tracking numerous projects that reflect an active real estate market. We support projects that we believe would be good for our communities and the environment. Unfortunately, many proposals fall short. With the relocation of tech workers from urban apartments to remote work locations, there has been a rush to extend, approve or build old subdivisions that were proposed years ago. One of these is a 291-unit housing subdivision at Lake Camanche Village 3B which was approved half a century ago. A lot has changed since then, including increased wildfire hazards and concerns about water availability. We are monitoring that project to encourage proper environmental review.  We have also appealed extensions for two other, smaller subdivisions in the Kirkwood area. Those appeals will be heard on Tuesday, January 5, likely at 10:30 a.m. The Kirkwood Meadows Public Utility District has informed the county that it cannot provide critical services for the projects without their building new facilities, a fact the county extension failed to take into account.

In November, the Amador County Planning Commission rejected Edwin Lands LLC’s proposal to rezone 1,150 acres northwest of Ione for industrial uses, without any specific development proposed. The commission also rejected the staff-prepared negative declaration (which asserted there would be “no” environmental impacts associated with this project). Many Ione residents sent letters and spoke out against the rezone at the Amador County Board of Supervisors meeting. However, the BOS overturned the Planning Commission’s decision at their December 15 meeting, allowing the rezoning to go forward and requiring that any projects actually proposed in this huge area in future obtain a conditional use permit. Since the minimum parcel size is a quarter acre, that could mean as many as 4,600 future projects that would have to be reviewed and analyzed by the county staff. The 1.8 square miles of rezoned land is part of a larger historic ranch complex listed for sale, so it will be interesting to see what the future holds for this property.


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Leslie Smith, Sutter Creek, CA: Raised in Washington State, Leslie is a happy California transplant having moved to Sunny Sutter Creek full time in 2020. As a nascent fly fisher and lifelong skier, she is committed to the natural environment and brings extensive organizational and finance experience to the board from a nearly 40 year career in banking.