Spring 2024 Focus: Building Better Communities

The FC Land Use Team has been busy over the past few months monitoring meetings, advocating for reducing environmental impacts associated with new developments, and promoting sound land use planning decisions.  

Our Executive Director and Land Use Team members have been following local government agendas (Planning Commissions, Boards of Supervisors, City Councils, the County Technical Advisory Committee, service providers such as Amador Water Agency and Amador County Transportation Agency, and local watchdog groups like Community Action Project & Calaveras Planning Coalition). We provide oral comments at many of these meetings and submit formal comment letters as needed.

We have reviewed a wide variety of environmental impact analysis documents, from the Draft Environmental Impact Report prepared for ACUSD’s school consolidation plan to the Ione Band’s Initial Study-Mitigated Negative Declaration prepared for the proposed casino in Plymouth. We met with the owner and developer of the proposed Putnam Ranch subdivision project near Plymouth to encourage better connection to existing roadways and services as well as an affordable housing component, rather than an isolated and expensive gated community.

We’ve also been proponents of better design work to make new developments, such as the proposed Chipotle restaurant in Martel and Plymouth Casino, more compatible with our foothill environment. We’ve been working with county staff to establish a list of priority roadway segments for viewshed protection and to establish design guidelines for town centers.

We’ve also been working hard to protect the environment and nearby residents from the impacts of new and existing mining operations. We sided with neighbors to deny extending operating hours at the Jackson Valley Quarry from 5 pm to 10 pm.  We have been working to hold a mine owner accountable to implement its approved reclamation plan before authorizing new land uses at the site. 

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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.