Preserve Lamorinda Open Space

YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED!

On Oct 17th and 19th 2016 the Moraga Planning Commission will consider policies that could protect Moraga’s remaining open space, hillsides, and ridgelines much more strongly. They will pass on their recommendations to the Town Council which is expected to make the final decision early next year.

You can have an impact on these critical decisions!


WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1. ATTEND THE PUBLIC MEETINGS ON OCTOBER 17 and 19.

The meetings will be held Monday, Oct 17th and Wednesday, Oct 19th at 7:00 pm in the new Town Council Chambers, 335 Rheem Blvd. A large turnout sends a strong signal to the Council that the community really cares about this issue. Even if you don’t wish to speak, please attend either or both of these hearings if you can!

2. SEND AN EMAIL TO THE MORAGA PLANNING COMMISSION BY OCT 14, 2016.

Send your email directly to both the following email addresses:

Moraga Town Clerk: mmcinturf@moraga.ca.us
Moraga Planning Director: eclark@moraga.ca.us

Address your message to:

Chairman Woehleke and Members of the Planning Commission

On the subject line include the following:

Hillsides and Ridgelines Project

Tell the Town Council what Moraga’s hillsides, ridgelines, and scenic beauty mean to you, and why you support strong new regulations to protect them. Even a short letter has a big impact! You may wish to mention, in your own words, one or more of the following policy issues in your letter:

  • Ridgelines: Moraga’s scenic ridgelines should be off limits to further development. The Town’s existing ridgeline restrictions failed to protect Rheem Ridge from the Rancho Laguna II (“Bellavista”) project now under construction. New ridgeline regulations should protect all visually significant undeveloped ridgelines and should include a “no-development” buffer wherein development is prohibited within at least 200 feet of the crests of such ridges.


  • Viewshed Protection: Moraga’s scenic beauty is at the heart of its quality of life. Hillside grading to replace natural landforms with engineered slopes and clusters of hillside houses will erode Moraga’s unique semi-rural character. Protecting ridgeline views is not enough: the new regulations must specifically protect views of the hillsides themselves with firm standards to prevent new housing from destroying hillside viewsheds.


  • Steep Slopes: Moraga’s open spaces are largely composed of steep, unstable slopes with weak soils. In 1986, Moraga voters adopted the “Moraga Open Space Ordinance” (MOSO) which prohibitedany development on designated open space slopes steeper than 20%, yet current policies contain loopholes allowing massive grading and building on slopes steeper than 20%. These loopholes should be closed by requiring that slope averages be calculated over areas no greater than ¼ of an acre.


  • Development of “High Risk” Open Space Land: The Moraga Open Space Ordinance says that “high risk land” (i.e., land with landslides, faults, unstable soils, and/or other geologic hazards) may not be developed with more than one house per 20 acres. Over the years, the interpretation of this law has been watered down to allow developers to build on high risk lands at higher densities by conducting massive grading to reduce geologic hazards. The result has been damaging grading and more development in open space, precisely what MOSO was intended to prevent. The revised rules must faithfully implement MOSO’s prohibition on any more than 1 home per 20 acres in high risk MOSO lands, in keeping with what voters passed, no exceptions.


  • Home Sizes: Recent housing developments approved in open space scenic corridors include very large homes, some in excess of 5,000 square feet. Clusters of such homes can dominate the landscape and destroy the semi-rural character of the scenic corridor. The size of houses built in open space areas visible from scenic corridors should be limited to reasonable sizes to preserve the landscape’s scenic value.


  • Thank you for writing to the Moraga Town Council to help protect Lamorinda’s scenic beauty and quality of life!
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