Valley development put on hold

09/13/2012

A petition by the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) requesting that Marin County rewrite an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on coho salmon and steelhead trout habitat in the San Geronimo Valley was denied this week by a Marin County Superior Court judge. In her final ruling, Judge Lynn Duryee found that the existing EIR, prepared as part of the county’s 2007 Countywide Plan update, was sufficient in scope its conclusions supported by substantial evidence. However, she directed the county to abstain from approving applications for development within 100 feet of streams until supervisors adopt an expanded streamside conservation area zoning ordinance. Projects that do not increase building footprints would be exempt. “It’s unfortunate the county’s failure to get common-sense rules in place has resulted in a court ordered de facto building moratorium,” Todd Steiner, executive director of SPAWN, said. In a statement released Wednesday, Tom Lai, assistant director of the Marin Community Development Agency, said the county and its public agency partners have invested over $17 million in the Lagunitas Creek watershed since the fish were listed as endangered species. He added that Supervisor Steve Kinsey believes the injunction will cause significant hardship for San Geronimo Valley residents, and that the county plans to develop the new ordinance so that the injunction can be lifted as soon as possible.