Approval nears for protecting 47,300 acres
AUBURN, Calif.- In a major milestone, following several years of work by local governments and state and federal regulatory agencies, the draft Placer County Conservation Program and accompanying environmental impact study were published on June 21 in the Federal Register by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
On the same date, the county released the program’s draft environmental impact report, now available for comment during a 60-day public review period (June 21 through Aug. 20).
…the PCCP will protect a large, contiguous area of open space and natural habitat and establish a program for the effective conservation of natural resources; and will also create a more streamlined, cost-effective and predictable permitting process to promote sustainable future development in unincorporated areas of western Placer County and the City of Lincoln.
“From the very beginning, we were committed to achieving the most comprehensive conservation plan possible, one that would maximize protection of our natural resources while concurrently streamlining local, state and federal permitting processes,” said District 2 Supervisor Robert Weygandt. “We’ve accomplished that. This release marks the beginning of a process that should take us to completion very soon. I could not be more excited.”
The PCCP would permanently conserve 47,300 acres of land, stream systems and wetlands in western Placer County over a 50-year permit term. It would also expedite the environmental permit processes under state and federal environmental laws for proposed development and move project approvals to the local government level – greatly reducing costs and the amount of time required to receive permits that without the PCCP are issued separately by state and federal wildlife and wetland protection agencies.
The PCCP would be the first regional conservation plan in the United States to include endangered species permitting both for terrestrial species and fish species, as well as regional wetlands permitting.
Placer County staff have collaborated closely with stakeholders, PCCP partners, local jurisdictions and entities and federal and state regulatory agencies to develop the comprehensive program. The PCCP partners are Placer County, the City of Lincoln and the Placer County Water Agency and the South Placer Regional Transportation Authority.
Public workshops for community members to ask questions about the PCCP are scheduled for Aug. 1 from 6 – 8 p.m. at 3091 County Center Drive, Cypress Conference Room/Planning Commission Hearing Room, Auburn; and Aug. 15 from 6 – 8 p.m., Lincoln City Hall, 600 6th Street, first floor community room, Lincoln.
The EIR is available for public review during normal business hours at the Placer County libraries in Auburn, Granite Bay, Penryn and Lincoln Library and at the Placer County Community Development Resources Agency, 3091 County Center Drive, Suite 190, Auburn, CA 95603. It’s also available online at https://www.placer.ca.gov/3362/Placer-County-Conservation-Program.
The Placer County Planning Commission will hold a public meeting to receive comments on the draft EIR on Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. (or soon thereafter) at the Placer County Community Development Resource Agency, Planning Commission Room, 3091 County Center Drive in North Auburn.
Comments on the draft EIR may also be addressed by mail to the Placer County Community Development Resource Agency, Environmental Coordination Services, 3091 County Center Drive, Suite 190, Auburn, CA 95603; or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. Aug. 20.
Comments on the draft EIS may also be addressed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by U.S. mail or hand delivery at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825. Those hand delivering comments are requested to call 916-414-6600 to make an appointment during regular business hours – or by fax to 916-414-6713 – no later than 5 p.m. on Aug. 20.