Friday, 15 June 2007 01:45

Board of Supervisors Comes Up With Compromise Plan For Kirkwood Project

slide12Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting went until almost 3pm with the discussion focusing on one main topic- the Friends of Kirkwood and Foothill Conservancy’s appeal of the Planning Commissions approval of the Martin Point Tentative Subdivision Map located at Kirkwood. The Board of Supervisors was considering whether or not to uphold the Planning Commission’s decision. Before a project description was given Chairman Louis Boitano and Supervisors Ted Novelli, Richard Forster and Brian Oneto disclosed that they each individually met with either or both the Foothill Conservancy or Friends of Kirkwood representatives prior to the meeting.

The project is located approximately a half mile south of Hwy. 88/ Kirkwood Meadows Drive intersection and west of Kirkwood Meadow Drive. Planning Director Susan Grijalva said the project consists of a 34 lot subdivision on 14.4 acres and has lots ranging in size from 16,500 to 32,000 square feet. The applicant, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, LLC which was referred to as KMR, proposes a total of 35 dwelling units comprised of 33 single-family homes and one duplex unit. The project has formerly been known as “Ski-In/Ski-Out North,” project as a fundamental portion of the project is dedicated to skier access easements. Grijalva went on to explain that the 2003 Kirkwood Specific Plan provides the land use and development criteria for projects within Kirkwood. The project is consistent with the it’s already approved Specific Plan therefore under state law no further environmental review is required. Grijalva also reported to the board that staff has received numerous letters, emails, and phone calls from concerned residents of Kirkwood as well as residents of the County. Grijalva said as an integral part of the review process the county’s Technical Advisory Committee, County Staff, KMR and concerned residents met to evaluate the ski-in/ski-out access and as a result a mutually agreeable route was established to give skiers access and to reduce the number of trees that would have to be removed. The ski trail would go from the project to the Timber Creek lodge, lift #7 area. On May 8th the Planning Commission reviewed the project and found that the project is allowable and would not have to go through additional environmental approval processes and subsequently approved the Martin Point Tentative Subdivision Map.

slide19 The Foothill Conservancy, at the May 8th meeting, immediately challenged the Amador County Planning Commissions decision citing several environmental concerns including water and other environmental impacts, as well as the mitigation measures proposed by the developer. The Foothill Conservancy’s representatives stated that the impacts posed by the project require more environmental research, especially in light of the fact that many of the project’s environmental documentation and research was completed before the specific plan was approved several years ago. Amador County Planning staff maintains that mitigation monitoring has been in process and that dialogue is taking place between the developer and the county. Supervisor Richard Forster asked about the developers trends in compliance on environmental issues with ongoing projects. Grijalva stated that the developer currently has substantial compliance with other projects in the area. She also pointed out that there has not been good consistency or monitoring of the company’s projects for multiple reasons and that meetings regarding these issues with the developers have been taking place. Grijalva also points out that the developer has been required to pay for a consultant, chosen and hired by the county, to help with the monitor of the mitigation measures.Grijalva stated that the mitigations, when followed have been effective. He asked about violations over the last few years. Grijalva stated that violations have not been evaluated by the county; however she was aware that there have been some run off issues involving fish and game and some issues involving equipment failures at the Power Generation Facility.

In a nutshell, the concerns of the Foothill Conservancy and the Friends of Kirkwood have been that the specific plan mitigation measures have not been fully complied with and therefore they want the project’s approval to be deferred until all mitigations from the Specific Plan have been implemented.  In the end the board of Supervisors denied the appeal and upheld the Planning Commission’s approval.They did however amend the conditions of approval for this project to include the requirement that the final map will not be recorded until the resort if found to be in compliance with ALL mitigation measures required under the approval of the Kirkwood Resort specific plan. The Supervisors also directed that an advisory committee be developed for the project. It was also decided that the committee would be coordinated by Supervisor Novelli. The committee shall include Foothill Conservancy and Friend of Kirkwood members that will meet with other members of the group and discuss the compliance with mitigation measures by the developer. Supervisor Richard Forster then asked about the significance of impacts of the project and a reference that those impacts were more detrimental than originally anticipated in the approval of the specific plan. Are the current mitigations enough he asked?