Published November 30th, 2016
Developer Cleans Up at West Commons Park
By Sophie Braccini
It was thanks to a resident's alertness that the town was made aware of the fact that SummerHill Homes, which is developing the upscale Harvest Court residences off Camino Ricardo, had dumped dirt and fill on a native meadow that should have been left undisturbed.
The developer acknowledged the fact and replaced the site's construction manager. It will also restore the meadow that is part of the new West Commons Park as much as possible. The town will get a $40,000 benefit in the form of an irrigation metering system SummerHill is now going to pay for.
"It is a good thing this person is being removed," said Public Works Director Edric Kwan, referring to the SummerHill construction manager who was, in his view, a little too much of a "cowboy."
When the developer got its approval to build 26 homes on the 14.7 acres of the Chi property off Camino Ricardo, one of the conditions of approval was to create to the east of the site a 1.4 acre passive park that would be a restoration of the natural habitat in Moraga. The land now called West Commons was to be left pristine. So when a resident noticed that the developer had dumped fill on the meadow he alerted a council member, who in turn gave a heads-up to city staff.
Planning Director Ellen Clark notes that the town tried to recruit a temporary employee whose job would have been to make sure that developers consistently respect their conditions of approval. It was not possible to fill that position. She is not concerned, though, that developers are violating these conditions, because, when they are caught, it costs them a lot more money.
In the case of the West Commons, SummerHill is removing the fill, and will work with a landscape architect to reseed the area with original grasses. Kwan added that he is pleased that the company has also agreed to pay for the new irrigation metering system that was going to be the town's responsibility.

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Copyright Lamorinda Weekly, Moraga CA