Published October 31st, 2018
Bollinger Valley Project temporarily on the shelf
By Vera Kochan
Project site and vicinity Image provided, enhanced by Lamorinda Weekly
After a seven-hour marathon planning commission meeting taking place over the course of two days on Oct 15 and 18, Commissioner Karl Davis crafted a proposal to the town council with unanimous approval. "The planning commission is recommending to the town council that they strongly consider a revised project description, much in line with Alternate 3 or something very similar, that would need to be consistent with the General Plan and would be held to the same policies, plans and procedures in the town as Bollinger Valley Project has been held to so far."

The original project included 126 single-family homes. There were six additional alternate proposals involving various quantities of homes. The applicant for the project was willing to settle for Alternate 6 (85 homes), but the commission favored and recommended Alternate 3 (37 homes).

Much of the commission's decision hinged on the Environmental Impact Report, in which issues of traffic, easement rights, landslides, pollution and population density in a small valley were key. Neighbors were concerned over the loss of public/open space. The land is on private property, and therefore cannot be included in the consideration, noted Davis.

Valley Hill Drive, the only road that would lead into and out of the development, is insufficient to provide emergency vehicle access in the event of a fire or evacuation. The Moraga-Orinda Fire District cannot sanction any project at this point until the applicant can come up with viable measures toward public safety.

Likewise, according to Planning Director Derek Farmer, "Lafayette has not been approached by the applicant with regards to the additional traffic flow affecting St. Mary's Road into its city limits. As the project stands, Lafayette will not support the Bollinger Valley Project." With the additional traffic, Lafayette's EVA becomes jeopardized.

Farmer stated, "In more than two years, no proper documentation has been submitted to Moraga, Lafayette or MOFD showing that project improvements have been established. We've received no documentation from the county either with regards to road widening and other conditions." Farmer added, "This is a project that's been going on for some time and if there are such documents, we would have seen them by now."

The General Plan consists of eight elements: land use, community design, housing, circulation, open space/conservation, public safety, community facilities/services and growth management. The Bollinger Valley Project, as it stands, is inconsistent with Moraga's General Plan.

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