“A settlement reached this week with the Borrego Water District that will breathe new life into the dormant Rams Hill golf course will come at the expense of hundreds of acres of grapefruit and palm-tree groves elsewhere in town.
“As part of a complicated deal, the new owners of Rams Hill — a master-planned residential community that features a Tom Fazio designed golf course — have agreed to purchase farms and ranches that hold the trees and let them go fallow over the next five years.”
From The Bakersfield Californian, in a commentary by Lois Henry:
“So, a pile of water banked in Kern County is being used to support a massive urban development in Madera County.
“Before you try and wrap your head around how that’s geographically possible, there’s the whole question of whether the banked water (and other water slated for the project) even can be used for that purpose.”
“California grew by 332,000 people between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013 and now has more than 38.2 million residents, according to population estimates released December 12 by the Department of Finance.
It’s the biggest numeric gain and percentage gain – nearly 1 percent – since 2004.”
“The newest proposal coming through the pipeline is Westlake, a 430-acre community west of Highway 99 that eventually would have 2,600 single-family homes and apartment units, a population of about 8,000 and a central lake.
“We believe that Westlake is the right project at the right time for this area of Fresno — and for the community at large. Others disagree.
“A Texas developer and a group of California scientists are feuding over the amount of environmental damage a gated community would bring to one of the last remaining parcels of prime wildlife habitat in the southern Santa Susana Mountains. …
“The property lies in the north San Fernando Valley between Brown’s and Mormon creeks, the only perennial creeks in the southern Santa Susanas.”
“In a 4-0 vote Wednesday, the [Coachella] City Council approved a series of resolutions and ordinances concerning a 2,200-acre development that city leaders hope will transform Coachella into an economic giant, despite initial concerns about the project’s potentially large infrastructural and public safety demands and unaffordable housing cost. …
“About six miles worth of outside water supply would be imported into the site.
“What is a LAFCO? Until this week, many local residents would have been hard-pressed to answer this question. Yet on Wednesday, a majority of the appointees to the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission demonstrated why it is important for counties to have strong and principled LAFCOs.”
“Land, water and access to broadband Internet services will be among the items going before the Butte County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
“Water and land come together in an agenda item that refers to “4,000 to 5,000″ parcels in the county that were created by deed, and do not conform to either the state or local subdivision requirements.”
“A Marina Coast Water District official is floating an idea to purchase Salinas River water to supply future development on former Fort Ord, a move that could mean millions of dollars a year in revenue for the county.
“Marina Coast District Interim General Manager Brian Lee will be pitching the idea during committee meeting of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency today [Oct. 31] in Salinas.”
“Tackling one of the American West’s most contentious issues, a new government report assesses the demands on Sonoma County’s largest underground water source against a future that includes population growth, agricultural needs and the wild card of climate change.
“By virtue of a $999,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, [Yolo] county is about 18 months away from completing the Yolo Natural Heritage Program, which would guide conservation plans for future development.
“If someone polled San Joaquin Valley residents on the importance of preserving prime agricultural land, we are confident that respondents overwhelmingly would favor protecting the soil that drives our region’s economy. …
“The rub comes when farmers are offered big money for their acreage, or their water, by developers intent on turning dirt into subdivisions and new towns.”