Greenbelt Alliance wins suit against Oakley

Jonathan Lockett

A Contra Costa Superior Court judge ruled Friday against Oakley in a case brought by the Greenbelt Alliance to protect farmland in the city’s East Cypress Corridor, according to a news release from the Greenbelt Alliance.

Oakley must now re-evaluate its environmental impact report for a second time to show how it will offset the loss of 828 acres of farmland in the Hotchkiss Tract. The city also had show revisions in air quality remedies in court, which the judge accepted, according to City Manager Bryan Montgomery.

“This is a huge victory for the Bay Area and the state, because cities will have to protect farmland,” said Christina WongGreenbelt Alliance Field Representative, in a news release.

“We’re certainly disappointed,” Montgomery said, “but we just need to move forward and do what needs to be done to comply.”

Montgomery said the land, although containing livestock, is not used for farming and has never been. “It’s just open space,” he said.

The organization sued the city in 2006 for failing to address 10 environmental impacts of development on more than 1,600 acres of land along East Cypress Road. The developments would add up to 5,600 houses and apartments in an area that is below sea level.

In 2007, a judge ruled in favor of Oakley on eight of the environmental issues but ordered the city to address issues with air quality and loss of agricultural land. Friday’s ruling means the city will have to make its third revision to the environmental plan paid for by developers.

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