tassjara valley
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Zoe Siegel

Outside Urban Limits and Without Water, Tassajara Parks is Approved

Updated to reflect recent decisions

In a disappointing outcome, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors allowed the controversial Tassajara Parks to move forward in a 4-1 vote last Tuesday, July 13. Tassajara Parks is a proposed 125 single-family home development outside of the Urban Limit Line (ULL)—the boundary that marks the outer limit beyond which urban development will not be allowed—in the Tassajara Valley area of unincorporated Contra Costa County. The decision was made despite the fact that the project will be built outside the voter-approved urban boundaries and that the local water supplier, East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), still refuses to provide water to the development due to it being outside of its jurisdiction and capacity. Supervisor Candace Andersen—the only dissent vote—questioned the decision, saying that the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors had never approved a project where there is no identified source of water before.

While the Board of Supervisors approved the development, there are still pending issues regarding water supply from EBMUD and possible legal issues between affected cities San Ramon and Danville, according to reports from the Mercury News.

“While this is not the outcome we had hoped and fought for the past 30 years, we will continue our efforts to support building communities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect our open spaces, and save our wildlife,” said Greenbelt Alliance’s Resilience Fellow, Karen Rosenberg, who spoke against the project during the meeting. “There are still thousands of acres of land that we must continue to protect from sprawl in the Tassajara Valley and throughout our region.” 

More Context on the Decision

During the meeting, Karen urged the Board of Supervisors to reject the project, highlighting the need to take into account increasing climate change impacts to the community. “Why are we risking the health of our communities and the resilience of our region? The pace of climate change is accelerating and our county needs to enact viable solutions such as mitigation and adaptation to better protect our community,” asked Karen to the supervisors. According to media reports, the promise from the landowner to dedicate 727 acres for open space played an important role in the decision of the Board.

On June 9, 2021, the County’s Planning Commission voted to deny the Tassajara Parks project and recommended the Board of Supervisors also deny the developer’s application. The decision by the Commission was a major win in the process of stopping this project and preserving the county’s precious natural and agricultural lands. Read more here.

City Boundaries Were Created For a Reason

In 2016, the Board of Supervisors determined that sufficient capacity exists countywide inside the Urban Limit Line to accommodate housing and growth through 2036. An amendment to the city’s General Plan to allow development beyond city lines would have severe environmental and safety implications for generations to come. “We need to protect our open spaces and focus growth inside the city limits,” concluded Karen in her remarks.

Get more details on the Tassajara Valley Preservation Association’s website.

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