Challenging Sprawl Nationwide
January 1, 2004
Sierra Club chapters were even more active than usual in the fourth quarter of 2003 fighting ill-conceived sprawl developments across the country.
In Mississippi, the chapter filed suit to challenge a zoning change that would allow for intense commercial and residential development on roughly 1,200 acres of land along the Gulf of Mexico.
In California, the Mother Lode Chapter settled a lawsuit over a proposed residential development after gaining a commitment of over eight million dollars for the formation of a land trust and purchase of agricultural easements on sprawl-threatened lands. The Mother Lode Chapter and its Placer Group request authorization also filed a second state lawsuit challenging the “Bickford Ranch” project, a proposed 2,000-acre, high-end residential development that would destroy a large blue oak woodland near Sacramento, California. The Mother Lode Chapter also fought off an ill-conceived sprawl-inducing land use plan for Sutter County. In southern California, the Angeles Chapter filed a lawsuit challenging a “sweetheart” development agreement that would pave the way for additional sprawl along the Malibu coastline, while destroying environmentally sensitive areas.
In Maryland, the Club joined an ongoing state lawsuit challenging the “National Harbor” project, a proposed massive development adjacent to a sensitive inlet on the Potomac River.
The New Jersey Chapter brought an action challenging the designation of Sparta and Vernon townships as urban “centers” under the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan; this new planning designation will fuel sprawl growth in these rural areas.
August 1, 2003
Sierra Club Chapters throughout California have been busy pushing for smarter growth in California. Several huge victories occurred in the third quarter of 2003. In Alameda County, a growth control measure that preserves agriculture and open space on the fringes of the San Francisco Bay Area was upheld by the California Court of Appeals. Sierra Club worked very hard to pass a local law known as “measure D,” and we are thrilled that it has survived legal challenge. In another case, involving the huge, proposed Ahmanson Ranch development on the outskirts of Los Angeles, the Club and other environmental groups prevailed when the case settled with the developer abandoning its plans and selling the threatened land to the state for conservation. In another recent victory, Sierra Club won a lawsuit that forces Sutter County to redesign its growth plan and work towards curbing unplanned and sprawling growth in the region. Other victories include settlements over the Monte Serrano and Hinman House developments which threatened open space, wildlife habitat, and sensitive ecosystems. In other parts of California, a series of four newly filed lawsuits challenge the Bakersfield, Luers, Palm Springs Classic, and Sandystone and Montague developments.
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