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Concern about Enforcement of Creek Protection Ordinance - by Ralph Kanz

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  • FoTC
    Friends: The City of Oakland needs your encouragement to properly enforce its Creek Protection Ordinance. We are passing this article (from Friends of Sausal
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 14, 2005
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      The City of Oakland needs your encouragement to properly enforce its
      Creek Protection Ordinance. We are passing this article (from Friends
      of Sausal Creek) along for your information:

      As Karen Paulsell [of Friends of Sausal Creek] recently reported there
      are problems with enforcement of Oakland's Creek Protection Ordinance.
      Unfortunately the problem seems to be getting worse and goes far beyond
      vegetation clearing for fire suppression. More than two months ago I
      made a request to the City to see the Creek Permit for the Leona Quarry
      project. 55 days later I finally got to see the permit. They did not
      want to release the information for good reason.

      The project at Leona Quarry involved work in the basin at the base of
      the upper reach of Chimes Creek where it enters the quarry. Work took
      place in the creek bed, including the installation of a trash rack with
      significant excavation on site. The Creek Protection Ordinance lists
      four categories of permits This project requires a category IV permit
      because it was in the creek bed. The City chose to issue a Category II
      permit. As the Creek Ordinance states a Category II permit "does not
      include earthwork, and is more than one hundred (100) feet from the
      center line of the creek to the location of the development or work."
      The ordinance does allow for the reclassification of a category if
      certain findings are made. No findings were made in this case. Claudia
      Cappio, the development director for the City made the decision that
      this would be a Cate gory II permit without the required findings, and
      the ordinance only allows the Chief of Building Services to make the

      Why the reclassification? Section 13.16.140 of the ordinance states:
      "Categories I and II are ministerial actions and therefore exempt from
      CEQA. Categories III and IV are discretionary actions and therefore
      subject to CEQA review. Reclassification by the Chief of Building
      Services is discretionary and therefore subject to CEQA review." The
      reclassification was an attempt to prevent California Environmental
      Quality Act (CEQA) review of the creek permit. CEQA review requires
      public notification and public review of the permit. The City has
      violated its own Creek Protection Permit so that a politically
      connected developer can impact a creek without regards for its impact.

      There are many other problems at Leona Quarry. The City has failed to
      enforce the mitigation measures for the project, and the homeowners
      below the project along Chimes Creek are literally seeing property wash

      When will the Creek Ordinance get enforced? We will continue to see
      politicians claim they support the ordinance, and that it is wonderful,
      but without real enforcement it is meaningless.

      Ralph Kanz

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