High Sierra Rural Alliance challenges the general plan

Debra Moore
Staff Writer


When Plumas County adopted its updated general plan Dec. 17, 2013, it opened up a 30-day window for challenges, and there was one. High Sierra Rural Alliance filed a lawsuit Jan. 16, 2014, in Plumas Superior Court.

The lawsuit challenges the portion of the general plan update that pertains to timber production zones, maintaining that it conflicts with state law. High Sierra Rural Alliance is also challenging the general plan update’s environmental impact report as it pertains to timber production parcels and the county’s failure to recirculate the document after changes were made.

Stevee Duber, the chief executive officer of the High Sierra Alliance, outlined the agency’s position in a press release: “The GPU (general plan update) is inconsistent with the state law requirement because it allows a residence and structure, on a TPZ parcel of 160 acres without any assessment of whether such development is necessary for, or compatible with the management of TPZ land.

“Providing services for residential development far from established communities is expensive for the County. Because the taxes paid on TPZ land do not cover the cost, taxpayers living within established communities would have to foot the bill to provide police and fire protection, among other services, to residences on TPZ land.”

Duber also noted that the general plan pertaining to TPZ land doesn’t “make any provisions to protect streams and other water resources from encroaching development.”

Planning Director Randy Wilson said he couldn’t comment on the lawsuit, and directed all questions to County Counsel Craig Settlemire.

Settlemire said he could only comment on the process, which first will involve preparing the administrative record. That is the record of all documents and meetings that pertain to the general plan update since the process began.

High Sierra Rural Alliance has elected to prepare the record and the county will review it for completeness once it is submitted to the court.

Settlemire said that a meeting would be scheduled to see if it’s possible to settle. If not, the challenge will go to court.

“It can be a long process,” Settlemire said.

The general plan update is adopted and remains in place as the legal challenge proceeds.


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