Smart Growth

Smart Growth in The Sunset Area Prarie

It is hard to wrap one’s head around the vastness of the Sunset Area prairie.

We understand how precious it is to resident and migratory species when we understand that 90% of North America’s prairie grasslands and the wet potholes that define them have be destroyed by industrial agriculture and urban sprawl.  The scale of this loss dwarfs the loss of rainforest habitat our planet has experienced.

Please click here to view the letter reagarding the Sunset Area Prarie from Attorney Shute Mihaley Weinberger. Thank you!



Join our Alliance for Environmental Leadership team!

Leslie Warren, Chair

Believe in smart growth (not suburban sprawl) and a healthy environment?  Want to influence our local elected and appointed officials that control development in the foothills?  Join our Alliance for Environmental Leadership (AEL) by e-mailing our Committee Chair, Leslie Warren, at  Leslie will get you involved!

August 15, 2019 UPDATE:

Dear AEL Friends,

The world is in a race against climate change. Will we shift away from our fossil fuel economy within 5 -11 years to avert the climate catastrophe predicted by the UN  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?

We have a chance to act boldly against climate change threats close to home tin the next few weeks – because the County is proposing a climate action strategy; our “Sustainability Plan”.

Housing Element Annual Report_Staff Report FINAL

Upon reading the “Plan”, we are sad to find that climate action provisions only kick-in if a development project is approximately 71 dwelling units or will produce 1,100 metric tons of CO2 a year (which is the equivalent of 2,424,400 pounds of CO2 in a year) So unless you are building a project generating 1,100 tons of CO2 annually, it is business as usual under the proposed Plan. Of course, this is simply not acceptable. Join us in asking the County to do more and do it now.

We’ll do that on August 29th when we have our next AEL Workshop. Helping us along will be Don Rivenes, a climate leader from Grass Valley. Join us as we review our County Sustainability Plan and figure out how we can make it impactful.

Here are a few ideas we can propose: How about a no-interest loan program for existing home or business owners wanting to do CO2 reduction retrofits or mandating light-colored roofs (which reduce warming and heat island effects), or requiring electric plugs for electric cars and appliances for new construction and setting a goal for our local energy company, Pioneer, to go 100% renewable? We need County climate leadership here and now. We’ll have to nudge them in that direction.

We need to grow smarter and reduce vehicle miles traveled as each gallon of gas we burn adds 20 pound of CO2 to the atmosphere, Smart land use planning and pleasant public transit system is what we need ASAP and the Sustainability Plan does not deliver. Let’s fix it.

We want every building permit pulled to incorporate every climate mitigation strategy in the “Green California” toolbox; not just for projects of over 71 dwelling units (a project this size generates 1,100 metric tons of CO2 annually). Putting Green California rules in our Building Code saves homeowners thousands of dollars each year (we estimate annual savings over $3500.00). It makes economic and environmental sense so why would the County choose not to act for the common good? It is the $10 million dollar question. Fortunately public hearings are coming up and we can ask WHY and ask for MORE.

Public Hearings and Workshop on the Sustainability Plan/Climate Action Strategy

August 20 . 6 PM Placer County Government Center Cypress Room

August 22 . 10 AM Placer County Government Center Commission Chambers

August 29 6 PM Alliance for Environmental Leadership (AEL) Workshop on the Climate Action Plan where we learn about the Plan and compose our comment letters. Location is the Placer County Government Center Cypress Room    Bring your computers as we will compose our comment letters at the meeting.

September 5 5 PM Comment Deadline on the Climate Action Plan

Looking Ahead:

Mark your calendars for September 19th at 6: when AEL hosts local developers (private and not for profit) and architects to talk about the opportunities, costs and challenges of producing housing for the people that live here. This will be a great Workshop tying into the County’s revision of our Housing Element. How are working families surviving in Placer County, now the 22nd most expensive housing market in the USA?  and where multi-tenant buildings barely exist and the median priced home exceeds $570,000 and is affordable to only 14% of our population?  What needs to change so that Placer County workers and families can afford quality housing here?  We’ll look at how the private sector housing market works!  See you at the Placer Government Center Cypress Room.

Growing Smarter – Placer County Plans a new industrial city on 15 square miles of west Placer prairie land between Roseville and Lincoln.  AEL produced the Citizen Initiated Smart Growth Plan for the same prairie land, which meets the County’s growth objectives AND reduces CO2 generation by 75% per capita compared to the County’s Plan, provides housing for all new workers at all income levels and protects critical habitat.  What’s not to love? While the CISGP is part of the County’s environmental review process  at the County’s discretion – the CISGP could be shelved.  We are seeking to mitigate this possibility by growing a professional grassroots campaign for smart-growth using marketing tools including concise storytelling, creating a compelling message and imagery which will be funded by a grant and your donations. You can make donations though our Fiscal Sponsor, the Planning and Conservation League Foundation1107 9th Street Suite 901, Sacramento, CA 95814. .  Your donation is tax deductible and much appreciated,  Thank you!f

News from AEL’s aligned organizations:

+Our friends at Placer 350 are sponsoring a climate action event at the State Theatre on September 12th at 7 PM. featuring internationally known climate activists. Buy your tickets at

+Support our native pollinators by planting natives which can be found in abundance at the California Native Plant Society Redbud Chapter’s Native Plant Sale coming up on October 5th at the Banner Community Guild in Grass Valley. Famed naturalists and author Julie Carville will lecture on Native Plants at the Madeline Helling Library in NC on Aug. 28 at 6:30.

+Learn about the Climate Strike coming on September 20th

Hope all are enjoying the summer and feeling good about all the good work being done for our community and environment.  Send me your event announcements so i can share them with the AEL community.

Together, we’re a stronger voice.
Leslie Warren, Chair