Berkeley Is Not Alone in Saving Creeks, Natural Habitat

Tuesday June 15, 2004

Berkeley has always supported the protection of the natural habitat for wildlife and creeks. Now others are joining the fight to preserve our open spaces and creeks. Friends of Garrity Creek are fighting a proposed 40-home development that will destroy 1 0 beautiful acres and threaten Garrity Creek that is fed by two natural springs at it’s headwaters and ends when it flows into the San Pablo Bay. The proposed subdivision is SD 01 8533 and is on very steep land behind Hilltop Drive in El Sobrante.  

Almos t 400 residents signed petitions in addition to the 540 homes in Hilltop Green with 2,000 residents opposing this development. The Richmond City Council voted for requiring an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in addition to the Hilltop Green Homeowners a ssociation, Manor Neighborhood Association, Friends of Garrity Creek, Hilltop Neighborhood Association, and the El Sobrante Planning and Zoning Advisory Committee. The county ignored the request and issued a negative declaration stating that no significan t impact or no impact would result to the traffic, environment and a host of other conditions including building on steep land in violation of the county’s own ordinance that says land with slopes of 26 percent or more shall remain as open space.  

The 10 acres and Garrity Creek should remain in their natural states and should be acquired for a neighborhood park. Residents are willing to raise the required funds to purchase the property.  

The first public hearing before the Contra Costa County Planning C ommission to approve the 40-home development was held on May 25 and was well-attended, with standing room only. The hearing was continued to June 8 because so many people spoke against the project and for an EIR due to the significant damage that will occ ur as a result of traffic, drainage, unstable steep slopes, environment, wildlife, habitat that is now food for wildlife, and to the Creek. At the June 8 meeting, the Planning Commission voted 4-2 in favor of the subdivision (Hyman Wong, Richard Clark, Ma rvin Terrell and John Hancock in favor, Len Batagglia and Steven Mehlman against). Steven Mehlman and Planning Commission Chair Len Battagglia requested an EIR.  

Friends of Garrity Creek have hired a well-known law firm noted for it’s understanding of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and will appeal to the county Board of Supervisors by the June 18 deadline.  


El Sobrante resident Barbara A. Pendergrass is a member of Friends of Garrity Creek. For more information and ways you can help, visit www.geocities.com/hilltopcreek or call Barbara at 223-6091.