SMW Prevails in Fight Against Sprawl Development in the Hills of Contra Costa CountyJuly 1, 2022
SMW helped non-profit group Save Mount Diablo strike a blow against environmentally damaging, sprawl development in Contra Costa County, and as a result staved off massive grading and development in the hills between Pittsburg and Concord. Earlier this year, the Contra Costa Superior Court agreed with SMW’s argument that the environmental review for a proposed housing development violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In this decision, which upholds Save Mount Diablo’s decades-long battle against the project, the court held that the environmental review failed to properly analyze the project’s impacts on air quality, water supply, and special-status plant species. The court then reiterated this holding in April, after the developer asked the court to reconsider its ruling.
The proposed project site supports sensitive wildlife species and rare plants and is in one of the most visible and most environmentally constrained areas of Contra Costa County. The development would have fragmented open space and damaged wildlife corridors.
In addition, the proposed housing development would have located more than 1,500 new residences far from jobs, transit, and services. This kind of sprawl development does nothing to address California’s affordable housing crisis, while serving to degrade our state’s natural areas, worsen air pollution, and increase traffic-related carbon emissions.
The Pittsburg City Council voted to approve the development proposal in 2021, despite receiving hundreds of letters and public comments opposing the project. Save Mount Diablo filed a lawsuit challenging the project’s approval. Earlier this year, the developer’s attorneys requested a new trial, but the April 2022 decision rejected the developer’s retrial request.