1. Bullet What is Keep It Rural, Calaveras (KIRC)? How did KIRC form?

  2. Bullet What gives KIRC the right to speak out about Trinitas?

  3. Bullet Who are KIRC’s supporters? What’s in it for you? 

  4. Bullet Why name the group “Keep It Rural, Calaveras”? Doesn’t it imply your group is anti-growth?

  5. Bullet Is KIRC a business or a non-profit organization? Why not?


What is Keep It Rural, Calaveras? How did KIRC form? 

KIRC is a grassroots group of western Calaveras County residents who organized in July 2007 in response to the release of the Ridge at Trinitas Draft Environmental Impact Report. We shared concerns that the project would bring harmful changes to our rural community and way of life.

For some, it already had - bringing noise, dust, traffic, water issues and aggravation, beginning in 2001, when the developer first began building his ‘personal’ golf course – without any environmental review – on Agricultural Preserve land protected by Williamson Act contract, violating county, state and federal laws.

For more on this topic, see: “Keep It Rural, Calaveras – Why we Formed”,  Lew Mayhew, Guest Editorial, Sonora Union Democrat, October 19, 2007


What gives KIRC the right to speak out about Trinitas?

California law entrusts the public with the ultimate oversight responsibility to stop or mitigate projects creating significant negative impacts on the environment, and to ‘encourage’ public agencies to protect the environment and the state’s agricultural and open space resources.

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires that public agencies entrusted with compliance with CEQA and its provisions must provide the public with the opportunity to voice their concerns about the adequacy of the Draft EIR. Their questions and recommendations are required to be considered and addressed in the Final EIR. CEQA provisions are “enforced, as necessary, by the public, through litigation and the threat thereof.”


Who are KIRC’s supporters? What’s in it for you?

We’re your neighbors. We are young and old, parents and grandparents, working and retired. Some have lived here all their lives. Others moved to Calaveras County because it offered an alternative to the cities we left – open spaces, less traffic, a slower pace, a safer community to raise families – or to fulfill dreams of retiring to “the country.”  It’s a place where many can still afford to live on a fixed income, away from the noise and crime of crowded cities. 

We are speaking out to protect both our way of life and our property rights. We are stakeholders in this issue just as much as the Trinitas developers are. We too have invested in our homes and properties, and did so with expectations that the zoning codes would protect us from area-changing developments.  We are law-abiding taxpayers throughout the county who believe that HOW the golf course got there DOES matter and how the County conducts its business affects ALL of its citizens.

See “Why you should care about Trinitas.pdf” by Kathy Mayhew, Guest Editorial,  Sonora Union Democrat, October 19, 2007


Why name the group “Keep It Rural, Calaveras”? Doesn’t it imply your group is anti-growth?

Not at all. The name reflects widely-held core values often repeated during County General Plan Visioning Sessions from Wallace to West Point. It echoes the belief that Calaveras County’s unique assets and economic viability are closely tied to its rural atmosphere, open space, working ranches and farms, oak woodlands, forests, lakes and rivers.

We’re not against growth. We support growth that is smart, planned and sustainable, as outlined in the eleven Land Use Principles adopted by the member groups of the Calaveras Planning Coalition, which KIRC joined in early 2008. (See sidebar)

We support growth that follows the policy adopted by the Board of Supervisors November 27, 2007,* setting forth advisory criteria for discretionary development project applications which encourages projects served by public surface water and public sewer, which protect onsite open space and habitat, provide onsite roads built to the County standards, and make efforts to offer affordable housing options. (Policy Resolution 07-242)

There are already hundreds of vacant, buildable parcels available for future growth in the west county without splitting and converting additional agricultural acreage. We don’t want Calaveras County to become merely a bedroom community for Stockton and Lodi. We need growth that preserves the county’s rural assets and balances “jobs” and “rooftops” for a healthy economy.


Is KIRC a business or a non-profit organization?

Keep It Rural, Calaveras is neither a for-profit business nor a non-profit organization, but simply a grassroots citizens group with the legal right to organize and participate in the CEQA process by commenting on the impacts of the proposed project. We organized to further this goal: to speak out – and, hopefully – to have our voices heard.

No product is sold; no benefits are promised; no dues are collected; no profit is made; no tax deductions are sought. All contributions towards KIRC expenses are deposited in an account used exclusively for that purpose, and are NOT tax deductible.


Frequently asked Questions about KIRC

The Calaveras Planning Coalition supports comprehensive updates of the County’s General and Community Plans, and joins with other groups* in supporting the following Land Use & Development Principles:

  1. 1.Land uses should be consistent with stated community visions or goals.

  2. 2.Development should not out-pace the ability of local governments to provide adequate services and infrastructure or reduce the level of services provided to existing community residents.

  3. 3.Project design should work with the contour of the land, preserve physical features such as rock outcroppings, trees, watercourses, and wetlands, and protect important wildlife habitat.

  4. 4.County and city plans should protect key wildlife habitat, visual quality, agricultural lands, and open space resources.

  5. 5.Projects should be approved only if there is adequate water to supply them.

  6. 6.New residential and commercial development should be concentrated in existing towns and communities where shopping, services, schools, jobs, and infrastructure are available.

  7. 7.Infrastructure such as water lines, sewer lines, and roads should not be extended outside existing developed areas unless those areas are contiguous to existing communities and scheduled for development in the near future as part of a general or community plan.

  8. 8.Communities should have clear boundaries with separation between them provided by working landscapes, greenbelts, or parks.

  9. 9.A range of housing types should be available for people of all income levels.

  10. 10. Land uses should not put land-use conversion pressure on agricultural lands or threaten the continued operation of existing industrial and commercial businesses.

  11. 11. Environmental mitigation measures should adequately address local and community-wide impacts in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

Adopted May 16, 2006 by the Calaveras Planning Coalition

Adopted January, 2006 by the West Point, Wilseyville, Glencoe, Rail Road Flat Community Plan Committee

Adopted 2005 by the West Point Business Council

Adopted 2004 by the Amador Association of Realtors

Adopted August 2003 by the Foothill Conservancy

Copyright 2009 - Keep It Rural Calaveras (KIRC)

Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are the property of KIRC.

Documents were obtained from Calaveras County under the Public Records Act, from cited news sources.

Masthead photo:  Driving north from Highway 26 on Ospital Road towards Trinitas, this is one of the few long, fairly flat sections of the narrow, mostly shoulderless country lane, surrounded entirely by agricultural land south of the project site.