What is KIRC?

KIRC is a grassroots group of western Calaveras County residents who organized in July 2007 after developers built an 18-hole golf course on agricultural preserve (AP) land, then sought approval for an area-changing private membership golf resort, event facility and gated community called “The Ridge at Trinitas.”

Why post a website?

Newspaper articles, editorials, letters to the editor and internet bloggers have recorded the controversy surrounding Trinitas, from various points of view. This website provides background documents showing that, since 2001, the developers haven’t played by the rules the rest of us are expected to follow. You’ll be able to access many source documents on this website, and decide for yourself what the facts add up to.

This website:

  1. Bullet Describes the Ridge at Trinitas PROJECT and its HISTORY;

  2. Bullet Outlines the ISSUES: why many people believe the project is wrong for the location, and why the developers should NOT be rewarded for building without entitlements;

  3. Bullet Documents concerns expressed by PUBLIC AGENCIES and private citizens;

  4. Bullet Answers Frequently Asked Questions about KIRC; and

  5. Bullet Explains how you can get involved and support KIRC’s efforts to curb wildcat development and require county officials to enforce existing zoning ordinances and General Plan policies for the good of ALL county residents.

A little background:

The developers claim they have done everything the County asked them to. You be the judge. Mike and Michelle Nemee were told by Calaveras Planning Department staff in August, 2001 that:  “A golf course, whether for public or private use, is not allowed in the Agricultural Preserve Zone as either a permitted or a conditional use.” “…The construction of a golf course on this property, even for your private use, violates both County Code Chapter 17.18 and the provisions of Agricultural Preserve Contract 55.” They were told to stop or risk legal action.

Instead, for two years, they denied they were building a golf course, while work continued. In 2003, they admitted they were putting in a few holes “for personal use”. By May 2005, 95 acres of grasslands had been converted into a golf course; and at a well-attended public meeting, area ranchers and homeowners expressed concerns that course irrigation would dry up their water supply and destroy their livelihoods or their property values. Many were openly angry at the County’s failure to enforce code violations and stop the developers from building in an agricultural zone under Williamson Act protection. Similar concerns were raised at the scoping session in early 2006.

CEQA requires environmental review

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) clearly required public input and environmental review of the 280-acre project. The developers submitted an Application for Land Use Development in 2004, then revised and re-submitted it in August 2005, expanding the project description. When they finally began the environmental review process, the golf course was included as an existing feature in the “baseline” of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), and its impacts were not analyzed. The Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center (CSERC) unsuccessfully challenged the baseline decision in early 2006, arguing it allowed piecemeal project development and failed to mitigate previous harm caused by building and irrigating the course.

In 2007, when a biased and grossly deficient Draft EIR (DEIR) was released, voices were again raised to have the baseline changed, KIRC’s among them. In November 2007, the Board of Supervisors agreed, and sent the DEIR back for revision to fully assess the impacts of building the golf course, and to evaluate the project alternatives as if it did not exist.

Proponents go on the offensive

Following this critical setback, Trinitas supporters have tried to silence or discredit project critics and to pressure county decision-makers into approving an out-of-place project that ignored local, state and federal regulations. Project advocates discount neighbors’ legitimate concerns about significant harmful impacts to our local water supply, road safety, agricultural land, open spaces, “right to farm,” and the peaceful rural character of our community.

County officials will decide soon

The County is required in the Final EIR (FEIR) to address public comments submitted last September concerning the Revised Draft EIR’s completeness and adequacy. The FEIR is now a critical document in deciding whether to approve or deny the project. The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the Trinitas FEIR on February 19; and continued the hearing to March 19, 2009. If you’re interested in understanding why so many people oppose this project, you will find the answer here at KIRC’s website, within the EIRs, and in the comments posted on the County’s website under Planning Commission Meetings Archives for PC Meeting 2/19/09.

Why should you care about Trinitas, if you live in another part of the county, or in a different county? Because this could be happening in your neighborhood. If this project is approved, with all its flaws, it will send a message to other developers that Land Use Designations and Zoning Ordinances in Calaveras County are meaningless and can be ignored with impunity. “Build first, ask permission later” will become the rule, rather than the exception. (see Sonora Union Democrat Opinion Oct. 19, 2007)


Welcome to the KIRC website

Issues At a Glance

See ISSUES or jump to:










Golf Course built:

…without public input or environmental review

…in Agricultural Preserve zone                     

…violating Williamson Act Contract

It interferes with neighbors’  “right to farm”

…is inconsistent with General Plan Land Use Designation (Natural Resources Land)

A private membership golf resort is not agri-tourism 

Inadequate water and road infrastructure:

…no public water or sewer

…irrigates with groundwater from diminishing aquifer

…some local wells are dry

More traffic on dangerous  access roads

…increased public safety risks

Leap-frog development:

…premature conversion/loss of agricultural land and open space

…attracts other commercial residential growth

…far from community center  or other businesses services

The Calaveras County Planning Commission held a public hearing on the Ridge at Trinitas proposal February 19th. Link to read written comments submitted. The next hearing will be March 19 at 9:00 a.m. at the San Andreas Town Hall, 24 Church Hill Road.

Masthead photo:

Bald Mountain – just west of Ospital Road – is surrounded by thousands of acres of grasslands used by sheep and cattle ranchers for close to 100 years. Most are zoned Agricultural Preserve.

The Ridge at Trinitas

Final EIR Volumes 1-4 and Staff Report were posted to the County’s website February 10, and can be read or downloaded from these links or purchased in print or on disk from the County for the cost of duplication. The Revised Draft EIR is also posted. Note: On the Planning Department web page, select the Project tab for Ridge at Trinitas to view or download documents.


Final EIR Volumes 2-4 include:

Vol. 2 - FEIR Appendices

Vol. 3 - Agency and Public Comments to the NOP and RDEIR, EX.1-85, excluding comments submitted by KIRC

Vol. 4 - Letters and comments submitted by KIRC, including EX. 64, 23 letters from 13 individuals, with supporting documentation.

Note: EX.64 is VERY large, and may take considerable time to download.