The press has focused attention on KIRC’s opposition to Trinitas, but many others have registered concerns about the project:

Agencies/Organizations Respond to Trinitas NOPs/DEIR/RDEIR:

  1. Bullet California Department of Fish and Game 

”Because this project was previously completed without appropriate disclosure through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and without obtaining other appropriate permits (*e.g., Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement), mitigation should be required at a minimum of 3:1…The mitigation plan should provide for in perpetuity conservation of the resources being protected, including a financial commitment for in perpetuity management of those resources.” “DFG has been informed that stream drainages within the project site have been lined with cobble. A check of DFG records indicates this work was completed without notifying DFG.…a violation of Section 1600 of the Fish and Game Code, and may be subject to prosecution. The Department will not issue an Agreement under Section 1600 “after-the-fact” for work previously completed in violation of the provisions of this Section of the Fish and Game Code.” 8.7.07 Comments on the DEIR, p.2
  1. BulletCalifornia Department of Conservation

    “Beginning in 2001, neighbors began contacting the County complaining that the landowner was building a golf course on APN 050-052-042, which was under NR [non-renewal]. About 2 years later, the landowner requested a zone change and the addition of ‘golf course’ to the list of Conditional uses authorized within the AP zoning district. Golf Courses are not compatible with the WA. About eight years ago, the Legislature made changes to the WA that clarified that golf courses were not a compatible use and should not be allowed on contracted land. A breach of contract may have occurred since a golf course appears to have been partially or completely built on contracted land before the contract expired in 2006. 1.31.08 DOC Williamson Act & Open Space Subvention Act Audit letter, p.18; see also 5.6.08 Comments on the RDEIR NOP
  1. Bullet United States Army Corps of Engineers 

“Project features that result in the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States will require Department of the Army authorization prior to starting work. This project is currently under investigation for the unauthorized fill that was placed into waters of the United states with the creation of the golf course.…Waters of the United States, Cultural resources, and federal endangered species are all of a concern to us on this site.” 5.2.08 Comment letter on the Notice of Preparation

United States Fish and Wildlife Service

      “The Service can find no record of any request for endangered species consultation on the construction of the golf course or associated facilities.…according to the Service’s discussion with the California Department of Fish and Game, it appears as though there was no streambed alteration permit issued for the construction activities in the creek or consultation regarding the potential effects of construction of the golf course to state listed or sensitive species or migratory birds. The Service…believes that on-site remediation should take place immediately…such as removal of rock cobble and dams from streams…In addition, other restoration measures that could serve to restore habitat or minimize the effects of unauthorized construction activities to federally listed species habitat should take place as soon as possible.” 5.28.08 FWS letter on the NOP, p.1 and 5

  1. Bullet California Department of Transportation

“An Encroachment Permit will be required for work proposed as mitigation which will be done within the State’s right of way. This work is subject to [CEQA]. Environmental studies may be required as part of the encroachment permits application. A qualified professional must conduct any such studies undertaken to satisfy the Caltrans’s environmental review responsibilities. Ground disturbing activities to the site prior to completion and/or approval of required environmental documents may affect the Caltrans’s ability to issue a permit for the project.” May 7, 2008  Comments on the RDEIR NOP

  1. Bullet Calaveras County Public Works Department

“Although there is no way to determine if the construction of the existing golf course degraded any of the waters, an analysis of changes from previously known drainage patterns must be completed with a determination of impacts which may cause problems.” 9.29.08 Comments on RDEIR page 3.7-13 by Robert Pachinger, Deputy Director, Public Works

  1. Bullet Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center

   “…beyond the many legal, planning policy, biological, and growth inducement reasons why the project should not be approved, there is the question of water supply. We recommend that…the county should not approve any further development until surface water is brought to the site. ”  CSERC 9.24.08 RDEIR comment letter, p.9 “…the applicant has acted in a fashion that appears intended to make fools out of County authorities. He has acted as if he believes he is above the law.…Under no circumstance should the recalcitrant applicant be rewarded for so much illegal, unauthorized, and non-permitted alteration of the environment.” CSERC DEIR comment letter 8.25.07

  1. Bullet California Oak Foundation

      “The project record indicates that the Trinitas golf course developer moved to Calaveras County in 2001 with the express purpose of building the investor-driven golf resort currently proposed. Assisted by delinquent County officials, the usual permits and environmental review weren't required. Neither the applicant nor county should be rewarded for their transgressions.…Trinitas’ circumstances are unprecedented in the nearly 40-year history of CEQA and this RDEIR is as deceptive as the golf course that spawned it. This project in fact violates the very essence of CEQA. Therefore, the only appropriate project altenative is Alternative 1, no project, removal of the existing Trinitas golf course.” Janet S. Cobb, President 8.28.08 letter p.6

  1. Bullet The Sierra Club

“…since the inception of the county’s general plan revision process there have been no challenges from the Sierra Club regarding any project that the county has processed under it’s existing illegal general plan. Trinitas, however, is a project that is so beyond the pale when it comes to the planning process that we would seriously consider a general plan challenge if the county were to grant appoval.” 9.25.08 cover letter to a legal analysis of the General Plan, submitted as a comment on the Trinitas RDEIR.

Public Comments

Notable Quotes

from the Staff Report:

There are many significant and unavoidable impacts related to this project, as a whole. Most relate to impacts resulting from the construction of the golf course outside of the environ-mental review and normal permitting process. A few, such as land use compatibility, are related to the potential approval of the requested ZA and the land uses associated with that zoning designation (see Appendix 3).

2.9.09 Staff Report, p.25

“…staff agrees…that the existing and proposed land uses associated with this project are not compatible with surrounding uses. Mitigation measures…are intended to reduce the impacts of that incompatibility to the extent feasible.…the only way to avoid that impact is to approve Alternative 1, which would deny the project in its entirety…”

2.9.09 Staff Report, p.7

Masthead photo:

Narrow onsite road to Trinitas residences parallels Ospital Road with minimal  separation. At night, headlights from vehicles driving south inside the property could confuse drivers traveling north on  the county road.

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, and from cited news sources.

Citizen letters to the editor and/or the County: COMING SOON

Newspaper Articles:  COMING SOON

Notable Quote

from KIRC’s attorney

The story of Trinitas is one of self inflicted injuries. It’s a story of … an arrogant developer who believed he was above the law…

This developer chose to proceed without environmental approvals, local permits, consultation with Federal or State agencies and in violation of their Williamson Act contracts with the people of California that gave him tax breaks. The developer knowingly risked financial loss by putting the project before the environmental review. This risk has long been recognized since the Laurel Heights case. By putting the…Golf Course before the FEIR, the developer risked another alternative being selected and his project being rejected:

“…the applicant knowingly lied about his proceeding to build a golf course over many years.…His deception demonstrated that he knew he was taking the risk of building a golf course that might never see public play. Having failed to avoid the law and reap the financial windfall by avoiding environmental review, the applicant has entered into a PR campaign to avoid the financial losses the Kings County Farm Bureau foretold.”

9.26.08 RDEIR comment letter from

Mark V. Connolly, p.1-2.

(underlined references to court cases above are not active links.)

  “At the time the lead agency     engages in the review process, the applicant presumably has not begun construction or development. The applicant must anticipate, in the course of the review process, the lead agency may determine an environmentally superior alternative is more desirable or mitigation measures must be adopted. An applicant who proceeds with the project prior to the completion of the review process in the expectation of certain approval runs the risk of incurring financial loss. Likewise, an applicant’s choice to proceed in the face of pending review and the possibility the environmental review process will be found inadequate cannot render an alternative infeasible. (Laurel Heights Improvement Assn. v. Regents of University of California, supra, 47 Cal3d at p.425, 253 Cal.Rptr. 425, 764 P.2d 278)

   Similarly, although applicants may enter into contracts and agreements prior to the completion of the environmental review process, such contracts or agreements cannot be used to avoid the scrutiny envisioned by CEQA. Environmentally superior alternatives must be examined whether or not they would impede to some degree the attainment of project objectives. (Guidelines,§ 15126, subd. (d)(3).)

   Kings County Farm Bureau vs. City of Hanford. WP Power Systems Company, Inc. (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 692.