Project proponents often say: “The golf course is already there! Why not just approve the project?” The answer is that The Ridge at Trinitas proposal requests entitlements to do much more. The environmental impacts of constructing and maintaining the golf course represent only the tip of the iceberg.

The Proposal seeks to open the existing golf course as the center-piece of a private membership golf resort, “destination recreational resource” and gated community, including:

  1. Bullet 18-hole private membership golf course, open to the public until all memberships are purchased; (individual memberships $50,000, limit 50; 30 corporate memberships $75,000 - up to 3 players);

  2. Bullet 18,000 sf clubhouse*, with a restaurant, bar, banquet facilities, retail shop, and olive tasting area; 

  3. Bullet 22,000 sf 30-unit lodge/motel, with “day spa,”* retail area, and outdoor pool; *In a Rotary Club presentation on Feb.5 ‘09, the applicant described a 25,000 sf. clubhouse - 40% larger than previously stated - and a 10,000 sf. spa in the lodge.  Apparently the Project Description is still a moving target!

  4. Bullet Privately sponsored golf tournaments for groups and corporations;

  5. Bullet Year-round special events; 24 Mid-Level Special Events (between 250 and  500 people), and 1 Large Special Event (between 501 and 999 people); with unlimited events hosting less than 250 people;

  6. Bullet Driving range; golf cart rental for on-site use; golf lessons by appointment for members only;

  7. Bullet Retail food service facility (400 sf snack shack on the golf course);

  8. Bullet Existing 5,000 sf maintenance building with 1,000 sf residential dwelling;

  9. Bullet 5-plus acres of lighted parking lots; public address system;

  10. Bullet
    14 “executive” home sites on 2- to 5-acre parcels (includes existing 9,000+sf home with 4200 sf of living space shown at left); minimum house size 2,500 sf;
  11. Bullet On-site roads 24 feet wide with streetlights; (wider than most of Ospital and Southworth Roads and most other county connector roads leading to the project);

  12. Bullet Water supply for the 14 homes, golf course, clubhouse, lodge from existing and proposed on-site wells (groundwater); (4 new wells and 3 new storage tanks needed for new construction); (The RDEIR reported the project uses 113,000,000 gallons per year to water the golf course);

  13. Bullet Wastewater disposal for entire project by septic tanks and leach fields;

  14. Bullet Continued “agricultural pursuits” (olive cultivation on the 12-acre olive orchard; off-site processing of olives);

  15. Bullet Educational tours of olive orchard operations;

The Project Site includes 280 acres on Ospital Road between Highways 26 and 12, in western Calaveras County. The parcels are identified as APN# 050-052-41 and 050-052-42.


Project Alternatives

Chapter Four of the Revised Draft EIR (RDEIR) lists and evaluates 3 Project Alternatives for consideration:

      Alternative 1: No Project Alternative

      Alternative 2: Construction of Golf Facilities Only

      Alternative 3: Construction of Residences Only

The chapter  concludes : “All three of the project alternatives evaluated result in less impact overall when considering the potentially significant and significant and unavoidable impacts of the proposed project. Based on the comparative merit evaluation, Alternative 1 – No Project Alternative would be the environmentally superior alternative. However, since Alternative 1 does not meet any of the objectives of the project, this alternative would not be considered a environmentally superior alternative.”

“The environmentally superior alternative among the other build alternatives would be considered Alternative 3 – Construction of Residences Only, based on the scores in the above table.” (2008 RDEIR p.4-34)

CSERC’s Regulatory Compliance Alternative

In comments on the Trinitas DEIR in 2007 and RDEIR in 2008, Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center (CSERC) staff suggested the Final EIR include Alternative 4: Regulatory Compliance Alternative.

“Under this alternative, the applicant would not gain any approval for developing the clubhouse, lodge, associated parking lots, or any accessory structures.  The applicant would not be authorized to open up the golf course for any commercial use by members of the public.  The applicant would not receive approval for 13 new residences, nor for the drilling of any new wells.  The applicant would not be given approval for any commercial operation or any related enterprise that would benefit from the unauthorized, non-permitted, illegal construction of the golf course that was initiated during the time period when the property was under Williamson Act contract.

Rather, under Alternative 4, the applicant would be directed by Calaveras County to bring his property into compliance with its General Plan designation and existing zoning and to also move to correct unapproved actions.” CSERC_9-26-08, p.10-11. See complete comments Exhibit 046. Comments submitted by CSERC to the Planning Commission Feb. 19, 2009 again proposed consideration of this Alternative.


Entitlements Requested:

  1. Bullet Zoning Adjustment (ZA) from Agricultural Preserve (AP) – to Recreation/Existing Parcel Size/Planned Develop-ment (REC/X/PD). The REC zoning is necessary to make the golf course legal, and to make the commercial enterprises tied to the golfing facilities permitted uses. The X/PD zoning allows a “density transfer” and “clustered” housing on 2- to 5-acre parcels, while “maintaining” the ratio of one residence per 20 acres.

  2. Bullet Tentative Subdivision Tract Map (TSTM) approval to create 14 lots where there are now two. see RDEIR Figure 2-7

  3. Bullet Conditional Use Permits (CUP) for the lodge facilities, the restaurant, parking lots, and continued agricultural production in the Recreation zoning.

  4. Bullet Administrative Use Permits for special events under 1,000 people.

To learn more, see: FEIR “Table 2-2: Subsequent Permits, Approvals, Review and Consultation Requirements”

The Ridge at Trinitas - Description

DEIR Figure 3-6: Proposed Subdivision and Improvements Plan.

To view larger, click the image.

Masthead photo:

A 2004 AirPhotoUSA aerial of the Trinitas property shows some of the 95 acres stripped of natural vegetation and graded to install greens, fairways and miles of golf cart paths.

See other aerials of the site before and after construction.

The Ridge at Trinitas project is described in detail in Chapter 2 of the February 2009 Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), Volume 1, downloadable at the County’s website. ––––––––––––––––––––

See FEIR Volume 1, Chapter 4 for the analysis of Project Alternatives.

FEIR Appendices

The Staff Report to the Planning Commissioners recommends: APPROVAL of the ZA to REC to open golf course legally, and CUPs to build a limited clubhouse/pro shop and continue commer-cial olive production/retail sales; DENIAL of the X/PD and TSTM for the houses, denial of CUPs for the Lodge/Spa, restaurant and banquet facilities.

Feb. 9, 2009 Staff Report, p.31