Parkway Defense: For the past 46 years, since the establishment of the American River Parkway, Sacramento's families, businesses, individuals, and public agencies have consistently invested time, talent, and treasure in caring for this great source of community pride and pleasure. We have proven to be worthy stewards of the Parkway. We expect no less from our elected officials. Read the Parkway Zoning Code
Own this landscape & support the Parkway, too. Click on the painting for information.
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: (Talking Points for letter-writing below)
The welfare of the Parkway depends upon active support from the community. The County Supervisors need to hear from those who use and cherish the Parkway. Expressing your thoughts and feelings with your Supervisor is easy.
Sacramento County Board of Supervisors 700 H Street Sacramento, CA 95814 email@example.com Phone: 916.874.5411; Fax: 874.7593
When communicating about the Markis/Lien project, include the identifier "Markis Use Permit." Be sure to include your name, address and zip code.
SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS REGARDING VISUALLY INTRUSIVE STRUCTURES IN THE PARKWAY:
• Adequate screening of structures is required by the Parkway Zoning Code. A 35-foot setback does not provide enough room for screening of large houses.
• What a developer is requesting with special setbacks has been created by the public and is what the developer wants to take away from the public as he harvests the serenity and the view that has been created by public dollars and public effort. Developer's houses capitalize on the environmental amenities and the visual beauty of the Parkway. But the degree to which the developer is allowed to invade the Parkway is the degree to which the Parkway is less aesthetic. The Parkway is a beautiful natural space because of public dollars and public effort. It is a public investment.
• Each non-compliant house in the Parkway viewshed allowed by the County is part of the incremental de facto abrogation of the Parkway Plan and its Zoning Code.
•It is inappropriate for elected officials of the County to betray the public trust by failing to represent the Parkway's Zoning Code.
• The Supervisors should adhere to the recommendations of their qualified expert staff (County Planning Deptartment), hired to guide the Supervisors in their decision-making process.
It is the opinion of Save the American River Association that the Markis Use Permit (Markis/Lien project) Final Environmental Impact Report is inaccurate, misleading, biased, negligent, and dangerous to the Parkway.
"Democracy is a device that ensures we will be governed no better than we deserve." G.B.Shaw
PARKWAY ZONING CODE:
Development along the American River bluffs and edges is controlled by the Parkway Corridor Combining Zone, an element of the Sacramento County Zoning Code. The Combining Zone specifies certain "setbacks" (described in the Parkway Plan) for building in the Parkway Corridor Combining Zone and requires “development . . . reduce as much as possible visible intrusion into the Parkway and . . . complement the naturalistic amenities of the Parkway.” The Ordinance clearly states that buildings should not be intrusive and should not affect the viewshed. The Combining Zone stipulates specific setbacks for structures erected on the bluffs of the Parkway.
PARKWAY DEFENSE FUND:
The tax-deductible Parkway Defense Fund works for the Parkway! You can participate in preventing future non-compliant Parkway development threats. Make tax-deductible contributions to (Fed. ID #680143852): Friends of ECOS - Parkway Defense Fund c/o Betsy Weiland 4950 Keane Drive Carmichael, CA95608 More information can be found at the Save the American River Association website: www.sarariverwatch.org/parkwaydefensefund.html
HISTORY OF LEGAL VICTORIES: Markis/Lien Decision:
On October 17, 2005, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge found that the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors committed a "prejudicial abuse of discretion" when the Board approved the Markis/Lien project in the Parkway in Carmichael. Because of "significant adverse aesthetic impacts, and because “the project is inconsistent with the American River Parkway Plan," the Court directed the County "to vacate and set aside the approval of the project." The judge's decision came down firmly in support of the Parkway Plan and its zoning ordinance and required the developer to prepare an Environmental Impact Report.
The judge's decision was in response to a suit filed by Save the American River Association (SARA). The Markis/Lien Project began as a proposed three-house development within the Parkway Corridor Combining Zone (PCCZ) . The developer claimed that the scope of the houses required a 20-foot setback from the river bluff where the PCCZ requires a 70-foot setback. The PCCZ requires an EIR (environmental impact report) be performed when considering proposals which do not conform to its zoning laws.
In spite of challenging and credible expert geological testimony, and a large public outcry (including objection from the Sacramento Bee), the Supervisors granted the development a 35-foot setback, though the project was opposed by the Sacramento County Planning Commission, the Carmichael Planning Advisory Council, the Recreation and Parks Commission, the Parkway Advisory Committee, and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA). This approval by the County impelled SARA's decision to file suit.
In 2003, a private citizen (supported by SARA) filed a legal challenge against the County because of the County's approval of Cassano/Crowley's 11,000 sq. ft. house on the Fair Oaks Bluff, in violation of Parkway zoning ordinance. The filing of this lawsuit was a primary factor in Cassano/Crowley's decision to abandon the project and sell the property. The presense of the lawsuit assured that the new property owner would adhere to the Parkway Corridor Combining Zone requirements.