Boat on the Delta of San Francisco Bay - Photo: CA Dept. of Water Resources
A Commission Flexes its Muscles
In February 2007, without going to court, Earthjustice made the case for protecting the primary zone at an exhaustive hearing that lasted late into the night. A 12-1 vote by the Delta Protection Commission put the state on record as a tough enforcer of the 1992 Delta Protection Act by limiting new home building in the primary zone. The commission sent the project back to Yolo County for reconsideration.
Setting a Precedent
It was the first time the commission has determined that a local government inappropriately approved a residential development in the Delta. Commissioners ruled that the housing project was too close to nearby agricultural land, lacked sufficient infrastructure, and was susceptible to flooding because it would sit behind fragile levees. The project would also violate the act's ban on urban development in the primary zone.
Protection May Be a Slam Dunk
Either the developer or county may still decide to challenge the Delta Protection Commission's rejection of this project. If that happens, Earthjustice will be there to defend the "Heart of California" from urban development.