Alliance for Environmental Leadership

Great news! The Alliance for Environmental Leadership now has its own website. Please visit them at

If you want to help FUND the Alliance for Environmental Leadership, click on this link to their new GOFUNDME page and donate.  We need your support to fight for environmental sustainability in Placer County!


AEL BACKGROUND: The Alliance for Environmental Leadership is a coalition of community influences and organizations determined to reframe the way our community grows and is governed, through citizen advocacy, environmental leadership and by amplifying the voices for social justice.

Our Citizen Initiated Smart Growth Plan is a fully developed to the zoning level and economically supported alternative to urban sprawl that is proposed by the County of Placer for a 15 square mile wetland ecosystem between Roseville and Lincoln in Western Placer County. Our CISGP is groundbreaking, even revolutionary, because it is the first time that a grassroots citizen group, has not simply resisted bad development, but has put forward a fully realized and economically feasible and superior (reduces CO2 by 75% and provides housing for all of the proposed 80,000 new workers) development alternative that fulfills County growth objectives with environmental and social justice at its core.

AEL is working to inform our Community, County staff, Commissioners and Board of Supervisors and the Courts about the CISGP and its potential to address longstanding economic discrimination and environmental degradation that has heretofore been the status quo in Placer County. Learn more, join us, participate in local governance. Together we’re a stronger voice.

Citizen-Initiated Smart Growth Plans
Citizen-Initiated Smart Growth Plan – Phase 1

Citizen-Initiated Smart Growth Plan – Phase 2


Dear AEL Friends and Aligned Organizations,

If you’re concerned about garbage rates, climate change, ground-water depletion, farmland loss, housing prices, air pollution, species extinction and traffic congestion – it’s time to speak up.  Help us spread the word about Placer County’s proposed 78,000 person new city in West Placer’s farmlands.
Before the end of the year, Placer County is poised to approve development plans for a big new industrial city between Roseville and Lincoln – and the impacts of the project will be “significantly” damaging to us and our environment – Placer County’s own Environmental Impact Report on the Sunset Area Plan and Placer Ranch Specific Plan affirms this.
What to do:
1) Speak out against the project’s impacts and in defense of our community and environment.
2) Demand that we move toward a carbon neutral Placer County now and address the housing affordability crisis.
3) Learn about the project. We’ll tell you about the project on November 14th 6:00 PM at the Placer Co Government Center Cypress Room, 3091 County Center Dr. Auburn.  The public hearing is set for Thursday, November 21st at 10:00 AM in the same building.
4) Review the project’s Environmental Impact Report below.  The EIR is massive so best to read the Executive Summary and the Summary of Impacts and Mitigations.  In these sections you’ll  get a sense of how monumental the adverse project impacts are. As you read across these tables – you’ll see, in the right-most column, what impacts (and there are many) are significant and unavoidable (SU) if the project is approved.  This ranges from disturbance and loss of endangered species like the Burrowing Owl and Tri-Colored Blackbird, to generation of billions of pounds of CO2 annually.  The project will exceed Placer County Air Pollution Control District thresholds three times over.
Project Impact Highlights:
Increased garbage rates: Placer County citizens will be asked to pay to retrofit the dump (Our Western Placer Materials Recovery Facility) to capture odors it emits so that nearly 7,000 new homes can be built on one developer’s land in a two mile smell-buffer zone around the dump,  This land currently is agriculture and some industrial zoning, because of the smell issue. The County is proposing to rezone it and amend its own General Plan to put homes and schools in the smell-buffer, at a risk to public health and safety. Costs to retrofit the dump to capture odor (and the technology to do this is unproven) are expected to be over $18,000,000.  So, if the plan is approved, we will pay for the dump retrofit through  garbage rate increases.
Public Subsidy of Private Developer: One of the property owners promised to donate land for a 30,000 student California State University (CSU) campus and persuaded our Board of Supervisors that CSU wanted to build a campus in Placer County.  This land “donation” was the impetus for the County (taxpayers) assuming all predevelopment costs for this developer – costs now exceed $5,000,000.00.  However, there is no University campus in sight.  The CSU’s Board of Governors have not agreed to accept the donation of land, nor have they agreed to established a campus, and they’ve said, if they ever did accept the land, they will not comply with the County’s own General Plan or any of the EIR mitigations. Point of interest: The land in question is farmland and vernal pool wetland – land that the State of California very stridently seeks to protect.
No Homes for Workers: The project will generate over 60,000 new jobs – most of in low-wage warehousing and retail. The plan will exacerbate Placer County’s existing affordable housing crisis because it makes no provision for housing for these low-wage workers and in fact, the SIA/PRSP is almost exclusively high-priced single family sprawl. A house is affordable if the resident pays less than 30% of their total income for it.  Placer County is delinquent by several thousand affordable units under a State fair-share plan. This SIA/PR development of single family sprawl is being pushed through for approval before Placer County’s own remedy for the housing crisis – its Affordable Housing Program – is adopted.
CO2 and Methane Generation at a Globally Impactful Scale:  Climate change impacting our lives in real-time.  This project will generate 689,518 tons of CO2 annually – so much CO2 that it will conflict with the State’s ability to meet statewide GHG targets.  Generation of 1,379.036,000 pounds of CO2 each year will impact to our health and safety, our forests and snowpack, our lives and the lives of our children.  Farmland that sequesters 5,000,000 tons of CO2 annually will be paved over.
8,000 acres of Habitat and Farmland paved over: The project site is primarily seasonal wetland and farmland; home to some of the last vernal pools in Placer County.  The native grasses on the site are critical to the survival of migratory and resident birds. It is home to two watersheds which are nurseries for pollinator-insects and fish.  14 federally and State-listed endangered species – including grassland and raptor bird species and reptiles and amphibians inhabit the land.  Under the flora, we find unique soils which are prized for their flood control services and ability to sequester carbon.
800,000 new daily vehicle trips on local roadways: Rather than plan for the future with a rapid transit system for this proposed new community of 78,000 people, Placer County proposes to establish another sprawling, auto-centric city served by a new expressway running through the middle. We know that automobile use is the single largest contributor to CO2 and air pollution. If approved, the project will exceed Placer County Air Pollution Control District’s emissions thresholds three times over; intersections will be immobilized by overcrowding and our freeways will fail to function and our air quality will become even more dangerous.
Citizen Initiated Smart Growth Plan (CISGP) is rejected:  The Alliance For Environmental Leadership produced the CISGP – an alternative development vision for this landscape. We designed for the future – with environmental sustainability and inclusivity for all people. We prioritized a compact, walkable layout and energy conservation measures that spared the air and produced cost savings of $3,700 for an average household and still met the County’s development goals.  Disappointingly, County’s repose to our smart growth is a resounding “no”, asserting that multi-tenant buildings and mixed use communities are not desirable – in direct conflict with new State mandates and market studies. We will challenge the County’s assertion that smart-growth and transit centered communities with housing for all is infeasible.  We’re not giving in or giving up.
See you on November 14th.  Please share this memo with members of your organizations.  Invite friends and neighbors to learn about the proposed Sunset Area/Placer Ranch developments.  This is the biggest project ever considered by Placer County and it is on a fast-track for approval to avoid new State climate and affordable housing law that will go into effect on 1/1/2020.
Together we’re a stronger voice.
Leslie Warren, Chair
Alliance for Environmental Leadership


Shirlee Herrington, PLACER COUNTY
Thu, Oct 31, 2019 at 12:16 PM
Subject: Sunset Area Plan / Placer Ranch Specific Plan (PLN16-00341), Final Environmental Impact Report Released

Greetings Placer community and interested parties,

 Placer County has released a Final Environmental Impact Report (Final EIR) for the Sunset Area Plan and Placer Ranch Specific Plan (SAP/PRSP), which can be found at the County’s website at this LINK.  In addition to the Final EIR, Placer County has also released Final Sunset Area Plan and Placer Ranch Specific Plan documents which can be found HERE.  See attached NOA for additional information.

 The Final EIR can also be accessed at the Community Development Resource Agency Building at 3091 County Center Drive in Auburn, and the County Clerk’s Office at 2954 Richardson Drive in Auburn and will be made available for review during normal business hours at the Roseville Library (225 Taylor Street), the Rocklin Library (4890 Granite Drive), the Lincoln Library (485 Twelve Bridges Drive), the Colfax Library (10 Church Street), and the Auburn Library (350 Nevada Street). Copies of the Final EIR will also be made available for checkout at the Rocklin, Auburn and Colfax libraries. 

The Placer County Planning Commission will be conducting a public hearing on November 21, 2019 to receive input from the public on the FEIR and Final SAP/PRSP and to consider forwarding a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.  The Planning Commission agenda and meeting materials can be found HERE on or about November 14, 2019.

 Following the Planning Commission public hearing, a Board of Supervisors public hearing will be conducted and is tentatively planned for December 10, 2019.  The Board of Supervisors will receive input from the public on the FEIR and Final SAP/PRSP and will consider the Planning Commission’s recommendation.   The Board of Supervisors agendas and meeting materials can found HERE.

 For any questions related to the Final EIR, please contact the County’s Environmental Coordination Services Division at 530-745-3132.  For any questions related to the Final SAP/PRPS, please contact Crystal Jacobsen at 530-745-3085 or

Shirlee I. Herrington
Environmental Coordination Services
Placer County Community Development Resource Agency
3091 County Center Drive, Suite #190
Auburn, CA  95603


 Sustainable Plan comments.docx