2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 1 Nov 2002 20:17:40 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Coalition question Beale area development
On October 23, 2002, more than 100 people squeezed into a one-room
schoolhouse in rural Smartville, California, to participate in a public
scoping meeting for an environmental review of the proposed 5,100-home
Yuba Highlands development, in Yuba County, California, north of
Sacramento. The property is adjacent to Beale Air Force Base and covers
a portion of the former Camp Beale.

I have pasted below the press release issued by a coalition of community
groups, questioning the proposed development, that submitted extensive
written comments. The press release and other information are available at
Their full scoping comments are available at 
Please note that I had trouble linking to the comments with my version
of Netscape, but I was able to read them using Internet Explorer.

The press release does not highlight those sections of the comments
dealing directly with military environmental issues. So I am providing
those as well. First, the property of is part of the Camp Beale Formerly
Used Defense Site, known to contain unexploded ordnance. The comments explain:

"The area in and around Yuba Highlands is littered with unexploded
ordnance from when it was part of the Camp Beale during and after World
War II. Although the military has searched the area?s surface for
unexploded ordnance, residents of the area nevertheless find unexploded
ordnance with some frequency. In addition, the ground beneath the
surface has not been searched for unexploded ordnance. The Draft EIR
should address the safety threat to construction workers and future
residents of the proposed development posed by such unexploded ordnance."

Second, it describes the potential encroachment of the development on
Beale Air Force Base: "The Draft EIR should address the effects on Yuba
Highlands residents of noise from Beale AFB, including addressing the
current and potential future flight paths of military aircraft, and
including addressing the additional noise that will be generated in the
future by the unmanned drone aircraft that are soon to be based at Beale
AFB.... The Draft EIR should address and the potential impacts of
intensive development adjacent to Beale AFB, and increased traffic
through Beale AFB, on the AFB's long-term ability to accomplish its
defense mission."

Finally, though it's not in the coalition's comments, members of the
community are also questioning the proximity of the massive PAVE PAWS
phased array warning system radar to the proposed development.



For Immediate Release
Sierra Nevada Group/Sierra Club
Friends of Spenceville
South Yuba River Citizens League
Smartville, California
October 24, 2002 


A number of individuals and seven citizens organizations expressed
concerns yesterday about a variety of potential adverse environmental
effects that would result from the proposed 2,900-acre Yuba Highlands
development near Spenceville Wildlife and Recreation Area and Beale Air
Force Base in western Yuba County. The individuals and organizations
voiced their concerns during a public meeting held in Smartville to
discuss the issues to be addressed in a draft Environmental Impact
Review ("EIR") for the proposed development. The proposal for Yuba
Highlands calls for the construction of approximately 5,100 new homes to
house a population of more than 13,000 residents - larger than the
population of the city of Marysville. 

The citizens organizations - the South Yuba River Citizens League,
Friends of Spenceville, the Sierra Nevada Group of the Sierra Club, the
Sierra Foothills Audubon Society, the Planning and Conservation League,
Sierra Watch, and the Sierra Nevada Alliance - presented a detailed,
six-page set of comments listing potential environmental impacts that
should be addressed in the Draft EIR. Many of the concerns expressed in
the groups' comments were also raised during the meeting by local
landowners and other residents of the area. They mentioned, among
others, the risks:

that the Yuba Highlands project would spur additional sprawl in the
area; that it would adversely affect the ecology of Spenceville Wildlife
and Recreation Area;
that the traffic from thousands of additional commuters would worsen air
quality and would increase traffic congestion and traffic safety problems;
hat pumping water from beneath the Yuba Goldfields to the proposed
development would jeopardize threatened steelhead and salmon in the Yuba
River, as well as the amount of water available to existing users; and
that it would jeopardize a number of threatened or endangered species
that inhabit lands or waters in and near the Yuba Highlands area.

"This proposed project is bad for farmers, bad for taxpayers and bad for
current homeowners in the area," said Carolyn Hinshaw of the Sierra
Club. "The Yuba Highlands project will create a tremendous amount of new
traffic, threaten water supplies for agriculture, worsen air quality,
and is likely to cost existing homeowners in the form of new taxes and

Richard Thomas of Friends of Spenceville noted that the proposed
development "directly borders two separate areas of the Spenceville
Wildlife and Recreation Area and directly borders an open space area of
Beale Air Force Base. It also cuts off open space corridors for wildlife
to move among the separate areas of Spenceville and Beale." He further
stated, "Worse yet is that much, if not most, of the traffic generated
by this new town of commuters seeking work, shopping and services would
flow through Spenceville toward Wheatland and the Highway 65 corridor.
The required 'improvements' to Smartville, Waldo and Long Ravine Roads
and the high level of usage would have profoundly negative effects on
Spenceville's role as a wildlife area." 


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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