| For immediate release: April 18, 2005
Back To the Drawing Board for Kern County Development Project
Frazier Park, Calif. – In a surprise move, the Kern County Planning Department decided to revise the environmental documents for the controversial proposed Frazier Park Estates development project. The County’s decision follows comments by the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups and agencies identifying significant legal flaws and information missing from draft environmental documents for the project.
The proposed project, Frazier Park Estates, is a sprawling high-density development covering 847 acres in rural southern Kern County. The development would include 705 single-family houses, 41 apartments, 35.6 acres of commercial and community service facilities, a wastewater treatment plant, and related development. Developer Fallingstar Homes has proposed construction of the project west of Interstate 5, between Hungry Valley State Recreation Area to the south and Frazier Mountain Park Road to the north. It is adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest along its western boundary.
On March 10, 2006, the Center sent a letter to the Kern County Planning Department commenting on deficiencies in the project’s draft environmental impact report. The document failed to adequately evaluate the impacts of bulldozing and construction on numerous imperiled species, including the California condor, Tehachapi slender salamander, southern rubber boa and coast horned lizard, among others. Significant impacts to streamside forests, wetlands and rare native grasslands – all of which are protected plant communities – were ignored in the draft environmental impact report.
“The site is home to some world-class oak diversity – over six different species are found on the property – yet the analysis of impacts never mentioned, evaluated or tried to offset the elimination of this diversity,” said Ileene Anderson, ecologist for the Center for Biological Diversity. “We know the plants, animals and natural environment in the Frazier Park area are rare resources, particularly in the southern part of the state. Kern County needs to re-think the need for this project. Folks in Frazier Park and visitors from elsewhere enjoy the rural landscape and wide open space of this area – not cookie-cutter housing tracts that destroy our natural heritage.”
John Buse, staff attorney for the Center, said, “The documents were full of holes, making it impossible for the Board of Supervisors to make an informed decision on the merits of the project or likely harm to the natural environment. Kern County did the right thing by determining that a major overhaul of the report is warranted."
Kern County has issued no timeline for the revision and recirculation of the environmental impact report.