CONSERVATION GROUPS SETTLE LAWSUIT OVER BLUE ROCK COUNTRY CLUB
For Immediate Release: 6/7/04
Hayward, CA - Ending a long legal battle over development impacts on endangered species, conservation groups and Hayward 1900, developer of the Blue Rock Country Club, today announced the results of mediation allowing the construction of the development to begin in the hills east of Hayward. The settlement will lead to the lifting of an injunction on construction issued last month by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The agreement allows construction to begin on a new public school while acquiring and permanently protecting nearby habitat for the endangered California red-legged frog and Alameda Whipsnake, and opening new parklands in the East Bay hills to the public.
Elements of the compromise include:
"Walpert Ridge is one of the largest, near-intact ecosystem so close to the urbanization of the East Bay," said Sherman Lewis, chair of the Hayward Area Planning Association. "We are pleased that Hayward will get its new school and that important natural habitat will be protected for endangered species and future generations of East Bay residents to enjoy."
"For the Alameda whipsnake and the red-legged frog the best outcome would have been no additional development on Walpert Ridge and preservation of the critical migration corridor," said Jeff Miller, Bay Area Wildlands Coordinator with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs in the litigation. "Through the settlement we will be able to acquire and preserve habitat for endangered species, increase recreational opportunities, and the school project will move forward," added Miller.
"There's no question that Blue Rock's golf course puts an additional strain on threatened Alameda whipsnakes and California red-legged frogs. However, with the permanent protection of nearby land assured, we expect that these native species will be able to survive and recover," said Greg Loarie, an attorney for Earthjustice who represented the conservation groups. "We are pleased the children who attend this school will enjoy an expanded park system nearby that will be protected forever."
Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations and communities.
The Hayward Area Planning Association has worked since 1978 to protect Walpert Ridge, to stop the Foothill Freeway and to preserve habitat for the native California species that still survive in the region.