Ideally, the property should never be developed. It contains spectacular oak woodland, including some of the biggest old growth oaks in the region. It contains historic and archeological sites that are rich, diverse, and unique. It features meadows, a stream system with pond turtles and river otters, and a host of other wildlife species.
But CSERC staff stood at the Tuolumne County hearings on the Peaceful Oak Estates project and voiced support for approving the development project. We even praised the Sierra Pacific Industries representatives who had steered the project through the planning pipeline for so many years. Why did CSERC support development of this precious site?
The answers are actually very simple. SPI has legal rights to develop the property as a major development project. At one point the original plan called for a golf course that would have resulted in major clearing of oaks, major bulldozing of slopes, and a huge amount of habitat loss. At one point most of the big oaks were not ensured of any protection, and the extensive wildlife on the property would have been stuck struggling through residential neighborhoods to move across the site. CSERC opposed all of those proposals and design flaws.