DANVILLE (KPIX 5) – Contra Costa County supervisors voted Tuesday to allow a controversial housing development near Danville, but questions remain about how water will be supplied to more than 120 homes that would be built.
In a 4-1 vote, the Board allowed a 125-home subdivision called Tassajara Parks on property just outside the urban limit line.
The 30-acre project will place homes in an area that was supposed to be free of large development. Supervisors ended up approving the plan after the developer offered to donate an additional 727 acres of open land to the East Bay Regional Park District.
"This will not only be preserved permanently by the Park District, it will be available in a broader public use for all the public to be able have a trail there," Park District general manager Bob Doyle said at the meeting.
Despite receiving approval, the project faces another huge problem. The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), is refusing to supply water to the new homes.
The developer wants to fund conservation efforts to produce enough water for the project, but EBMUD considers water saved by conservation to be something they already own, as they stated in the Board meeting.
"The drought highlights the importance of preserving water sources of supply, including any remaining conservation potential, for current and future customers within our ultimate service boundary," said Dave Rehnstrom, the agency's manager of water distribution planning.
That left Supervisor Candace Anderson, the lone vote against the Tassajara Parks project, to pose the key question.
"Have we ever, in Contra Costa, ever certified an EIR or approved a project where there is no identifiable source of water?" Anderson asked.
That will be the next challenge for a project already 10 years in the making, where to find new water in an already parched area.
Supervisors said it will be up to the developer to identify a water supply before any construction can begin. Without it, the land may stay dry and open for a long time to come.
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