What is Wrong
Current weaknesses in the Hillside Development Ordinance
- The hillside ordinance needs to apply to areas below 500 feet elevation. The current applicability for the ordinance is ambiguous and does not apply to important hills.
- Does not protect visually sensitive areas and ridgelines from development and grading. There should be no development and grading in visually sensitive areas, hilltops, and ridges.
- The ordinance allows for too much density in landslide prone hills. Allowing up to 14 units per acre in the hills is unsafe and will ruin Pittsburg's iconic hills. Instead, less units should be allowed and there needs to be a slope-density calculation where there is less development allowed on steeper slopes.
- The ordinance does not assure that greenbelts are permanently protected. There needs to be assurance that greenbelts are large connected areas of open space and not urban parks.
What changes should be made to the ordinance?
Read this letter - The Greenbelt Alliance sent this letter to the Pittsburg City Council explaining what is wrong with the Proposed Hillside Ordinance. (3/27/2007)
See images of the Threatened Hills
Here is the PowerPoint presentation that the Greenbelt Alliance was not allowed to show at the March 26th workshop. View these images of the Threatened Hills.
Pittsburg's Hillside Ordinance documents
Here is the link to download the latest Pittsburg's Hillside Ordinance documents from the Pittsburg's website.
For reference, here is the link to download the 3/26/2007 Version.
Geology and Soils
Here is an image of the main soil type found in the 3 ranches. The description sheet explains the erosion danger and the slopes. Very scary. It is amazing how unsafe these slopes are! As you can see all of the areas are on very unstable soils.
Save Our Hills wants a section for slopes and soil stability added to the hillside ordinance. This data supports that argument.
The overall soils of the Pittsburg Hills are identified as the Altamont-Fontana Complex, which is a younger, sand-heavy soil series (minus the deposition zones that are typically higher in clay content). Pittsburg Hills, in general, are described as follows (from Pittsburg GP and Sky Ranch II DEIR) "sedimentary rocks in the hillside zone have variable composition, but generally are weak and susceptible to erosion".
I know that some may consider this as "jargon", but we believe that the technical science (i.e. geology and soils science) indicates an important factor in considering the suitability of development on these hillsides.
FYI - more information on soils types and distribution for this area can be found in the East Contra Costa HCP-NCCP. Here it is for your convenience.