RIDGELINE DOUBLY PROTECTED
Proposed by Simitian and Lee, Supervisors Approve Agreement with Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Midpen)
SAN JOSE – This week, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors reinforced protection of our local hillsides and habitat with a 5-0 vote to approve a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Midpen) and the County of Santa Clara. County Supervisors Joe Simitian (District Five) and Otto Lee (District Three) championed the original proposal brought before the Board in June of this year.
Midpen and the County will share enforcement of the preservation easement – granted in 1972 – that protects the land adjacent to Rancho San Antonio County Park, owned by the County and managed by Midpen, and Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, owned and managed by Midpen. The MOA grants Midpen the right to monitor and inspect the protected ridgeline and surrounding habitat that is part of the Lehigh Cement Plant & Quarry property, and enforce identified violations of the ridgeline easement through the process contained in the MOA.
“This is another step in the right direction to preserve our hillside views and their habitat for the benefit of the environment, the critters, and the people who call the Peninsula and West Valley home. We are experiencing record highs, drought conditions and destructive fires, that come from human impacts to the environment; here we have the opportunity to say enough,” said Simitian. “With Lehigh’s proposal to essentially ‘chop the top’ off the ridgeline, it was apparent that a strong enforcement partner like Midpen would help us ensure long term protection of the hillside.”
“Midpen’s mission and role is to protect and preserve Rancho San Antonio and other open spaces ‘in perpetuity’,” said Yoriko Kishimoto, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board member (Ward 2) and chair of the agency’s Lehigh Quarry ad hoc committee. The Midpen Board of Directors formally approved the agreement, 7-0, at their August 16 Board meeting.
Kishimoto added, “Monitoring and, if needed, enforcing the Ridgeline Easement granted in 1972 will be a powerful tool to preserve this key view shed and one of the world's biodiversity hotspots while also buffering noise and air impacts. We thank the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors for the opportunity to collaborate on this important action to protect the public interests.”
Strong support for the agreement was expressed by the environmental community and allied partners including Green Foothills, Sierra Club, Mothers Out Front, Audubon Society, Muwekma Ohlone, Greenbelt Alliance, Clean Creeks Coalition, Santa Clara Valley Native Plant Society, Grassroots Ecology, Bay Area for a Clean Environment; also Operating Engineers Local 3, Teamsters Local 853, and the Cities of Cupertino, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills.
A link to the agenda and video stream for the Board of Supervisors’ discussion and the vote on can be found here under item 33: