Albion Monitor /Commentary

Letters Needed for Laguna Uplands

by Jeff Elliott

Letters are needed to the Open Space District in support of a $900,000 offer made earlier this month to save the Sebastopol Laguna uplands from development.

Although General Manager David Hansen and staff recommended that the District buy a conservation easement on the property earlier this month, two hurdles must be passed. Only with the approval of the Board of Directors and Open Space Authority will funds be committed to the project.

The conservation easement will wipe out the subdivision, approved last fall by Sebastopol City Council. A coalition of Sebastopol residents want to use the property for a Native American cultural center, wildlife preservation, and public open space.

Although dates for the Board and the Authority meetings have not yet been set, both are expected to take place in early March. Letters should be sent to:

David Hansen, General Manager
Open Space District
415 Russel Avenue
Santa Rosa, California 95403

The community group has until April 15th to raise about $500,000

The property, also known as "Palm Terrace," is directly behind Palm Drive Hospital. With a breathtaking panorama of the Laguna plain, it is the last undeveloped portion of what was once the village of Batiklechawi, a Pomo community equal in size and stature to Olompoli, a Miwok village that is now a state park. It is also the last remaining upland area where wild animals living in the vicinity can escape winter floods.

Environmentalists have fought development at the site for over ten years. For more information on community opposition to this development and Native history, see our Palm Terrace feature in an earlier edition of the Albion Monitor.

The community group trying to save the property has until April 15th to raise about $500,000. Besides the hoped-for $900,000 from the Open Space District, roughly $75,000 has been contributed or pledged from local citizens. The developer's asking price is $1.5 million.

Albion Monitor February 18, 1996 (

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