CHRP is asking …

CHRP is asking the Board of Supervisors to regulate Ratna Ling, enforce the General Plan and protect rural Sonoma County.

COASTAL HILLS….

COASTAL HILLS RESOURCE PRESERVATION (CHRP)
March 2013

Dear Friends & Neighbors

Thank you for your previous support of the community efforts to oppose Ratna Ling’s industrial printing operations. This is an update regarding the status of CHRP’s opposition to Ratna Ling’s Use Permit Application. The issue has not gone away.

In 2008, Ratna Ling Retreat Center applied for a General Plan Amendment, and proposed building a 108,300 sf complex of two, two-story, underground book storage caves and an exhibition hall. In response to this proposal, neighbors organized and circulated a petition in opposition to the expansion. As a result of this petition, Ratna Ling dropped their proposed GPA and abandoned their proposed building plans. This was an important victory and it was your 170 signatures that stopped this “big box” sized facility from being built in rural Sonoma County.

Previously however, in 2007, the entire Dharma Publishing (DP) book manufacturing, storage and distribution operation, the “largest publisher of Tibetan books in the world”, was moved from an industrial area of Berkeley to the Ratna Ling Retreat Center. Industrial scale printing is now the primary land use of Ratna Ling Retreat Center, which violates their “Retreat Center” Use Permit and defies RRD zoning regulations and the Sonoma County General Plan.

A Complaint of Code Violations was filed in 2010 by CHRP. RL was found to be in violation but PMRD required RL to either comply with their 2004 Use Permit or apply for a new use permit. RL’s new use permit application, PLP08-0021, seeks to legalize all violations of their 2004 use permit and triple the size of their printing and storage facilities, quadruple the number of press workers, remove any numerical limit on book production and double the permanent population of the Retreat Center.

Those of you who attended the Board of Zoning Adjustments Hearing in April 2012, and/or signed a petition against the massive expansion of Ratna Ling’s printing operations, are well aware that CHRP was not given a fair chance to present its case opposing the expansion. The BZA made the wrong decision. At that time, CHRP filed an appeal with the Board of Supervisors, which will be heard sometime in the next few months. (It has not yet been scheduled)

CHRP is asking the Board of Supervisors to regulate Ratna Ling, enforce the General Plan and protect rural Sonoma County. CHRP has a strong case for having the industrial printing operations scaled back to their 2004 Use Permit conditions, based on the following issues:

1. Numerous unresolved violations of their 2004 use permit
2. Breach of County general plan & land use policies
3. Ancillary use vs. industrial printing plant
4. Expansion of printing facility from 20,000 sq ft to 60,000 sq ft
5. CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) violations
6. Inadequate mitigated negative declaration in lieu of the required EIR

An attorney who is experienced in CEQA and Land Use issues has been hired to assist with the case. She’s been paid $2,500 as a retainer, which emptied the CHRP account. $10,000 is needed to wage this appeal – that is 100 people donating $100. Any amount is welcome!

Here’s how you can help:
• Send a check for any amount to: Betsy Anderson/CHRP, P.O. Box 618, Gualala, CA 95445 (donating this way is not tax-deductible)
• Make online, tax deductible donations through our sponsor,
the OWL Foundation – Open Space, Water Protection and Land Usehttp://owlfoundation.net/DONATION.htm (Tax Deductible)
Scroll down to Coastal Hills Rural Preservation CHRP
• Go to our blog http://sonomacoastalhillsruralpreservation.blogspot.com/ or website http://www.regulateratnaling.org/ for a more detailed summary of our position and actions.
• Share this information with friends and interested people

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