CHRP is asking …

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


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 Use (Tax Deductible)
Scroll down to Coastal Hills Rural Preservation CHRP
• Go to our blog or website for a more detailed summary of our position and actions.
• Share this information with friends and interested people

Efren Carrillo Attempts To Bolster Reelection Campaign With Open Space Project

Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District

Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District Acquires Conservation Easement and Trail Easement

On 500-acre Bordessa Ranch

SANTA ROSA, CA (March 27, 2012) –The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, serving as the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (District), approved the purchase of a conservation easement and a trail easement over the 500 acre Bordessa ranch for the benefit of future generations.

Efren Carrillo, Fifth District Supervisor stated, “Opportunities like this, which will keep this 500 acre property intact while allowing public view of the incredible natural features of the Estero Americano and its surrounding greenbelt, are rare. This investment will pay forward and provide incredible benefits to the residents of Sonoma County. It will ensure this land will forever be in agriculture, protect the legacy of the Valley Ford area, secure critical wildlife and bird habitat, and allowing public access for hiking, nature study, bird watching, and other low intensity recreational and educational uses that are appropriate.”

Sonoma County Director of Regional Parks Caryl Hart commented, “Regional Parks looks forward to working under the lead of Supervisor Carrillo, with land owners and the community to determine appropriate public access to this amazing property,”

The rolling hills and open pasture lands of the ranch are visible from scenic Highway 1, North of Valley Ford. The conservation easement and trail easement on the property protects its open space and scenic values, natural resources and wildlife connectivity, and agricultural resources, while allowing for low-intensity public outdoor recreational enjoyment of the land.

The property possesses sensitive natural resources and provides habitat for numerous wildlife species. The Bordessa Ranch borders on the Estero Americano, a tidal estuary which contains high quality salt marsh wetlands and is located in the Pacific Flyway which provides foraging habitat for migratory water fowl and shorebirds. The conservation easement protects habitat for sensitive species, including Burrowing Owls, Short-eared Owls and American Badgers within a 140-acre Forever Wild area of the property.

The purchase of the conservation easement and trail easement is $1,500,000. The California State Coastal Conservancy has agreed to contribute $650,000 to the District’s acquisition of a conservation easement and a $50,000 grant to the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department to plan trails on the property.

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About the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District

The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District permanently protects the diverse agricultural, natural resource and scenic open space lands of Sonoma County for future generations. Since 1990, the District has protected more than 85,000 acres. Agricultural and open space lands have been protected through a 1/4-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1990 and reauthorized in 2006. For more information, please visit

03 27 2012 Open Space Acquires Bordessa Ranch Easement.pdf