Critical Meeting on Future of North Livermore Valley Set for Tuesday, November 24, 2020

A special meeting of the East County Board of Zoning Adjustments will occur on November 24, 2020, at 1:30 p.m., to review the environmental impact report for the massive Aramis industrial solar power plant and lithium-ion battery station complex proposed for North Livermore Valley. Alameda County Planning staff are requesting that the Board of Zoning Adjustments approve the Aramis project.

Before the Board of Zoning Adjustments makes any decision, however, the public will be allowed to comment.

This is OUR OPPORTUNITY to call on County officials to preserve the agricultural land and open space in North Livermore Valley and REJECT the Aramis project. 

The Aramis project is a monstrosity. It will destroy hundreds of acres of productive, environmentally important agricultural land and significantly and forever scar the scenic beauty of North Livermore Valley. Even a senior Alameda County planner concluded that the Aramis project does ‘not pass the laugh test’ for compliance with the Alameda County Zoning Code, Measure D and applicable environmental policies.

Meeting Information

Again, the meeting of the Board of Zoning Adjustments will occur on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, at 1;30 p.m. The meeting will be conducted via Zoom at the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/92158285462 The public will be given the opportunity to comment on the Aramis project. .

Aramis will bring to the meeting persons with a financial interest in the project to speak in favor of the project.
We must speak out ourselves to ensure the Board understands the community is opposed to the conversion of North Livermore Valley into an industrial zone for the generation of electricity.
Here are talking points for your use:
  1. The Aramis project is an industrial use and should not be be allowed in North Livermore Valley which is an agricultural district.  No utility-scale solar power plant of magnitude of the Aramis project – over 320,000, eight-foot tall solar arrays spread across 400 acres of agricultural land on a total project area of over 700 acres – exists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Miles of security fencing and internal access roads will be constructed. Overhead electrical transmission lines mounted on towers, some 10 stories tall, will be constructed. Thousands of flammable lithium-ion batteries will be stored on 5 acres of the facility in over 50 trailer truck-size battery stations.
  2. The Aramis project violates Measure D. Under Measure D, the agricultural lands of Alameda County, including North Livermore, are to be preserved and protected from “excessive, badly located and harmful development.” Commercial electricity power generation is not a use that exists in North Livermore today nor is it related to the use of the land for agricultural purposes. To permit North Livermore Valley to be blanketed by hundreds of thousands of solar panels strikes a dagger in the heart of Measure D. 
  3. The Aramis project violates the County zoning code. Under the zoning code, agricultural districts are reserved for “agricultural and other nonurban uses, to conserve and protect existing agricultural uses, and to provide space for and encourage such uses in places where more intensive development is not desirable or necessary for the general welfare.” Farming, cattle grazing and the raising of farm animals is impossible on land covered with solar photovoltaic panels. 
  4. The Aramis project violates applicable environmental policies. North Livermore Valley is a habitat for a wide variety of special status species and is a wildlife migration corridor. The Aramis project will obliterate farmland used by foxes, eagles, owls and other predator birds to hunt field mice, rats, squirrels and rabbits, and create a barrier for the migration of wildlife in the valley undermining the biodiversity of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
  5. No need exists to destroy North Livermore Valley to produce greater renewable energy. The Friends of Livermore conducted a preliminary assessment of the potential for solar power in rural Alameda County and found hundreds of acres available on land outside of North Livermore Valley that are suitable for solar facilities. Furthermore, far greater solar energy than produced by the Aramis project could be generated by widely installing solar panels on rooftops of commercial and industrial buildings and over parking lots across Alameda County.

  

In advance of the meeting, we also request that you send an email message to the Board stating your opposition to the project.  

 

Click this link to email the Board of Zoning Adjustments and County staff.

Here is a letter to the Board of Zoning Adjustments you can use to email the Board.
Please cut and paste the text into your email message. At the end please add your name and city of residence (there is no need to add your street address). For your email subject line we suggest: “Objections to Aramis Solar Power Plant & Battery Station Complex.” Thank you!
 

Dear Members of the Board of Zoning Adjustments,

The scenic beauty, natural habitat and open space of North Livermore Valley belong to all of us and must be preserved for future generations. I respectfully request that you reject the Aramis project for the following reasons:
1) No public need requires the construction of the Aramis power plant in North Livermore Valley. The Aramis plant does not increase Alameda County’s energy resilience as it will be connected to PG&E’s power grid and 75% of the power will be conveyed to San Francisco.
Alameda County can generate greater renewable energy and preserve scarce agricultural land by promoting the installation of solar panels on rooftops of home and businesses, over parking lots and next to freeways.
At a minimum, Alameda County should first complete a solar mapping project and study to determine what areas pose the least conflict with wildlife habitat, open space and agricultural land before authorizing any industrial solar power plants in unincorporated Alameda County.
 
2) The Aramis solar power plant is not properly related to other land uses in North Livermore Valley. Under voter-approved Measure D, the agricultural lands of Alameda County, including North Livermore, are to be preserved, enhanced and protected from “excessive, badly located and harmful development.” Commercial electricity power generation does not exist today in North Livermore Valley and solar power plants are not an agricultural use of the land. 
 
3) If permitted, the Aramis solar plant will be materially detrimental to the public welfare and injurious to property in the neighborhood. The Environmental Impact Report concludes the Aramis project will have a significant and unavoidable negative impact on the scenic beauty of North Livermore Valley. Moreover, the Aramis solar project will obliterate habitat for special status species. The land is also a wildlife corridor important to the biodiversity of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
 
4) The Aramis solar plant is contrary to the character and standards established for North Livermore Valley. The valley is designated as an agricultural district. Farming, cattle grazing and the raising of other farm animals is impossible on land covered with solar photovoltaic panels. 
 
In conclusion, North Livermore Valley is an agricultural area and should remain one. Please reject the application of the Aramis solar power plant and lithium-ion battery station. 

The agricultural land in North Livermore Valley plays an important role in providing habitat and migration corridors for threatened and sensitive species including the Western burrowing owl.

 

We are proud of our heritage as ranchers and farmers and are committed to preserving our land for future generations.