With a surface level at 227 feet below sea level and shoreline temperatures often rising past 120 degrees, the Salton Sea could be mistaken for the headwaters of the River Styx. Sometimes, concentrations of salt in the brackish lake, formed by a not-quite-natural overflow of the nearby Colorado River a century ago, asphyxiate resident tilapia fish by the thousands. Currently California's largest lake--larger, even, than Tahoe--the Salton Sea itself may soon dry up, leaving a dust-filled crater.
The Malibu policeman's immortal warning "keep out of my beach community!" in the 1998 leisure-sport epic The Big Lebowski could just as easily have been uttered last autumn by certain residents of Orange County's unincorporated community of Sunset Beach. In this case, though, they would not be shouting at The Dude but rather at the entire City of Huntington Beach.
Instead, a group of Sunset Beach residents are suing the City of Huntington Beach for, they say, unfairly imposing a 5% Users Utility Tax on them.
After two decades of false starts, public and private planning efforts, litigation and ballot measures, development in South Sutter County appears ready to commence – just as soon as the economy rebounds.
A major residential and resort development on the Tejon Ranch has won unanimous approval from the Kern County Board of Supervisors. The project, known as Tejon Mountain Village, is proposed to have 3,450 housing units, two golf courses, 750 hotel rooms, a resort and extensive highway commercial development on about 5,000 acres east of Frazier Park.
When voters approved the incorporation of Elk Grove in Sacramento County in early 2000, the town had a population of about 54,000. Today, Elk Grove's population is heading past 140,000, and the city is looking at a 13,900-acre area for potential expansion.
The owners of a 22,000-acre ranch in San Diego County are making preliminary moves to develop their property, located several miles east of Escondido. However, environmentalists, public land advocates and even a pro-growth county supervisor are already lining up in opposition.
The property is Rancho Guejito, which is both one of the last intact Spanish land grants remaining in California and the largest parcel of undeveloped, privately owned land in San Diego County. Environmentalists have long wanted to protect the property, which is mostly untouched except for cattle grazing on portions of the site.
It's not every day that a city places a full-page newspaper advertisement demanding a larger sphere of influence. Yet that is just what the City of Santa Clarita did last fall — on the same day it placed another full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times complaining about a gravel quarry proposed outside the city limits. The splashy advertisements are just one part of the latest round in the City of Santa Clarita's long fight with Los Angeles County over control of one of the state's fastest growing areas.