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Sierra Club requests investigation 

Local Sierra Club leader Andrew Christie is asking for a county investigation into why key phrases went missing in a county staff report, describing planning standards that apply to land at the Oceano Dunes Recreation Area.

The county is currently in negotiations to sell more than 500 acres of land, sandwiched between a state-owned off-road vehicle park and a state-owned nature preserve.

At a January 2007 Planning Commission meeting, Christie challenged the planning director’s assessment of the sale as compliant with county land-use standards, by presenting a county-sanctioned map of the area. Although staff didn’t mention the map during their presentation, it clearly shows the county land as a buffer between the off-road vehicle area and the sanctuary. Subsequently, the commission overturned the director’s decision, and the sale has been stalled.

In April, the club filed a lawsuit alleging that the county long ago committed the land it owns within the area as a buffer zone, and should discontinue allowed use of off-road vehicles on the parcel.

In the course of the lawsuit’s preparation, a Sierra Club attorney discovered that all references to the map and buffer zone were missing from the county’s staff report.

County leaders have said they don’t know what exactly happened to the missing map and words, but maintain that they weren’t attempting to hide anything.

During a public hearing portion of the Boardof Supervisors' June 3 meeting, Christie said he wants them to investigate the matter.

“These two sentences didn’t just get up and walk away,” he said, adding that without a thorough investigation “there is no reason to think this has never happened before.”

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