Environmental Concerns – Sheri & Rich Vannelli

Hello. My name is Sheri Vannelli and I would like to discuss water concerns related to the Lytton Development.

The 17 pages of mitigations outlined in the County/Tribe MOA were premised on the Lytton Environmental Assessment. The Hydrogeologic Investigation Report, or HIR component of the assessment was based on results of a test well drilled in the northwestern corner of the 1300 acre Lytton Sphere Boundary. According to the report, the well test was performed in the last week of December of 2008 – prior to the multi-year drought that has gripped our state. In a recent conversation with a neighbor, the owner 7395 Starr Road, located in the southeastern corner of the Lytton Boundary, she told me that she has owned this property for 11 years, but last July her 124 foot well went dry for the first time. I am in the process of getting the Weeks report as backup. This new information supports the need for new groundwater testing for the Lytton Development, not only because the HIR data is outdated, but because it only encompasses a small portion of what we now know to be a much larger residential and commercial development.

Tribal Attorney, Larry Stidham recently confirmed my fear that should Windsor residents vote down Town water connection to the 147 home development, the Tribe would not seek Town water connection for the 2nd residential phase of 214 homes and up to 60,000 sq. ft of community buildings. This addition alone almost triples groundwater demand. The winery and resort will put significantly more stress on our water source.

The County and Town look to recent reports from the USGS to conclude that the development site sits on abundant groundwater, referred to as Zone 1, but these reports are based on simulations and models extrapolated from data even older than the Lytton HIR because no new well data exists. Our local water supply does have limits and should be investigated in advance of starting this significantly enlarged project.

Property owners most significantly impacted by the development hired O’Conner Environmental in Healdsburg, to review the Lytton HIR. Amongst other recommendations, O’Conner sited the need for new testing of all proposed project wells to evaluate potentially significant drawdown to neighboring wells, in addition to stating that because of the large project scale, a recharge analysis is warranted regardless of zone designation.

The MOA, as written, fails to provide development neighbors with any protection should groundwater levels decline, impacting nearby wells, due to the full scope of the project’s water demands. You may have a second chance, a do over, to correct this oversight. Please do not risk depletion of the water source we rely on based on data derived from assumptions and simulations alone. I am asking you to require project comprehensive well tests in an MOA addendum.

Thank you for your time.

O’Conner Environmental Review – Read it here