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Forum discusses responsible growth planning

By: Penne Usher, Journal Staff Writer
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ROCKLIN - With more and more housing developments taking up what once was agricultural land, many in Placer County are concerned that the area's farming history will disappear. A public workshop focusing on the question of how to preserve Placer County's open space, environmental health and growth issues was held Saturday at Sierra College in Rocklin. Members of the community as well as farmers, county planning director, supervisors and businessmen addressed economics, conservation and how to prepare for a viable future in an ever-growing county. Christine Turner, Placer County agricultural commissioner, spoke to the scattered crowd in the colleges Dietrich Theatre regarding the loss of open land. "There had been 240,000 acres available in the 1970s and now there are 135,000 and we're losing ground every day," she said. "Were really at a juncture where we need a change of mind and heart." Throughout the four-hour presentation lecturers focused on responsible growth. "Farmland is a resource just as water and air," Turner said "We're not recognizing that farmland is a critical resource." Bev Bair, 66, retired and now a student at Sierra College, lives in Newcastle. She attend the forum as part of her college curriculum and voiced concerns over the growth in Placer County. She has lived in the area since the 1970s and has seen a lot of change. "I would go to work in Sacramento and throughout the drive there was nothing," she said. "Now it's very congested." Bair said that having government officials working with the community and farmer is a step in the right direction. "Without everyone working together positive change will not be successful," she said. The Journal's Penne Usher can be reached at penneu@goldcountrymedia.com.