Rocking H / Luiz Ranches

Metallica frontman James Hetfield plans to subdivide a portion of his 1,150-acre ranch holdings above Lucas Valley. The proposal is still at a conceptual “pre-application” stage with County Planning.

Hetfield is well known as the lead vocalist and co-founder of the heavy metal band Metallica, but locally he is also known as the property owner who erected a fence across the Luiz Ranch fire road in an effort to keep trespassers off his property. This cut off a traditional hiking and biking connection between the Terra Linda and Loma Alta Open Space Preserves. To bypass that barrier, County Parks proposed and built the very popular “680 Trail”.

Hetfield’s consulting planners have offered a number of public benefits for his proposal, such as allowing the 440 acres already dedicated to MCOSD on an adjacent ranch to remain as open space, putting in a public trail connecting Lucas Valley with the new 680 Trail, and reducing the development potential of upper Lucas Valley by 77 units.

MCL is withholding judgment on Hetfield’s proposal until more details are known. However, MCL is concerned about the rich biological resources of the area, as encountered in environmental review of the 680 Trail. The low density of the proposed development (one-acre homesites) is not true clustering and will require the clearing of vegetation not only for the homes themselves, but also for accompanying “hardscaping” (e.g., patios, pools, accessory structures, etc.) and for clear zones and other fuel reduction treatments now required in the wildland-urban interface. Taken together, these actions will fragment a substantial area of wildlife habitat. The development also would perpetuate a sprawl pattern of vehicle-dependent development. Water requirements are still unknown.

2011 Documents and Correspondence

March 10, 2011, MCL Letter to County Planning Department regarding applicant's request to waive Design Review
2011 Rocking H2 Ranch Pre-Application Master Plan Concept
2011 Neg Dec and I/S with Maps
2011 Rocking H2 Ranch Master Plan Concept Site Plan
2002 Luiz Ranch Initial Study/Mitigated Neg Dec

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