Santa Rosa, CA – June 17, 2020 – District Attorney Jill Ravitch has announced that defendant City Ventures Homebuilding, LLC (“CV”) has resolved a civil environmental enforcement action for water pollution and unlawful business practices during construction of new homes in the Fox Hollow subdivision located at 1615 Fulton Road in Santa Rosa. CV’s 22-acre site adjoins Forest View and Peterson Creeks and contains a designated wetland.
District Attorney Ravitch stated, “Home builders must follow the environmental laws that protect our creeks and storm drains from pollution and ensure their employees are trained to care for our most fragile resources.”
The Santa Rosa Police Department’s Environmental Crimes Unit (“ECU”) investigated ongoing violations during construction at the Fox Hollow site, largely stemming from CV’s failure to cover disturbed soil prior to rain events. The ECU found that from 2017 to 2019, CV failed to correct deficiencies in storm water management after receipt of multiple correction notices, sometimes for the same issue. Even though CV was required to use best management practices (“BMP”) to prevent run-off from construction wastes, including sediment and construction materials from entering creeks and storm drains, CV failed to implement BMPs for approximately 100 days. BMPs are required to be implemented on construction sites to prevent water pollution under the City of Santa Rosa’s Municipal Code. The Department of Fish and Wildlife (“DFW”) conducted an investigation and determined that CV had not properly constructed/maintained a culvert that washed out, allowing sediment to enter Peterson Creek. CV had an agreement CV with DFW to protect the creeks from sediment during construction, among other things. CV cooperated with the investigation and provided training to employees both during and following the investigation.
The terms of the civil judgment require that CV prohibit pollutants from entering creeks and waterways in Sonoma County, train key employees in BMPs, and pay $199,584.44 in costs and civil penalties ($110,000 in civil penalties, $64,584.44 for investigative costs) and CV agreed to pay $25,000 to a National Fish and Wildlife Pollution Fund for restoration of riparian habitat in Sonoma County.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Ann Gallagher White of the Environmental and Consumer Law Division of the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office. DFW’s Senior Environmental Scientist, Tim Dodson, conducted DFW’s investigation, with Warden Demitri Esquivel. Santa Rosa Police Department’s Sergeant Brandon Matthies and Officer Jesse Cude conducted the investigation, with assistance from the City of Santa Rosa’s Heaven Moore (former Supervising Engineer), Nick Sudano (Sr. Environmental Specialist, Water) Javier Fernandez (Quality Control Assoc., Planning), Bob Oller (Development Review Coordinator, Public Works) Gabe Osborn (Deputy Director Development Services, Planning), Chris Murray (retired, Environmental Compliance Inspector III) Forrest Frasieur (retired, Civil Engineer Technician III) and Ken Hutchins (retired, Civil Engineer).