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Letter to the Editor

The community group called Orindans for Safe Emergency Evacuation, or OSEE, filed a petition with the California Superior Court to address what we believe is an inadequate analysis by an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) of impacts from ‘Plan Orinda’ on wildfire evacuation and first responder access.

On January 31, 2023, the Orinda City Council adopted Plan Orinda based on the Plan Orinda EIR, and, on February 1, 2023, the City issued a Notice of Determination approving the EIR.

A primary purpose of Plan Orinda is to facilitate and encourage increased residential housing through rezoning, resulting, according to the EIR, in a potential maximum of over 2,300 new residential dwellings and over 6,500 additional residents. OSEE encourages and does not oppose developing housing downtown. However, OSEE does oppose the Plan Orinda EIR because it fails to adequately analyze and/or mitigate significant impacts to wildfire evacuation safety and emergency response efforts resulting from development according to Plan Orinda.

The Oakland Hills Firestorm made us understand what it means to live in and next to the State’s highest level of wildfire risk. Orinda has major constraints such as traffic choke-points, severely limited evacuation routes, challenging topography, and many homes on long, narrow, steep and winding roads that make evacuation safety and first responders’ access paramount.

Please join OSEE in this important effort.

Contact us at

Thank you,

Michele Jacobson

Former elected Orinda Association Board Member

Former Orinda Planning Commissioner

OSEE Representative

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