Gold Rush Ranch and Golf Resort referendum, Measure N (2010)

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A Gold Rush Ranch and Golf Resort referendum, Measure N ballot question was on the June 8, 2010 ballot for voters in the City of Sutter Creek in Amador County, where it was approved.[1]

Measure N allowed voters to weigh in on a January 2010 decision of the Sutter Creek City Council that gave the green light to the proposed Gold Rush Ranch and Golf Resort subdivision project.

Sutter Creek City Resolution Number 09-10-16, enacted in January, approved the specific plan and general plan amendments of the Gold Rush Ranch project. Voters will have their say about that and one outcome of the election could be that the city's approval of the specific plan and general plan amendments will be overturned. The city council would also be unable, by state law, to enact similar legislation for a period of one year after the vote.[1]

A "yes" vote on Measure N is a vote to uphold the city council's decision to give the green light to the Gold Rush Ranch project. A "no" vote on Measure N is a vote against the city council's approval of the resort project.

Election results

Measure N
Approveda Yes 658 50.62%
These election results are from the Amador County elections office

"Yes on Measure N"

Those advocating for a "yes" vote on Measure N included:

  • Mary Walser, a member of the Amador School Board, who said, "We've worked with the Gold Rush project sponsors for years to ensure the project delivers more than its fair share of new funding to improve the educations of all Sutter Creek children."
  • Rollin Brown, a former Mayor of Sutter Creek, who said, "Gold Rush Ranch provides important benefits that will be essential to future generations of Sutter Creek residents."
  • Butch Martin, Chief of the Sutter Creek Fire Department, who said, "Gold Rush Ranch is critical to increasing Sutter Creek Volunteer Fire District staffing levels to make our citizens safer."

"No on Measure N"

A group called "Preserve Historic Sutter Creek" (PHSC), led by Bart Weatherly, opposed the Gold Rush Ranch project, and urged a "no" vote on Measure N.[2]

It was the signature-collection efforts of the PHSC group that led to Measure N being on the ballot. Weatherly said, "We're grateful to the citizens for making sure every Sutter Creek voter will have a chance to weigh in on Gold Rush Ranch. Gold Rush is just too big. It will double our town's size and population, jam our local roads, destroy thousands of oak trees, clearcut more than 400 acres of land, and cost every local resident money."[2]

Gold Rush Ranch

The Gold Rush Ranch and Resort project that was at the heart of Measure N was a proposed golf, resort and residential community comprising approximately 945 acres. It would have consisted of the 833-acre Noble Ranch parcel and the 112-acre Allen Ranch parcel. The proposed resort would have been at the northwest corner of HWY 88 and Lower Ridge Road. The project site was approximately 2 1/2 miles from downtown Sutter Creek.

The proposed development would have included:

  • 1,300 homes
  • 300 timeshare condos
  • A hotel
  • A golf course
  • 21 acres of public parks
  • A 15-acre sports complex
  • A dedicated school site
  • A new library site
  • A site for a new police and fire station
  • 300 permanently preserved acres of oak woodland open space
  • 7 miles of hiking trails

Path to the ballot

Election officials had 30 calendar days from February 1, 2010 to determine whether the 468 signatures collected by Preserve Historic Sutter Creek are valid. There are 1,584 registered voters in Sutter Creek, and a minimum of 10% of them (or 158 voters) had to sign the petition for the measure to qualify for the ballot.[1]

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