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Planning Commissioner Sharp Grades Over a Creek and (almost) Gets Away with it

Thanks to the Board Members of The Trinity Players,  a non-profit organization that produces plays and oversees Weaverville’s beloved Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center (TAPAC), we have learned that District 2 Planning Commissioner, Bill Sharp illegally graded over a creek and redirected its path, an activity that may have major environmental impacts. Confirmation that the Trinity County Planning Commission lacks oversight and leadership.

Let’s start at the beginning. In 2016, the County issued a Directors Use Permit (DUP) to Bill Sharp, owner of Sharp Electric in Weaverville. The permit was for work on an accessory building for the business. At the time the DUP was issued, the water from a seasonal creek bed located next to Sharp Electric was carried underground by a 48″ CalTrans culvert and drained into the West Weaver Basin—a favorite spot for bird watchers and dog owners.

Google imagery shows that sometime between 2020 and 2022 Mr. Sharp graded over the creek and redirected its drainage path to two 24” culverts that discharge onto the Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center’s property, next to Highway 299.  Sharp did not seek authorization from any local or state regulatory agencies. He simply did. Normally, projects of this nature involve a lengthy permitting process that includes securing a General Construction Permit, conducting a hydrological study to determine if the creek redirection supports water volumes, facility capacities and what impact if any it has downstream neighbors in addition to obtaining a Lake and Stream Alteration Agreement (LSAA) from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Sharp, a seasoned (and we use that term loosely) Planning Commissioner knew the process. Afterall, month after month he preaches the importance of not even stepping a toe outside of one’s permit parameters. As a reminder, Sharp was appointed by District 2 Supervisor Jill Cox, who has muddied the ethical waters plenty this past year.

After TAPAC experienced several unusual flooding events over the past year, members of its Board started investigating the root cause. After reaching out to the Planning Department and hearing only crickets, they filed complaints with the State Water Resources Control Board and California Department of Fish and Wildlife on the hunch that their upstream neighbor—Sharp Electric —was the root of the flooding due to grading activity. The County started taking their complaints seriously and after conducting its own investigation, determined that Commissioner Bill Sharp has not followed the parameters of his DUP which contributed to TAPAC’s flooding by illegally grading a stream and redirecting it which overburdened the smaller culverts. The extent of the violations and environmental impacts are still under investigation by the State Water Resources Control Board and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

ETC is curious as to the possible implications to Highway 299. It wasn’t all that long ago that Highway 3 fell apart…

The County also told The Trinity Players that while Sharp is to blame for their flooding issues, it is their responsibility to maintain the drainage swale. #VictimBlaming. Albeit, the drainage ditch does exist in bit of gray area as it was designated at a Public Easement in the 1990s and is located on the Performing Arts Center grounds. However, it only exists to help with the drainage of the County’s sub-divided parcels that lead into the West Weaver Basin. Did we mention that the stream grading appears to be on the parcel next to Sharp Electric, which is owned by the County?  The parcels are subdivided as a portion of Highway 299 is between them. Are we surprised to hear that our budget & staff strapped County isn’t stepping up to take responsibility? No.

As Chriss Williams, a Board Member of The Trinity Players stated during public comment of the Planning Commission’s December 14th meeting – this is an abuse of power by Planning Commissioner Bill Sharp and he needs to be held accountable for his actions, as “this affects the integrity of the entire commission.”  We agree. Sharp has turned the Planning Commission into a Comedy of Errors. He needs to step down. When is enough, enough?

Check out her comment on YouTube here . The Planning Department letter as well as Google Earth image showing the approximate timeline of Sharp’s grading activities and photos of TAPAC’s flooding can be found on our website under TC Planning Commission in the “Sharp’s Grading” folder.

Bonus Commentary:  TAPAC serves as the rental home to Sharp & D2 Supervisor Jill Cox’s Outpost Church…

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