The Land Use Report

Noisy Airplanes

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Friday, August 7, 2015

SOS-Santa Cruz.org

SOS-Santa Cruz.org

Noisy airplanes seem to be a problem for lots of people in Santa Cruz County. And in other places, too. Activists have been sending me information about local and Bay Area efforts to confront the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, about FAA-approved changes to the approach pattern to the San Francisco International Airport. These new approach patterns have exposed new areas to jet‑caused noise, all in the name of a better and more efficient air transportation system.

If you’d like to find out more, you might want to visit the Facebook site, or the website, for a group that calls itself “Save Our Skies,” though I think it might be better if they had they named the group “Save Us From Our Skies.” The complaints (and the problems) are very real, and local, state, and federal elected officials are beginning to get involved. Santa Cruz County Supervisor John Leopold has been playing a key role at the local level, and both Sam Farr and Anna Eshoo, Members of Congress representing areas within Santa Cruz County, are also gearing up to deal with the issues. Assembly Member Mark Stone is also engaged with the problem. If you are affected, you can not only hook up with the activist group; you can also register your concern with one of these elected officials, and ask them to keep you posted.

There are links to more information in today’s transcript at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Article on Portola Valley Lawsuit On Airport Noise

Save Our Skies Facebook Page

Save Our Skies Website

Green Sprawl

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

NRDC.org

NRDC.org

Listeners have probably heard about “green” land use. The idea is that new development should meet rigorous environmental standards, reducing water use, and energy use, and using less land for more development by increased residential densities, coupled with mixed-use development that can make it convenient to substitute a walking trip, or a bicycle trip, for what would otherwise be an automobile trip.

Well, one of the nation’s foremost supporters of smart growth, or “green” development, has just issued an important warning. Kaid Benfield, who is associated with the Natural Resources Defense Council, is a nationally-recognized expert on “green” development. Thus, I paid attention when I heard about his most recent article, “Green Sprawl Is Still Sprawl.” I have a link in today’s edition of the Land Use Report blog, found at kusp.org/landuse. If the article sounds interesting, I hope you’ll track it down. While the specific development proposal Benfield reviews is located in San Diego County, the lessons he provides in this recent article are applicable in the Monterey Bay Region, too. One local example of what might be called “green sprawl” is the East Garrison project out on Reservation Road.

Location, location, location. It can’t be called “green” if it’s located away from existing developed areas.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Kaid Benfield’s Switchboard Blog

Carmel River Water Woes

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wikipedia.org

Wikipedia.org

The mayors of the cities on the Monterey Peninsula are showing some concern about California American Water’s proposed desalination project. The project may stall out, or experience significant delays, as Cal‑Am has to deal with charges of a fundamental conflict of interest in the preparation of a legally required Environmental Impact Report. There are problems with the “test well” that Cal-Am has constructed in Marina, too. Testing had to be suspended because running the well drew down groundwater levels beyond the limits that the Coastal Commission said were acceptable.

The Monterey County Weekly had an informative article about action taken by the mayors on July 30th. The mayors sent a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission, asking for help. Cal‑Am is a multi‑national, privately-owned corporation, so there is no direct control at the local level. Because there isn’t, the State PUC becomes the regulating entity, charged with protecting the public interest.

I have a link to the mayors’ letter in today’s transcript at kusp.org/landuse. Among other things, the mayors are hoping that the PUC will officially ask the State Water Resources Control Board to extend a deadline that mandates Cal-Am to reduce water withdrawals from the Carmel River. If the current December 2016 deadline isn’t extended, the Peninsula’s water supply could be cut in half.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Weekly Article on Carmel River Deadline

Text of Mayors’ Letter

Corridor Planning In Santa Cruz

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

scbs.org

scbs.org

The Santa Cruz City Council is meeting this evening, at 7:00 p.m., in what is billed as a “Study Session.” I think this might be an important meeting for city residents to attend.

Agenda Item #6 is a Public Hearing to consider the so-called “Corridor Planning Process and Rezoning.” There is a link to the staff report at kusp.org/landuse. Other links are there, too. Check out those links to see if you’d be interested in getting a bit more engaged by attending the meeting tonight.

As I read the staff report, the Council will be reviewing how General Plan policies adopted in July 2012 will affect land uses along Soquel Avenue, Water Street, Ocean Street, and Mission Street. The General Plan calls for the intensification of development along these corridors, the idea being to reduce auto dependency, and to stimulate higher-density infill development. In short, building heights will increase along these corridors. Higher density residential developments and mixed-use developments will be encouraged. Probably, setbacks from the sidewalk will be largely eliminated. The new Palo Alto Medical Clinic building, on Mission Street, is probably a good example of the scale and general character of what will become a common type of development along the corridors.

The proposed changes are significant. Now would be a good time to get involved!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

August 4, 2015 City Council Study Session Agenda

Corridor Planning Agenda Report

Existing Conditions And Site Assessment Report

Update Schedule

Housing And Marijuana Are On The Agenda

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Monday, August 3, 2015

freetobacco.info

freetobacco.info

Housing activists are urging those who care about affordable housing to show up at tomorrow’s meeting of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. The Board meeting begins at 9:00 a.m., and Agenda Item #70 is a public hearing on the County’s proposed Housing Element Update, which will govern housing-related decisions during the period from 2015 to 2023.

Agenda Item #69 is the Board’s consideration of a referendum petition, seeking repeal of an ordinance banning the cultivation of medical marijuana, adopted by the Board last April. Last week, I predicted we’d be hearing about medical marijuana when the Santa Cruz County Board got back from its summer break, and this item proves that my prediction was correct.

Whatever your position on the cultivation of marijuana in Santa Cruz County, I hope you agree that it’s good to have a referendum process option, guaranteed by the California Constitution, to allow the people to get involved in policy making directly, when they think their elected officials have made a mistake. In this case, a group calling itself “Responsible Cultivation Santa Cruz” thought that the Board’s ban on the commercial growing of marijuana was not well thought out. The group collected enough signatures to put the measure to a public vote, but the Board can, as an alternative, simply revoke its earlier action. That, in fact, is what is being recommended!

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors August 4, 2015 Agenda

Agenda Item #70 – Draft Housing Element

Agenda Item #69 – Marijuana Cultivation Referendum

May 18, 2015 Article on Referendum Measure

Press Release From Referendum Sponsors

Responsible Cultivation Santa Cruz Website

Dog Fight

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Copyright-free-photos.org

Copyright-free-photos.org

I think it’s fair to say that a kind of land use “dog fight” may be shaping up over a proposal to open a Carmel Canine Sports Center in Carmel Valley. According to the Carmel Valley Association, which of course follows land use issues affecting Carmel Valley quite closely, it is likely that the Monterey County Planning Commission will soon be holding a hearing on this important proposal.

As you may recall from Land Use Report segments earlier this week, I think it is very important for interested persons to participate at the Planning Commission level. If you want to have an impact on the land use decisions that are so important for the future of our local communities, don’t skip getting involved at the Planning Commission. While the elected Members of the Board of Supervisors are generally the ones who make the final decisions, the decisions made by the Planning Commission carry great weight. Thus, if you have a position on the proposed Carmel Canine Sports Center, pro or con, think about marking your calendar for the Planning Commission meeting.

Presuming that the Carmel Valley Association got its dates right, the Final Environmental Impact Report on the project will be released to the public today. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, August 12th. I have placed some links to more information in the transcript of today’s Land Use Report. You can find that by directing your browser to kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Carmel Valley Association Website

CVA Current Newsletter

Website Information on Carmel Canine Sports Center Project

Recycling Tour

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

UCSC Sustainability Program

UCSC Sustainability Program

Last Monday, the City of Santa Cruz opened up its Resource Recovery Facility for a public tour. I missed it, and I bet you did, too! However, you will have a couple more chances to see how the City of Santa Cruz handles its recycling operations if you make a reservation for tours being offered on Friday, August 21st, from 10:00 to 11:30 in the morning, and from 1:00 to 2:30 in the afternoon. The City’s Resource Recovery Facility is located at 605 Dimeo Lane, on the County’s North Coast, and it’s a pretty impressive facility. If you are interested, you can make a reservation in advance. Naturally, I have provided you with the information you need in today’s Land Use Report blog.

Santa Cruz residents (City residents, I am talking about) generate about thirty to fifty tons of recyclable materials each day. These are the materials that go into the “blue bins” that residents push to the curb on their assigned pick up day. If you take the tour, you’ll see how the City’s recycling workers, in just one week, can bale as much as forty-nine tons of mixed paper, twenty-one tons of plastic, and about seventy‑one tons of cardboard. Those on the tour will visit the scrap metal facility, too, and even the so‑called “Second Chance Store,” where recycled materials are offered to the public free of charge.

If you’d like to know more, and take this tour, make your reservation now!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

To make a reservation or for more information, please contact Bret Jensen by telephone at 831-420-5593, or email him at bjensen@cityofsantacruz.com.

Today At The Planning Commission

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

LandWatch Monterey County.org

LandWatch Monterey County.org

Yesterday, I urged listeners to attend today’s meeting of the Monterey County Planning Commission. The Planning Commission meeting will be held in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, located at 168 West Alisal Street in Salinas, starting at 9:00 o’clock this morning. At 10:30, the Commission is scheduled to take up a controversial proposal by Tanimura & Antle, which wants to build housing for one hundred agricultural workers in Spreckels. There is another important item on the agenda, too, though, so let me talk a little bit about that one.

At 9:00 this morning, the Commission is going to hold a public workshop to consider the Public Review Draft of the 2015-2023 Housing Element, which is part of the Monterey County General Plan. The local General Plan is called the “Constitution for Land Use” for a reason. The policies set out in the General Plan provide a framework for individual land use decisions, and every individual land use decision is legally required to be “consistent” with the adopted General Plan.

Housing issues are critically important to our land use future, so how the current Housing Element is modified and updated, which is what is happening right now, is going to have a big impact on the future of Monterey County.

I have a link, in today’s blog posting, to the Commission’s agenda report on the Housing Element, which attaches the proposed new version. Check it out at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Planning Commission Agenda

Commission Agenda Report / Public Review Draft of New Housing Element

Tomorrow At The Planning Commission

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

BATW.org

BATW.org

The Monterey County Planning Commission meets tomorrow, starting at 9:00 a.m. I have a link to the agenda in today’s Land Use Report blog, found at kusp.org/landuse.

While state law has a lot to say about how local planning is done, both in terms of substance and procedure, our system really is based on the idea of “local control.” How we use the land is determined by our locally elected officials, so the ultimate land use decision maker for property in the unincorporated areas of Monterey County is the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. That said, state mandated, and local, procedures make sure that there is an initial review of major proposals by a volunteer (appointed and not elected) Planning Commission. Planning Commission decisions usually aren’t final, but they carry a lot of weight, so if you care about a land use issue, you should show up at the Planning Commission hearing. Don’t wait for the final decision at the Board. You may well have waited too long if that’s what you do.

If you care about the proposal to build one hundred units of agricultural worker housing in Spreckels, plan to show up at the Planning Commission meeting, at the Monterey County Governmental Center, at 10:30 tomorrow morning. This is a controversial proposal. You can get more information in today’s blog posting.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Planning Commission Agenda

Report on proposed Tanimura & Antle Agricultural Worker Housing

Monterey Herald article on proposed housing in Spreckels

Salinas Californian article on proposed housing in Spreckels

LandWatch Monterey County comments on proposed housing in Spreckels

Salinas Californian Op Ed in favor of proposed housing project

Tanimura & Antle FAQ on proposed housing project

Medical Marijuana In Monterey County

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Wikipedia.org

Wikipedia.org

Listeners might be interested in Agenda Item #23 on tomorrow’s agenda of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. That agenda item, scheduled sometime after 1:30 tomorrow afternoon, is a proposal by County staff that the Board extend an Urgency Ordinance that the Board first adopted on July 7th. That Urgency Ordinance prohibits, on a temporary basis, the establishment of new medical marijuana dispensaries and the collective or cooperative cultivation of medical marijuana in the unincorporated areas of the County, pending study and the Board’s consideration of what might be an appropriate set of regulations. The proposal is to extend the July 7th prohibition from forty-five days to one year.

Santa Cruz County residents may remember that there has been a lively discussion before the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on medical marijuana cultivation, with an initiative measure having been circulated to overturn the regulatory system adopted in Santa Cruz County. When the Santa Cruz County Board returns from its summer break, we will probably hear more about this issue in Santa Cruz County.

If you care about how medical marijuana may be regulated in Monterey County, tomorrow is a chance to weigh in with your views. In addition, if you point your browser to kusp.org/landuse, you’ll find some links that will tell you more about emergency ordinances.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Board of Supervisors Agenda Website

A copy of the Board report, and the proposed ordinance, are available by tracking down the agenda for the July 28, 2015 meeting, and then clicking on the links provided in Agenda Item #23.

Government Code Section 65858 sets up the procedures by which the County is entitled to adopt “emergency” ordinances. You can read that code section by clicking right here!