The Land Use Report

Lompico Water – Your Time To Protest

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Lompico CWD

Lompico CWD

The Lompico County Water District, located in the San Lorenzo Valley, may soon be dissolved. That is the proposal that was approved on August 6th by the Santa Cruz County Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO.

If the District is dissolved, its customers will be incorporated into the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, a much larger and economically more stable public agency. Dissolving an existing public agency doesn’t happen very often, and this proposed reorganization still might not happen.

The LAFCO vote is subject to a public protest procedure, and if you are a landowner or voter within the Lompico County Water District, the time to protest is now. The deadline is 10:00 a.m. on October 6th. If, by that deadline, more than 50% of the Lompico voters protest, the reorganization will be terminated. If between 25% and 50% of either the Lompico voters or the Lompico landowners protest, an election will be called of the Lompico voters. The ballot question will be “Shall the Lompico Reorganization, as authorized by LAFCO Resolution No. 953‐A, be approved?”  A majority of those voting will determine the outcome.

In today’s transcript, I have placed links to lots of information about the LAFCO proposal, and about how to protest, if you want to do that.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz County LAFCO Website

August 6, 2014 Staff Report on Reorganization

Map of Reorganization Area

Hearing Notice / Protest Deadline

Chart Showing Protest Procedures

Landowner Protest Form

Registered Voter Protest Form

County Action on Community Services District for Lompico

Water Rates In The City of Santa Cruz

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

City of Santa Cruz

City of Santa Cruz

Get ready to be charged more! The City of Santa Cruz Water Department is planning to raise your water rates. Customers affected include not only businesses and residents in the City of Santa Cruz, but also businesses and residents in the Live Oak and Pasatiempo areas, and in parts of the City of Capitola. There will be a Public Hearing before any rate increase is adopted, and I’m giving you a “heads up,” so you can mark your calendars if you’d like to attend and be heard. The hearing on the proposed water rate increase will be held during the regular meeting of the Santa Cruz City Council, at 7:00 p.m. next Tuesday, September 23rd.

One reason for the proposed rate increase is the current drought. Most of the costs of producing water are fixed costs, so when the amount sold goes down (as it does during a drought), rates per unit have to go up, to pay for the fixed costs.

Beyond those drought-related increases, the City also proposes to raise water rates 10% per year for the next five years. As you may remember, the City has recently expended about $7 million dollars for a desalination plant project that the Council has now shelved. That spending depleted the City’s capital reserves. How much of an increase, and how to allocate the charges, are topics for discussion and debate. If you’d like to take part, don’t forget that meeting next Tuesday!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

City of Santa Cruz Website

City Council Agendas

Website Explanation of Rate Change Proposal

Get The Lead Out

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Calguns.net

One of the items considered yesterday on the “Consent Agenda” of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors was Agenda Item #20, an environmental status report on lead contamination at the Los Altos Rod and Gun Club. The Gun Club facility is located on about 100 acres, adjacent to Castle Rock State Park in Santa Cruz County. It has been there since 1955. Shooting activities include pistol, rifle, and shotgun shooting, including trap shooting at clay targets. The resulting lead contamination means potential trouble for those downstream, including customers of the Santa Cruz City Water Department.

The environmental report in the Board’s Agenda Packet is worth reading. Lead contamination is serious, but the Club is making a good faith effort to follow “Best Management Practices,” and to clean up their legacy of lead.

Often, as in this case, items on a Board of Supervisors or City Council “Consent Agenda,” items not slated for formal discussion, are among the most interesting and important items that can be found in the Agenda Packet. To be an informed member of the community, try scanning the Agenda Packets of your local City Council and Board of Supervisors, when they are released online. You might be surprised how interesting it is to be able to read what your elected officials are reading!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

September 16, 2014 Board Agenda

Consent Agenda Item #20

Environmental Report – Los Altos Rod and Gun Club

More on Cannabis / The Ballot Propositions

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SFMCA.org

SFMCA.org

If you want to comment on whether the name “medical marijuana” should be changed to “medical cannabis,” in Santa Cruz County, today’s your day to visit the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. An ordinance that would have exactly that effect is Item #41 on the Board’s agenda. Item #42 is related, and is potentially a lot more substantive. Chapter 7.126 of the County Code establishes regulations for the “cultivation” of medical marijuana (or medical cannabis, as the county wants to call it). The Board has been receiving complaints that various persons are breaking those rules. Item #42 is a report to the Board from the County Counsel. If you are affected, as a grower or as a neighbor, you should check out the agenda item. You can find a link at kusp.org/landuse.

If you go to the Board meeting today, you could stick around for Agenda Item #43, which I think will be interesting. Supervisor Bruce McPherson is going to be giving the Board a report on what the California State Association of Counties is thinking about various state ballot propositions, including Proposition 1, a proposed $7.12 billion dollar water bond.

If you can’t make the Board meeting, but want to listen in to items you care about, there is a “Live Audio” feed. You should give that a try!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

September 16, 2014 Agenda

Agenda Item #41

Agenda Item #42

Agenda Item #43 – Letter From Supervisor McPherson

Live Audio Link

In Santa Cruz County We Call It “Cannabis”

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Wikipedia.org

Wikipedia.org

The legalization of medical marijuana has had some impacts on local land use regulation. In Santa Cruz County, the Board of Supervisors had some hot debates over what sort of regulations should apply to medical marijuana businesses, and to the cultivation of medical marijuana. The Board adopted a comprehensive regulatory program, largely codified as Chapter 7.124 in the County Code.

Local land use powers are “plenary.” If there is a rational reason for a proposed regulation, and if there is some evidence that the regulation would achieve a purpose related to the public health, safety, or welfare, a local government can probably adopt the regulation. Individual property rights are subsidiary to the community’s right to impose land use regulations, to achieve community goals. That’s the basic rule, applicable to virtually all land use related matters, including to the regulation of medical marijuana businesses.

Tomorrow, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is likely to rescind Chapter 7.124. However, before you get too excited, the Board is also likely to “reenact” the entire Chapter, at the same time, as a way of renaming “medical marijuana.” In Santa Cruz County, it looks like “medical marijuana” is going to be called “medical cannabis.” There are links at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz County Code

Board Letter and Proposed Ordinance Changes

City Water: Rates And A “Convention”

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Friday, September 12, 2014

City of Santa Cruz

City of Santa Cruz

On Tuesday, I mentioned that the City of Santa Cruz has established a Water Supply Advisory Committee. The purpose of the Committee is “to explore, through an iterative, fact-based process, the City’s water profile, including supply, demand and future threats, and [to] analyze potential solutions to deliver a safe, adequate, reliable and environmentally sustainable water supply, and [to] develop strategy recommendations for City Council consideration.”

To carry out this assignment, the Water Supply Advisory Committee is going to host a “Strategies, Ideas, and Alternatives Convention Event” at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium (most likely in October). I want to follow up on a suggestion I made Tuesday, that listeners consider participating in this upcoming event. If you have ideas and alternatives to propose, the Committee says it will take them seriously. In today’s transcript, I have put a link to some “Guidelines” you should follow in submitting your ideas. Submissions are due on Thursday, September 25th. The Committee wants proposals that would be “effective,” and “practical,” and that would not have significant negative environmental or community impact.

Listeners should also know that the City is proposing some very large rate increases for all its customers. A public meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, September 17th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Louden Nelson Community Center. Mark your calendar!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

WSAC Status Report

WSAC Website

Submit Water Policy Strategies for WSAC Convention

Toll Road Rolling

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wikipedia.org

Wikipedia.org

Plans to turn California State Highway 156 into a toll road, between Prunedale and Castroville, are rolling right along. This kind of major transformation of one of our local highways is certainly not inevitable, but the Transportation Agency of Monterey County, or TAMC, spurred on by business and visitor-serving interests on the Monterey Peninsula, is definitely promoting this idea. Any transportation agency worth its salt is always looking for money, and TAMC is no exception. Making everyone pay to use a road that is currently open without a toll would definitely generate some hard cash. The idea, of course, is to expand the highway, in connection with the new toll, but the plan includes keeping the toll in place once the highway-widening project is paid off.

There are certainly some legitimate questions about what sort of congestion relief the Highway 156 widening project would actually produce. The conversion of the highway to a toll road just kind of raises the stakes on the proposed project.

To learn more, consider attending the next meeting of the Highway 156 Ad Hoc Committee, a subcommittee of the TAMC Board. The Ad Hoc Committee is meeting a week from today, on Thursday, September 18th, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. at the Andy Ausonio Library Community Room, located at 11160 Speegle Street in Castroville.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Highway 156 Widening Project

TAMC Website

San Vicente Access Community Meeting

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

POST.org

POST.org

Tonight, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County and other nonprofit conservation groups will present their plan for public access on the 8,500-acre CEMEX property, which the groups have now redesignated as the “San Vicente Redwood Forest.” These lands were formerly part of property owned by the CEMEX Company, the cement manufacturer that deactivated its Davenport Cement Plant some years ago. The forest resource lands in question are privately owned, but the private owners are not your typical forest landowners or developers; they are conservation groups whose mission in life is to protect and preserve the natural environment.

I definitely encourage KUSP listeners to attend the meeting tonight. It will be held at the Hotel Paradox, located right next door to the County Governmental Center at 611 Ocean Street in Santa Cruz. The meeting is slated to begin at 6:30, and to run until 8:30 this evening. The Land Trust is asking for an online signup. If you will point your browser to kusp.org/landuse, and track down the transcript for today’s Land Use Report, you can find a link to the Meeting Notice and signup page, and get a lot more information on the property in question, and the Draft Public Access Plan, and you can also review the results of an online survey about what sort of access plan members of the public would favor.

Exciting times ahead on the Santa Cruz County North Coast.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Meeting Notice – September 10, 2014 Public Access Meeting

Land Trust of Santa Cruz County Website

San Vicente Redwoods Public Access Survey

DRAFT Access Plan

Access Maps

WSAC Status / The New Groundwater Law

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

City of Santa Cruz

City of Santa Cruz

I run an informal “Acronym Identification Project,” or AIP, and now I have a new one for you. The City of Santa Cruz has established a Water Supply Advisory Committee. The applicable acronym is WSAC. I encourage you to get beyond the acronym, to find out what this relatively new committee is all about. A WSAC “Status Report” is on the City Council agenda today.

The Council formed the WSAC after having received over 400 comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report on its proposed desalination plant. Hillary Bryant, Mayor at the time, called the creation of the Committee a “reset” in the conversation about water policy. One part of the new approach, at least theoretically, is that the City is going to start listening to members of the public, and considering their ideas, instead of just telling the public what the City Council and City staff have already decided is correct. To make this play out in real life, the WSAC will sponsor a “Water Policy Convention,” sometime in October. You can register to present your own ideas at that Convention.

On another topic, think about attending a meeting tonight, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Soquel Congregational Church, 4951 Soquel Drive, in Soquel. The meeting will focus on the new groundwater management laws enacted this year, which may have a big impact on local water supply policy.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Council Agenda – September 9, 2014

WSAC Status Report

WSAC Website

Submit Water Policy Strategies for WSAC Convention

More Information on September 9th Groundwater Meeting

La Bahia On Trial

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Preservation.org

Preservation.org

An historic structure at 215 Beach Street in the City of Santa Cruz will go on trial for its life tomorrow evening. That is when the Santa Cruz City Council will consider an application to demolish most of the La Bahia Hotel, to alter what isn’t demolished, and to turn a structure that is currently providing low income rental housing into a hotel serving high-end visitors.

The current application is the latest of several attempts by the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Company to build a new, upscale hotel at 215 Beach Street. Many believe that tearing down the current structure, and replacing it would be a very good thing for the City. Others strongly believe that the current, historic structure is just the right scale for the City and the Beach Area, and should be restored to its former glory. I encourage listeners to join the debate. But be advised: after tomorrow it will be too late.

The La Bahia item will be heard at 7:00 o’clock tomorrow evening. A link to the Council Agenda can be found at kusp.org/land use. Track down Item #1 on the evening agenda, and you will be able to peruse twenty-seven different documents relating to this application

From the point of view of the opponents, La Bahia is fighting for its life tomorrow evening. From the supporters’ perspective, an old and aging eyesore may finally be eliminated. I invite you to weigh in on what will be very consequential decision.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Council Agenda – September 9, 2014