The Land Use Report

Rain Does Not Cancel

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Save Upper Campus.org

Save Upper Campus.org

Yesterday I alerted listeners to the “Climate Speakers.” This relatively new group is attempting to educate and involve the community on issues related to climate change. Today’s blog has a link to their website. Consider having one of the Climate Speakers address your class or group.

So, yesterday I highlighted the “Climate Speakers.” Today, I want to advertise the “Forest Keepers.” The Forest Keepers is a group that has been around for some time. They, too, have a website, and the link is at kusp.org/landuse. The Forest Keepers are also interested in community education, and in stimulating community involvement. Their focus is the north campus portion of UCSC, which is threatened by the University’s truly dramatic expansion plans. The University wants to build more than 3,000,000 square feet of new construction in what has previously been an official “natural reserve.” As part of their educational program, the Forest Keepers conduct “forest walks,” to show people what is at stake. You can get a complete list on the Forest Keepers’ website, but here is a heads up on a “Wildflowers and More” walk scheduled for Sunday, April 19th. Meet at 1:00 p.m. at the North Remote lot at UCSC.

For all of their walks and tours, the Forest Keepers promise that “rain does not cancel.” Lots of walks and tours are coming up. Let’s hope we get lots of rain!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Climate Speakers Website

Save Upper Campus “Forest Keepers” Website

Spring Forest Walks Schedule

The Climate Speakers Program

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

MIT.edu

MIT.edu

Global warming is profoundly affecting the natural environment, and since the World of Nature sustains all life, and everything we do, that means that global warming is important. When we cause big changes to the processes that govern the Natural World, we also upset the conditions upon which our current human civilization is based.

For instance, to the degree that global warming has either caused or contributed to the severe drought conditions prevailing in California, global warming has placed our entire state economy, and many local communities, in what amounts to total jeopardy. If we really only have “one year of water left,” as recent news stories have said, things might change drastically, and very quickly. The disappearing Sierra snowpack is the water reservoir on which we have built our society. If that really disappears, all our human arrangements, that take its existence for granted, are going to have to change in dramatic ways.

If you have a class you teach, or a group of which you are a member, and would like to learn more, let me alert you to the “Climate Speakers” program. Climate Speakers will provide information on climate change and global warming to ordinary people, to help empower them to make a difference.

We all need to learn more, so we can take action to address the real challenges ahead. There is a link to the Climate Speakers website at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Climate Speakers Website

LA Times Editorial – One Year Of Water Left

Seacliff Village At The Coastal Commission

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Santacruzca.org

Santacruzca.org

The California Coastal Commission meets today, tomorrow, and Friday. If you attend in person you will get to pay a visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Marin County Civic Center. I have been there, and it’s pretty spectacular. Of course, you can just turn on the Commission’s streaming video coverage, and you won’t even have to back your car out of the driveway to watch the Commission do its thing.

City of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County residents might be particularly interested in the agenda items scheduled tomorrow, Thursday April 16th. There are links in today’s Land Use Report blog. The “big item” tomorrow from the Santa Cruz County perspective is the proposed Seacliff Village Plan Amendment. The County’s proposed amendment would modify the current designation of a vacant parcel just off Highway One.

The current plan is for “pedestrian-oriented, low traffic generating, neighborhood, and/or visitor serving” uses. The proposal is to allow “residential development,” including single-family residences. The Coastal Act states that “[t]he use of private lands suitable for visitor-serving commercial recreational facilities, designed to enhance public opportunities for coastal recreation, shall have priority over private residential, general industrial, or general commercial development…

So what’s the future of our coastal communities? Do they provide visitor opportunities, or just accommodate more high-end residential development?

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

This Week’s Coastal Commission Agenda

Coastal Commission Live Stream Website

Staff Report – Seacliff Village Plan

Ask Permission Or Beg Forgiveness?

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Del Monte Forest Conservancy.org

Del Monte Forest Conservancy.org

Today, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will take up a couple of planning items at 1:30 p.m. There is a link at kusp.org/landuse.

Agenda Item #9.1 is a hearing on a proposed ordinance that would establish new policies and procedures for the protection of archaeological and tribal cultural resources. In addition, the ordinance would add a new Chapter to the County Code, to establish a Native American Advisory Panel.

While Agenda Item #9.1 is focused on broad issues of public policy, Agenda Item #9.2 is all about the personal situation of Paul and Linda Flores. The Flores cut down 24 protected trees, and then they applied for permission for an “after-the-fact” approval. The Monterey County Planning Commission turned them down, and denied the application. In Agenda Item #9.2, the Flores are bringing their case to the Board of Supervisors, through provisions that allow permit applicants to appeal denials to the elected officials who are in ultimate control of County policy.

Generally speaking, if applicants who violate the rules can get an “after-the-fact” approval if they’re caught, that’s an inducement for more people to violate the rules. It will be interesting to see whether the Board will ultimately take action to back up the Planning Commission, and to tell the applicants “no way.”

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Board Agenda Website

Working Lands

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Audubon.org

Audubon.org

Item #72 on tomorrow’s agenda of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is a proposed “Working Lands Resolution.” While this proposed resolution is not really binding, it is likely to be at least somewhat controversial

The “Working Lands Resolution” is being proposed by Supervisors Ryan Coonerty (representing the North Coast) and Supervisor Bruce McPherson (representing the San Lorenzo Valley). Timber harvest issues are controversial in both districts, and this Resolution comes down strongly in favor of timber harvesting and agriculture. That’s what the phrase “working lands” means; these are lands that are being used for economic production, including cattle ranching and timber harvesting.

The proposed resolution says that the county’s “working lands” are [quote] “at risk of conversion to other uses.” In fact, thanks to a long legacy of protective legislation, including our Growth Management System, enacted by Measure J, the conversion of the county’s “working lands” to any kind of residential or commercial development is very small. The objection seems to be to the possibility, on the North Coast in particular, that timberlands and range lands might be included in future parks.

The proposed “Working Lands Resolution” is not directly regulatory, but that doesn’t mean that the discussion won’t be lively! If you want to get involved, the meeting is tomorrow!

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

April 14, 2015 Agenda, Santa Cruz County Board

Agenda Item #72 – Working Lands Resolution

Trust For Public Land Definition of “Working Lands”

Tomorrow In The Park (Plus More)

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Friday, April 10, 2015

MPRPD.org

MPRPD.org

April 22nd is the “official” date for Earth Day. This year marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day celebrations here in the United States.

While April 22nd is the “official” date, there are events throughout the Month of April which are related to Earth Day, and one of them is tomorrow, right here in the Monterey Bay Region.

I speak, of course, of the Marina Earth Day event, scheduled for Saturday, April 11th at Locke-Paddon Park. Activities begin at 9:00 a.m. and continue to 1:00 p.m. The organizers of the Marina event promise some “work,” as well as a celebration. Be prepared to help remove invasive plants, plant native plants, paint benches and trash cans, put down mulch along the fence line, and pick up trash. Volunteers will be provided with a free lunch. On the celebration side, there will be a puppet show and booths with games, crafts and giveaways, as well as interactive learning booths. Music will be provided by Bag O’ Tricks.

I have information on the Marina event in today’s Land Use Blog, found at kusp.org/landuse. It is tomorrow, remember. There will also be an Earth Day celebration in Big Sur, on Sunday, April 12th. Seaside will hold its Earth Day celebration on Sunday, April 19th. I hope you’ll participate. You can do more than one!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Earth Day History

Earth Day 2015 Website

Seaside’s Earth Day Festival – April 19, 2015

Big Sur Earth Day Festival – April 12, 2015

Marina Earth Day Event – Saturday, April 11, 2015

Citizens For A Sustainable Marina

Marina Event: Parking is available at Calvary Baptist Church across from Locke Paddon Park. Register by 8:45 am at Locke-Paddon Park at Seaside Circle near the Marina Library. Bring your water bottle and wear long sleeves. For more information on the Marina Event contact Natalie at nataliezayas@gmail.com

Unified Corridors – Take A Survey!

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

PeoplePower.org

PeoplePower.org

“Unified Corridors.” What does that phrase mean to you? Well, if you are a resident of Santa Cruz County you might want to find out about the “Unified Corridors” planning effort now underway. The effort is being overseen by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, and the idea is to maximize transportation alternatives in what is generally thought of as the North to South (or South to North) corridor between Santa Cruz and Watsonville.

That corridor is really comprised of various transportation routing alternatives, including Highway One, Soquel Drive and Freedom Boulevard, and the new Santa Cruz Branch Line. I was talking to the head of the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District not so long ago, and he’s got an idea that it might be possible to establish an express, bus‑only lane along Highway One by improving the shoulder of the highway for dedicated bus use. Taking the bus might start to look like a really great option, if the busses were zipping by all those cars parked in the roadway on what some people continue to think of as a “Highway.”

At any rate, you can get links to some information about the “Unified Corridors” planning effort by visiting kusp.org/landuse. I would particularly invite you to take an online survey, about your personal preferences, to let the Transportation Commission know what you think might work best for you.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Unified Corridors Plan Website

Unified Corridors Plan Survey

Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission

Notice of April 16, 2015 Unified Corridors Workshop

Things To Do Tomorrow

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Things To Do Tomorrow

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Localwiki.org

Localwiki.org

The Monterey Peninsula League of Women Voters is hosting a meeting today, at noon, on the proposed Monterey Downs development. Tomorrow, the League of Women Voters of Santa Cruz County is hosting a meeting, and I think that meeting will be of interest to many Santa Cruz County listeners.

Rosemary Menard, Director of the Santa Cruz City Water Department, will provide an update on the City’s water supply, and on the progress of the City Water Supply Advisory Committee, which is developing ways to meet the City’s water supply challenges. Tomorrow’s meeting will be held from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. on the Second Floor of the City’s Main Library. Bring your own lunch; this event is free and open to the public.

Tomorrow evening, at the Green Valley Cinema, 1125 South Green Valley Road in Watsonville, the Watsonville Film Festival and the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County are presenting an evening of inspiring short films. The series is called “The New Environmentalists,” and features short films about environmentalists from around the globe who are working to safeguard the Earth’s natural resources from exploitation and pollution, while fighting for justice in their local communities. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Will Parrinello will lead a dialogue, following the films.

There is more information on all these events at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Notice of Monterey Peninsula LWV Meeting on Monterey Downs

Notice of Santa Cruz County LWV Meeting on Water Supply Issues

Information On The “New Environmentalists” Film Festival

Dogs And Horses

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

caninesportscenter.org

caninesportscenter.org

Dogs and horses feature in two new Draft Environmental Impact Reports. An EIR is required when a governmental agency proposes action that “might” have an adverse impact on the environment. The agency prepares a “Draft” EIR; then, the public has time to comment. The government MUST respond to any substantive comments submitted. If the government tries to ”brush off” substantive comments, the courts will make the government do the research necessary to provide a substantive response. A Final EIR is the Draft, plus all the comments, plus the responses to those comments. If you care about the proposed Monterey Downs development on the former Fort Ord, or if you care about the proposed Carmel Canine Sports Center, in Carmel Valley, you should get involved now.

The deadline for comments on the Monterey Downs Draft EIR is June 1st. The deadline is May 18th for comments on the Carmel Canine Sports Center. Remember, “substantive” comments are needed. Comments along the lines of “I’m against it” don’t put any burden on the government to provide a substantive response.

For those interested in Monterey Downs, the League of Women Voters of the Monterey Peninsula will hold a “pros and cons” public meeting at 12:00 noon tomorrow, at the Unitarian Church, located at 490 Aguajito Road in Carmel.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Canine Sports Center Planning Information

Proposed Carmel Valley Canine Center Draft EIR

Carmel Valley Association Listing of Issues – Canine Sports Center

City of Seaside Monterey Downs Planning Information Website

Draft EIR For Proposed Monterey Downs Development

Notice of LWV Meeting on April 8th

Monterey County Land Use Items

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Monday, April 6, 2015

State of Indiana

State of Indiana

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors meets tomorrow, and there are a number of land use items on the agenda. I have a link to the Board’s agenda at kusp.org/landuse, and I encourage you to take a look.

Agenda Item # 25, scheduled at 10:30 tomorrow morning, would adopt, on a preliminary basis, a so-called “Urban County Annual Action Plan.” I don’t really think of Monterey County as particularly “urban,” but the County has partnered with the City of Del Rey Oaks and the City of Gonzales to qualify for Community Development Block Grant Funds, which can be used, among other things, for affordable housing. Once the Board acts, the public will then have a chance to weigh in on what is only a draft plan at this stage.

Agenda Item # 27 is a public hearing on a proposed ordinance, which would let the County declare certain development applications “inactive,” and thereafter to deny them, when the applicants are not actively pursuing the applications with the County.

Agenda Item # 27.1 would reconfigure lot lines on parcels located between San Lucas and San Ardo, in South Monterey County. Such minor lot line changes are often accompanied by more than minor impacts in the real world.

As I say, you might want to take a look at all of these land use related items!

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Online Agenda Website