The Land Use Report

NOPOC News

Play

Friday, November 21, 2014

Indybay.org

Indybay.org

In earlier Land Use Reports, I have mentioned a community group called NOPOC, or “Neighbors Organized to Protect Our Community.”

NOPOC is a grassroots association of Santa Cruz County residents who have been opposing the construction of a proposed power line project in the Watsonville and Aptos area.

PG&E advanced plans to build what they call a “115 kV Reinforcement Project,” which essentially means a bigger power line. If constructed, the project would have possible impacts on wildlife, livestock, agriculture, businesses, and homes in the affected area

Because of NOPOC demands, an Environmental Impact Report is being prepared, but the release of the Draft EIR has been repeatedly delayed, and now an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission has decided to conduct a prehearing conference on December 12th, to investigate the necessity for the project. One possible outcome will be a determination that the proposed project is not actually needed. You can get more information at kusp.org/landuse

Let me make an observation about this latest development: Organized community participation makes a difference! In other words, if you care about something, getting personally involved, and getting organized with others who feel the same, is definitely worth your time!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

News From NOPOC, With More Information

PUC Website on the proposed project

“Ecotopia” or “Techno-Utopia”

Play

Thursday, November 20, 2014

tns.commonweal.org

tns.commonweal.org

Jerry Mander is an American activist and author, perhaps best known for his 1977 book, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. His most recent book is called The Capitalism Papers. Mander focuses in that book on various environmental and social problems he associates with capitalism, so it is fair to say he remains a critic of our current social and economic reality. If you would like to hear Mander in person, here is a great opportunity. Mander will be speaking at the UCSC Kresge Town Hall this afternoon, from 4:00 to 5:45. His presentation is free and open to the public. Special event parking permits will be on sale for $4 on the 3rd floor of the Core West Parking Garage from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. I have a link to more information at kusp.org/landuse.

Mander’s talk this afternoon is going to be based on a conference he recently hosted in New York, titled  ”Techno-Utopianism and The Fate of The Earth.” He is going to contrast efforts to build a “Techno-Utopia” with an opposing, nature based approach, as illuminated in Ecotopia, the novel by Ernest Callenbach.

Mander is skeptical of the idea that “technology will solve our problems.” Whatever you think, you can hear his passionate presentation on this theme this afternoon. I hope many listeners can attend.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Events Page on Facebook – Ecotopia or Techno-Utopia

Wikipedia Entry on Jerry Mander

Tunnel Workshop / Faculty Lecture

Play

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

UCSC.edu

UCSC.edu

This evening, there is a free and “open to the public” event at the UCSC Music Recital Hall, located on the campus of the University of California at Santa Cruz. At 7:00 o’clock tonight, Lincoln Taiz, a UCSC Professor Emeritus of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, will be making a presentation on “Agriculture, Population Growth, and the Challenge of Climate Change.” This is a pretty timely topic, and certainly an important topic, and I think that a number of KUSP listeners might be interested. If you are interested, I hope you’ll consider attending. There is free parking available in the Performing Arts Parking Lot, right next door to the Music Recital Hall.

If you just can’t wait till tonight to attend an interesting meeting, consider this: This morning, from 9:00 to noon, the Board of Directors of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency will be holding a special workshop on the proposed Interlake Tunnel Project. That workshop meeting will take place at the Agricultural Business Conference Center, located at 1428 Abbott Street in Salinas. I have links to more information in today’s transcript at kusp.org/landuse. In the agenda materials you will find a report providing detailed information on how building a tunnel between Nacimiento Reservoir and San Antonio Reservoir might provide new water resources for Monterey County.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

MCWRA Agenda For November 19, 2014

Information on the Lincoln Taiz Presentation

Map, UCSC Recital Hall

Transit And Transportation Needs

Play

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

MST.org

MST.org

Caltrans is seeking ideas from the public on how to improve regional transportation, and will be holding a workshop today, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Cesar Chavez Library, 615 Williams Road in Salinas.

In addition, the Transportation Agency of Monterey County, or TAMC, is working with Monterey Salinas Transit, or MST, and is hosting two public hearings on “unmet transit needs in Monterey County.” Both TAMC and MST would like to hear from you if you know of a transit need in Monterey County that is not being met.

The first hearing on unmet transit needs will be at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, November 19th, during the MST Mobility Advisory Committee Meeting. That meeting will be held at the MST Mobility Management Center, located at 150 Del Monte Avenue in Monterey. The public is definitely invited to attend and to provide input on new transit services that are needed in their community.

A second hearing on unmet transit needs in Monterey County will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 3rd, during the TAMC Board of Directors Meeting. That meeting will take place at the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, located at 1428 Abbott Street in Salinas. Comments can also be submitted in writing. There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

State Website on Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan

Website to make online comments on unmet transit needs in Monterey County

Comments on unmet transit needs in Monterey County can also be mailed to TAMC at 55‑B Plaza Circle, Salinas, CA. 93901; Attention: Virginia Murillo.

For more information, in English or Spanish, contact Virginia Murillo by calling (831) 775-4415, or by sending her an email at: atvirgina@tamcmonterey.org

A Decision On ADUs

Play

Monday, November 17, 2014

Accessory Dwellings.org

Accessory Dwellings.org

Let’s begin with an acronym. A-D-U stands for “Accessory Dwelling Unit.” An ADU is typically a small residential unit permitted in a single-family residential zone, and constructed on a parcel on which an existing residential structure already exists.

Where ADUs are permitted, a single-family lot will, after construction of the ADU, actually have two separate residences on the single lot.

If every house on a street put in an ADU, that would basically double the residential density on the street. This could have impacts on parking availability, and could significantly change the character of the neighborhood.

To make sure that ADUs don’t bring unacceptable impacts into single-family neighborhoods, ADU regulations typically require that an ADU be relatively small. ADU regulations may also require that an ADU can be constructed and rented separately only when the main residence is owner-occupied.

When permitted, ADUs often provide affordable housing opportunities, but there are those potential neighborhood impacts. Tomorrow, the Santa Cruz City Council is going to debate proposed changes to current ADU regulations in the City, and will decide whether ADUs should be permitted on lots where there is no owner occupant. Such a change could have a major impact on residential neighborhoods. If you want to weigh in, today’s transcript has more information.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz City Council Agenda – November 18, 2014 Meeting

A Community Water Dialogue

Play

Friday, November 14, 2014

City of Watsonville

City of Watsonville

Last week, I mentioned the excellent work done by Resource Conservation Districts, or RCDs.

These public agencies often work out of the limelight, helping to achieve positive land use solutions that benefit the natural environment.

A couple of days after that report aired, someone forwarded me an email from one of the staff members of the Santa Cruz County RCD, which more or less made my point.

The RCD is helping to organize a Community Water Dialogue, focused on how to achieve a sustainable groundwater supply in the Pajaro Valley. If you frequently listen to this Land Use Report, you know that the Pajaro Valley is in chronic overdraft, and that it is vital to the future of the Pajaro Valley that a solution for groundwater overdraft be found, and most importantly, implemented.

On Monday, November 24th, a Community Water Dialogue meeting will be held from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at the Cassin Ranch Conference Room, located at 151 Silliman Road in Watsonville. The idea is to have an “interactive conversation” on the new state-level Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and its implications for solving the aquifer overdraft now happening in the Pajaro Valley. This is a serious effort, and there are “ground rules” for participation. If you are interested, you can get more information in today’s transcript at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

November 3, 2014 Land Use Report on RCDs

City of Watsonville Information on Water Dialogue

For more information on the Community Water Dialogue:

A Planning Office Update

Play

Thursday, November 13, 2014

AMP Media.org

AMP Media.org

As frequent listeners to this Land Use Report can probably guess, I spend time each week looking online for information about issues that relate to land use policies and projects. Naturally, I end up reviewing the agendas of City Councils and Boards of Supervisors, since the elected officials who govern these general-purpose public agencies make the most important decisions affecting land use. I also tend to review the agendas of water districts, transportation planning agencies, and the committees and commissions that advise City Councils and Boards of Supervisors. In fact, Planning Commissions often do more than “advise.” Planning Commissions are sometimes given the power to make binding and final decisions on project proposals of various kinds, subject, however, to an appeal to the Board of Supervisors or City Council

All public agencies are not equal, and today I would like to give a couple of compliments to the City of Monterey, and specifically to its Planning Department. The City of Monterey Planning Commission will be meeting this evening, and the agenda includes a “Planning Office Update,” alerting the Commission and the public to upcoming decisions. You don’t get that kind of proactive, “heads up” advisory from every City Planning Department. In addition, the Planning Department scheduled a tour on Monday, so everyone could get an on-the-ground look at the projects to be considered at tonight’s meeting. That’s another very good idea!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Planning Commission Agenda, November 13, 2014

City of Monterey Planning Office Update

The Monterey County HAC

Play

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lowincomehousing.us

Lowincomehousing.us

Water, transportation, and housing are all profoundly impacted by the land use decisions made by local government agencies. Today, for instance, the Monterey County Planning Commission will consider the proposed Ferrini Ranch development. If this proposed development is approved, and constructed, transportation and traffic impacts on the already congested Highway 68 corridor are bound to be noticeable. Water issues are very central in this case, too; it’s not really clear that there is actually any water available for the proposed new homes. Affordable housing issues have also been central in the consideration of this major residential project. I recently talked with one of the members of the Planning Commission who has expressed skepticism about the project, and he cited affordable housing issues as one of his big concerns. If you want to weigh in, this morning is when you need to show up at the Commission.

Let me give you another suggestion that doesn’t require you to attend a meeting this morning. One week from today, on Wednesday, November 19th, the Monterey County Housing Advisory Committee will meet from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Monterey Room, on the Second Floor of the County Government Center in Salinas. On the agenda is a presentation on “inclusionary housing,” a proven strategy to provide long-term affordable housing as part of each new development project.

There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Agenda, Monterey County Planning Commission

Ferrini Ranch Project – County Online Resources

Partisan Posting on Ferrini Ranch Campaign Money

Monterey Bay Partisan Website

Monterey County Planning Commission

Play

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Monterey County

Monterey County

Tomorrow, Wednesday November 12th, the Monterey County Planning Commission will be meeting in Salinas, starting at 9:00 o’clock in the morning. I have put a link to the agenda in the transcript of today’s Land Use Report, available, as always, at kusp.org/landuse. The “big item” on tomorrow’s Planning Commission agenda is the proposed Ferrini Ranch development. That proposed project, which would be constructed near Toro Park, and which would have big impacts on Highway 68, was given a tentative green light at the last meeting of the Commission. The action proposed for tomorrow is to take the “official” actions necessary to advance the project to the Board of Supervisors. As with all major development proposals, it is the elected members of the Board of Supervisors who will make the final decision.

The former editor of the Monterey Herald newspaper, who now publishes a public affairs blog called The Monterey Bay Partisan (to which you can subscribe for free, by the way), has suggested that big campaign contributions, from the developers to members of the Board of Supervisors, may well have already predetermined the result to be expected when the Board considers the Ferrini Ranch project. Big money is a big part of the political decision making process at every level. Let me remind you that big public participation is the only known antidote.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Agenda, Monterey County Planning Commission

Ferrini Ranch Project – County Online Resources

Partisan Posting on Ferrini Ranch Campaign Money

Monterey Bay Partisan Website

Water Issues North And South

Play

Monday, November 10, 2014

Coastal Watershed Council

Coastal Watershed Council

Listeners may remember that the Santa Cruz City Council acted to “reset” public discussion about a proposed desalination plant, after the Council received something like 400 comments on its Draft EIR for the proposed desal project, most of the EIR comments being quite negative. Instead of proceeding to respond to the comments received, the ordinary next step, the Council decided that it should reexamine the premises upon which it had been acting. Accordingly, the Council appointed a “Water Supply Advisory Committee,” which has been exploring various alternative approaches to a sustainable water supply. Most recently, the Water Supply Advisory Committee sponsored a “Convention,” at which alternatives were presented. In addition, a new “Working Group” has been called into existence, to review various technical issues relating to water supply planning. The first meeting of that group is this coming Wednesday. I will try to keep you posted as the Working Group effort moves forward.

At the other end of Santa Cruz County, the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency has issued a Preliminary Draft Service Charge Report, providing details on how costs for its Basin Plan projects were developed. This report will be reviewed and discussed at the PVWMA’s regular board meeting on November 19th. You can get more detailed information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

City of Santa Cruz WSAC Website

PVWMA Website