The Land Use Report

Rail Feasibility

Play

Friday, May 29, 2015

SCCRTC.org

SCCRTC.org

Is rail transit service feasible on the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line? The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission is trying to figure that out, and is analyzing the feasibility of passenger rail transit service along the rail line, which roughly parallels Highway 1 and the coast in Santa Cruz County.

A recent feasibility study is now available for public review. It includes ridership and cost information for seven different service scenarios, and evaluates those scenarios based on goals and objectives identified by the community. Land Use Report listeners may remember my several appeals for listeners to participate in the goal-setting process. Well, the results are now in, and are found in the recently released report.

You can learn more about the feasibility of passenger rail transit service by attending an upcoming open house and workshop to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 4th at the Simpkins Family Swim Center, located at 979 17th Avenue in Live Oak.

The Transportation Commission Board of Directors will also receive a presentation from the consultant who prepared the feasibility study. That presentation will take place during the Board’s regular meeting on Thursday, June 4th, at 10:00 a.m. at the Watsonville City Hall.

There is more information at kusp.org/landuse, including a link to a form that will allow you to make a comment online.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Transportation Commission Website

Passenger Rail Feasibility Study

Ban Plastic Fencing?

Play

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ban Plastic Fencing

Ban Plastic Fencing

Local government land use powers, sometimes called “police powers,” are “plenary.” That means that local government agencies have a broad ability to make rules that they think will benefit the community. Zoning, for instance, is a good example. City Councils and Boards of Supervisors can decide what kind of land uses should go where. They have to follow various procedures as they make their decisions, but local governments really do have the power to shape the local community through zoning and other land use decisions

Sometimes, property owners think that they have “property rights” that somehow trump the plenary land use powers of local government. Usually, that is not true. The government is not able to “take” your existing land uses away from you, but the government is definitely not obliged to “give” you what you want. Any new land use requires a “permit,” which means “permission” from the local government. You don’t have any “constitutional right” to develop .

Land use powers go beyond zoning, too. I have become aware that a group of residents in Santa Cruz County is hoping to convince the Board of Supervisors to ban the temporary plastic fencing often used on agricultural fields. The Board could do that, using its plenary power to regulate. I have a link to a “Ban Plastic Fencing” website at kusp.org/landuse if you’d like to read up on the issue.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

The Ban Plastic Fencing Website

Comment On Those Draft EIRs

Play

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Earthworks.org

Earthworks.org

The public participation process established by the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, is currently the way that ordinary members of the public can best gain access to real power in the governmental decision making process. Anyone who has ever personally testified at a public meeting is likely to have come away somewhat dissatisfied with the response that elected officials gave to his or her testimony. Usually, there is no specific and direct response to public testimony. The elected officials hear it (they have to; that’s legally required), but there is often no indication that they truly consider the testimony provided.

With CEQA, substantive written comments on a Draft Environmental Impact Report, or DEIR, must be responded to by the government in a substantive way. If the government tries to ignore, or “blow off,” significant and substantive comments, the courts will make them go back and redo the process. In other words, you, as an individual, have real power through the CEQA process.

To use that power, you do have to read the Draft EIR and make comments. Here are a few upcoming EIR comment deadlines for projects in Monterey County. There is still time to get involved!

  • Affordable Housing in Pebble Beach – June 19th.
  • Monterey Downs – June 19th
  • Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project – July 1st

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Major Projects List

EIR on Pebble Beach Inclusionary Housing

EIR on Monterey Downs

EIR on Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project

Private Gift Or Public Resource?

Play

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Harvard.edu

Harvard.edu

The Monterey County Housing Advisory Committee is meeting tomorrow, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Monterey Room, on the second floor of the County Government Center in Salinas. This is a public meeting. You are definitely invited to attend.

The Committee is being asked to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, in response to a request from 161 owners of single-family homes in the Moro Cojo subdivision. The request is that an affordability restriction be changed from “permanent” to “fifteen years.” I am pretty sure that this request, if granted, would allow many current owners to sell their homes at today’s high prices, probably $500,000 or more, per home, even though the owners purchased those homes at an artificially low affordable price, because the homes were supposed to be permanently affordable.

The Moro Cojo subdivision was constructed with the promise that it would provide permanently affordable housing to lower income workers. Lower income workers were able to purchase homes because of the affordability restrictions. If those are now lifted, the current owners will receive a huge individual benefit, but 161 units of affordable housing will be permanently lost.

If you care about long-term affordable housing in Monterey County, you should be at the meeting. You can bet those asking for a personal windfall will be in the audience.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Website: Housing Advisory Committee

May 27, 2015 HAC Agenda Packet

Memorial

Play

Monday, May 25, 2015

Patriot's Point,org

Patriot’s Point,org

Civic holidays are my favorite kind. The Fourth of July, for instance, is directly tied to the Declaration of Independence and to the American commitment to self-government. As frequent listeners know, I place a pretty high priority on self-government, with my consistent admonition being that “self-government” demands that we get involved ourselves.

Memorial Day (and that’s today) is also on my list of worthy holidays! At one time called “Decoration Day,” this holiday is dedicated to the memory of all those who have died while serving in the nation’s armed forces. Veterans Day honors all veterans. Memorial Day honors those who gave up their lives for their country, who gave their “last full measure of devotion,” to use the words of Abraham Lincoln.

Now, the following observation is somewhat philosophical, but I want to suggest that authentic self‑government actually requires us to give up our lives in a very real way. Each of us has a “life,” which is “our life,” and that life is what we choose to do with our time and talents. To be involved in democratic self-government we must be willing to give up at least part of “our” lives to be involved in the governmental decision making process; that’s what it means to be involved in self-government “ourselves.”

Think about that concept the next time you hear about an important public meeting! And have a great holiday today!

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Water Quality In Elkhorn Slough

Play

Friday, May 22, 2015

Elkhorn Slough Foundation

Elkhorn Slough Foundation

Wednesday, I provided a list of lots of meetings, and one of the meetings I listed will be held on June 2nd. I am following up with more information, since I think that the meeting might well be of interest to many KUSP listeners, and certainly to anyone who cares about Elkhorn Slough.

This workshop on water quality in Elkhorn Slough is free and open to the public, but advance registration is definitely required, and the deadline to register is next Tuesday, May 26th. A link in today’s Land Use Report blog will take you right to the registration page. Point your browser to kusp.org/landuse.

At the workshop, scientific experts will present on water quality monitoring programs, long-term trends, and impacts of water quality issues on the slough. Agricultural experts will present on opportunities and constraints for improving runoff. Slough managers will discuss their work to restore and improve water quality.

The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of only twenty-eight National Estuarine Research Reserves, and is a nationally recognized field laboratory for scientific research and estuarine education. On the agenda at the workshop will be “land use patterns in the Elkhorn watershed.” Land use will have a lot to do with the fate of the Reserve.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Moss Landing Marine Labs Website

Elkhorn Slough Estuarine Reserve Website

Registration Page For June 2nd Workshop

Santa Cruz Saves

Play

Thursday, May 21, 2015

City of LA

City of LA

I am following up on a brief announcement made yesterday. This evening, there is an important meeting about various water conservation proposals that have come out of the deliberations of the Santa Cruz Water Supply Advisory Committee. The meeting tonight begins at 7:00 p.m., and will be held in the Santa Cruz Police Community Room, located at 155 Center Street in Santa Cruz. The meeting is free and open to the public.

In the next few months, the City of Santa Cruz will be adopting a new Water Conservation Plan, and the event this evening is intended to stimulate some public input into that process. As the event organizers say, “among Santa Cruz residents, water conservation comes right after Mom and apple pie, or maybe ahead of apple pie, but there is [still] work to do to ensure that the new plan matches the community’s sentiment.”

In January 2014, the City received a draft Master Conservation Plan from its consultant, Maddaus Associates, but the report was produced when desalination was still the preferred option, and the idea was that water conservation would be just a “complement” to the desalination project. If desalination does not go forward, there needs to be a greater role for conservation. A robust conservation plan could reduce the amount of investment needed in other water supply projects.

I invite all those within the City of Santa Cruz Water Service Area to attend that meeting tonight!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz Saves Meeting Announcement

Water Service Area Boundary Map

Online Water Planning Documents

Maddaus Associates

Lots Of Meetings Coming Up

Play

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

KUSP.org

KUSP.org

Today, I am listing a number of upcoming meetings, but before I do, I want to give you a “heads up.” The KUSP Board and station management have signed a “Letter of Intent” to sell KUSP’s frequency and transmitters to the Classical Public Radio Network. If that deal goes through, you will have to start doing your own investigation on upcoming land use related items, since I’ll be off the air. And frankly, doing research on your own would be a good idea no matter what! At any rate, there are some upcoming meetings about the proposed sale of KUSP. The first meeting is tomorrow, May 21st, in Monterey

The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency Board is meeting tonight at 7:00 p.m. There will be a meeting about the proposed “Pure Water Groundwater Replenishment Project” in Seaside, tonight at 6:00 p.m., with another meeting tomorrow. A “Santa Cruz Saves” report on water conservation is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. tomorrow evening. On May 26th, there is a meeting on how to do aquifer recharge at home. May 26th is also the first in a series of meetings on the proposed Cal-Am desalination project, and May 26th is the last day to register for a free workshop on water quality in Elkhorn Slough, to be held on June 2nd.

There are links to more information on all of these meetings at kusp.org/landuse. You’re invited to get involved!

CORRECTION:

I am informed by station managers that the “Letter of Intent” with CPRN has NOT actually been signed as of the date of this Land Use Report segment. The management did recommend that the station sign the Letter of Intent, and that recommendation has been accepted by members of the Foundation, by a 47-11 vote, authorizing KUSP management to sign the letter. 

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Message From The Chair of the KUSP Board of Directors

KUSP Meeting Schedule

Classical Public Radio Network

PVWMA Meeting Agenda

Pure Water Replenishment Project Meetings

Santa Cruz Saves Meeting

Aquifer Recharge Begins At Home

Cal-Am Desal Project Meeting Schedule

Register for the Free Elkhorn Slough Water Quality Workshop

Pick n Pull

Play

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Indybay.org

Indybay.org

Today, I want to remind you that the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is considering fundamental changes to its land use regulations. That’s happening this morning at the Santa Cruz County Governmental Center.

In Salinas, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors is meeting, and will address a permit item that I think has a lot of implications for the future of water quality in Elkhorn Slough. Interested persons should check out the agenda, and persons who are really interested should plan to be at the Board meeting this afternoon at 1:30 p.m., when the Board will take up Agenda Item #11, a public hearing to consider an appeal by the Ecological Rights Foundation from the Planning Commission’s decision to allow the so-called “Pick n Pull” auto dismantling operation to continue its operations on Dolan Road. One of the key issues is whether or not an adequate environmental review has been carried out. There is no current Environmental Impact Report, or EIR. Instead, the County is relying on a ten-year old “Mitigated Negative Declaration,” which the Ecological Rights Foundation claims ignores more recently uncovered information.

As with all the items I mention, if you care (in this case about the future of water quality in Elkhorn Slough), you should be there.

I have some links to more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Board Agenda Website

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Agenda

Agenda Item #55 – May 19, 2015 Board Agenda

Let’s Rewrite Our Land Use Policies! Really?

Play

Monday, May 18, 2015

VirginiaDOT.ort

VirginiaDOT.org

Those who would like to maintain strong land use regulations in Santa Cruz County (and those who would like to weaken the existing regulations, for that matter) should be interested in Agenda Item #55 on tomorrow’s agenda of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. The item is titled:

Amendments To Update The Land Use Permit Framework And Regulations In County Code Title 13 (Planning And Zoning Regulations), Title 18 (Permit and Approval Procedures) And Chapter 16.01 (Environmental Review Procedures), And To Revise General Plan/Local Coastal Program Policies And Chapters 13.10 And 16.50 For Agricultural Uses

In essence, the County’s Planning Director and County Administrative Officer are asking the Board to change the rules for developers in Santa Cruz County, with a significant possibility that the protection of agricultural land, the protection of neighborhoods, and the protection of the natural environment will all be diminished.

Tomorrow’s agenda item just “kicks off” the process. If you care, either way – if you’d like to maintain current protections for the natural environment, neighborhoods, and agricultural land, or if you would like to relax the current rules – you should get involved, and get involved now. There is a link at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Agenda

Agenda Item #55 – May 19, 2015 Board Agenda