The Land Use Report

Carmel Meets The Public Records Act

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Friday, August 22, 2014

California Watch.org

California Watch.org

I am in favor of citizen self-government, and it seems obvious that if the people are going to be in charge of their government, the people need to know what their government is doing.

The California Constitution says this right upfront. Article I, Section 3(b)(1) provides: “The people have the right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business, and, therefore, the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny.” The Ralph M. Brown Act and the California Public Records Act outline in detail how this access is to be provided. You can review today’s transcript at kusp.org/landuse for some useful links, including a video of a presentation I made, in January 2013, to the Monterey Peninsula Chapter of the League of Women Voters, entitled “Keeping Government Honest.” In short, you (personally) have the right to have public documents provided to you on an expeditious basis.

In the City of Carmel-By-The Sea, a number of citizens have been complaining that these requirements for full public access to public documents have been honored more in the breach than by observance. A recent news article reports that the City Attorney has held a special public presentation, to confirm that the City will, indeed, make public documents available with <quote> “as little fuss as possible.” If that weren’t done, the City could actually be sued.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

August 15, 2014 Pine Cone Article on Brown Act Compliance (See Page 3A)

Online Information on the Brown Act

The Ralph M. Brown Act

California Public Records Act

Pocket Guide To The Public Records Act

California Constitution – Article 1

Gary Patton Presentation – Keeping Government Honest

Rebels With A Cause

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

RebelsPOSTER_med-final_enewsThe “unhidden agenda” of this weekday Land Use Report is to stimulate your personal participation in the land use decision-making process. Land use policy and project decisions can have major impacts on our future. The decisions we make about how to “use” the land have economic, environmental, and social consequences. Whatever “side” you may be on (and there are usually a minimum of at least two different views about any significant land use matter), it’s important for you to get personally engaged. That’s the message of the Land Use Report.

If you’d like to see how this kind of personal engagement works, in real life, I’d like to give you a “heads up.” Rebels With A Cause, a movie narrated by Francis McDormand, will be shown on Thursday, August 28th (one week from today) at 7:00 p.m., at the Hidden Valley Music Seminars facility in Carmel Valley.

This movie tells the David and Goliath story of one of America’s most visited, and arguably its most beautiful, urban national parks – the Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The citizens who made it all happen were “unpaid and crazy,” and successfully battled the most powerful opponents of their day in both industry and government, setting new precedents for protecting open space and helping to shape the environmental movement as we know it today.

There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

The CVA Newsletter

Rebels With A Cause Website

Hidden Valley Music Seminars Website

Gary Patton July 2013 Blog Announcement – Rebels With A Cause

Monterey Downs

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Keep Fort Ord Wild,org

Keep Fort Ord Wild,org

Monterey Downs is a proposed 550-acre, 1,000-home, 500-apartment development in the Parker Flats area of the former Fort Ord, which is located about one-half mile from Cal State Monterey Bay. The proposed development would also have a 6,500 seat covered arena, a 1-mile horse race track, 1,000 horse stalls, two 200-room hotels, and a major retail shopping area. A gambling facility might be added in the future.

I had heard that the City of Seaside was planning to host a presentation on the proposed development at its City Council meeting tomorrow, but the latest word is that this presentation will not take place. You can check the City Council agenda, online, to verify the status of this possible presentation.

The Monterey Downs development, if ever approved, could have big impacts on the Peninsula, environmental, economic, and otherwise. Because of its possible adverse environmental impacts, a full‑scale Environmental Impact Report, or EIR, will have to be prepared prior to any governmental approval. A Draft EIR is due out around the end of August. Thereafter, members of the public can provide specific comments on that Draft. A Final EIR will have to respond to all of the comments made.

Now would be a good time to start getting involved! Read up on the proposal, and clear your decks to participate in the environmental review process!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Seaside City Council Agenda Website

Monterey Downs Website

Keep Fort Ord Wild Website

New York Times Article On The Del Mar Racetrack

Monterey Bay Partisan Public Comments

Prescriptive Rights / Martins Beach

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Prescriptive Rights / Martins Beach

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Surfrider Foundation

Surfrider Foundation

KUSP listeners may have been reading about a struggle over beach access at Martins Beach, located just north of Santa Cruz County, along the San Mateo County coast. Historically, Martins Beach has been open to public access, by way of a road that heads to the beach from Highway One. The road is, and has been, a privately owned road, but the public has used the road, for many years, to get access to the coast.

In October 2010, a relatively new owner of the property over which the road goes decided to shut off public beach access – and he did! The owner is one of those legendary Silicon Valley “Billionaires,” to use a characterization from the Los Angeles Times. According to Charles Lester, the Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission, this action in closing the road was illegal, in the absence of a permit from the Commission. Lawsuits, state legislation, public protest, and controversy have all ensued since the road was closed.

Most recently, the Coastal Commission has been exploring the idea that the public has acquired an actual legal right to use the road by way of “prescriptive rights.” Continued public use of private property, over a period of more than five years, can actually transfer a legal ownership right to the public. If you have been to Martins Beach, and want to take part in the Coastal Commission survey, find today’s transcript at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

LA Times Article on Martins Beach

San Jose Mercury News Article On State Legislation

The City Project Blog on Martins Beach

Charles Lester Article on Martins Beach

Coastal Commission Prescriptive Rights Survey

Article On Surfrider Foundation Lawsuit

Scrapping The Affordable Housing Mandate

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Unitarian Church

Unitarian Church

Measure J is a comprehensive growth management ordinance adopted by Santa Cruz County voters in 1978. It includes this requirement: “It shall be the policy of Santa Cruz County that at least 15 percent of those housing units newly constructed for sale or rental each year shall be capable of purchase or rental by persons with average or below average incomes.”

To carry out this voter mandated requirement, the County enacted an ordinance requiring developers who construct housing to offer a percentage of those constructed units at a below market price level. Both Measure J and the County’s program focus on “construction.” The builders who actually “build” housing are charged with the responsibility to “build” affordable units.

The County staff is now recommending that this thirty-five year old program be scrapped. Instead of having to “build” affordable housing, builders could choose to pay a fee, instead, and then be excused from further responsibility. The County would get money, not actual housing units.

This proposal does not seem to meet the test of Measure J, which requires (on a year by year basis) that at least 15% of the housing units “newly constructed … each year” be capable of purchase by an average or below average income person.

If you care about affordable housing, let the Board of Supervisors know what you think. There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

August 19, 2014 Board Agenda

Agenda Item #66 on Affordable Housing

A Fracking Workshop (In Sacramento)

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Friday, August 15, 2014

CAFrackFacts.org

CAFrackFacts.org

Let me share an email I recently received:

The California Department of Conservation is sending you this email on behalf of the California Air Resources Board (ARB) because [of] your interest in the regulation of oil and gas production in California. ARB staff invites the public to participate in a public workshop regarding ARB’s proposed regulatory activities for oil and natural gas production, processing, and storage operations, including well stimulation …

What this means, in plain language, is that the California State Air Resources Board is going to be reviewing its regulations governing fracking. I know that many KUSP listeners are following fracking issues in the Central Coast Region, and I imagine that we will hear a lot more about fracking during the upcoming months, since the voters of San Benito County will have an opportunity to vote in November on an initiative measure that would ban fracking in that County.

If you care about fracking, you might want to think about attending the ARB workshop. It will be held on Monday, August 25th, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Coastal Hearing Room, located on the Second Floor of the Cal/EPA Headquarters Building, 1001 “I” Street in Sacramento. A webcast and remote participation will be available. Get more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

San Benito County Initiative Ordinance on Fracking

ARB Website on Oil And Gas Production, Processing and Storage

Workshop Notice and Agenda

Cal EPA Live Webcasts

You may participate in the August 25th workshop by teleconference by dialing 1-800-857-1778, give the participant code: 9649516 and leader name: Ms. Elizabeth Scheehle. If you have any questions regarding this workshop, please contact Ms. Johanna Levine, Air Pollution Specialist, Emerging Technology Section at (916) 322-3499 or via email at jlevine@arb.ca.gov.

Coastal #2 – Monterey Bay Shores Resort

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Architype.org

Architype.org

Thursday, August 14, 2014

As reported yesterday, the California Coastal Commission will be addressing issues in the Central Coast Region during its meeting in San Diego tomorrow. There are some rather noncontroversial items on the agenda, but there is also what might legitimately be called the biggest project approval in our region, in the coastal zone, during the last ten years or more. Here is the agenda description, which pretty much identifies why this item is a “big deal” for the future of our coast:

Agenda Item 16a – Consideration of findings for [the] Commission’s April 9, 2014 approval of [a] permit to subdivide [a] 39.04-acre parcel into 3 parcels and [to] construct 1,337,909 square feet of mixed-use residential and visitor-serving development, including 184 hotel rooms, 184 condominium units … restaurants, conference center, hotel and residential courtyards, garden, spa, three swimming pools, and surface and underground parking (for 947 vehicles). [The] project includes 680,000 cubic yards of grading and 385,000 cubic yards of sand disposal, [all to be located in] sand dunes seaward of Highway One, [in] Sand City.

You can get lots more information about this project at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Coastal Commission Website

Coastal Commission Agenda

Santa Cruz County Hotel Regulations

Monterey County Minor and Standard Subdivision Committees

City of Monterey Custom House Plaza Embankment Repair

August 15, 2014 Agenda Report – Monterey Bay Shores Resort

April 9, 2014 Agenda Report – Monterey Bay Shores Resort (Including Addendum 1& 2)

April 9, 2014 Agenda Addendum 3

Coastal Items Coming Up

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

NPS.gov

NPS.gov

The California Coastal Commission has a four-day meeting this month. The Commission began meeting on Tuesday, in San Diego; it meets today, and it will meet again tomorrow, and Friday. As usual, interested persons can actually watch the Commission live, through a webcast, so you don’t need to travel to San Diego to see the Commission in action.

Items relating to the Central Coast Region are scheduled on the Commission’s agenda for Friday. Here is a sampler of some of the less controversial items:

  • In Agenda Item #12, the Commission’s Deputy Director will report on permit waivers, emergency permits, immaterial amendments and extensions, and Local Coastal Program matters not requiring public hearings. That will specifically include proposed new hotel regulations, adopted by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, and a Local Coastal Program amendment adopted in Monterey County that will eliminate the Minor and Standard Subdivision Committees, and transfer their former responsibilities to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.
  • In Agenda Item #15, the Commission is expected to approve the City of Monterey Custom House Plaza Embankment Repair, which would permit the City to repair ninety linear feet of an existing retaining wall at the Custom House Plaza, between Fisherman’s Wharf and Wharf II at Monterey Harbor.

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

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Coastal Commission Website

Coastal Commission Agenda

Santa Cruz County Hotel Regulations

Monterey County Minor and Standard Subdivision Committees

City of Monterey Custom House Plaza Embankment Repair

Water Conservation In The Context Of Ag

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

AWQA

AWQA

The Soquel Creek Water District has a meeting tonight, at 7:00 p.m., at the New Brighton Middle School, to discuss the District’s new “Conservation Plus” program. The Agriculture Water Quality Alliance, or AWQA, is holding a meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, to promote what it calls “Unusual Water Conservation Efforts.” The meeting tomorrow, sponsored by AWQA, is about water conservation in the context of agricultural operations. Obviously important in our region.

The AWQA event will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. tomorrow, at the University of California Continuing Education Auditorium, 1432 Abbott Street, in Salinas. This meeting will be an opportunity to learn about ways to conserve, store, and save water through increasing soil organic matter, and through the use of other water conservation practices, like cover cropping, mulching, rainwater harvesting, and biochar. The presenters will include local expert Rich Casale (of the Natural Resources Conservation Service), Jocelyn Gretz (of Rio Farm), and Brittani Bohlke (from the Resources Conservation District in San Mateo County). They will review a case study of composting and cover cropping to increase soil organic matter on a farm.

There is more information at kusp.org/landuse, including some information that answers the question, “What is Biochar?”

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Soquel Creek Water District News And Updates

AWQA Website

Upcoming AWQA Events

NRCS Website

San Mateo County RCD Website

What Is Biochar?

For more information on the AWQA Event contact Pam Krone-Davis

Soquel Creek And Conservation+

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Monday, August 11, 2014

SCWD

SCWD

The Soquel Creek Water District is reporting that it pumped 18% less water out of the ground last month than it pumped in July 2013. That is good news!

Because the Soquel Creek Water District relies on groundwater, rather than on surface water, the “immediate” impact of the current drought on Soquel Creek is somewhat different from the impact that is felt by a water agency like the City of Santa Cruz Water Department, which relies on surface water sources. If you rely on surface water, a drought absolutely means less water now.

If you rely on groundwater, a drought means longer-term problems, not immediate problems. In the Soquel Creek District, groundwater overdraft and groundwater pumping beyond the “safe yield” of the aquifer, will lead to seawater intrusion and water quality degradation that can contaminate the groundwater aquifer. This is the problem being addressed by the Soquel Creek Water District.

The District is launching a “Conservation Plus” program, and you are invited to learn more, and to provide comments, at a public hearing tomorrow. The proposed program is designed to save over eighty million gallons of water per year in what the District believes is a fair, equitable, and cost-effective way.

Think about attending the hearing tomorrow night, August 12th, at 7:00 p.m., at the New Brighton Middle School, located at 250 Washburn Avenue in Capitola.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Soquel Creek Water District News And Updates