The Land Use Report

Wireless Issues And Assembly Bill 57

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Friday, August 28, 2015

City of San Francisco DPW

City of San Francisco DPW

I notice that the items I have talked about this week are almost all of primary interest to Monterey County listeners. Here’s an item that should be of interest on both sides of the Bay; namely, pending state legislation relating to the placement of wireless communication facilities.

As listeners may know, federal law has largely preempted the field of wireless regulation, and this federal preemption has made it quite difficult for local governments to have any say on the location of these facilities.

For instance, while the health impacts of wireless facilities are of concern to many local residents, federal legislation has pretty much made it impossible for local governments to regulate wireless facilities based on health concerns.

The visual impacts of such facilities, and other land use impacts, are still a basis for local regulation. However, there is a bill now being considered in the California State Legislature that might undermine such local regulation. Assembly Bill 57, now in the State Senate, would provide that proposed wireless facilities will be “deemed approved” if not acted upon within either 90 or 150 days. I note that Assembly Member Mark Stone voted “no” on this bill in the Assembly. Assembly Member Alejo is recorded as “not voting.”

You can get more information in today’s Land Use Report blog at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

San Francisco Chronicle Article on AB 57

Assembly Bill 57

Senate Analysis of AB 57

Assembly Vote Tally on AB 57

Fort Ord Guidelines: Find Out More Tonight

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

FORA

FORA

The City of Marina Planning Commission is meeting this evening, and will hear a presentation on the proposed “Regional Urban Design Guidelines” that will apply to future developments on Fort Ord.

The meeting begins at 6:30 this evening, in the Marina City Council Chambers, located at 211 Hillcrest Avenue in Marina. Listeners who live on the Monterey Peninsula might want to attend and find out more about these guidelines. The guidelines will affect future development on Fort Ord generally, not just developments located in Marina. Road design standards, setbacks, building heights, landscaping requirements, signage and other matters relating to the possible visual impacts of proposed projects will be significantly affected by what these guidelines ultimately say.

There is a more Marina-specific item on the agenda, too; namely, the proposal by Shea Homes to cut down two healthy cypress trees. The Planning Director said that was “ok.” The Marina Tree Committee said it was “ok,” and now the Planning Commission will consider the issue on an appeal. From the City of Santa Cruz to the City of Marina, public officials are usually willing to sacrifice trees to aid the desires of the developers. If you care about this issue, check out the agenda materials. Links can be found at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Agenda Packet, Marina Planning Commission

Materials On Fort Ord Regional Urban Design Guidelines

Dog That Project

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

LandWatch

LandWatch

At 9:00 o’clock this morning, the Monterey County Planning Commission will hold a hearing on a “Canine Sports Center,” proposed to be located on a 43-acre site near Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley. The Carmel Valley Association, and others, have been following the project closely, and some Carmel Valley residents are obviously concerned about potential impacts of what would be a major new activity center in the Valley.

Links in today’s Land Use Report blog will take you to more information, including to the County’s official information page, which will let you review the Environmental Impact Report. The staff report for the Planning Commission recommends approval of the project, including a recommendation that the Commission adopt a “Statement of Overriding Considerations, “allowing the project to go ahead, even though the Environmental Impact Report for the project has identified significant adverse impacts that cannot be feasibly mitigated or eliminated.

One of the difficulties faced by the Commission is that the project applicants include the Chairperson of the Commission, who of course will have to step down as the Commission considers the project. There are lots of pros and cons of this proposed project, and while the Planning Commission hearing this morning may not be the last public hearing on the project, if you care, you should definitely be there!

The meeting is at the County Government Center in Salinas. Links are at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey Herald Article On Dog Park Hearing

County Planning Information on Canine Sports Center

Supplemental Agenda, for August 26th Planning Commission Meeting

Agenda Packet, August 26th Planning Commission Meeting

Planning Commission Staff Report

The “Governance Committee” Tomorrow

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

MPWSP

MPWSP

The Governance Committee for the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project is meeting on Wednesday, August 26th, at 2:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Conference Room of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District. I suggest that listeners might like to track down agenda materials, and maybe even attend the meeting. There are links to agenda materials and other information at kusp.org/landuse.

The composition of the “Governance” Committee” includes a representative of California American Water Company. Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett is also a member, representing the Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority. Supervisor Dave Potter, representing Monterey County, and Robert Brower, representing the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, are also members.

The “Governance Committee” title is a bit misleading, in that the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project is not under the direct control of the group I just named, but is in fact under the control of the California American Water Company. This reflects the fact that the main water provider for the Monterey Peninsula is not a public agency, but Cal-Am, which is a for-profit corporation. Official governmental supervision of Cal-Am comes from the California State Public Utilities Commission, or PUC.

The meeting tomorrow should be an informative and interesting one. I encourage you to get involved!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Agenda For Governance Committee Meeting

Governance Committee Website

Planning In Salinas And At CSUMB

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Monday, August 24, 2015

CSUMB

CSUMB

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors is meeting tomorrow, and if you want to know about plans that the City of Salinas has, to create a vibrant downtown, in the heart of Salinas, plan to attend that Board of Supervisors’ meeting.  No need to visit City Hall!

Same thing if you want a peek at the future development plans for CSUMB. You can get the benefit of a comprehensive presentation on proposed campus development by attending that Board meeting.

The City of Salinas Downtown Vibrancy Plan will be presented to the Board at 10:30 tomorrow morning. The CSU Monterey Bay Comprehensive Master Plan will be presented to the Board at 1:30 in the afternoon. I have links in today’s Land Use Report blog that will get you to the agenda of the Board of Supervisors. The Salinas Downtown Vibrancy presentation is Agenda Item #17. The CSUMB Master Plan is Agenda Item #18. There are links in the Board’s agenda to extensive materials, in both cases.

The Board of Supervisors has no decision making authority over what happens in Salinas (except as to what the County does with its own properties), and the Board also has no direct control over future land uses on the CSUMB campus. But planning together is better than planning separately!

Get more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Board of Supervisors Agenda Website

Santa Cruz Corridors

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Friday, August 21, 2015

City of Santa Cruz

City of Santa Cruz

I live in the City of Santa Cruz, and I subscribe to one of the online neighborhood bulletin boards that provide “heads up” alerts on everything from lost dogs and cats to the next important meeting of the City Council.

Thanks to that “Nextdoor” bulletin, I am reminded to tell City residents that some important planning sessions are coming up, ones of particular interest to residents who live on or adjacent to Mission Street, Ocean Street, Soquel Avenue, and Water Street. These important transportation corridors are getting some special treatment from the City, which has hired a consulting firm to do detailed planning for future growth along the corridors.

Tomorrow, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., the consultants will be holding a workshop on their corridor planning recommendations at the Louden Nelson Community Center, located at 301 Center Street in downtown Santa Cruz. This is a “kick off” meeting, and all of the corridors will be discussed. There will be more focused workshops held on subsequent dates.

I have more information in today’s Land Use Report blog, found at kusp.org/landuse. I urge City residents to get involved in this corridor planning effort. The decisions ultimately made by the City Council, on density, and setbacks, and types of permitted development, will have profound impacts on the future shape and character of the community.

Remember, the meeting is tomorrow, Saturday August 22nd, at 1:00 p.m.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Nextdoor Website

Corridor Workshops Flyer

Staff Update On The Corridor Planning Process

Existing Conditions Report – All Corridors

Workshop List

A New Ruling On Ag Runoff

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Iowa Environmental Focus

Iowa Environmental Focus

I have to confess a growing affection for the Monterey Bay Partisan, an online blog that follows land use and other community issues in Monterey County. It’s free to subscribe, though contributions are welcome. The publisher of the Monterey Bay Partisan is the former editor of the Monterey Herald newspaper, and what I most appreciate about the Partisan is the “heads up” it provides about important land use and related matters.

A posting in the Partisan on August 11th, reported on a recent court decision that mandated that local farmers must do more to clean up toxics and nutrients that are generated from their agricultural runoff. This was a Superior Court decision, meaning that it is definitely subject to appeal, but I think that the decision is a significant one.

There really is no doubt but that agricultural runoff can have detrimental environmental effects. There is also no doubt that agriculture is a key component of our local economy, and the rules that govern how agriculture is conducted do need to be designed in a way that won’t make agriculture impossible.

In October 2013, the State Water Resources Control Board, the state agency with ultimate authority, issued an order that some environmental groups thought was not strong enough, in terms of environmental protection. The court essentially agreed, directing the State Board to reconsider its ruling.

There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey Bay Partisan Sign-Up Page

Monterey Bay Partisan Article on Ag Runoff

Otter Project Website And Links To Key Documents

Copy of Superior Court Decision

Want To Speak Out On Housing?

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SlideShare.net

SlideShare.net

Members of the public who would like to have a positive impact on the land use rules and regulations that govern the future shape and character of their community face a number of real problems. One of these problems is that local land use rules and regulations are complex and detailed, and must reflect mandates coming from the state legislature, which are also complex and detailed. In short, land use policy regulations are often hard to understand!

Nonetheless, land use policy is critically important. It would be hard to overstate, for instance, the importance of the rules and regulations governing the future development of housing within the community. Where, and how much, housing will be produced, and what kind of housing it will be, are issues of determinative importance to every one of our local communities. As mentioned yesterday, obscure rules mandating the FAR, or “Floor Area Ratio,” permitted in various areas in the community are like DNA. These rules, depending on what they say, will cause housing to be built at a lower or at a higher density (which can be either good or bad, depending on the neighborhood, and the state of local infrastructure). And FAR is only one of a number of key rules.

There is no “shortcut” around engaging with the rules and regulations. Tomorrow night, the City of Santa Cruz Planning Commission considers the Housing Element of the City General Plan. Think about attending. The meeting begins at 7:00 o’clock.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

August 20, 2015 Agenda, City of Santa Cruz Planning Commission

The Marina City Council: FAR Out?

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

USGS

USGS

The Marina City Council meets tonight, and this meeting is FAR too important to miss. That is actually an “inside joke,” because “FAR,” in this case, is spelled capital “F,” capital “A,” and capital “R.” That acronym means “Floor Area Ratio,” and the FAR required by zoning regulations will determine the shape and character of future land use development almost the way that DNA governs the shape and the character of the future development of biological organisms.

The Council meeting tonight begins at 6:30, and Agenda Item #9 is a public hearing to consider reducing the FAR for certain areas within the Dunes on Monterey Bay Specific Plan area in Marina (formerly called University Villages). The lands involved are on the Former Fort Ord, and the Monterey Bay Partisan online blog has a long article discussing the impacts that would be occasioned by this change. Read that, and read the materials in the agenda packet for tonight’s meeting of the City Council, and I bet you will agree that the debate tonight is of the utmost importance.

The proposal to be considered tonight would allow a single developer to avoid the rules intended to generate a higher density, “smart growth” type of development. Developers are mostly focused on the profitability of THEIR project, not on the long term shape of the community. So, check it out!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Marina City Council Agenda Packet, August 18, 2015 Meeting

Monterey Bay Partisan Article on FAR Debate

Lots Of Land Use Issues

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Rural Land Alliance

Rural Land Alliance

These weekday Land Use Reports are always just under a minute and a half long. If I started listing all the land use related items on tomorrow’s agenda of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, I don’t think I could finish before my time ran out.

So, here is my suggestion: visit the Land Use Report blog at kusp.org/landuse, and check out the Board’s agenda for yourself. Here is just a “partial list of” the important items you will find:

  • An action to change the legal description for the East Cliff Drive Bluff Stabilization Project.
  • Proposed amendments to the regulations governing the placement of wireless facilities in unincorporated areas in Santa Cruz County.
  • An appeal hearing on a land division and other approvals related to a development project that would have a lot of impacts on the Lower Winkle Avenue neighborhood, and
  • The possible creation of a Parks and Open Space District for Santa Cruz County.

In connection with that last item, The Rural Land Alliance, which is quite concerned about the possible designation of the Coast Dairies lands on the Santa Cruz County North Coast as a national monument, has been trying to get people to attend and speak out on what they call a “Study Session.” I have a link to their website, too. Check out their concerns, and think about attending that Board meeting tomorrow. Getting personally involved, and being there yourself, does make a big difference!

More Information: 

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Agenda, August 18, 2015

East Cliff Drive Bluff Stabilization Project

Proposed Amendments To The Wireless Facilities Ordinance

Winkle Avenue Development Appeal

Parks And Open Space District

Rural Land Alliance Website

Study Session on National Monument Designation