The Land Use Report

A CEQA Workshop On Monterey Downs

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Friday, November 28, 2014

KFOW.org

KFOW.org

Coming up on December 2nd is a free workshop on the Draft Environmental Impact Report, or EIR, being prepared for the proposed Monterey Downs project. I heard about this event in an email bulletin from the Carmel Valley Association. As the announcement said, “this isn’t strictly a Carmel Valley issue, but the Monterey Downs proposal, which includes horse racing and on and off-track betting, would certainly affect life and lives in our valley.”

Actually, the Carmel Valley Association bulletin said that the Monterey Downs project “will” certainly affect the life and lives of Carmel Valley residents. But the use of that verb “will” presumes the very question in issue. Should the local government agencies most directly involved give the developer a permit? Or not? And will the public, after it sees the results of the local government deliberations, decide that the decision is acceptable, or will the people want to weigh in themselves, through either the referendum or initiative process? What “will” happen depends on what we do. Nothing is inevitable within the world that we create through the land use decisions we make.

The California Environmental Quality Act requires an EIR for any project that “might” have a significant impact on the natural environment. If you don’t know about Monterey Downs, a check today’s transcript. Then, think about attending that meeting on December 2nd.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Carmel Valley Association Website

Notice and Registration Link for CEQA Workshop

Thanksgiving Thanks

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

RCJL.org

RCJL.org

Happy Thanksgiving to any KUSP listeners who are tuned in, despite the holiday. I do run into people who listen regularly to the Land Use Report, and they tell me that it’s usually while they are commuting, or as part of their wake up and get to my breakfast regular routine. I hope it is a genuine holiday for Land Use Report listeners, so your routines will be different, and maybe more relaxed. And I hope that this Thanksgiving is going to be a happy day for you and your loved ones.

My family always takes a hike on Thanksgiving. If you don’t have any plans, think about that. Think about Wilder Ranch, or Pogonip, or Nisene Marks in Santa Cruz County, or Point Lobos or the lands of the former Fort Ord over there on the Monterey County side of the Bay. Our land use policies, local, state and federal, have helped preserve and protect the stunning natural environment in which we are so privileged to live. Get out there and give thanks! That’s a good suggestion for today!

And I like to give thanks for the system of local government that let’s us, if we choose to get involved ourselves, determine just what measures we want to take to protect the natural environment, and to make our human environment better, and more sustainable. Sometimes, we can think we are “doomed,” as we consider the trends. But we can change the future. It’s happened before, right here around the Monterey Bay.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Two Worlds Blog – “Map of Doom”

The Story of Measure J

Plan Ahead For Water Meetings

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

PVWMA

PVWMA

There was a meeting on Monday, about water in the Pajaro Valley. Let me tell you about some more meetings on water to which you can rally. Mark your calendars, and plan ahead. Farmers say we need water or we’re not going to get fed.

The first meeting I want to announce, so you can schedule your attendance, is a “Brown Bag” luncheon meeting, hosted by the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency, or the PVWMA. This Brown Bag meeting will be an informal, roundtable gathering with a focus on anything connected to groundwater management in the Pajaro Valley. It will take place on Wednesday, December 10th. The meeting goes from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the PVWMA Conference Room at 36 Brennan Street in Watsonville. You should RSVP if you intend to come. Bring a lunch, but cookies and drinks are going to be provided by the PVWMA.

The next meeting I’d like to highlight would be a stretch, for most listeners. Nonetheless, if you are interested in water policy you should consider attending. On December 11th, the Santa Clara Valley Water District is hosting a meeting in Palo Alto, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., focused on wastewater reuse. Using wastewater as a potential water source is beginning to be taken quite seriously. The Palo Alto meeting is free, but you do need to register. There is a link in today’s transcript, at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Clara Valley Water District Website

Wastewater Reuse in Sunnyvale

Information and Registration – Recycled Water Presentation

To RSVP For the PVWMA Brown Bag Luncheon phone: 831-722-3139

Branching Out

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Agri-Culture-clr-LogoHere in the Monterey Bay Region, lots of different community-based nonprofit groups play a key role in various aspects of land use. Since I was the first Executive Director of LandWatch Monterey County, I always like to mention LandWatch, but there are lots of other great nonprofits, too. You can check the “Land Use Links” in today’s transcript, but let me mention the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, the Carmel Valley Association, the League of Women Voters, and the Monterey County Ag Land Trust.

And let’s not forget Agri-Culture, a nonprofit associated with the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau. I am on the Agri-Culture mailing list, and just recently received its semi-annual report, called Branching Out. This latest edition has what I consider to be an inspirational story, so I thought I’d share it with you.

The Principal of Watsonville High School participated in Agri-Culture’s nationally recognized “Focus Agriculture” program in 2013. She was impressed with the wide range of careers in agriculture, something most people don’t know about. At her request, Agri-Culture put together a tour for the teachers of Watsonville High School, with sixty-five teachers participating. Now, these teachers can help steer their students towards good-paying careers that can support themselves and their families, and our local communities. Read the full story by clicking the link at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Ag Land Trust

LandWatch Monterey County

Elkhorn Slough Foundation

Carmel Valley Association

League of Women Voters – Monterey Peninsula

League of Women Voters – Salinas Valley

League of Women Voters – Santa Cruz County

Agri-Culture Website

Branching Out – Past Newsletters

Watsonville High School Educators’ Tour

Community Water Dialogue

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Pajaro Watershed Information Center

Pajaro Watershed Information Center

Water worries still abound, even though some rain has been coming down. In Santa Cruz County, and around the Bay, talking about water is the order of the day.

Talking about water is the order of today, particularly for those who depend on the groundwater aquifers underlying the Pajaro Valley. This includes areas within both Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. If you care about what our communities are doing, and can do, and must do about groundwater overdraft in the Pajaro Basin, there is a meeting today that should be of interest.

At 12:30 this afternoon, the Community Water Dialogue will be meeting in the Cassin Ranch Conference Room, located at 151 Silliman Road in Watsonville. Topics for discussion include a progress report on what the Community Water Dialogue has been doing, and a discussion, specifically, about the progress being made towards implementing an effective Basin Management Plan.

There will also be an opportunity for participants to find out more about how the Sustainable Groundwater Management Acts will work, and implications for the Pajaro Valley, which is really out in front of the rest of the state in this area.

Finally, the Dialogue wants to generate ideas and next steps for reaching conservation targets, since the drought makes it imperative that we find a new water “supply” by learning how to use our existing water supplies more efficiently and effectively.

Check kusp.org/landuse for more information.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Pajaro Watershed Information Center

Agenda, Community Water Dialogue Meeting

NOPOC News

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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”

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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

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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

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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

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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