The Land Use Report

Fracking Made Me Move

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Friday, July 25, 2014

San Benito Rising

San Benito Rising

As I mentioned yesterday, there is a great deal of local concern about “fracking,” or “hydraulic fracturing.” Fracking is a technique for obtaining new oil resources from geologic formations that have not, up until recently, been seen as economically productive for oil and gas development. Water supply and water quality impacts can be severe.

In Santa Cruz County, the Board of Supervisors has adopted an ordinance that essentially bans fracking. In San Benito County, voters will have an opportunity in November to take a comparable action by way of an initiative measure. In Monterey County, there seems to be a real interest by oil companies to expand oil production, including by way of fracking technologies. The Monterey County Planning Commission recommended a moratorium, but the Board of Supervisors has not yet considered the matter.

If you would like to “study up” on the topic, here is a “free event” that I think will be interesting. At noon on Saturday, July 26th (that’s tomorrow), Calvin Tillman, the former Republican Mayor of Dish, Texas, is going to be speaking at the Sunnyslope Elementary School Auditorium, located at 1475 Memorial Drive in Hollister. His topic? “Why Fracking Made Me Move.” Texas has welcomed fracking, by and large. Should be worthwhile to hear from former Mayor Tillman about some of the possible downsides!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

San Benito Rising Website – Upcoming Events

San Benito Rising Website – Information and Resources

Fracking and Aquifer Contamination

Monterey County Oil

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

HCN.org

HCN.org

Here’s an upcoming public hearing item that may be of interest to all those who are following the local, statewide, and national debate about “fracking,” and continuing efforts by oil companies to increase hydrocarbon production in an era of global warming.

On Wednesday, July 30th, at 9:00 a.m., the Monterey County Planning Commission will consider a Temporary Use Permit to allow for an exploration for oil and gas, using an existing well. The permit, if granted, will be for oil exploration on property located on Jolon Road, in Bradley. The permit is being sought by the Porter Estate Company / Bradley Ranch. The Hearing Notice says, and I quote, “any and all interested persons may appear and be heard.”

As of the time I am recording this Land Use Report, the Planning Commission agenda, and the staff report on this item, are not available online. I have, however, included a link in today’s transcript to the place on the County’s website where Planning Commission agendas are posted when available. You can get more information at kusp.org/landuse.

I think that it’s good for members of the public to become informed and to join the debate about when, where, and if increased oil production should be encouraged in the Monterey Bay Region. Not only is global warming an issue, so is the impact of oil production on our scarce water resources.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Planning Commission Agendas

Google Maps – 72327 Jolon Road, Bradley

For more information on the oil exploration permit, contact:

Grace Bogdan, Project Planner

Monterey County Resource Management Agency – Planning Department

168 West Alisal Street, 2nd Floor, Salinas, CA 93901

Clearinghouse News

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

AMBAG

AMBAG

AMBAG, or the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, publishes a periodic “Clearinghouse” report that gives its readers a “heads up” on important land use related items throughout the entire AMBAG Region. That region includes San Benito County, Monterey County, and Santa Cruz County, and the AMBAG “Clearinghouse” report is a very helpful resource for anyone interested in land use items.

Unfortunately, while AMBAG publishes the Clearinghouse report on its website, the website listing always seems to be several months behind, and the greatest value of the Clearinghouse is to provide a timely notification of upcoming items. If you are interested in receiving the Clearinghouse personally, you’ll need to contact the staff planner at AMBAG. I have contact information in today’s transcript.

I was thinking about the AMBAG Clearinghouse as I prepared today’s Land Use Report because there are a lot of very interesting listings in the most recent edition, generated on July 17th. Specifically:

  • The Ferrini Ranch subdivision EIR is out for review;
  • A rehabilitation of the Santa Cruz North Coast water line is being proposed;
  • An EIR on Phase II of the Salinas Valley Water Project is underway;
  • A major modification of Main Street in Watsonville is being reviewed, and
  • A comprehensive plan for the Carmel Lagoon ecosystem is being evaluated.

Listeners may want to follow up on one or more of these items!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

AMBAG Website

Regional Clearinghouse Online Reports

To subscribe to the AMBAG Clearinghouse report, contact:

Paul Hierling, Planner

Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments

Email: phierling@ambag.org

Telephone: 831-264-5084

The Santa Cruz City Council Does Business

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

localwiki.net

localwiki.net

The Santa Cruz City Council is meeting this afternoon and evening. At 7:00 p.m., the Council will consider the relocation of the Pacific Collegiate School (or PCS). PCS is a so-called “charter school,” currently operating out of a school district facility on Swift Street, but the school district is going to reclaim their Swift Street property for public school use, and that means that PCS needs a new home. PCS proposes to relocate to 3004 Mission Street, still in the City but on the outskirts, for sure. If you are interested in this item, you can review relevant documents by clicking on the links at kusp.org/land use.

In its afternoon session, starting at 2:00 o’clock, the City Council will consider major modifications to a mixed‑use industrial/commercial/residential development proposed at 2120 Delaware Avenue. That’s Agenda Item #21, and that means that a couple of major land use changes affecting the Westside will be debated tomorrow.

The Council will also discuss a Water Shortage Emergency Status Report (Agenda Item #22), and I guess you could call the report “good news.” It says that “the overwhelming majority of customers [stayed] within their monthly allotments.” “Large irrigation accounts, including many City parks … have [also] cut back, [with] … early reports [showing] this category of customers making cutbacks of greater than 50 percent.”

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

July 22, 2014 Santa Cruz City Council Agenda

PCS Relocation

2120 Delaware Avenue Item

Water Shortage Emergency Status Report

Inclusionary Housing In Pebble Beach

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Monday, July 21, 2014

dclabor.org

dclabor.org

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors will meet tomorrow. Agenda Item #39 proposes that the Board enter into two contracts. One contract would be with a consulting firm, ICF Jones & Stokes. A related contract would be with the Pebble Beach Company. In effect, the Pebble Beach Company would promise to pay the County for the County’s costs incurred in connection with the ICF Jones & Stokes’ contract. This is a typical way that the cost of public expenditures, related to private developments, are shifted to private parties.

In the arrangement that the Board will consider tomorrow, ICF Jones & Stokes will be preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Report on the proposed development of 24 inclusionary housing units on Pebble Beach Company property located near the intersection of Morse Drive and Congress Road. As currently contemplated, this development would require the removal of 133 Monterey Pine and 583 oak trees. The County has the legal obligation to do a full environmental review of this proposal. ICF Jones & Stokes will do the actual work; the Pebble Beach Company will pay for it.

“Inclusionary housing” means housing that an average or below average income person can purchase or rent. If this project goes ahead, some lower income families will have the right to claim an address in Pebble Beach, certainly one of the most “upscale” places around.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Agenda, Monterey County Board of Supervisors

Forbes On Agriculture

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Monterey County

Monterey County

Here is a reminder: There is a presentation this evening, at the Louden Nelson Center in Santa Cruz, on “Conservation Lessons From Australia.” It should be good. There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

Today, let me highlight a recent article from Forbes, a national business publication. The article is titled “How Silicon Valley Could Revolutionize Salinas Valley, America’s Farming Capital.” That’s a pretty impressive title, and it gives credit to the Salinas Valley that I bet lots of KUSP listeners haven’t really internalized. The Salinas Valley really does have the right to claim that it is “America’s Farming Capital.”

Last year, in 2013, Monterey County generated almost four and one half billon dollars from its agricultural production. There isn’t a more productive agricultural area anywhere else in the United States. The Salinas Valley is America’s “Farming Capital.” You can tell Dorothy: that capital isn’t in Kansas anymore!

The Forbes article discusses how new technologies are likely to cause a revolution in agriculture, with a big payoff in the Salinas Valley. It’s worth a read! If nothing else, what Forbes has to say ought to make us into energetic defenders of the agricultural land that makes it all possible. New superstores and subdivisions just don’t pack anywhere near the same economic punch.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Conservation Lessons From Australia

Forbes Magazine Article on Salinas Valley Agriculture

2013 Monterey County Crop Report

Passenger Rail Tonight

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

SCCRTC

SCCRTC

Here’s an invitation to attend a meeting this evening that will focus on the possible development of a passenger rail service for Santa Cruz County.

That would be pretty exciting, wouldn’t it? Well, in all honesty, there are different opinions! Some people think that setting up a passenger rail system would be horrible, and nothing more than a costly boondoggle.

In fact, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission is holding the meeting tonight partly to help the Commission understand exactly who likes what, with respect to the possible institution of a passenger rail service in Santa Cruz County. That service could, at least potentially, link Davenport to Santa Cruz, to Watsonville along the existing rail line that is now in public ownership.

I really encourage you to show up at the meeting this evening, to express your thoughts, and to learn more about what kind of intra-county rail service might become available in the future. Tonight’s meeting will be held at the Live Oak Senior Center, 1777 Capitola Road, at 17th Avenue, starting at 6:30.

The Commission would also like you to take an online survey, which gets pretty specific about exactly how you, personally, might utilize a passenger rail system, if one were developed. I took the survey, and I thought it was a lot of fun – and also quite informative.

Get the links you need at kusp.org/landuse. And think about attending that meeting tonight, at 6:30 p.m.!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

July 17, 2014 Passenger Rail Workshop

Fact Sheet on Passenger Rail Study

Online Survey on Passenger Rail

Seaside Open Counter

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

City of Seaside

City of Seaside

Policy and permits are both involved in the land use approval process. Here is the way it is supposed to work. After lots of public discussion, a local government agency with land use approval authority adopts a set of policies, enshrined in the local General Plan, and then adopts a set of ordinances, to implement the General Plan policies. Individuals who want to do something within that jurisdiction apply for a permit. The jurisdiction then reviews the permit request against the policy requirements in the General Plan and the implementing ordinances, and then either issues a permit, turns down the permit request, or approves the permit request with appropriate conditions.

In the real world, poorly-defined and uncertain policies lead to delays, and can make the permit process a major headache for all concerned. Small businesses, in particular, are often frustrated by the permit process (which can also include non-land use related permits, too).

Open Counter is a web-based effort, intended to help make it easier for businesses to go through the permit process. The system is now being utilized by a number of local governments. The latest adopter is the City of Seaside. The cities of Salinas, Gonzales, Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley are also utilizing the “Open Counter” system.

For more information, check the links at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Open Counter Information

Seaside Open Counter Web Portal

You Have to A.S.K. If You Want To G.E.T.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cal State. edu

Cal State.edu

I recently received a bulletin about a meeting that will be held tomorrow, Wednesday July 16th, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the offices of the Castroville Community Services District. The District Building is located at 11499 Geil Street in Castroville. You are definitely encouraged to attend the meeting tomorrow. I am reliably informed that pizza and drinks will be provided.

The email I received about this meeting quoted a first grade school teacher, who imparted an important life lesson to his students. He told them: “If you would like to G.E.T. you have to A.S.K.” Always good advice, in any context. In this case, the Central Coast Wetlands Group, which is leading the meeting on Wednesday, is hoping that those in attendance will make their priorities known with respect to open space, trails, and other kinds of free recreation. If you would like to see open space, habitat, and water quality improvements in and around Castroville, this meeting would be a good opportunity to voice your opinions about what you want.

Just in case you would like to voice your requests in another, and perhaps even more pertinent context, the Board of Directors of the Castroville Community Services District will be discussing the District’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year in a meeting to be held this afternoon, at 4:30, at the District offices.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Website – Central Coast Wetlands Group

For More Information Contact Sarah Stoner-Duncan – sstoner@mlml.calstate.edu

Water Planning In Santa Cruz County

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Santa Cruz IRWMP

Santa Cruz IRWMP

The Santa Cruz County Water Advisory Commission meets on Wednesday, July 16th, to discuss the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan  (or IRWMP) now being prepared for the Santa Cruz County Region. The meeting will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Large Auditorium, located in the basement of the County Health Center at 1080 Emeline Avenue, in Santa Cruz. You are definitely invited to attend, and it would be hard to think of a more important topic than regional water planning

The State Department of Water Resources, which is overseeing the preparation of Regional Water Management Plans throughout the state, has expedited the schedule for plan completion for those jurisdictions that would like to apply for drought funding assistance. The IRWMP must be submitted with a drought funding grant application by July 21st, with partner agencies required to adopt the Plan by September 9th. Tentatively, the IRWMP is scheduled for adoption by the Santa Cruz City Council on July 22nd, by the Scotts Valley Water District Board on August 14th, and by the County Board of Supervisors on August 19th. Other agencies will consider the IRWMP in August or early September.

The July 16th meeting will be your best opportunity to learn about this critically important Plan. There is a link to more information at kusp.org/landuse

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Integrated Regional Water Management Website

For more information contact:

County Water Resources Division Director John Ricker

Telephone: 831-454-2750