The Land Use Report

Water Quality In Elkhorn Slough

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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

Salinas River Groundwater Basin Report

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Atascadero Mutual Water Company

Atascadero Mutual Water Company

The transcript of today’s Land Use Report has links to information about a special meeting of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency.

That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26th, at 9:00 a.m., in Meeting Rooms A & B of the Monterey County Office of Education, 901 Blanco Circle in Salinas.

This is a “heads up” announcement. I am giving you plenty of time to put this meeting on your calendar.

The official notice for the meeting (a copy of which can be obtained through a link at kusp.org/landuse), says that one of the purposes of the meeting is to <quote> “clarify” the findings of a recent report on the “State of the Salinas River Groundwater Basin.” I also have a link to the actual report.

When public agencies need to set up special meetings to <quote> “clarify” what their reports actually mean, that’s a hint that important and controversial materials are found in the report, and that affected members of the public need to be paying attention. The report says that there is a continuing overdraft, and that the basin is out of balance, and that seawater intrusion is occurring. That is all bad news, and if the news is indeed bad, it is important that the agency take appropriate corrective action. Any effort to “clarify” that there isn’t any problem at all would seem contraindicated, so think about attending that meeting on May 26th.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Water Resources Agency Website

Public Notice of the May 26, 2015 Special Meeting

State of the Salinas River Groundwater Basin Report

Keith Vandevere Blog Article: Seawater Intrusion and the Drought

Take A Shortcut To Elected Office

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Carmel Area Wastewater District

Carmel Area Wastewater District

When a vacancy occurs on the Board of Directors of a public agency, the law often allows the remaining Board members to fill that vacancy. In other words, if you are appointed, you don’t need to run for the office. At least not initially.

With that preamble, let me tell you that the Carmel Area Wastewater District has a vacancy on its Board of Directors, and the District is inviting interested persons to apply for appointment to the Board

There are five Board members, and members are elected to serve four-year terms of office. The person appointed to fill the vacant Board member position will remain in office until December 2, 2015, and must stand for election in the District’s general election on November 3, 2015 if he or she wishes to continue to serve on the Board for a subsequent full term. Any other qualified candidates may, of course, also seek office in the November election.

Candidates for appointment must be residents of the District, citizens of the United States, and of voting age. Applications, including biographical information, will be received until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26th. All candidates will be invited to make an oral statement, or answer questions in support of their application, at a meeting to be held on Wednesday, May 27th.

There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Carmel Area Wastewater District Website

For more information, contact the CAWD at 831-624-1248 or stop by the office at 3945 Rio Road, Carmel. An application may also be requested via email from downstream@cawd.org.

Dog Sports

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Orlandodogtraining.org

Orlandodogtraining.org

The California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, gives members of the public a real chance to have an impact on proposed projects. If a proposed project “might” have an adverse impact on the environment, the governmental agency responsible for the project is legally required to prepare an Environmental Impact Report, or EIR.

There are two ways that CEQA, and the EIR process, give power to members of the public. First, the EIR process demands the preparation of a “Draft” EIR. The public gets to comment on that Draft, and then the governmental agency in charge of the project MUST respond, substantively, to any comments received. If you have ever testified at a public hearing, you know that your two or three minutes of testimony are often ignored by the elected officials. Well, if the local agency ignores your comments on a Draft EIR, or just “blows them off,” the courts will make the agency go back and respond on the substance.

Second, when the Final EIR comes before the decision making body, the governmental agency proposing the project MUST eliminate any impacts identified, to the greatest degree feasible.

A Canine Sports Center is being proposed in Carmel Valley. A Draft EIR is circulating. I have links at kusp.org/landuse that will assist you, if you’d like to comment.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Draft EIR On The Proposed Canine Sports Center

Land Use – Carmel Valley Master Plan Supplemental Policies

CVA Bulletin With Advice on “How To Comment on EIRs”

A Capital Idea

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

City of Santa Cruz

City of Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz County has an ordinance specifically permitting short-term vacation rentals. The City of Santa Cruz does not. At today’s City Council meeting, during the 2:30 afternoon session, the Council is going to consider an amendment to the City’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (or ADU) ordinance that would prohibit ADU properties from being used as short-term or vacation rentals. If you have an interest in this topic, you can get more information by using the links in today’s Land Use Report blog.

There is another item of interest on today’s agenda of the Santa Cruz City Council. This item is going to be considered during the Council’s evening session, beginning at 7:00 o’clock at City Hall. The Council will be reviewing the City’s Capital Improvement Program, and there are lots of things to be interested in. Bike Santa Cruz County, for instance, the pro-bicycle group, is urging concerned persons to attend the meeting this evening, and to ask for more funding for bike lanes, and for “green striping” bike lanes, in particular.

In general, the City’s Capital Improvement Program outlines the significant new infrastructure investments that the City is proposing to make over the next several years, including road, fire department, and water department infrastructure. How scarce dollars are spent on infrastructure will determine just what sort of City we will have in the future. You might just want to get involved!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

May 12, 2015 Santa Cruz City Council Agenda

ADU/Short-Term Rental Issue – Agenda Report

Capital Improvement Program Update – Agenda Report

Bike Santa Cruz County Website

Green Lanes For Bicycles!

Scuttling The Settlement

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Monterey County

Monterey County

Last Wednesday, I noted that the Monterey County Board of Supervisors is apparently ready to scuttle a settlement with two environmental organizations that had filed legal challenges to the County’s state-mandated General Plan.

If you have any interest in this matter (and if you live in Monterey County you probably should have an interest in it) then you should be aware that the Board is going to consider its action on the settlement at the meeting that the Board is holding tomorrow. Check Agenda Item #10, scheduled at 1:30 tomorrow afternoon.

Why should County residents care? Well, as taxpayers, it is pretty clear that if the Board of Supervisors now decides to repudiate the tentative settlement it made with the two environmental groups, more costly litigation will be in the offing, so deciding to scuttle the settlement will cost the taxpayers money. Second, on the merits, the repudiation of the settlement will mean that the agricultural industry will not have to do as much to take account of erosion from steep slopes, the protection of wildlife corridors, and the need to match water supplies to the development that depends on the availability of water.

In short, repudiating the settlement is repudiating some “pro-environment” provisions, at the request of the County’s biggest businesses. It might well be that the ordinary residents of the County would be better off with a more environmentally protective plan.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Land Use Report Blog – What Happened To That Settlement?

Monterey County Agenda Website

LandWatch Monterey County Website

Monterey Bay Partisan Analysis

Monterey Herald News Story

Monterey County Weekly News Story