The Land Use Report

Rogue Bike Trails

Play

Sunday, February 14, 2016 / 7:30 a.m.

Toro Park Watch

Toro Park Watch

Rogue bike trails threaten our environment.

I quite often hear from listeners who would like me to broadcast information about one land use item or another. I definitely encourage that! Every Land Use Report is not only aired on KUSP; it is memorialized in a written transcript, usually with some links to more information.

If you visit kusp.org/landuse, you can not only read those transcripts, you can send me an email giving me your views, and making any suggestion you might have about topics to be covered in future editions of the Land Use Report. I do encourage that! I hope to hear from you!

Recently, I got an email alerting me to what the Monterey Herald has called “rogue” bike trails being constructed on county-owned lands near Toro Park, off Highway 68 in Monterey County. The trails have been constructed, apparently, by mountain bike enthusiasts, but without any permission, and their environmental impacts appear quite damaging. One person called the trails “eco-vandalism” at a recent meeting of the County Planning Commission. So far, County authorities have not taken any effective action, and if you care about the issue, you might want to contact your County Supervisor. In today’s transcript, you will find a link to some news stories that provide more information. The Planning Commission will next address the issue on March 3rd.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Herald Article On Rogue Bike Trails

Coast Weekly Article

Toro Park Watch Facebook Page

Let’s Get Together On Presidents’ Day

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Friday, February 12, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Indybay.org

Indybay.org

There is a meeting next week on the proposed Coastal Rail Trail.

The proposed Coastal Rail Trail in Santa Cruz County would have lots of positive impacts, and maybe some negative impacts, too.

It is to be expected a proposed project of this kind would be controversial, and so it is, though I think it’s fair to say that the majority opinion is that building a new trail from Watsonville to Davenport, along the existing rail right of way, would have lots of positive benefits. The “rail” part is, perhaps, more controversial than the “trail” part, but the current conception is that there would, ultimately, be a genuine “Rail Trail.”

Let me tell you about a meeting to be held next Monday, Presidents’ Day, February 15th. Friends of the Rail Trail will be hosting Jeff Boothe, an expert transit consultant from Washington, D.C., who will present specifics on a variety of light rail systems around the United States. This will be an opportunity for interested persons to get an idea about what kind of options might be out there for rail transit, and how it might be possible to fund rail transit in Santa Cruz County. Bruce Sawhill, Chair of Friends of the Rail and Trail, will give a short exposition on the specific demographics of Santa Cruz County, and its suitability for rail transit.

The meeting on Monday will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Vet’s Hall in downtown Santa Cruz, located at 846 Front Street.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Friends Of The Rail Trail Website

Rail Trail Overview

Boothe Transit Consulting

Are You In Morro Bay, Today?

Play

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

OBRAG.org

Dr. Charles Lester / OBRAG.org

For the future of the coast, the stakes couldn’t be higher!

The California Coastal Commission is meeting today, Wednesday, in Morro Bay, and will decide whether or not to fire the Commission’s Executive Director, Dr. Charles Lester. Usually, the public doesn’t pay much attention to the personnel action of governmental agencies. This is definitely NOT the case with respect to the proposed termination of Dr. Lester. Dr. Lester has requested an open public hearing on his proposed termination, and more than 14,000 comments have been received by the Commission, almost all of them urging that the Commission not terminate Dr. Lester.

I have links in today’s transcript to the Commission’s agenda. If you are not in Morro Bay yourself, and want to watch the meeting, you can do that on a live webcast.

I believe it is clear that this particular personnel matter is really about how zealous the Commission should be in its coastal protection efforts. Dr. Lester’s termination has been urged by the more “pro‑development” members of the Commission, based on a Coastal Protection Scorecard compiled by environmental groups. All of those seeking to terminate Dr. Lester were appointed by Governor Brown.

Ultimately, the question is whether the staff of the Commission should work for the public, to carry out the public mandate for coastal protection enshrined in the Coastal Act, or whether the staff should take its direction from politically-appointed Commissioners who may have a different agenda.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Coastal Commission Agenda

Gary Patton Op-Ed On A Proposed “Coastal Coup”

Staff Report On Proposed Termination of Executive Director

Chief Counsel Memo On Proposed Termination

Link To Comments Received

Act Coastal Links

Coastal Commission Live Webcast

One Big List Of Meetings

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Monday, February 8, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

City of Santra Cruz

City of Santra Cruz

I have a long list of meetings for you!

Listeners to the Land Use Report are often treated (if that’s the word) to advisory messages about land use-related meetings that are coming up. Local and state government bodies of all kinds have important meetings, and I like to encourage public participation. Check the Land Use Report blog at kusp.org/landuse for more information about today’s long list:

 

 

  • Today, Monday, the City of Santa Cruz will hold a “Corridors” Planning Meeting from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Louden Nelson Center.
  • Tomorrow, Tuesday, Public Water Now and LandWatch will hold a meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Monterey, to discuss water and land use, and a recent Cal-Am settlement agreement.
  • Tomorrow, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors is going to receive a report on medical marijuana regulations.
  • Tomorrow, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is going to consider adoption of the 2015 Housing Element of the County General Plan.
  • Tomorrow, the Santa Cruz City Council will vote on whether to allow Santa Cruz Shakespeare to present its plays in DeLaveaga Park.
  • Wednesday, the California Coastal Commission is meeting in Morro Bay, and will decide whether or not to fire its Executive Director.

How’s that for a list of meetings? I hope you’ll get involved!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Corridor Planning Website

Meeting Notice – Public Water Now

Salinas Californian Article on Cal-Am Desal Agreement

Monterey County Board of Supervisors Agenda

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Agenda

Santa Cruz City Council Agenda

Coastal Commission Agenda

Gary Patton Op-Ed On A Proposed “Coastal Coup”

Cal-Am Presents a Status Report

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Sunday, February 7, 2016 / 7:30 a.m.

Water Supply Project.org

Water Supply Project.org

Head’s up! Cal-Am has just issued a status report.

If you live, or work, or own a business on the Monterey Peninsula, you’ve got to care about what the California American Water Company, or Cal-Am, is doing to meet current and future water supply needs. As I like to point out, Cal-Am is not under the direct control of the public. It’s a private business, and its interest in water is first and foremost in how to sell it at a profit. The public interest in the Peninsula’s water supply is protected by the involvement of local officials, and most notably by the California Public Utilities Commission, or PUC, and in some cases by litigation, or threatened litigation against the company by various local interests.

As of January 31st, Cal-Am has issued a kind of status report on litigation-related activities, indicating that the company and various local groups that have either sued, or might potentially sue the company have come to a tentative agreement. You can get a link to that report at kusp.org/landuse.

When you read it, you will find that Cal-Am has agreed to take actions that are intended to help the water-challenged community of Castroville, and to prevent any further degradation of the Salinas River groundwater basin.

No final decisions, yet, but this is a positive status report.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Cal-Am January 31, 2016 Report

The Moral Dimensions Of Climate Change

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Friday, February 5, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Russell Brutsche

Russell Brutsche

You can confront climate change right in your own home town!

The Progressive Christian Forum (and I believe other sponsors) are hosting a conference on the “Moral Dimensions of Climate Change.” Doors open tonight, Friday, at 6:00 o’clock at the Peace United Church, located at 900 High Street in Santa Cruz. The conference continues tomorrow, Saturday, from 9:00 in the morning till 2:00 in the afternoon. You are definitely invited, and please don’t doubt that one way to confront global warming is by changing our approach to land use.

As you might suspect, I have put links to lots more information about the conference on the KUSP website, which hosts a Land Use Report blog that gives listeners a written transcript of my Land Use Reports, and almost always provides resources for further investigation and study. The conference tonight and tomorrow is going to include singing, and art, and poetry, and music, as well as wonderful speeches, and opportunities for some hands-on organizing.

Global warming, and the climate change that is accompanying it, do pose a moral challenge, and we need to think about how we organize and change our ways of doing things, including how we use the land, if we have hopes that human civilization will survive.

I hope to see you at the conference. Tonight and tomorrow!!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Information on the Climate Change Conference

More Information

Will Downtown Go Up?

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

City of Santa Cruz

City of Santa Cruz

Downtown Santa Cruz may be going up, up, up!

Decisions about land use have incredibly important impacts on the shape and character of our local communities. Of course, they have economic and environmental impacts, too. Currently, the City of Santa Cruz is engaged in lots of planning efforts that will, if carried through to where they seem to be going, lead to fundamental changes to the city. What is envisioned is a generation of much denser and higher rise developments. A “Corridors Plan,” currently under consideration, would promote these higher, denser developments along all of the City’s major thoroughfares: Mission Street, Ocean Street, Water Street and Soquel.

But that model of higher, denser development is also proposed for downtown Santa Cruz, and specifically for the very extensive area bounded by Soquel Avenue, Front Street, Laurel Street, and Pacific.

I advise anyone who cares about the future of the City to go the Planning Commission meeting tomorrow night, Thursday. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, and the so-called “Downtown Recovery Plan Amendments” is the only real topic for discussion. As proposed, the “Amendments” will turn downtown Santa Cruz, along both Front and Pacific Avenues, into a much different place. There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Planning Commission Agenda

Downtown Recovery Plan Item

City Website For The “Corridors Plan”

Carmelized Valley?

Play

Monday, February 1, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

NCGA.org

NCGA.org

A big new development is being proposed in Carmel Valley.

Tonight, Monday, the County’s Land Use Advisory Committee (or LUAC) will hold a hearing on a proposed Rancho Canada Subdivision. The hearing will be held at St. Philip’s Lutheran Church, 8065 Carmel Valley Road, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The proposed development is presenting two alternative residential subdivision scenarios for the West Course of the Rancho Canada Golf Club. One alternative is a 281-unit residential project, with a mix of single family residences (141 units) and townhomes and condominiums (140 units). The second alternative is a 130-unit project consisting primarily of single family lots, but with 12 condominium units also proposed.

I heard about this development proposal from the weekly bulletin of the Carmel Valley Association. I think the Association is hoping that Carmel Valley residents will be out in force. All across the country, golf courses are shutting down, as demographic changes seem to be making golf less popular. Is the future of former golf courses inevitably going to be that they will turn into upscale residential developments? Take in that LUAC meeting tonight, and you might be able to have an impact on how that question gets answered in Carmel Valley.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Carmel Valley Weekly Bulletin

The “Golf Advisor” Website

Rancho Canada Website

County Information on Development Proposal

The Future Of Pleasure Point

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Sunday, January 31, 2016 / 7:30 a.m.

USGS

USGS

Debate is brewing around Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz County.

Pleasure Point includes the neighborhoods located between 23rd Avenue and 41st Avenue, and between Portola Drive and East Cliff Drive, which sits right at the edge of Monterey Bay. In 2007-2008, the Santa Cruz County Planning Department undertook a community planning process for the Pleasure Point area. During this process, the Planning Department and its consultant team worked with Pleasure Point neighbors to determine how best to shape the future of the Pleasure Point area.

The focus was on identifying and exploring issues related to residential neighborhood character and appropriate public improvements in the Pleasure Point area. Three facilitated meetings were held as part of the process, culminating in the preparation and adoption of a Pleasure Point Community Plan, given final approval by the California Coastal Commission on May 12, 2010.  That Plan is available on the County’s website.

A major new development proposal on Portola Drive, tentatively approved by the County Planning Commission, is causing some consternation and controversy. The County’s approval has been appealed by neighbors to the Coastal Commission. I’ll try to keep you posted. In the meantime, you can get a good idea of what the controversy is all about by reviewing the materials at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Pleasure Point Plan

Project Summary

Staff Report On Lumber Yard Project

Santa Cruz Sentinel Article On Project Approval

Airport Planning

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Friday, January 29, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Wikipedia.org

Wikipedia.org

Let me tell you something about airport planning!

The Monterey Regional Airport has embarked on the preparation of an Airport Master Plan.

The proposed Airport Master Plan is a facility-level planning study that sets forth a conceptual framework for possible future airport development during the period from 2013 to 2033. Some of the main components of the proposed Master Plan include: (1) Recommending improvements that will enhance the Airport’s safety capabilities to the maximum extent feasible; (2) Projecting aeronautical facility needs through the year 2033; (3) Establishing a schedule of development priorities and a program for the improvements that will be proposed in the Airport Master Plan, including a detailed financial plan; and (4) Developing goals, objectives, and performance targets for a sustainability plan for the Airport.

As you might imagine, this kind of planning process needs to be conducted in connection with a full scale environmental review, pursuant to both the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (or NEPA). If you’d like to comment on the Notice of Preparation, there is a comment deadline on February 16th.

What happens at the Airport, of course, has impacts far beyond the Airport property itself. Just think Highway 68, for instance! I encourage Monterey County residents to start getting involved now.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey Regional Airport Planning Website

For more information, contact Shelley Glennon: