The Land Use Report

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?

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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:

Connecting The Drops And More

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

State of California

State of California

A couple of interesting meetings are coming up tomorrow night!

From 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, the City of Santa Cruz is sponsoring an “Open House” at the Police Department Community Room, located at 155 Center Street. That’s the place you will want to be if you would like to find out more about the proposed Coastal Rail Trail project within the City of Santa Cruz. This plan is getting serious, so get involved!

And there’s another meeting on Thursday evening, too! You probably can’t go to both. A “Connecting the Drops” event will be held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the New Brighton Middle School Auditorium, with an “Open House” at 6:30. This event is being jointly sponsored by the County of Santa Cruz, the Regional Water Management Foundation, and the Santa Cruz County Local Agency Formation Commission. If you want to know about water recycling, groundwater recharge and stormwater management, water conservation, and fish and watershed management, this is where you should be.

Let me also alert listeners to another opportunity to get involved with transportation planning. If you do it by January 30th, you can submit an official comment on the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, or RTP, which is going to be regional in scope. There is information on this, and on the two meetings tomorrow, at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Connecting The Drops Agenda

2040 Regional Transportation Plan Website

Coastal Rail Trail Project Open House

Friends of The Rail Trail Website

Rail Transit Study

Big Day At The Board Tomorrow

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Monday, January 25, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

LandWatch Monterey County

LandWatch Monterey County

Lots of land use issues at the Monterey County Board of Supervisors tomorrow.

At 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, the Board will decide whether to add a new set of regulations to the existing County Code. In this case, the Board is likely to provide for a set of design guidelines for exterior lighting. Quite recently, the Carmel Pine Cone editorialized against County regulations that the newspaper says go too far. Looks like the Board will add even more regulations to the mix. If you are interested, check out today’s transcript at kusp.org/landuse.

Agenda Item #22 would advance the very controversial Ferrini Ranch Project, located off Highway 68. Pending lawsuits might derail that project, but the County is forging ahead on behalf of the developer.

Finally, the Board is poised to remove affordable housing restrictions from 168 affordable homes in the Castroville area. The Moro Cojo subdivision was approved only because the homes were supposed to be permanently affordable. Any resale of one of the homes was supposed to be at a price that an average or below average income family could afford. Now, current owners have persuaded the Board to let them sell at market prices This will be a windfall worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to those owners, but will eliminate the future affordability of 168 homes.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Carmel Pine Cone Editorial (See Page 24A)

Monterey County Board of Supervisors Agenda Website

  • Agenda Item #21 – Design Guidelines
  • Agenda Item #22 – Ferrini Ranch
  • Agenda Item #23 – Moro Cojo Housing

AgKnowledge

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Sunday, January 24, 2016 / 7:30 a.m.

AgKnowledge

AgKnowledge

On January 13th, I advertised the Ag Focus program, which is aimed at community leaders who would like to learn more, in depth, about agriculture in Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley. Today, let me introduce you to a comparable program, aimed at community leaders in Monterey County. This program, called AgKnowledge, is sponsored by the Grower Shipper Foundation, and applications are now being accepted. The deadline for applications is February 28th, so you do have time to research whether you’d like to be involved, and to get your application in.

The AgKnowledge program will expose participants to the key issues facing today’s ag industry, and issues that will determine its future.  Participants commit to nine months, including nine, daylong sessions. These intensive sessions provide AgKnowledge Fellows with a broad understanding of the agriculture industry and its local, national and global impact. Experts from both within the agriculture industry and outside speak to a wide range of topics and issues. This broad spectrum approach is intended to ensure a balanced and informed educational experience.

Sessions on water, the agricultural workforce, and food safety and security are all planned. And participants are going to spend a “day with a farmer, too.” Track down more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

AgKnowledge Website

Land Use Report – Focus Ag

Register For AgKnowledge

Lighting Up The Riverwalk

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Friday, January 22, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

CWC

CWC

Those who want to get involved in land use, water, transportation, and related issues can act individually, and I definitely encourage that. They can also get together with others who share similar perspectives and concerns, and that is by far the best way to have an impact on the land use decisions that so fundamentally affect our local communities. Any long time listener to the Land Use Report has heard that before. My “unhidden agenda” is to stimulate the residents of the Monterey Bay Region to get personally involved, individually and in groups, in land use, transportation, and water issues. We like to think that we have “self-government” here in the United States, but self-government only works when we get involved ourselves.

Today, let me pitch a local nonprofit organization that works in both Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, namely the Coastal Watershed Council. I have links to more information at kusp.org/landuse. Two items in particular might be of interest. There is a San Lorenzo Lighting Ceremony taking place today, Friday, at 5:15 p.m. on the San Lorenzo Riverwalk. You can take part by showing up on the levee near the Warriors’ stadium at the right time.

You might also be interested in a “Connecting the Drops” presentation being given at the New Brighton Middle School on January 28th. Learn about our water supply challenges.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Coastal Watershed Council Website

Information On The San Lorenzo River Lighting Ceremony

“Connecting The Drops” Presentation on January 28, 2016.