The Land Use Report

An Earth Day Celebration Tomorrow

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Earth Day Santa Cruz

Earth Day Santa Cruz

Earth Day, this year, is April 22nd. If you’d like to read a brief history of Earth Day, please hunt down today’s transcript at kusp.org/landuse, where I have posted a link to the Earth Day Network website.

And if you’d like to participate, personally, in an Earth Day event, this year, check out that transcript! I have links to many such events, around the Bay, and a lot of them will be taking place tomorrow, Saturday, April 19th.

Save Our Shores, based in Santa Cruz, is sponsoring an Earth Day celebration in cooperation with the Marine Mammal Center and the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association, or ALBA. This grand celebration is actually going to take place on the Triple-M Ranch, in the Elkhorn Slough watershed. Many listeners (and, of course, I count myself among them) are very much concerned with the preservation and protection of the marine environment in the Monterey Bay. Note that organizations that have that objective as their primary purpose are trying to do something on the land, to highlight what Earth Day is all about. In fact, how we use the land directly affects our marine environment, and I hope you’ll consider getting out in that environment, tomorrow, in celebration of Earth Day, and to help in a practical way in efforts to protect and preserve the natural environment, here in our spectacular Monterey Bay Region.

There are lots of opportunities to do that, so celebrate Earth Day, wherever you live around the Bay.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Earth Day Network Website

Earth Day 2014 – Santa Cruz

Earth Day 2014 – Salinas

List of Earth Day 2014 Events in Monterey County

Save Our Shores Earth Day 2014 Events

Earth Day 2014 Celebration Flyer

Save Our Shores Website

ALBA Website

The PC Does Capital Improvements

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

City of Santa Cruz

City of Santa Cruz

Recently, I told listeners how important Planning Commissions are, in the context of reviewing the agenda of the Monterey County Planning Commission. Tonight, you could attend a meeting of the Planning Commission of the City of Santa Cruz, and see this truth about the importance of Planning Commissions play out in a different venue.

The Santa Cruz City Planning Commission meets this evening in the Santa Cruz City Council Chambers, starting at 7:00 o’clock. Two items are of very significant importance, from a land use policy point of view.

First, the Commission will consider the City’s 2015-2017 Capital Improvement Program, to determine whether or not the CIP, as it’s called, is consistent with the City General Plan. I often tell KUSP listeners that a City or County General Plan is the local government’s “Constitution for land use.” That is really only true if the actions that the local government takes are, in fact, “consistent” with the adopted General Plan. Public works spending has a big impact on the future of the local community. Unless those spending decisions are consistent with the General Plan, future growth and development will be unconstrained by land use policy decisions.

Second item tonight: new rules for “Accessory Dwelling Units” in the City. This affects both property owners and neighborhoods – not to mention the city’s affordable housing crisis. There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz Planning Commission Agenda – April 17, 2014

April 9, 2014 Land Use Report on the Monterey County Planning Commission

A Species In Decline?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wikimedia Commons.org

Wikimedia Commons.org

I like to keep up to date with what’s going on in the land use world, all around the Monterey Bay Region. The San Lorenzo Valley is hidden away among the trees, at the very northernmost part of Santa Cruz County, and sometimes you have to do a little research, to find out what’s going on up there. If you are interested, you should be aware that the Valley Women’s Club maintains a website and distributes an email bulletin, that can definitely help you keep informed on some of the most important issues affecting the San Lorenzo Valley.

A recent bulletin from the Valley Women’s Club alerted me to some news of which I had been unaware. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization. Among other activities, it maintains a “Red List” of threatened species. The Valley Women’s Club reported that the IUCN has now placed the Sequoia Sempervirens, our beloved redwood tree, on that “Red List” of threatened species.

According to the IUCN, and I am quoting here:

It is imperative to place all remaining ‘old growth’ forests … under strict protection. Logging the species should be under stricter regulation allowing regeneration to maturity of this species on all sites where it occurs in commercially exploited forests.

This is not really “news,” but it is a sobering reality check. More public involvement to protect our redwood forests would seem to be in order!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Valley Women’s Club Website

VWC Article – Bad News for Sequoia Sempervirens

IUCN Red List Bulletin

Information About The IUCN

Red List Entry For Sequoia Sempervirens

The Governance Committee

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Water Supply Project.org

Water Supply Project.org

The “Governance Committee” of the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project will meet tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. If you live on the Monterey Peninsula and are following the proposal to finance and build a new desalination plant, you might want to attend that meeting.

Despite its name, the “Governance Committee” is not able to “govern” the development of the proposed project in any direct way. I think the idea was that there ought to be some locally elected leaders fully engaged in overseeing this proposed project, since it is actually a project that would be carried out by a private, for profit company, California American Water. Cal-Am has lots of customers, who are members of the public, but its main objective is to keep its stockholders happy, and the stockholders might naturally place their own interests above the interests of the public.

As I noted last Friday, voters in the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District will get to decide, in June, whether or not to direct their elected representatives to pursue the possible buyout of Cal‑Am, so that their public water supply is furnished by a public agency, instead of by a private, for-profit company. If you haven’t started studying this important issue, I hope you will!

Meantime, think about attending that meeting, tomorrow. The meeting will be held in the Board Room of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District. Links to more information are found in the transcript of today’s Land Use Report.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Governance Committee Website

Governance Committee Agreement

Governance Committee Membership

Governance Committee Meetings and Agendas

Governance Committee Agenda, April 16, 2014 Meeting

The Land Use Report on Measure O

Geologic Hazard Abatement

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Wikipedia.org

Wikipedia.org

Tomorrow, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors will decide whether or not to establish a “Seascape Seawall Geologic Hazard Abatement District,” charged with raising money from property owners who would be benefitted by creating the district, and by efforts to maintain a seawall in the Seascape area. I expect that the district will be established. If you would be affected, and particularly if you object, tomorrow is your last opportunity to speak out. The Board of Supervisors has discretion on whether or not to create the district unless the owners of property constituting more than fifty percent of the assessed valuation of the proposed district object to its formation.

I have links to more information at kusp.org/landuse. This item is a great example of how our governmental system provides mechanisms for collective action, so that what are in one sense “individual” problems can be dealt with effectively. Each individual property owner in Seascape who needs the protection of a seawall can’t finance and maintain an individual seawall. It’s uneconomic and it wouldn’t work. The new district, if established, can provide a way to mobilize collective resources to address problems that individuals can’t deal with themselves.

In fact, isn’t this specific example of exactly what government, in all its forms, is all about?

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Board of Supervisors Agenda – April 15, 2014

Agenda Item #44 – Aptos Seascape Geologic Hazard Abatement District

Reference to Geologic Hazard Abatement District in Public Resources Code

LegInfo Website For State Law References

Measure O

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Friday, April 11, 2014

MPWMD

MPWMD

You could probably tell from listening to the Land Use Report yesterday that I pay quite a bit of attention to the land use, water, transportation, and environmental issues that affect Carmel Valley. One way I keep up to date on land use issues affecting Carmel Valley, and affecting Monterey County in general, is by subscribing to the newsletter of the Carmel Valley Association, or CVA. I definitely encourage listeners to do the same.

I often find out about Monterey County land use issues, in the first instance, from the CVA Weekly Bulletin. The latest edition of the CVA Weekly Bulletin indicates that the Carmel Valley Association Board of Directors has come out in favor of Measure O, a ballot measure going before the voters of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District in June. If you are one of those voters, you should start paying attention to Measure O, if you haven’t already started doing that. In essence, Measure O would start the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District down the road to a possible public acquisition of California American Water, the private, for-profit water company that currently delivers water to the Peninsula.

The CVA Weekly Bulletin didn’t outline the reasons for the CVA position in favor of Measure O, but it did say that it would be publishing its argument for a “Yes” vote in future editions. Good reason to subscribe!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

CVA Weekly Bulletin

CVA Website

Monterey Elections Notice About Measure O Ballot Argument

Monterey Herald News Article on Ballot Language Lawsuit

Coast Weekly Article on Ballot Language Lawsuit

Ballot*Pedia Website Discussion of Measure O

Monterey Herald Editorial on Measure O

The Carmel River Watershed Conservancy

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Carmel River Watershed Conservancy

Carmel River Watershed Conservancy

The Carmel River is a major source of water for the Monterey Peninsula. It is a source of water for fish, too, including endangered steelhead trout. In fact, the California American Water Company has been taking more water out of the river than they are legally allowed to remove, and they have been doing that for years. These excessive water diversions have degraded the river’s ability to support steelhead, and Cal-Am is under an order to cut back. A big motivation for the proposed desalination plant is the fact that diversions of water from the Carmel River have to be reduced.

There is a nonprofit organization that focuses specifically on the Carmel River, and perhaps even more importantly, on the Carmel River watershed. That organization is the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy, and I’d like to make sure that listeners who care about the Carmel River know about its work. I have put a link to the Conservancy’s website in the transcript of today’s Land Use Report, and I encourage you to visit the website, look around, and then to subscribe to the email alerts that the Conservancy will provide, from time to time. They’re free!

Most recently, the Carmel Valley Association has alerted its supporters that the Conservancy will be doing an update to the 2005 Watershed Assessment and the 2007 Action Plan. You might want to get informed about some exciting projects in process and on the way!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Carmel River Watershed Conservancy Website

Carmel River Watershed Conservancy Facebook Page

The Monterey County Planning Commission

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Monterey County

Monterey County

Local governments make most of the land use and development decisions that I talk about here on the Land Use Report. That particularly includes city councils and county boards of supervisors. County governments have land use jurisdiction over all lands that are not located within the boundaries of an existing city. If land is located within a city, then the city council of that city has jurisdiction

City councils and boards of supervisors almost always make their decisions based on advice and recommendations provided by the city or county planning commission. Sometimes, the decisions made by planning commissions are final, though subject to an appeal to the council or the board. Planning commissions, in other words, are important. If you care about land use, you really should be following the activities of your local planning commission, just as you should also be following the decisions of your local city council and board of supervisors.

Today, the Monterey County Planning Commission is meeting in Salinas, starting at 9:00 a.m. A link to the Commission’s agenda is at kusp.org/landuse. The commission will be considering a “Right To Farm” ordinance, new procedures governing how to amend the County General Plan, and an ordinance change that would make it more difficult for oil companies to explore and produce oil and gas in residential districts in Monterey County. There are some other items of interest, too!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Planning Commission Agenda – April 9, 2014

Planning Commission Meeting Website – Agendas and Minutes

The Sand City “Eco-Resort”

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Audubon

Audubon

Last Thursday, I alerted listeners to a meeting of the Coastal Commission being held this week in Santa Barbara. On the Commission’s agenda on Wednesday, April 9th is a proposed “Eco‑Resort.” This 184‑room condominium development would be located within the sand dune habitat found on the ocean side of Highway One, in Sand City. Links to lots of information, including pictures and diagrams, are found in today’s transcript. Check that out at kusp.org/landuse.

The project is unusual in that the Coastal Commission staff recommends approval, albeit with a lot of conditions. Developments on the ocean side of Highway One, in the middle of the habitat of an endangered species (in this case the snowy plover), are not usually projects that the Coastal Commission staff thinks are a good idea. In this case, though, approval of the project would set the stage for the settlement of a lawsuit against the Commission. That is an obvious factor in the consideration of the proposal. At least one environmental group, called the Pelican Network, is supporting the development. The Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Audubon are all opposing it, and have written a strong letter, outlining their environmental objections.

I encourage listeners to weigh in on this important matter. There is still time to let the Coastal Commission know what you think.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Coastal Commission Agenda

Monterey Bay Shores Project Website

Monterey Bay Shores Project Pictures and Diagrams

Monterey Bay Shores Facebook Page

Audubon California Alert

Pelican Network Website

Coast Weekly Article on the Eco-Resort

Monterrey Herald Article on the Eco-Resort

April 3, 2014 Land Use Report on the Eco-Resort

Click here to receive a copy of an opposition letter from environmental groups

Water And Development

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Monday, April 7, 2014

USGS.gov

USGS.gov

I encourage you to check out the written version of these Land Use Reports to get more information. If you do, you’ll find the title of today’s report is “Water and Development.” Those two words encapsulate most of the subject matter I address here on the Land Use Report. I guess we could throw in the word “transportation” to round it all out.

In terms of “water,” here are some “heads up” announcements. Tonight, the City of Santa Cruz is going to hold a Water Conservation Master Plan Modeling Workshop, starting at 5:00 p.m. in the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Water wonks are definitely invited. The workshop will be followed by a meeting of the City’s Water Commission, starting at 7:00 p.m., in the City Council Chambers. Tomorrow, the City Council itself will be meeting in those chambers, starting at 2:30 in the afternoon. A good part of the meeting will be devoted to water-related matters, including a proposal to spend $350,000 to study water supply reliability. Water rationing issues are also on the agenda.

In terms of “development,” here is an advance notice of a luncheon meeting of the League of Women Voters of Monterey County. On April 9th, that’s Wednesday, you can attend their noon luncheon and get a “development” update provided by LandWatch Monterey County. Check out these items at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Water Conservation Workshop – April 7, 2014

Water Commission Agenda – April 7, 2014

Santa Cruz City Council Agenda – April 8, 2014

Agenda Report – Water Rationing at the City Council

Agenda Report – The $350,000 Contract

LandWatch At The League of Women Voters – April 9, 2014

LandWatch Website