The Land Use Report

A Community Resilience Challenge

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Daily Acts.org

Daily Acts.org

All around the Monterey Bay Region, local residents are thinking about “sustainability” and community “resilience.” The “sustainable cities,” or “transition” movement, which is nationwide in scope, is absolutely flourishing in Monterey County. I have a link to the Sustainable Monterey County website in today’s transcript, available at kusp.org/landuse. From there, you can find the websites of the many local action groups based in Monterey County, groups like “Sustainable Carmel,” “Citizens For A Sustainable Marina,” and “Sustainable Carmel Valley.” To give you an early warning “heads up,” the annual meeting of Sustainable Monterey County is currently scheduled for Saturday May 16th at the Park Lane Activity Room, 200 Glenwood Circle in Monterey. I encourage you to put that meeting on your calendar, and to subscribe to the periodic email bulletins furnished by Sustainable Monterey County.

I have also put a link in today’s transcript to a website that poses a “Community Resilience Challenge” to anyone who would like to respond. A whole list of suggested projects is included, including starting or joining a school or community garden, planting a fruit tree, or installing a greywater system.

The “Community Resilience Challenge” began in 2010 in Santa Monica. If you get involved, you can help bring it to the Monterey Bay Region.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Sustainable Monterey County Website

Monterey County Local Action Groups

Resilience Challenge Website

Sign Up For The Challenge

Open Space? We’re Not Sure!

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

FORA

FORA

Regular listeners may remember from earlier reports that the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (or FORA) has been overseeing a project that has involved a lot of public participation. Local residents have been asked to specify what sort of design guidelines for future Fort Ord development would seem most congenial to them.

The workshop process that FORA has followed is called the “Regional Urban Design Guidelines” project. Participants were told <quote> “the workshops are an opportunity to offer input on former Fort Ord village and town center, gateway, regional circulation corridor and trail design preferences. Your input will contribute to the eventual completion of the Regional Urban Design Guidelines, which will include standards for road design, setbacks, building heights, landscaping, signage, and other matters of visual importance.” Lots of people have responded, and their preferences are now known.

According to a fascinating article in the Monterey Herald, the public officials who initiated this public process don’t like what the public is telling them. The public wants “open space.” The public officials, not so much! They want development. At least that’s what the article says. I have a link to the article at kusp.org/landuse. Check it out. And remember that the officials we elect are supposed to work for the public, not vice versa.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

February 26, 2015 Land Use Report on FORA Process

Monterey Herald Article on Fort Ord Planning

Description of Design Guidelines Project

Fort Ord Reuse Authority Website

Recycled Water In The Pajaro Basin

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

PVWMA

PVWMA

Yesterday, I let you know about a Desalination Forum being held at Monterey Peninsula College this afternoon, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. I also told you about a meeting on Regional Water Transfers and Exchanges, being held in the Santa Cruz City Council Chambers this afternoon, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. There is more information in today’s Land Use Report blog. A person truly dedicated to learning more about our water supply situation could actually take in both of these meetings, starting in Monterey, and then heading to Santa Cruz.

Let me add a third important meeting to the list of today’s meetings on water supply. Tonight, at 7:00 p.m., in the Watsonville City Council Chambers, the Board of Directors of the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (or PVWMA) will consider a Recycled Water Storage and Distribution project. Reusing wastewater to help offset groundwater overdraft is a strategy that the PVWMA has been pursuing for a number of years, and this project is the Agency’s latest effort to prevent the “waste” of wastewater, and to maximize efficient water use.

It’s a fact that an interested person could actually take in all three of these meetings! I hope that at least some KUSP listeners out there will decide to attend at least one of them! It would be hard to overstate how important it is that we be aggressive and proactive in dealing with our water supply situation.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Agenda Packet, April 22, 2015 PVWMA Board Meeting

PVWMA Meeting Agendas

WSAC Meeting Announcement

MPC Website

MPC Campus Maps And Directions

Public Water Now Website

Desal Will Be Discussed!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Public Water Now

Public Water Now

Today is a good day to think about water. In fact, considering our not so abundant rainfall recently, every day is probably a good day to think about water, and specifically to think about how we can use less, and live within the constraints of the water we’ve got.

There is, of course, the other alternative, which is to find a way to increase our water supply. Historically, Americans have always been fond of the “supply side” approach. Facing natural resource constraints, our inclination is to build a dam, extend a pipeline, or drill a well. Most recently, the “let’s increase our water supply” approach has focused on building a factory to “manufacture” fresh water, using that big ocean out there as our supply source.

Here are two upcoming events focusing on water supply, one of them specifically on desalination:

  • Tomorrow, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., the City of Santa Cruz Water Supply Advisory Committee will receive a presentation on the “Potential for Water Transfers and Exchanges, and Aquifer Storage and Recovery.” That presentation will take place in the Santa Cruz City Council Chambers.
  • Also tomorrow, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., and in honor of Earth Day, Monterey Peninsula College will present a “Desalination Panel.” That panel presentation will take place in MPC Lecture Forum 102.

There is more information on both these events at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

WSAC Meeting Announcement

MPC Website

MPC Campus Maps And Directions

Public Water Now Website

A Monumental Idea

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Monday, April 20, 2015

BLM.gov

BLM.gov

At 10:45 tomorrow morning, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal by Supervisor Ryan Coonerty that the Board officially support the designation of the Coast Dairies property, located on the county’s North Coast, as a National Monument. The intention is to show broad public support, and thus to persuade President Obama to use his executive power to designate the National Monument.

The National Monument idea is somewhat controversial. The biggest concern seems to be that by declaring the Coast Dairies property to be a National Monument, more visitors would be attracted. Bad traffic conditions on Mission Street might just get a lot worse. Parking, littering, sanitation, and other problems could get worse, too. Other monument designations have definitely had the effect of increasing public use, and the problem that concerned members of the public are highlighting is whether it makes sense to ask for the designation before having a good idea of what the impacts will likely be, and how they might be addressed. There is also some concern that existing protections for the land might actually be weakened by the designation.

Supervisor Coonerty is suggesting lots of conditions, intended to deal with the concerns identified so far. You can find a link to the proposed resolution at kusp.org/landuse. And you are invited to testify tomorrow, if you’d like to do that.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Board of Supervisors Agenda, April 21, 2015

Agenda Item #48 – Resolution Supporting Monument Designation

Friends of the North Coast Website

Rain Does Not Cancel

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Save Upper Campus.org

Save Upper Campus.org

Yesterday I alerted listeners to the “Climate Speakers.” This relatively new group is attempting to educate and involve the community on issues related to climate change. Today’s blog has a link to their website. Consider having one of the Climate Speakers address your class or group.

So, yesterday I highlighted the “Climate Speakers.” Today, I want to advertise the “Forest Keepers.” The Forest Keepers is a group that has been around for some time. They, too, have a website, and the link is at kusp.org/landuse. The Forest Keepers are also interested in community education, and in stimulating community involvement. Their focus is the north campus portion of UCSC, which is threatened by the University’s truly dramatic expansion plans. The University wants to build more than 3,000,000 square feet of new construction in what has previously been an official “natural reserve.” As part of their educational program, the Forest Keepers conduct “forest walks,” to show people what is at stake. You can get a complete list on the Forest Keepers’ website, but here is a heads up on a “Wildflowers and More” walk scheduled for Sunday, April 19th. Meet at 1:00 p.m. at the North Remote lot at UCSC.

For all of their walks and tours, the Forest Keepers promise that “rain does not cancel.” Lots of walks and tours are coming up. Let’s hope we get lots of rain!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Climate Speakers Website

Save Upper Campus “Forest Keepers” Website

Spring Forest Walks Schedule

The Climate Speakers Program

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

MIT.edu

MIT.edu

Global warming is profoundly affecting the natural environment, and since the World of Nature sustains all life, and everything we do, that means that global warming is important. When we cause big changes to the processes that govern the Natural World, we also upset the conditions upon which our current human civilization is based.

For instance, to the degree that global warming has either caused or contributed to the severe drought conditions prevailing in California, global warming has placed our entire state economy, and many local communities, in what amounts to total jeopardy. If we really only have “one year of water left,” as recent news stories have said, things might change drastically, and very quickly. The disappearing Sierra snowpack is the water reservoir on which we have built our society. If that really disappears, all our human arrangements, that take its existence for granted, are going to have to change in dramatic ways.

If you have a class you teach, or a group of which you are a member, and would like to learn more, let me alert you to the “Climate Speakers” program. Climate Speakers will provide information on climate change and global warming to ordinary people, to help empower them to make a difference.

We all need to learn more, so we can take action to address the real challenges ahead. There is a link to the Climate Speakers website at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Climate Speakers Website

LA Times Editorial – One Year Of Water Left

Seacliff Village At The Coastal Commission

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Santacruzca.org

Santacruzca.org

The California Coastal Commission meets today, tomorrow, and Friday. If you attend in person you will get to pay a visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Marin County Civic Center. I have been there, and it’s pretty spectacular. Of course, you can just turn on the Commission’s streaming video coverage, and you won’t even have to back your car out of the driveway to watch the Commission do its thing.

City of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County residents might be particularly interested in the agenda items scheduled tomorrow, Thursday April 16th. There are links in today’s Land Use Report blog. The “big item” tomorrow from the Santa Cruz County perspective is the proposed Seacliff Village Plan Amendment. The County’s proposed amendment would modify the current designation of a vacant parcel just off Highway One.

The current plan is for “pedestrian-oriented, low traffic generating, neighborhood, and/or visitor serving” uses. The proposal is to allow “residential development,” including single-family residences. The Coastal Act states that “[t]he use of private lands suitable for visitor-serving commercial recreational facilities, designed to enhance public opportunities for coastal recreation, shall have priority over private residential, general industrial, or general commercial development…

So what’s the future of our coastal communities? Do they provide visitor opportunities, or just accommodate more high-end residential development?

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

This Week’s Coastal Commission Agenda

Coastal Commission Live Stream Website

Staff Report – Seacliff Village Plan

Ask Permission Or Beg Forgiveness?

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Del Monte Forest Conservancy.org

Del Monte Forest Conservancy.org

Today, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will take up a couple of planning items at 1:30 p.m. There is a link at kusp.org/landuse.

Agenda Item #9.1 is a hearing on a proposed ordinance that would establish new policies and procedures for the protection of archaeological and tribal cultural resources. In addition, the ordinance would add a new Chapter to the County Code, to establish a Native American Advisory Panel.

While Agenda Item #9.1 is focused on broad issues of public policy, Agenda Item #9.2 is all about the personal situation of Paul and Linda Flores. The Flores cut down 24 protected trees, and then they applied for permission for an “after-the-fact” approval. The Monterey County Planning Commission turned them down, and denied the application. In Agenda Item #9.2, the Flores are bringing their case to the Board of Supervisors, through provisions that allow permit applicants to appeal denials to the elected officials who are in ultimate control of County policy.

Generally speaking, if applicants who violate the rules can get an “after-the-fact” approval if they’re caught, that’s an inducement for more people to violate the rules. It will be interesting to see whether the Board will ultimately take action to back up the Planning Commission, and to tell the applicants “no way.”

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Board Agenda Website

Working Lands

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Audubon.org

Audubon.org

Item #72 on tomorrow’s agenda of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is a proposed “Working Lands Resolution.” While this proposed resolution is not really binding, it is likely to be at least somewhat controversial

The “Working Lands Resolution” is being proposed by Supervisors Ryan Coonerty (representing the North Coast) and Supervisor Bruce McPherson (representing the San Lorenzo Valley). Timber harvest issues are controversial in both districts, and this Resolution comes down strongly in favor of timber harvesting and agriculture. That’s what the phrase “working lands” means; these are lands that are being used for economic production, including cattle ranching and timber harvesting.

The proposed resolution says that the county’s “working lands” are [quote] “at risk of conversion to other uses.” In fact, thanks to a long legacy of protective legislation, including our Growth Management System, enacted by Measure J, the conversion of the county’s “working lands” to any kind of residential or commercial development is very small. The objection seems to be to the possibility, on the North Coast in particular, that timberlands and range lands might be included in future parks.

The proposed “Working Lands Resolution” is not directly regulatory, but that doesn’t mean that the discussion won’t be lively! If you want to get involved, the meeting is tomorrow!

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

April 14, 2015 Agenda, Santa Cruz County Board

Agenda Item #72 – Working Lands Resolution

Trust For Public Land Definition of “Working Lands”