The Land Use Report

A Farewell And Tribute To Ken Gray

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Friday, October 31, 2014

gapatton.net

gapatton.net

Ken Gray, a former member of the Marina City Council, passed away on October 11th. He was a State Park employee for 36 years, serving as Senior Park and Recreation Specialist in Monterey County until his retirement in 2009. Ken was instrumental in efforts to establish the Fort Ord Dunes State Park. In 1998, Ken spearheaded an initiative effort in the City of Marina to establish an Urban Growth Boundary.

As an environmental planner by training, Ken understood how important it can be for local communities to decide when (and where) to say “no” to development proposals that always promise money, jobs, and community opportunities. Our human intrusions into the World of Nature face no built in limits. We need to limit ourselves. How and where to do that are questions of great importance to the future of our local communities.

At a time when most community leaders in Marina thought it was “impossible” to establish an Urban Growth Boundary, to protect open space and agricultural lands, Ken believed it was worth a “try,” since the stakes were so high for his community. Ken Gray’s willingness to “try” to establish the Urban Growth Boundary fundamentally changed the community life of Marina, because the success of Measure E, in the year 2000, let everyone see that community-based politics could literally change the world.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Weekly Article on Ken Gray

Two Worlds’ Tribute to Ken Gray

A Climate Action Plan

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

City of Watsonville

City of Watsonville

The City of Watsonville is developing a Climate Action Plan. Global warming is a major threat to human civilization, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to characterize it that way. National and international efforts to do something about global warming have basically stalled out, and since there are actions at the local level that can make a difference, local governments are stepping up.

Let me talk about one impact of global warming you may not have thought about. As the planet gets warmer, sea levels rise. That is pretty well understood, and the most immediate and visible impact is obviously the encroachment of water onto what are now developed areas along the shoreline. The City of Santa Cruz (which has already adopted a Climate Action Plan) has maps that show that some of the City’s major tourist attractions will be underwater, if worst-case scenarios turn out to be accurate.

But the City of Watsonville is far from the shore. Pajaro Dunes has something to worry about, but it’s not in the city. However, as sea level rises, saltwater intrusion into coastal freshwater aquifers will increase. This happens out of sight, but the impact is very real. The Pajaro Valley and the City of Watsonville need to do what they can to stop global warming and sea level rise. Building a seawall won’t help. Maybe the City’s Climate Action Plan will.

For more information check kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz County Climate Action Strategy

City of Santa Cruz Climate Action Plan

City of Watsonville DRAFT Climate Action Plan

The public review period on Watsonville’s draft Climate Action Plan will end on November 6, 2014. For more information, contact Suzi Merriam at the City. Telephone: 831-768-3074

Take A Forest Walk

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Save Upper Campus.org

Save Upper Campus.org

UCSC has a Long Range Development Plan (or LRDP) more or less equivalent to a community “General Plan.” The LRDP sets out where development will be permitted, and outlines some of the conditions under which development will occur. Because the University of California is not subject to local land use regulations, neither the City nor the County General Plans apply. The LRDP is the defining document.

The current LRDP proposes something like 3.5 million square feet of new construction on the UCSC  “North Campus” area, previously part of a “Natural Reserve.” Development plans have been stalled for some time, because the University has to get approval for an extension of City water onto the North Campus area, and that has not yet occurred, pending the completion of an Environmental Impact Report. As a full disclosure, listeners may remember that I have been representing the Community Water Coalition, which has been opposed to the UCSC water service extension.

Today, let me suggest you visit kusp.org/landuse, and find a link to a schedule of upcoming “Forest Walks.” A group called “Save Upper Campus” is providing tours of the affected area, so community members will know what the debate is all about. One Forest Walk begins at noon today. Other Walks are scheduled for November 1st, 2nd, 12th, and 15th. Other walks are scheduled beyond those dates.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Save Upper Campus Website

Save Upper Campus – Forest Walk Schedule

BIG News From The City Of Santa Cruz

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

CLCV.org

CLCV.org

The Santa Cruz City Council is meeting this afternoon and evening, and there are a couple of items that may be of interest, particularly if you happen to live in or have a business in the City of Santa Cruz, or if you get your water service from the City.

During the afternoon session that begins at 2:00 p.m., the Council will decide whether or not to join the so-called “Basin Implementation Group,” or BIG, currently comprised of representatives of the Soquel Creek Water District and the Central Water District. The City and the County have both been officially invited to join. The BIG is a collaborative effort, involving agencies that produce groundwater from the Soquel-Aptos Groundwater Management Area. The City of Santa Cruz does get a small amount of its water supply from that area, which is one reason for the City to join. In addition, this kind of collaboration could lead to cooperative efforts to deal with long-term water supply issues affecting all of North and Mid-County. Finally, the new state laws relating to groundwater management make clear that if local efforts don’t produce an acceptable plan for groundwater management, the state may come in and take control. Water issues are key to our community’s future. This is an important proposal.

At 7:00 p.m., the Council is going to talk about the future of the Municipal Wharf. Some major changes are being contemplated. If you care, you should get involved now!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

City Council Agenda, October 29, 2014

Agenda Item #18 – Regional Groundwater Initiatives

Agenda Item #2 (7:00 p.m. session) – Wharf Master Plan

Right To Farm

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Monterey County Farm Bureau

Monterey County Farm Bureau

Listeners may or may not have heard about a type of land use regulation intended to support a property owner’s “right to farm.” I am going to explain the concept, but if you would like really to understand the idea, you should attend tomorrow’s meeting of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors.

At 3:00 p.m., the Board will be discussing proposed amendments to the current “right to farm” ordinance for Monterey County. That’s Agenda Item #15. A well test report for a major development proposal on San Benancio Road is Agenda Item 15.1.

A “right to farm” ordinance does not, actually, establish a “right to farm.” The basic zoning and land use regulations affecting specific agricultural properties grant that right. What a “right to farm” ordinance does is to provide notice to adjacent property owners, letting them know that farming operations will be taking place on the agricultural properties near them. The idea is to insulate farmers from nuisance lawsuits based on the noise, dust, pesticide use, and early and late agricultural operations that are all involved in farming.

I am all for a strong “right to farm” ordinance, but the best way to protect agriculture is to do what Santa Cruz County has done, and to say that the ONLY permitted use for prime agricultural land will be agriculture. No development on prime ag land. That really protects a “right to farm.”

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Board of Supervisors Agenda Website

Bridge Building

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Friday, October 24, 2014

SCCRTC

SCCRTC

In Santa Cruz County, the Regional Transportation Commission, or RTC, has put a 32-mile rail corridor into public ownership. The Proposition 116 funds used to buy the corridor were restricted for use on passenger rail projects. The rail line is expected to increase current and future transportation options, including its potential for both passenger and freight rail service. In addition to this rail service, the RTC is expecting both a bicycle and pedestrian path to be constructed in the corridor adjacent to the tracks.

Most recently, work on the largest bridge along the rail line, the La Selva Beach Trestle, is now underway. If you go online at kusp.org/landuse, you can see a picture. I think interested persons are going to enjoy watching this bridge building activity as it progresses. Construction began in late August, and demolition of the old bridge has now been accomplished, using cranes that are currently on site. Crews have begun pouring concrete to form anchors to the existing footings. Fabrication of the new bridge has been completed in Arizona, and the new pieces of the bridge are expected to begin arriving in the next couple of weeks. Local carpenters, masons and other workers have been hired to work on the bridge, and will construct it locally.

As I say, why not make a trip out to the site, and see progress being made on our newest piece of transportation infrastructure!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

RTC Website on La Selva Trestle Construction

Strategic Growth Council Webcast

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

State of California

State of California

Affordable housing and sustainable communities; that sounds good to me! As listeners may remember, the State of California is trying to incentivize better planning, and to stimulate the creation of more sustainable communities throughout the state. While I tend to think that specific directives, rather than indirect incentives, might be the best route to the goal, many other states aren’t really doing anything to achieve fundamental shifts in the destructive patterns of land use that result in sprawl, loss of agricultural lands, wasted energy and wasted time. California’s sustainable communities program is at least attempting to grapple with the beast of a bad land use paradigm. Also on the positive side, California recognizes that “sustainable communities” must incorporate ample amounts of affordable housing.

If you think that affordable housing and sustainable communities are something worth fighting for, and would like to get involved, please track down today’s transcript at kusp.org/landuse. I have links to a draft set of affordable housing and sustainable communities guidelines, and also a link that will let you register for a free, and participatory, webcast on this topic. The webcast is on October 27th, so plan ahead. Comments on the Guidelines are due by October 31st.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Strategic Growth Council Website

Draft Guidelines

Webcast Signup Page

Heads Up – Next Week At The PC

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Monterey County

Monterey County

I always feel a little bit bad when I use the Land Use Report to announce an important meeting that I think listeners would enjoy attending, and then give listeners something like thirty minutes to get there. I did do that yesterday morning, in announcing a couple of interesting presentations scheduled before the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. A lot of times it’s simply unavoidable, given when these reports are recorded, and when the public agency schedules are available. Trying to make up for yesterday, I am giving you a week’s notice, today, of a Monterey County Planning Commission meeting scheduled for next Wednesday, October 29th.

There are a number of interesting items on the agenda, and I have placed a link to the County’s website for the Planning Commission agendas in today’s transcript, so you can track down all the details once the County has posted the documents online. Specifically, the Commission is going to consider adding an historic resources designation to a property in Carmel; the Commission will decide an appeal of a design approval for a detached garage, and will determine whether or not to allow three new lots in Pebble Beach. Most significantly, the Commission is going to consider a major new subdivision (commonly known as the Ferrini Ranch development) along Highway 68 near Toro Park. That proposal is one worth marking your calendars for! Interested residents should be planning to attend this important meeting!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Planning Commission Agendas

Polls And Taxes

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Somers Connecticut

Somers Connecticut

Agenda Item #32 on today’s Agenda of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors might be an item of interest. Actually, Agenda Item #31 could be pretty interesting, too, so let me start with that one. Agenda Item #31 will be an in-person report from Assembly Member Mark Stone. Assembly Member Stone represents residents in both Santa Cruz and Monterey County, and has been an active and pretty effective legislator, and this last year in the Legislature has seen some really important changes in state law. You might think plastic bags, or you might think groundwater management. There is some new legislation in the social services area, too. Come on down to the County Government Center at 9:00 o’clock this morning to get a comprehensive briefing.

Immediately following Assembly Member Stone’s presentation will be an in-person presentation by pollster Gene Bregman, who was commissioned by the Board of Supervisors to conduct a survey of 400 registered voters, to analyze voter support for various ways to finance and fund maintenance and improvement of the County’s roadways. Land use and transportation go together, and our transportation future is directly linked to our land use future, with the influences definitely going both ways. I suggest that this report on transportation funding possibilities (details not available until later this morning) will be of interest to many KUSP listeners.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Agenda

Agenda Item #32 – Board Report

Groundwater Legislation

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Environment Canada

Environment Canada

Tomorrow, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will be convening in a “joint meeting” with the Board of Supervisors of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency and the Water Resources Agency Board of Directors. The membership of these officially separate agencies largely overlaps, with the five person Board of Supervisors being the core group. On the agenda tomorrow is a discussion of recently enacted groundwater legislation. Showing up at the Board Chambers tomorrow at 1:30 in the afternoon will be a good way to get some information about the important new water legislation that will be governing groundwater rights in California on into the future.

Three bills were signed by the Governor on September 16th: SB 1168 and SB 1319, both authored by Senator Fran Pavley, and AB 1739, authored by Assembly Member Roger Dickinson.

This new legislation allows certain local agencies to be designated as Groundwater Sustainability Agencies. Such agencies must, within certain time limits, adopt Groundwater Sustainability Plans. The legislation gives such agencies broad powers to implement the plans, but if local agencies fail to act, or if a Sustainability Plan is inadequate or is not being implemented to achieve the sustainability goal, the state has the ability to step in.

More Information
Land Use Links
Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog
Monterey County Board of Supervisors Agendas
Senate Bill 1168
Senate Bill 1319
Assembly Bill 1739