The Land Use Report

A Castroville Meeting Next Tuesday

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Andy Ausonio Library.org

Andy Ausonio Library.org

Here is a “heads up” item for North Monterey County residents who might like to be involved in decisions that can affect open space, habitat, and water quality projects in and around Castroville. On March 10th, next Tuesday, the Central Coast Wetlands Group will be holding a public meeting at the offices of the Castroville Community Services District.

The street address is 11499 Geil Street, in Castroville, and the meeting is scheduled from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Comida y bebidas gratis estarán disponible. Which means that free food and drinks will be provided. This will be a meeting for Spanish-speaking and English-speaking members of the community.

The Central Coast Wetlands Group, affiliated with the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, is a wetlands science research group serving the Central Coast of California. It works closely with regional and state partners to improve wetland science communication between researchers, resource managers, and policy makers. It not only does on the ground research, but also organizes and hosts meetings that bring groups of people together to collaborate on wetland-related efforts. There are lots of opportunities within the Castroville Community Services District to do just that. I encourage you to mark your calendar for the meeting next Tuesday. There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Castroville Community Services District Website

Central Coast Wetlands Group

Rules For ADUs

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

City of Santa Cruz

City of Santa Cruz

The acronym “ADU” stands for “Accessory Dwelling Unit.” In the City of Santa Cruz, land use and zoning regulations allow homeowners in a single-family residential district to construct a whole new residential unit on their existing city, subject to the City’s ADU regulations. The purpose of the ADU regulations is to promote small and more affordable housing opportunities in a city in which housing costs have continued to escalate.

Tonight, the Santa Cruz City Planning Commission is going to be considering possible amendments to the ADU regulations that were rather recently adopted by the Santa Cruz City Council. The staff report that is in the Commission’s agenda packet provides an informative discussion of the issues before the Commission, and if you are interested (and I hope many listeners are) you can find a link to that report in today’s blog posting, at kusp.org/landuse

Three questions are going to be addressed. First, what height restrictions should be imposed on ADUs constructed near to a property line (the so-called “daylight plane” issue)? Second, what percentage of a residential backyard can be converted to an ADU use? Third, should ADUs be available to serve as vacation rentals?

The meeting tonight, at the Santa Cruz City Hall, begins at 7:00 o’clock. You are definitely invited!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

City Planning Commission Website

Planning Commission Agenda – March 5, 2015 Meeting

Agenda Reports on ADU Item

Learn More About LAFCO!

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lompico County Water District

Lompico County Water District

Each Saturday, I prerecord the Land Use Reports for the week to come. Last Saturday, just before I headed down to the studios, I read an article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel that gave me some news on an issue that I have talked about on several occasions.

Listeners may remember the proposal to “reorganize” the Lompico County Water District. The proposal has been pretty controversial, which is natural, because it would eliminate the Lompico County Water District as a governmental agency, and turn its operations over to the San Lorenzo Valley Water District. One big tropic of debate was whether or not the voters and landowners of the Lompico District should authorize a $3.2 million bond issue, to finance improvements and repairs that are conditions of the proposed reorganization. Last Saturday, the Sentinel reported that the bond proposal failed by one vote. A link to the Sentinel article can be found at kusp.org/landuse.

The importance of voting is highlighted by the election results. The importance of the Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO, is also evident. LAFCO supervised the entire reorganization proposal, including the election. The Santa Cruz County LAFCO meets this morning, and will be discussing its budget for the year ahead. That meeting starts at 9:30, and you are invited to attend and learn more about LAFCO!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz County LAFCO Website

March 4, 2015 LAFCO Agenda

Santa Cruz Sentinel article on Lompico Water Bond Vote

Website on Reorganization Proposal

LAFCO Staff Report On Proposed Reorganization

Tiered Water Rates

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Durham, NC.gov

Durham, NC.gov

There is a meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. that should be of interest to anyone who pays money to the City of Santa Cruz for water service. City residents qualify. So do residents of Pasatiempo, Live Oak, and even parts of the City of Capitola. Anyone who gets their water from the City of Santa Cruz will care about how much they are going to get charged for that water. This evening, the City Council is holding a joint meeting with the City’s Water Commission, and that’s the topic that will be addressed. Public meetings are open to the public, and this meeting (called a “study session”) should be of interest to many KUSP listeners. You can get a link to the agenda of the study session, and to the staff report and related materials, by looking up today’s posting on the Land Use Report blog at kusp.org/landuse.

One of the topics for tonight’s meeting will be the concept of “tiered water rates,” which means charging more per unit of water as the amount of water used goes up. Obviously, this approach to water pricing builds in a bias in favor of conservation. Interestingly, the whole concept of tiered water rates is under attack in San Juan Capistrano, where a court said it was illegal to use this system. That case is on appeal. A link to an article about the case is also in today’s blog posting.

I invite you to check it out.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Study Session Agenda – March 3, 2015 Agenda

Water Rate Design – Staff Report

Chart Showing Water Rates & Charges

LA Times Article On Challenge To Tiered Water Rates

Item #58 On The Board Agenda Tomorrow

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Monday, March 2, 2015

KFOW.org

KFOW.org

Boards of Supervisors meet on Tuesdays. The Board meeting schedule is less reliable than the 24-hour rotation that defines our days (and nights), but when you contemplate a Tuesday, think about those five individuals who run your county government. The chances are they will be doing something, on Tuesday, that will affect your future. And a lot of those future-affecting items relate to land use.

This morning, I’d like to invite you to check out Agenda Item #58 on the agenda of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, for the meeting that will take place tomorrow. I have a link at kusp.org/landuse that will take you to the website where the Board agendas can be located, and if you call the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting up on your screen, you’ll find links to a number of separate documents related to the proposed approval of the Final Map for the second phase of what has been called the “East Garrison Standard Subdivision.”

If you have questions about what sort of development should be taking place on the former Fort Ord, be advised that the Board of Supervisors has endorsed the creation of 373 new residential parcels in a remote corner of the former Army base. More water demand, traffic, etc. is what will happen. The plan got its initial approval in 2007. Projects like this do define our future. So, “heads up” on Tuesdays!

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey County Board of Supervisors Agenda Website

A Santa Cruz Redwoods National Monument?

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Friday, February 27, 2015

BLM

BLM

Should the former Coast Dairies property be designated as a National Monument? The Coast Dairies property is about 5,800 acres in extent, and is located on the Santa Cruz County North Coast. It is already in public ownership, under the stewardship of the Bureau of Land Management. BLM also has responsibility for a large part of the former Fort Ord, and Fort Ord, of course, has already been declared to be a National Monument.

National Monument status is not conferred by popular vote. The President gets to say what lands should become National Monuments. You can read the Presidential Proclamation that conferred National Monument status on Fort Ord by visiting kusp.org/landuse.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about designating the Santa Cruz County North Coast as a National Monument. No money comes with the designation. Just lots of visitors! 400,000 annual visitors is a figure being suggested as a realistic estimate. Where do they park? How do they get there, and would such a designation actually turn land already protected into what amounts to a nationally advertised resort destination? Will Davenport turn into a hotel/resort gateway? Could the natural resource values of the North Coast actually be compromised, not protected, by the Monument designation.

These are all worthy questions. Robust public discussion and participation is advised!

More Information: 

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

February 12, 2015 Land Use Report – A Monumental Opportunity

Santa Cruz Redwoods National Monument Campaign

Fort Ord National Monument Website

April 20, 2012 Presidential Proclamation Naming Fort Ord

Fort Ord Guidelines: Cast Your Vote

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

FORA

FORA

As previously noted, Fort Ord planning efforts are now underway. The Fort Ord Reuse Authority has hired consultants to develop “Regional Urban Design Guidelines.” According to reports, some 1,200 people have become involved in the planning efforts so far. You can still weigh in, if you have a mind to participate. Check kusp.org/landuse for more information.

It appears that if you sign up to be part of the process, the consultant group will then ask for your “vote” on particular ideas or concepts. I did sign up, and was asked to vote on “what kinds of transportation options should be emphasized within the former Fort Ord.” On the list were “cars,” “public transit,” “walkability improvements,” “cycling amenities,” “horses,” and a request for “any others.” One commenter promptly said “runners.”

I think that planning that is based on community participation and community goal setting (even over the Internet) is a lot better than the kind of planning that occurs only when landowners and developers have a particular project in mind. It is true, however, that the current planning effort is based on the thought that “urban” development is going to be at the center of future land uses on the former Fort Ord. That might not, in fact, be the “best use” of these lands, particularly since so much of the former Fort Ord is in public ownership. If you care, get involved!

More Information: 

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

February 19, 2015 Land Use Report – Designs on Fort Ord

Monterey Herald Article On Fort Ord Planning Efforts

Keep Fort Ord Wild Website

Fort Ord Reuse Authority Website

Fort Ord Regional Urban Design Guidelines

Sign Up To Participate

Cast Your Vote!

McKibben Speaks

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

350.0rg

350.0rg

Environmental author and activist Bill McKibben will be speaking at UCSC tomorrow, February 26th. You are definitely invited! McKibben will be presenting the annual Right Livelihood Lecture at the Common Ground Center, located at Kresge College. The presentation will begin at 2:00 o’clock tomorrow afternoon, and go for about an hour.

Following McKibben’s talk, participants will be invited to take part in a series of exercises, inspired by Joanna Macy’s “Work That Reconnects.” “World Café” conversations, and a free dinner prepared by India Joze, are also part of the package. You can get more information by pointing your browser to kusp.org/landuse, and tracking down today’s Land Use Report transcript.

Bill McKibben’s 1989 book, The End of Nature, is considered to be the first book about global warming and climate change aimed at a general audience. He is a founder of 350.org, which is a planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. 350.org is named for the safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million.

Bill was recognized in 2014 by the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, which was given to recognize McKibben’s leadership “to counter the threat of global climate change.”

Think about coming to see Bill McKibben tomorrow!

More Information: 

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Common Ground Center

Facebook Event Page – McKibben Talk

Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects

The “World Café” Method

The End of Nature

350.org

For more information contact David Shaw at: daveshawlistens@gmail.com

The Santa Cruz County Housing Element

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County

As I mentioned yesterday, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is addressing affordable housing issues at today’s Board meeting. The meeting starts at 9:00 a.m. at the County Governmental Center, at 701 Ocean Street in Santa Cruz. My best guess is that the Board will start hearing Agenda Item #50, the affordable housing item, at about 10:00 o’clock this morning. I am definitely encouraging listeners to get engaged in the affordable housing issues that the Board is addressing. It’s hard to think of a more important topic for the future of our local community.

In fact, Agenda Item #50 isn’t the only item on today’s agenda that relates to affordable housing. If you track down today’s transcript, at kusp.org/landuse, you will find a link to Agenda Item #29. That agenda item is on the “Consent Agenda,” so no public hearing is involved, but I encourage you to read the item, and make some notes.

Agenda Item #29 outlines a proposed “public participation strategy” and “timeline” for a required revision of the Housing Element to the County’s General Plan. Remember, a community’s General Plan is its “Constitution for land use,” and the basic policy approaches taken by Santa Cruz County will be determined by the County’s Housing Element.

Initial public workshops are most likely going to be held in March. Final revisions must be complete by December of this year.

More Information: 

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Staff Report on Housing Element Update on February 24, 2015 Agenda

Staff Report on Proposed Affordable Housing Program Changes

Link To February 10, 2015 Land Use Report

February 10, 2015 Staff Report

The County’s Affordable Housing Program

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Mid-Pen.org

Mid-Pen.org

It would be hard to overstate the importance of affordable housing as a land use issue. It has become ever more difficult for persons with an average, or below average, income to find housing at a price they can afford. If you care about this issue, you will probably be interested in an item that appears on tomorrow’s agenda of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.

Agenda Item #50, which will probably be heard by the Board at around 10:00 o’clock tomorrow morning, is a follow up to an earlier Board discussion. On February 10th, the Board took testimony and considered a staff report suggesting lots of changes to the County’s current affordable housing program, some of them quite consequential.

The staff report on the agenda tomorrow is the staff’s attempt to characterize what they thought the Board would like to see, by way of final action. I have a link to the staff report in today’s transcript, so you can review what now is “on the table” by way of proposed changes. Since the item on tomorrow’s agenda is a continued public hearing, it’s not too late for you to chime in with your thoughts.

One of the issues under discussion is whether the developers of five or more units should be required actually to construct affordable units as part of their development, or whether the developers will simply be able to pay a fee, and make County government responsible for turning money into real affordable housing.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Staff Report on Proposed Affordable Housing Program Changes

Link To February 10, 2015 Land Use Report

February 10, 2015 Staff Report