The Land Use Report

Affordable Housing In Pebble Beach?

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Sunday, May 8, 2016 / 7:30 a.m.

LandWatch Monterey County

LandWatch Monterey County

An affordable housing project is moving forward in Pebble Beach.

In 2012, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved the construction of about 90 to 100 new housing units in Pebble Beach. At the time this approval was granted, the Pebble Beach Company agreed to build affordable housing on lands in Pebble Beach, instead of paying a so‑called “in lieu” fee to the County. An “in lieu” payment would have given the County money to go find some other place to build affordable housing. Thanks to that 2012 decision, new affordable housing is actually slated to be built in Pebble Beach itself.

LandWatch Monterey County, whose mission is to “promote and inspire sound land use policies through grassroots community action,” thinks that this decision was a step in the right direction. This is not, however, what everyone thinks. Critics have highlighted, among other things, both water and traffic impacts, which are considered “significant and unavoidable,” according to the Environmental Impact Report.

The Pebble Beach Inclusionary Housing project includes a 24-unit complex to be built in the Del Monte Forest. The project will leave 80% of the 13.2-acre parcel in permanent open space.

The Monterey County Planning Commission will consider this proposal on Wednesday, May 11th, at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will take place at 168 West Alisal Street, in Salinas, and you are definitely invited!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

LandWatch Website

Map to 168 West Alisal Street

Monterey Herald Article on Proposed Development

Monterey County Water Issues

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Friday, May 6, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

MPWSP

MPWSP

Water, water, water in Monterey County. Get your update here!

Monterey County water issues affect literally every part of the county, which just happens to be one of the largest counties in the state, geographically. South Monterey County, which draws from the Salinas Valley groundwater basin, faces water quality issues related to oil production, and the future of fracking in South Monterey County is hot political topic right now. In addition, water supply concerns are also significant, with a major project in the wings to increase the productive capacity of the San Antonio and Nacimiento Reservoirs.

Seawater intrusion has almost reached Salinas. That’s a big issue for the Salinas Valley, and North Monterey County is in a state of critical overdraft, too, with that overdraft, and saltwater intrusion, threatening both agricultural and domestic water supplies.

The Monterey Peninsula, where lots of people live, of course, and where tourism abounds, is facing an order to cut back the diversion of water from the Carmel River. Multiple efforts are underway, to try to comply with that order, but all the solutions are way behind schedule. Track down today’s Land Use Report blog, at kusp.org/landuse, for a link to an update on the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project.

Local residents need to get involved. The stakes are very, very high!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project Update

A Neighborhood Meeting For The Eastside

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

City of Santa Cruz

City of Santa Cruz

Here’s some news for residents who live on the Santa Cruz Eastside.

This evening, there will be a neighborhood meeting that will be of particular interest to residents of Eastside Santa Cruz. Some people call it “Midtown,” now, instead of “the Eastside.” Whatever you call it, if you are an “Eastside” or “Midtown” resident, you should think seriously about getting out of the house this evening, and attending a meeting that will run from 6:45 until 8:15. The meeting is going to take place in the Fellowship Hall of the Santa Cruz Community Church, which is located at 411 Roxas Street. Santa Cruz Police Community Service Officer Ken Deeg will talk with neighbors of East Morrissey and surrounding neighborhoods about crime and vandalism issues that are becoming all too common.

There is a land use angle, too, of course. Starting at about 7:45 this evening, the assembled neighbors will have a chance to talk about what the City’s “Corridors Project” might mean on the Eastside. To cut to the chase, proposed changes to the City’s Zoning Code will allow a great deal of increased density, and increased building heights, along Water Street and Soquel Avenue. Parking problems and traffic issues really need some discussion. It would be hard to overstate how committed the City seems to be, at this stage, to land use changes that will radically affect Eastside Santa Cruz.

That meeting is tonight. I hope you can make it!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Back To The Future

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Monday, May 2, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Gary Patton

Gary Patton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am taking a look back at the Land Use Report!

The very first edition of the Land Use Report aired on KUSP on July 28, 2001. Here’s a quote:

Land use policy is important. How we use the land has a fundamental impact on our economy, on social equity, and on the health of the environment.

Native Americans believed that they belonged to the land. Our modern conception is that the land belongs to us—and belongs to us as individuals. Our “individualistic” approach to land ownership and land use is tempered somewhat by the policies we establish as a community. When we talk about “land use policy,” we’re talking about the rules we make for ourselves, acting as a community, that guide and govern the way we use the land.

Every week … this land use report will focus on the choices we make—about how we use the land.

KUSP is facing very daunting financial challenges, and may, actually go off the air. That would certainly be a shame, because KUSP has truly provided the Monterey Bay Region with an opportunity to speak out with its unique community voice. I’ve been proud to have covered the “Land Use beat” since 2001, and if I’m not here next week, I hope listeners will remember those words from fifteen years ago:

Land use policy is important!

If you want to have an impact on the future of your local community, you will have to get involved yourself!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Community Voices / Community Choices

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Sunday, May 1, 2016 / 7:30 a.m.

bonnie-johnny8606Let’s talk about “Community Voices” and community choices.

Recently, the Land Use Report has been part of KUSP’s “Community Voices” series, which also includes “First Person Singular,” a program that presents KUSP listeners with an opportunity to hear unique voices from the Monterey Bay Region.

I truly appreciate the fact that KUSP has featured the Land Use Report for so many years. The first edition of the Land Use Report aired on July 28, 2001. That means that the Land Use Report has now been heard on KUSP for fourteen years, nine months, and three days.

I don’t know how much longer KUSP listeners will be able to hear the Land Use Report. The station is facing major economic challenges, and there is a “May Day” campaign underway right now. If you want to keep KUSP community radio on the air, today would definitely be a good time to step up and contribute. As usual, I have a link in today’s transcript, at kusp.org/landuse.

Whatever the fate of KUSP’s community voices programming, I hope listeners will remember the basic message of the Land Use Report. Here it is: Land use decisions will determine our future, and the choice is ours. Community choices can create the kind of future we want. Get engaged. Get involved. And get going!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

KUSP First Person Singular

Contribute to KUSP – The “Mayday” Campaign

The Highway 68 Corridor Project

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Friday, April 29, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Zocalo Public Square

Zocalo Public Square

Do you care about the future of Monterey County’s Highway 68?

Highway 68 is a designated scenic route connecting the Monterey Peninsula to Highway 101 and the Salinas Valley. It is a key commute route, and carries up to 30,000 vehicles each day, not counting tourism and special event traffic.

A planning effort is just getting started, and you can participate. The Monterey-Salinas Scenic Highway 68 Plan will evaluate current and future travel patterns between Salinas and the Monterey Peninsula, the feasibility of operational and capacity improvements, and the potential for wildlife connectivity enhancements. The Transportation Agency for Monterey County, or TAMC, will conduct a program of public meetings and online outreach efforts, the objective being to find affordable strategies that will contribute to the long‑range sustainability of Highway 68.

If you care, and there are a lot of reasons to care, I urge you to search out the links in today’s Land Use Report blog, located online at kusp.org/land use, and then to use those links to chart your personal involvement. One workshop has already been held. There will be others. I suggest that you might also want to contact the Highway 68 Coalition, which has been fighting to preserve the scenic qualities of Highway 68 for years.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Highway 68 Corridor Project Website

April 21, 2016 Workshop Announcement

Highway 68 Coalition Website

A Special Planning Commission Meeting

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

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

There is a “Special” meeting of the Santa Cruz Planning Commission tomorrow, and it’s important.

The City of Santa Cruz suffered from a major earthquake in October 1989. Large portions of downtown Santa Cruz were destroyed. Almost amazingly, the City bounced back, and in deciding how to rebuild, the community debated, at length, over the issue of building heights along Pacific Avenue, the main downtown shopping street. It is a bit of an oversimplification, but property owners generally wanted to be able to build very tall structures, reasoning that they could finance reconstruction better if their property were more developable. The community at large, while sympathetic, wanted to preserve a more human scale for the downtown, and compromises were made on both sides, with the result you can see today. The downtown is vital, and thriving (not that there aren’t problems).

The plan that governed the rebuilding of downtown was called the “Downtown Recovery Plan.” Tomorrow, the City Planning Commission is going to consider amendments that would allow much taller structures on Pacific Avenue, between Cathcart and Laurel Streets, and on Front Street between Soquel Avenue and Laurel Street. Big, downtown residential structures would be built, if the standards are changed.

If you care, you had better get involved now. The meeting is at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, in the City Council Chambers. Get more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Agenda, April 28, 2016 Planning Commission Agenda

Wikipedia Article on 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake

Ag Land Buffers In Watsonville

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

California Farm Link

California Farm Link

The Watsonville City Council faces a big decision tomorrow!

A City’s General Plan is supposed to be its “Constitution for land use,” and the Watsonville General Plan says that any proposed development should provide a 200-foot ag buffer setback. This required setback helps protect any new, non-agricultural use from the impacts of farming operations. It also helps ensure that agriculture will not be displaced because of conflicts generated by the new development.

The Watsonville Planning staff wants the City Council to throw out this Constitutional rule, and to make other changes to the General Plan, in order to grant approval to a developer to construct two hotels, six restaurants, a gas station, and three retail stores on the ocean side of Highway One, right near the Riverside Avenue exit. The required ag buffer would interfere with this plan, so the Planning staff says to throw out that requirement.

If you think the proposed development might detract from the way the City presents itself to coastal travelers, you are probably right. Nonetheless, absent community opposition, the development is likely to be approved, and is likely to start a spiral of development on the ocean side of the Highway that will overrun nearby agriculture, given some time.

The meeting is tomorrow evening at 6:30. There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

April 4, 2016 Land Use Report on Proposed Watsonville Development

Staff Report on Proposed Hotel Development

April 26, 2016 Watsonville City Council Agenda

Hacking Housing

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

Monterey County

Monterey County

Keep your eye on the Monterey County Housing Advisory Committee.

Last Wednesday, April 20th, the Monterey County Housing Advisory Committee met in Salinas. Usually, I like to give advance notice of important land use related meetings, but when that’s not possible, it sometimes does make sense to provide a little recap. I can tell you, by way of plotting your future schedule, that the next two meetings of the Monterey County HAC, as the Housing Advisory Committee is known, are scheduled for Wednesday May 11th, and Wednesday July 13th. If you are a Monterey County resident who cares about housing issues, you might want to put those dates on your calendar. You also might want to browse around a bit on the County’s website devoted to housing issues. The County has placed its housing efforts under the jurisdiction of the Economic Development Department, and there is a good bit of information available online.

Last Wednesday, the HAC received a presentation on the so-called “Carmel Casitas” affordable housing development. There was a real debate about the income levels at which the affordable housing will be offered. The Committee has been pretty much split on the question as between “moderate” income units, and “very low income” units. There is a big difference there, and there is still time for you to get involved.

Check out the links at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

County Website Information On The Housing Advisory Committee

County’s Housing Website

City Of Santa Cruz: Expansion Pack

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

City of Santa Cruz

City of Santa Cruz

How would you like more density in your residential neighborhood?

The City of Santa Cruz has big plans for a lot more density and a lot more development along the City’s major transportation corridors. Find out how to plug into the process at kusp.org/landuse.

I strongly advise you, if you live or work in the City of Santa Cruz, to pay attention to what the City is proposing. Pay attention and get involved, to be more specific!

What is being proposed is a change to the City’s land use regulations to allow five-story, and maybe even seven-story buildings along Mission Street, Ocean Street, Water Street, and Soquel Avenue. Parking would be limited, and both commercial and residential uses would be housed in the new, high-rise structures. A member of the City’s Planning Commission explains the program in a recent article in the Good Times weekly newspaper. The title of the article is quite appropriate: “Expansion Pack.

If you think local streets are already “packed” with traffic, and that the “expansion” of the UCSC campus, and other major developments, like a hotel in a residential neighborhood on Broadway, have already “packed” the City quite enough, get ready for a lot, lot more.

Unless, of course, community involvement suggests that the City’s plans aren’t really what local residents want. No one is going to know what you want if you don’t get involved yourself!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Good Times Cover Story On Density And Development

City of Santa Cruz Corridors Planning Website