LandWatch Report on Supervisors' Vote, Nov. 26, 2002

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County of Monterey

A LandWatch Report _________________________
Status of the Monterey County General Plan Update

This brief report is to let LandWatch members and supporters know what actions the Monterey County Board of Supervisors has most recently taken with respect to the Countyís General Plan Update process. In addition, this report outlines what sort of actions might be expected in the future, and what concerned citizens can do.

On Tuesday, November 26, 2002, the Board took some very significant, but interim actions:

1. On a 3-2 vote, the Board directed the county staff to amend the General Plan Update to include twelve specific ìproperty owner requests.î Approval of these requests builds into the GPU a policy statement allowing either residential or commercial development on lands that are now in agricultural and open space use.

Each one of these property owner requests was inconsistent with the twelve guiding objectives upon which the General Plan Update has been based.

In other words, the Board of Supervisors approved various property owner requests that are not compatible with a future for the County that focuses growth in a limited number of areas where infrastructure can be provided, and where urban growth is appropriate. Instead, these property owner requests are compatible with a type of growth that permits rural landowners to develop subdivisions and shopping centers in areas that are most appropriate for agricultural and open space use.

Unfortunately, each one of the individual property owner requests approved by the Board may act as a kind of ìlegal precedentî for other land use changes that violate the twelve guiding objectives.

As an example of what the Board did on November 26th, the Board included approval of a residential subdivision designation for lands outside of the Marina Urban Growth Boundary, as established by Measure E, an initiative measure enacted by the citizens of Marina in November 2000.

Here is how the vote went on this critically important matter:

AYES: Armenta, Calcagno, Johnsen
NOES: Pennycook, Potter


2. The Board also directed the County staff to revise the draft GPU to include many recommendations from the Planning Commission, and recommendations adopted by the Board itself. Many of these recommendations strengthened and improved the draft GPU. Others weakened it (at least from the LandWatch point of view). However, very few if any of these changes were fundamentally inconsistent with the twelve guiding objectives upon which the draft General Plan Update has been based.


3. Probably most importantly, the Board said that none of its decisions (neither the "good" ones, nor the "bad" ones-again, from the LandWatch point of view) will really be final until approved by a "new" Board of Supervisors that will be seated in January.

Next January, Supervisor Judy Pennycook will be replaced on the Board by Supervisor Butch Lindley. Supervisor Pennycook has been a strong and consistent vote for a General Plan Update based on the critically important twelve guiding objectivesóobjectives that came out of an extensive public outreach process, and that call for a new commitment to focused, compact growth, and an end to sprawl.

Supervisor Lindleyís thoughts about the GPU are not yet known-except that he was very critical of the GPU during his campaign last spring.

Because it is "next year's" Board (not the Board that just voted) that will determine the final shape of the General Plan Update, nothing can be taken for granted!


What Now?

Continued participation is vital! If the ìnewî Board, next year, tries to discard the twelve guiding objectives upon which the GPU has been based, to approve even more property owner requests, and to undermine good planning, citizens have remedies they can use: lawsuits; referenda, and the initiative.

LandWatch is not going to give up the fight for a General Plan Update that can protect and preserve our spectacular environment, that will strengthen our agricultural and tourist-based economy, and that will provide quality affordable housing for working families throughout the county. Stay tuned!

Gary A. Patton, Executive Director LandWatch Monterey County
Box 1876 Salinas, CA 93902
Telephone: 831-422-9390
>From the Monterey Peninsula: 375-3752
FAX: 831-422-9391

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