Gary Patton's Land Use Reports
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Past Reports

The following Land Use Report is presented by Gary Patton, Executive Director of LandWatch Monterey County. The opinions expressed by Mr. Patton are not necessarily those of KUSP Radio, nor of any of our sponsors.

Monday, April 5, 2004 – LAFCO and the San Mateo County Coast
The future of the San Mateo County Coast is under discussion in the context of a set of LAFCO hearings focusing on whether or not the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District should be allowed to expand to include parts of the San Mateo County coastside not currently within the District.

LAFCO, as frequent listeners surely will not have forgotten, is the acronym that stands for "Local Agency Formation Commission." LAFCOs are established pursuant to state law, and exist in every county in California. Their assignment is to oversee the "organization" of local governmental agencies, and that specifically means annexations or expansions.

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District has acquired lands in Santa Clara, San Mateo, and even Santa Cruz Counties, but mostly on the "Bay" side. The District would now like to expand its jurisdiction to the "Coast" side of San Mateo County, and there is some definite resistance to the idea. Because Santa Cruz County would be affected, the Santa Cruz County LAFCO has also held hearings on the proposed expansion, but the real decisions will be made by the San Mateo County LAFCO.

If you particularly value the coast, you may want to find out more about this land use controversy. The next public hearing will be held on Wednesday, April 7th, at 2:30 p.m., at the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors’ Chambers, 400 County Center, in Redwood City.

More Information:
San Mateo County LAFCO -,,5526264_5530410,00.html
MROSD Application -,,5526264_5530410_8503256,00.html
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District -

Tuesday, April 6, 2004 – Community Across Regions
A week from today, on Tuesday, April 13th, one of the country’s leading community organizers will be appearing in Santa Cruz. Ernie Cortes, who is the recipient of a MacArthur "genius" award, is the Southwest Regional Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation. He will be speaking on "Building Community Across Regions - Organizing, Networks & Power in a Changing America." His presentation will take place in Holy Cross Hall, 170 High Street, Santa Cruz, beginning at 7:00 p.m. The event has been organized by the Center for Justice, Tolerance & Community at the University of California at Santa Cruz. The public is most definitely invited.

The Industrial Areas Foundation is a network of community organizations that has fought for living wages, equitable public investments, and effective public school reform. They have also been involved in (and perhaps are becoming increasingly involved in) key land use policy issues. Since one of the theme songs of this Land Use Report is that we can’t have self-government unless we get involved ourselves, I thought it was appropriate to bring this program to your attention. I’m giving you lots of time to put this on your calendar. Since land use policy decisions have profound economic, social, and environmental effects, it behooves all of us to pay attention, and to become engaged in the local issues that affect us most.

More Information:
Center for Justice, Tolerance & Community -

Wednesday, April 7, 2004 – Fort Ord Toxics
The redevelopment and conversion of Fort Ord from military use to civilian use is one of the biggest land use challenges confronting Monterey County. The Fort Ord Reuse Authority is carrying out a broad range of activities. The federal Bureau of Land Management, and the State Department of Parks and Recreation, are also deeply involved with land on the former Fort Ord
The cities of Marina, Seaside, Del Rey Oaks, and Monterey, and Monterey County Government, are all pursuing reuse projects. Monterey Peninsula College, and a host of nonprofit organizations have plans in motion. The state government is actively pursuing the creation of a Veterans Cemetery. The Army itself is still playing a large role, and of course the California State University at Monterey Bay is perhaps the most visible new and significant occupant of the former Army base.

Among the issues confronting all of these agencies and organizations is the issue of toxic contamination and toxic cleanup. If you’d like to find out more about that topic, let me alert you to a meeting to be held this evening, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Stilwell Community Center, Building 4260, Gigling Road in the Ord Military Community, and to a meeting to be held tomorrow night from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Casanova-Oak Knolls Park Center, at 735 Ramona Street in Monterey.

More Information:
For information concerning Community Involvement Workshops or meetings of the Fort Ord Community Advisory Group, please contact Melissa Hlebasko at 831-393-1284, or by email at,

Thursday, April 8, 2004 – First Tee
The Seaside City Council, some time ago, approved a project known as "First Tee." This is a golf course project, and it was fairly controversial, not least because it would use scarce potable water supplies to water the grass of the new golf course.

Local citizens who thought that the project was ill-advised filed a lawsuit, but the Superior Court found that they hadn’t followed the correct procedures, and dismissed the lawsuit on technical grounds. The issues may still be on appeal, but certainly the courts didn’t seem to promise any prompt attention to the concerns of those who opposed the project.

Project opponents then drafted and circulated a petition to place an initiative measure on the ballot. The initiative begins with this statement:
"The people of the City of Seaside find that the economic future of the City … [depends] upon an adequate supply of potable water.…All golf courses within the city should use non-potable water but there is presently no such supply of non-potable water available to serve existing or new golf courses. [Therefore], no new golf courses should be built in the City of Seaside unless and until there is available non-potable water to initiate irrigation and maintenance of a golf course."

Whatever the merits of the arguments on either side, the opponents of First Tee have shown that concerned citizens can be successful in bringing key land use issues forward for a community decision.

More Information:
Information on First Tee Initiative -

Friday, April 9, 2004 – Santa Cruz County Planning Resources
The County of Santa Cruz makes available a genuinely outstanding set of resources for those interested in land use policy. First, Santa Cruz County makes its complete County Code available on line. If you want to research any aspect of the local laws governing land use in Santa Cruz County, it’s easy to get access. That’s not true most places.

Second, the Board of Supervisors makes its complete agenda packet available on line, so any member of the public can get access to exactly the same planning staff reports and other materials that the Board itself will be consulting. Most (but not all) public agencies put their meeting agendas on line, so the public can see the topics to be covered. It’s unusual for public agencies to make agenda packet materials available, however. In Santa Cruz County, after you’ve read the materials, you can also send an email comment, that will be considered by the Board, and a copy of which will go to each Board member.

Another great resource is the Santa Cruz County Geographic Information System. Again, this is available to the public online. If you haven’t ever tried this system, click on the Land Use Report link at, and look up the transcript for today’s Land Use Report. You’ll have a lot of fun with these interactive maps, that let you locate everything from existing parks, to riparian habitats, to old Rancho lines.

For KUSP, this is Gary Patton.

More Information:
Santa Cruz County GIS -
Santa Cruz County Code -
Board of Supervisors Agenda -