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County General Plan Update

The County of Monterey is updating their seriously outdated General Plan. The decision made by the Board of Supervisors will determine the future of Monterey County for decades to come.

Ordinances

LandWatch Supports The Creation of a Private Road Ordinance Which Would Require Proof of Access to a Private Road Before a Project Receives a Discretionary Permit
On October 27, 2011 LandWatch sent a letter to the Planning Commission regarding the proposed Proof of Access Ordinance and we support staff’s concept of the ordinance. This ordinance would require proof of access for a private road prior to processing a discretionary permit. The proposed ordinance would ensure that issues which may arise over the use of private roads are resolved by the parties at the time an application is submitted to the County. Alternatively, if disagreements arise later, proof of access must be resolved prior to the commencement of the land use allowed by the approval. The hearing was November 9th with a decision to continue the item until December 14th for language changes. (12.10.11)

Ballot Measures

LandWatch and Other Organizations Settle With County on Attorney’s Fees
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors and a coalition of local environmental organizations have reached agreement covering the costs and legal fees incurred by the organizations in connection with last year’s litigation over the placement of the Community General Plan Initiative (Measure A) and the Rancho San Juan Referendum on the June 2007 ballot. Click here to read the details. (01.10.08)

Post-Election Analysis
Although Measure A did not prevail in last Tuesday’s election, the election results, on the whole, were not a defeat! We battled the opposing General Plan Measure C to a draw (since it did not prevail either), and we scored a wonderful victory on Measure D, defeating for the second time the Rancho San Juan/Butterfly Village development, this time by a 64% to 36% margin. (06.17.07)

Ninth Circuit Rules 14-1 Citizen Petitions Need Not Be Translated
"The full Court of Appeal's opinion emphatically rejected the argument that privately circulated initiative, referendum, and recall petitions must be translated into Spanish under the VRA," said Fred Woocher, an attorney with Strumwasser and Woocher, who argued the case on behalf of LandWatch and other plaintiffs. "There is obviously no longer any basis for the County to claim otherwise. Furthermore, there is no legal basis for the County to delay moving forward with the elections on the qualified petitions – one an initiative to amend the county General Plan and one a referendum overturning approval of Rancho San Juan." (09.21.06)

Status of the Initiative and the Referendum Campaigns
LandWatch remains hopeful that the Community General Plan Initiative and the Butterfly Village/Rancho San Juan Referendum measures will be placed on the November ballot. You can read the details of what the Monterey County Board of Supervisors has been up to. GPU 4 is being rushed. LandWatch and our allies have filed litigation to challenge the blatant violation of the California Election Code. (06.08.06)

LandWatch Warns the Board About Withdrawing Measure C from Ballot
LandWatch warns the Board of Supervisors that they must seek a court order to take Measure C, the Referendum against Butterfly Village off the June 6th ballot. No legal challenge contesting the referendum's validity has been filed. The Board has no legal authority to unilaterally withdraw Measure C from the ballot. (03.28.06)

LandWatch Asks Registrar of Voters to Femind Board of Election Laws
LandWatch urges that Tony Anchundo, Registrar of Voters, should make it clear to the Board of Supervisors that they should not remove Measure C, the Referendum against Butterfly Village, from the June 6, ballot. Election Code section 9605 clearly directs that the election shall not be amended or withdrawn after the 83rd day prior to the election which was March 15th. (03.26.06)

General Plan

Board of Supervisors Hearing February 12th
The Board of Supervisors will consider whether to settle a lawsuit on the general plan which requires them to change a number of policies in the general plan. The Supervisors will consider whether to extend the exemption for proof of long term water for all development in the Salinas Valley. LandWatch thinks this is both irresponsible and untimely because our lawsuit is not yet decided. (02.07.13)

LandWatch Continues Lawsuit Over General Plan Adequacy
After 18 months of negotiations, LandWatch will move forward suing the County of Monterey over its General Plan. Concerns mainly focus on the assumptions the County made to provide for water for future urban and ag uses. (05.08.12)

LandWatch Submits Letter to County on Plan Update (102K PDF file)
Though the General Plan was adopted in 2010, many of the programs still need to be implemented, including Ag Land Conversion Mitigation Program, Oak Woodland Policies, Criteria for Proof of Long Term Sustainable Water Policy, Development Evaluation System, and many more. LandWatch urges the County to start the RFP process to get the expertise to help the County meet its implementation priorities.(11.02.10)

LandWatch Continues to Pressure the County on GPU 2010
(Blurb) LandWatch delivered our response to the final environmental document on GPU 5, now known as GPU 2010, we have submitted an additional seven letters to the Board of Supervisors. (10.24.10)

LandWatch submits a second letter to the Planning Commission on the Final EIR for GPU 2010
The final environmental impact report (FEIR) for GPU 2010 was released in March 2010. After submitting our comments on this document in May, LandWatch uncovered some troubling facts about how the County planned to address erosion and sedimentation issues and the Salinas Valley water supply. We then submitted a second letter to the County addressing these issues on July 20th. (08.01.10)

LandWatch submits impressive letter on GPU 5 Final EIR
The final environmental impact report (FEIR) on the general plan update (GPU 5) was released in March 2010. LandWatch immediately went to work studying the massive document and preparing our comment letter. We submitted our letter on May 25th for the Planning Commission to review. There will be more Planning Commission hearings on GPU 5 through the summer, and then the plan goes to the Board of Supervisors. Our main concerns are: erosion and sedimentation, the water supply of the Salinas Valley, the Agriculture Winery Corridor, and traffic. (06.01.10)

LandWatch Delivers Impressive Response Letter on the Draft Environmental Impact Report for GPU5
The DEIR comment period recently ended on February 2nd and because of member support, LandWatch evaluated the DEIR with exhaustive thoroughness and precision. On February 2nd LandWatch delivered a comprehensive 162 page letter to the county evaluating the DEIR. It included 70 additional pages of expert analysis from biologists, and water and traffic engineers. Together, the LandWatch comments and our expert testimony represent an impressive accomplishment that will help us push for a better General Plan for the people and environment of Monterey County. (03.08.09)

GPU5 Update
GPU 5, the county’s updated general plan document, is getting closer to a vote by the board of Supervisors. The public comment period for the draft environmental impact report was extended again, but LandWatch remains cautiously optimistic about GPU 5’s adoption. (last updated 11.13.08)

Development Interests Have Demanded Changes in the General Plan Schedule.
Less than two months ago, planning staff informed the Planning Commission and the public that the environmental impact report (EIR) for the General Plan (GPU5) would have a public circulation period of 60 days and the schedule included multiple public hearings before the Planning Commission. (07.28.08)

General Plan Update 5 (GPU 5) November 6, 2007
LandWatch has been monitoring the policies in the new “compromise" GPU 5. The plan is currently having an Environmental Impact Report prepared. That report should be released in the summer of 2008. If you are interested in reviewing the policies in GPU 5, click on this link.

General Plan Compromises at risk with a 2-2 Vote on the Board of Supervisors
LandWatch has been involved with the current draft language for the Monterey County General Plan, GPU 5. That plan includes several policies that need protection. While these policies fall short of what we had hoped for with Measure A, they represent important progress towards a “middle-ground" that the Board of Supervisors promised the voters after the June election. Click here to read the recent letter LandWatch sent to our members outlining the policies and how our members can help. (02.07.08)

LANDWATCH COMMENTS ON GPU5 RECOMMENDATIONS
LandWatch has reviewed the recommendations on GPU 5 by the Ad Hoc Planning Commission subcommittee. We have 14 recommendations for the Planning Commission to consider. Read our detailed letter here. (09.12.07)

LandWatch message to Board of Supervisors
LandWatch will continue to follow the actions of the Board of Supervisors as they move forward, modifying the “GPU4 Template" in the aftermath of the June 5th election. At their 10:30 meeting tomorrow, the Board intends to set the parameters for a compromise general plan and to set the time table for that promise and final adoption of a new general plan. The staff report for the meeting tomorrow lays out important policy issues/parameters, however, it omits other important issues which should be included in the debate. The LandWatch letter urges the Board to include the full range of important policy issues. (07.30.07)

Democracy in Monterey Under Attack
January 3rd, 2007, in a 4 to 1 decision, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved GPU4. We must stop this “sprawl now, pay-later" plan from becoming the law of the land. (01.20.07)

LandWatch and Other Local Groups Comment on the Monterey County General Plan Update Draft EIR (928K PDF file)
The following comments on the Draft Program EIR on the 2006 Monterey County General Plan Update were submitted by LandWatch Monterey County, the Carmel Valley Association, North Monterey County Citizen’s Oversight Coalition, Highway 68 Coalition, the Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club, Prunedale Neighbors Group, Prunedale Preservation Alliance, Rancho San Juan Opposition Coalition, and Citizens for Responsible Growth. (10.08.06)

LandWatch Monterey County is reviewing the latest draft of the General Plan
(GPU4). GPU4 fails to provide build-out data, a fundamental requirement in a general plan. Not only does GPU4 fail to integrate important plan elements, important policies among the elements are dramatically inconsistent. In short, GPU4 is a planning disaster! (08.17.06)

LandWatch has taken a strong stand opposing Monterey County's irresponsible plans with the City's of Salinas sphere
The City of Salinas is told in a letter from LandWatch about GPU 4 that will result in the urbanization of thousand of acres of unincorporated lands on the outskirts of the City of Salinas. It's a plan for sprawl that will guarantee gridlock, water problems and economic hardship for the city. (08.16.06)

LandWatch Requests More information on the current General Plan Update (GPU4)
LandWatch requests from the County "build-out" data for the most recent General Plan Update, GPU 4. Without this important information it will be impossible for the public to have meaningful participation in the upcoming workshops to discuss GPU 4. The current draft of GPU 4 has serious flaws. (04.26.06)

Landwatch Comments on Draft EIR for Proposed General Plan
LandWatch wrote this comment letter to Monterey County regarding the fourth Draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed General Plan. (03.16.06)

No More Development Where Water Overdraft Exist
LandWatch says that Monterey County shouldn’t be developing more houses where there is already an insufficient long term and sustainable water supply. The new County General Plan seems to be heading in the opposite direction! (05.25.05)

Proposed Infrastructure Policies Shortchange The Public
Developers will be permitted to make traffic and water overdraft conditions worse for existing residents, if the Board of Supervisors ultimately adopts the "infrastructure" policies they discussed on May 5th.

LandWatch “Modest Proposal" On The GPU Process
In response to an abortive effort to ram through an aggressively pro-development General Plan Update document, LandWatch offers a “modest proposal" - that the Board of Supervisors actually follow the “normal" process, and set the Planning Commission recommended General Plan for a set of public hearings. (03.17.05)

The Community GPU Forum Will Be Broadcast On Community Television
Channel 24 will broadcast a video of the Community GPU Forum held in Prunedale. You can "tune in" on the web, too! (08.25.04)

"Community GPU" Process Will Maintain Public Voice
The five forums scheduled this summer are going to be critically important in ensuring that the community's priorities for the General Plan are not disregarded, in favor of a "wish list" submitted by those wanting more rural development. (08.08.04)

Here's The Schedule For The "Community GPU" Forums
This schedule gives the latest details on the "Community GPU" Forums scheduled around Monterey County during August, September, and October. Your attendance is vitally important! (08.08.04)

We Need A "Community GPU"
LandWatch has joined forces with the Planning and Conservation League Foundation, and a host of Monterey County community groups, to sponsor a set of Community GPU forums. The schedule will be out soon. Your participation is vital! (07.02.04)

LandWatch Urges Board to Complete the GPU Process
LandWatch wants the Board of Supervisors to finish the General Plan Update process they began almost five years ago, and to keep that process "public," not convert it into an "insider" process, in which County staff makes key decisions behind closed doors. (06.15.04)

Board Refuses To Make The Tough Choices
LandWatch Monterey County urged the Board of Supervisors to make the tough choices, and to adopt a General Plan Update that would focus future growth into existing urban areas, protecting and preserving both agricultural land and natural resources. Instead, the Board has started a whole new process! Here's the LandWatch letter to the Board, written prior to the Board's decision. (05.27.04)

Letter States Needed Changes
The latest version of the County General Plan Update is fundamentally flawed. LandWatch has authored a joint letter that not only critiques the Plan, but offers positive suggestions to fix it. (03.26.04)

"Boot Camp" Materials
These materials from the GPU "Boot Camp" held on Saturday March 20th will help individuals and organizations who want to comment on the latest draft of the General Plan Update, or on the Draft Environmental Impact Report. Deadline for GPU comments is March 26th. Deadline for EIR comments is April 2nd. (03.21.04)

LandWatch Comments on the Economy, Jobs & Housing
A New Economic Impact Analysis shows what's wrong, and what's right, about the draft General Plan Update. (03.16.04)

Boot Camp Session Will Prepare Participants
An important public hearing on the GPU is scheduled for Monday, March 22nd. Attend the Saturday training session on March 20th, to get prepared! (03.12.04)

LandWatch Joins Group Statement on GPU
LandWatch has joined other local groups in urging significant changes in the current draft of the GPU, to achieve the twelve Guiding Objectives that are supposed to be the foundation of the new Plan. (03.03.04)

Mark Your Calendars!
The County Planning Commission will soon be holding hearings on the latest version of the County General Plan Update. LandWatch urges you to mark your calendars now. Click here for the whole schedule. (02.17.04)

GPU Must Limit and Phase Growth To Match Infrastructure
A "Traffic Model" recently developed by County government shows that traffic and transportation problems are going to get much worse, unless strong growth management protections are incorporated into the General Plan. (10.04.03)

GPU Refinement Group Has Been Ineffective
Pointing out its ineffectiveness in helping to solve General Plan problems, the LandWatch Board has called for a return to the public process, and a prompt decision on the General Plan Update. (08.31.03)

General Plan Update Refinement Group
Unedited videotapes of the meetings of the GPU "Refinement Group" are available at the Seaside County Library (see Bonnie) or at the Steinbeck Library in Salinas. For LandWatch's initial letter, click here. For a LandWatch memo to Refinement Group members, click here. (08.02.03)

LandWatch Calls For Public Review of The GPU
The General Plan belongs to the public. Decisions about the GPU should be made in a public forum, not in specialized "committees" that are given a privileged ability to rewrite the draft document. (06.22.03)

Don't Shortchange The Public on GPU Process
The special interests fighting the General Plan are trying to shortchange the public process. LandWatch says, "no way." (06.22.03)

Schedule of GPU Workshops Set By Board
Workshops scheduled for the next several weeks will play a key role in the General Plan Update process. (05.21.03)

LandWatch Wants A Prompt Decision on The GPU
Proclaiming one thing, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors did just the opposite. On May 4th, The Board established a schedule for the General Plan Update that will put the final vote into next year. That means the final vote on the GPU will probably occur only AFTER the next Supervisorial elections. (05.15.03)

Keep To The Guiding Objectives, Says LandWatch
This article outlines what's "good" and "bad" in the newest General Plan Update. (05.15.03)

Maintain The Integrity of the General Plan Update Process
The Board of Supervisors is seriously contemplating setting up a series of "committee" meetings, to begin redrafting the General Plan Update. Even worse, the Board is seriously considering letting a special interest consultant have a privileged position to give the Board advice on how to change what the public process has brought forward. The meeting on May 6th will be critically important! (05.02.03)

A New Coalition on Monterey County Land Use
LandWatch is pleased to see the formation of a new, broad-based group to support strong General Plan policies. (04.08.03)

Important GPU Decisions on November 26th
LandWatch urges all County Supervisors to reject "political compromise"as the foundation of the General Plan Update. This LandWatch letter went to all Board Members. (12.03.02)

Letters To The Editor Are Needed!
Write a Letter to the Editor and help save the heart and soul of the draft General Plan Update. (10.03.02)

Nature Conservancy Poll Shows Support For Draft County General Plan Update
80% of the public wants the General Plan Update to contain urban growth, and to protect agricultural land. This is the Nature Conservancyís press release, outlining these striking poll results. (09.23.02)

Board of Supervisors To Make Key Decisions Soon
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors will soon be making key decisions on the General Plan Update. This LandWatch letter outlines whatís at stake. (08.29.02)

LandWatch Wants The GPU Process To Be Public
The General Plan process has resulted (so far) in a draft General Plan that would help prevent Monterey County from becoming like the Silicon Valley. Now, business interests want to take the process behind closed doors. LandWatch says "no." (07.17.02)

Your Testimony Is Needed!
The Board of Supervisors has scheduled hearings in July, to take testimony on the ìFirst Draftî of the General Plan Update. This item gives you the dates of the hearings, and provides ìtalking pointsî for your testimony. (07.05.02)

Let The Board of Supervisors Know Your Thoughts!
The County Planning Commission is recommending changes to the Draft General Plan Update (GPU). The Board of Supervisors will be taking action soon. Now is the time to let the Board of Supervisors know what you think. LandWatch hopes that you will read the following "Joint Letter,"and then take action, as outlined in the memo that follows. (06.20.02)

Joint Letter Provides Roadmap For GPU Comments

LandWatch Memo on GPU Comments

Don't Change the Basic Policies of the GPU
This letter urges the County Planning Commission to preserve the heart and soul of the GPU, as it makes changes in reaction to public commentary. (06.06.02)

Public Hearing Dates For County General Plan Update
Public Hearings have now been scheduled on the County’s Draft General Plan Update. Here is the latest listing. (3.28.02)

Draft Monterey County General Plan Update Now Available
The draft Monterey County General Plan Update (GPU) is now ready for review. Copies are available at all branches of public libraries, at all branches of the Free Monterey County Libraries, and on the county website. (01.08.02)

LandWatch Urges Strong General Plan Objectives
Itís important that the Board of Supervisors establish a strong set of "Objectives,"as the basis for the new General Plan Update. LandWatch is urging the Board to approve the Planning Commissionís version, which is consistent with LandWatchís policy priorities. (07.12.01)

Upcoming Meetings on the General Plan Update
The County has been holding lots of meetings on its General Plan Update. Here is a listing of the latest round. We hope you will plan to attend! (06.28.01)

LandWatch Position on General Plan Objectives
This letter critiques the County‚s 1979 Growth Management Policy, and outlines the kind of strong objectives that should guide preparation of the new General Plan Update. (06.07.01)

The LandWatch Approach To the General Plan Update
This extensive letter responds to a report considered by the Planning Commission on May 30th. It outlines the policies that LandWatch believes should form the basis of the County‚s General Plan Update. (5.29.01)

Next Round In General Plan Update Process
The County is updating its General Plan. The latest set of workshops, coming soon, will focus in great detail on what sort of land uses will be allowed in specific areas of the County. Call LandWatch, or the County, to get further information. (5.10.01)

County To Hold Important General Plan Meetings
This February, the County will be holding three meetings on its proposed General Plan Update. Your participation is important!

General Plan Update--Roundtable Meetings (11.20.99)

LandWatch Urges Moratorium (1.11.99)

The Commmunity General Plan

It's a Matter of Priorities (452K PDF file)
In this article published in the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, Gary Patton explains exactly what the Community General Plan does for Monterey County. The Community General Plan was developed by LandWatch along with 17 participating community organizations during workshops held throughout the County. The plan was then submitted to the Board of Supervisors. This article highlights of the Community General Plan. This article has been licensed for posting on the LandWatch Website. (04.26.06)

Take a Common Sense Approach (812K PDF file)
In this article published in the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, Chris Fitz explains how the Community General Plan initiative is a common sense approach to future land use decisions in Monterey County. LandWatch has been actively involved in the Community General Plan initiative along with many other endorsers of the initiative including Supervisor Dave Potter. The initiative is very simple, read what the initiative will do. This article has been licensed for posting on the LandWatch Website. (04.26.06)

Community General Plan Initiative Should Go on the Ballot (655K PDF file)
A very strong letter was sent out from Fred Woocher, attorney for The Monterey County Quality of Life, Affordable Housing and Voter Control Initiative in response to the Rutan & Tucker letter which urged the Board of Supervisors to keep the initiative off the ballot. There are NO legal grounds to silence the voices of more than 15,000 Monterey County voters who signed petitions to place the initiative on the ballot. Read the letter. (02.11.06)

Leagues State Strong Support For The Community General Plan
The two local chapters of the well respected League of Women Voters have written to the Board of Supervisors, pointing out that the Community General Plan, submitted to the Board by LandWatch and seventeen other local community organizations, has many positive benefits, which carry out adopted League of Women Voters policies. (03.26.05)

Brown Act Violations

Board Procedures Contrary to Brown Act Requirements
The Ralph M. Brown Act requires all meetings of governmental agencies to be “open and public," and the Act also includes a number of  procedural safeguards, designed to make public participation meaningful. LandWatch has complained to the Board of Supervisors that the Board appears to be violating these state law provisions, thus shortchanging the public. (04.25.05)

The “Community General Plan" Is Controversial
LandWatch is supporting the Community General Plan, developed by LandWatch and seventeen other community groups. Because it would really make a difference, the Community General Plan has become quite controversial. Read about some of the controversies here. (03.10.05)

Community General Plan Groups Want Speedy Action
Many of the groups that sponsored the Community General Plan process (including LandWatch) have urged the Board of Supervisors to use that Plan to adopt a “faster, better, and cheaper" alternative to a new General Plan Update. (02.01.05)

Community General Plan Now Available to The Public
There are several ways that members of the public can get a copy of the Community General Plan. (01.28.05)

Affordable Houseing Policies

LandWatch Policy Would Strengthen Affordable Housing Policy
Current provisions in the draft General Plan Update don't make a strong enough commitment to affordable housing. This LandWatch letter outlines a better approach. (03.23.04)

LandWatch Urges Stronger GPU Affordable Housing Policies
LandWatch is urging stronger affordable housing policies in the Monterey County General Plan. Here is the proposal LandWatch made to the GPU Refinement Group for its August 28, 2003 meeting. (08.26.03)

Local Land Use Plans

The Coastal Commission Wants Comments on Monterey Countyís LUP
The California Coastal Commission periodically reviews Local Land Use Plans (LUPs), to decide whether changes are needed. The LUPs determine what development is permissible in the coastal zone. If you have comments, use the comment form to make sure the Coastal Commission knows your views. (02.10.02)

Land Use Advisory Committee

Appointments to Land Use Advisory Committee Are Available
The County's Land Use Advisory Committees play a vital role in the planning process, and will play an especially important role as new General Plan policies are adopted later this year. Here is a volunteer slot that can really make a difference! (02.10.02)

Tools Available

Community Planning Model Available Online
This press release from the Monterey County Planning Department will tell you how to make use of a new Community Planning Model, now available online. LandWatch members are encouraged to try out this online planning tool.

Plan To Attend the Carrying Capacity Workshop on July 24th
A public workshop for the Monterey County General Plan Update is scheduled for Monday, July 24, 2000 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM. The meeting will be held in the Carmel Valley Middle School Cafeteria located at 4380 Carmel Valley Road in Carmel Valley. Some of the issues that may be discussed during the evening include: How do you define carrying capacity? What are the issues the General Plan should address first in these Planning areas? If these issues are resolved, what level of growth should be planned for during the next 20 years? All interested persons should plan on attending! (7.6.00)

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