LandWatch.org

General Plan Compromises at risk with a 2-2 Vote
on the Board of Supervisors

February 7, 2008

Dear Friends:

The purpose of this letter is to ask for your financial support to continue our effort to secure a responsible Monterey County General Plan and to protect important and hard-won policy gains.

We need to protect the following enforceable provisions in the current draft language for the Monterey County General Plan, GPU5:

While these policies fall short of all we hoped to achieve through Measure A, they represent important progress toward the “middle ground" and the compromise the Board of Supervisors promised the voters following the stalemate of the June 2007 election.

The strong policies listed above were included unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in their November 6, 2007 “final direction" to staff in drafting GPU5. In December, however, two of the four supervisors changed their minds. They tried to gut these policies and abandon the compromise by pushing the plan back in the direction of the pro-development GPU4. Thankfully, Supervisors Dave Potter and Lou Calcagno insisted that these strong policies should remain. They also insisted that NO further changes should be made to GPU5 until the Board has the results of the new EIR. With the 4th District Seat currently vacant, the attempt to scuttle compromise failed in a 2 to 2 tie. But these responsible land-use policies are at risk!

The certification of a new EIR and final approval of GPU5 are scheduled for late this summer. If, as now seems likely, the 4th District Seat remains vacant until the June 2008 election, the Board’s 2 to 2 split over GPU5 will be decided by whoever wins the June election – Jane Parker or Ila Mettee McCutchon.

If the current compromise is scuttled and the plan moves back in the direction of the sprawl now – pay later GPU4, LandWatch must be prepared to respond strongly and immediately, both in the courts and potentially by referending the approval of the General Plan.

Even if the plan approved this summer maintains the good policies included in the November 6 direction to staff, there are important improvements to the plan that we must seek.

The following concerns in the current draft of GPU5 need to be addressed:

Making additional progress on these issues, even with a three vote majority on the Board will not be easy. It will require LandWatch to deploy a team of land use planners and attorneys to fully respond to the new EIR and prepare for possible further litigation. This is, of course, expensive and time-consuming work.

LandWatch Monterey County, with the support of our members, will continue to follow this process every step of the way. We will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that the final product is the best plan possible. Whether that effort involves further public pressure, litigation, additional referenda, or all of the above, our success will depend on the active support of our members. Please make a generous financial contribution toward that effort today!

Sincerely,

Chris Fitz, Executive Director
LandWatch Monterey County

p.s.: Your tax-deductible contribution to LandWatch will help protect our
quality of life by promoting responsible growth in Monterey County, not unbridled suburban sprawl.

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