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Board of Supervisors Hearing February 12th

One of LandWatch’s biggest priorities over the years is a county-wide general plan that protects the environment and promotes economic development and social equity. The County approved a new general plan in October of 2010 (GP 2010) after years of wrangling with some difficult policy questions.

LandWatch filed a lawsuit in November 2010 challenging some aspects of the new plan, most notably water supply in the Salinas Valley. LandWatch is concerned the County is “kicking the can down the road” by ignoring the advancing seawater intrusion in the basin, refusing to identify how much water the basin can sustainably yield, and by continuing to rely on the Salinas Valley Water Project. LandWatch thinks relying on the Salinas Valley Water Project is problematic because it is still not fully functioning (think crumbling rubber dam) and it assumes irrigated acres in agriculture will decrease instead of increase which has clearly not been the case. Between 1996 and 2006 an additional 5,684 acres were added into production. Our lawsuit is not settled. We hope to be in court this year.

This Tuesday, February 12th the Board of Supervisors will consider whether to settle a different lawsuit on the general plan, this one filed by the Salinas Valley Water Coalition. In order to settle this suit, the Supervisors would need to change a number of policies in the general plan, most notably policy Public Safety (PS) 3.1. As it reads now, policy PS 3.1 requires that before development occurs in Zone 2C, which is most of the Salinas Valley floor, there needs to be sufficient water for 75 years to service the development. The policy contains an exemption for agriculture. The Supervisors will consider on Tuesday whether to extend the exemption for proof of long term water for all development in Zone 2C. In other words, all new development in the Salinas Valley will not have to prove that a reliable, long term water supply exists. LandWatch thinks this is both irresponsible and untimely because our lawsuit is not yet decided.

If you agree, please tell the Supervisors how you feel. Tell the Supervisors not to approve the general plan amendments implementing the Salinas Valley Water Coalition lawsuit settlement because new development in the Salinas Valley should have to prove that a reliable water supply exists!

Email the Supervisors or attend the hearing:

Tuesday, February 12th at 1:30pm
Board of Supervisors Chambers
168 West Alisal Street
Salinas, CA 93901

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posted 02.07.13