LandWatch.org

Joint Letter Outlines Changes Needed to GPU

March 26 2004

LandWatch Monterey County + Prunedale Neighbors Group
Highway 68 Coalition + Concerned Citizens of River Road
Carmel Valley Association + Sierra Club, Ventana Chapter
California Native Plant Society, Monterey Bay Chapter
Coalition To Protect Housing, Farmlands, Air & Water
Monterey Pine Forest Watch + Ocean Conservancy
Friends, Artists & Neighbors of Elkhorn Slough
North County Citizens Oversight Coalition
Rancho San Juan Opposition Coalition
Planning and Conservation League
Líderes Comunitarios de Salinas
Citizens For Responsible Growth
Prunedale Preservation Alliance

Chairperson John Wilmot and Members
Monterey County Planning Commission
Environmental Resource Policy Office
230 Church Street, Building #3
Salinas, CA 93901

RE: Comments on the Draft Monterey County General Plan Update

Dear Members of the Planning Commission:

This letter is to submit a set of detailed comments on the January 2004 Draft General Plan Update (GPU). While these comments don’t highlight every policy in the GPU that needs attention, they certainly touch on many of the most important points. As you consider these recommendations, please:

1. Work For A Better “Bottom Line" – Be Fiscally Responsible

The “Economic Impact Analysis" prepared by Applied Development Economics makes very clear that Monterey County land use policies need to take account of the fiscal impacts that future development will have on Monterey County, and on the health and strength of its local economy. (That is also what the public has been saying, since the start of the process). The current draft GPU needs to be modified, to reflect the findings contained in the Economic Impact Analysis. It’s clear, unless the current policies are changed, that the County’s fiscal and economic difficulties will grow, and grow dramatically.

2. Keep It Simple - Avoid Legal Challenges

The current draft GPU is highly complex. That means, as a practical matter, that it would be extremely hard to administer. Monterey County needs to adopt land use policies that are simple to administer. That’s possible, and our specific recommendations outline some ways to do this. However, to achieve a simpler and better GPU, Monterey County must….

3. Make The Tough Choices Now

The public has said it wants to focus future development in a small number of areas particularly suitable for future growth—and to place new growth where it will have:

The public also wants the General Plan to promote the production of affordable housing that serves the needs of local workers and residents.

The County can adopt policies that will significantly advance these objectives. However, that means that the General Plan must clearly state not only where development is desired, but also where development is not appropriate. A General Plan that makes the tough choices now, instead of deferring them to some later date, at the project level, will help County government, landowners, members of the public and developers to focus their efforts on the kind of projects that will achieve the Twelve Guiding Objectives upon which the new General Plan is supposed to be based.

We hope the Commission will consider our recommendations seriously, and we particularly hope that the Commission will not recommend a plan to the Board of Supervisors unless the Commission is absolutely confident that the GPU it recommends will actually accomplish what the Twelve Guiding Objectives say the new General Plan is supposed to do.

The GPU will achieve the Twelve Guiding Objectives only if the County is willing to make some tough choices now.

Recommended Changes to January 2004 Draft GPU (PDF document 206K)

Respectfully submitted,

Gary A. Patton,
LandWatch Monterey County
Marit Evans and Mike Weaver,
Highway 68 Coalition
Mari Kloeppel,
Friends, Artists & Neighbors of Elkhorn Slough
John Dalessio,
Carmel Valley Association
Carolyn Anderson,
North County Citizens Oversight
Doug Fay,
Coalition Concerned Citizens of River Road
Gillian Taylor,
Sierra Club, Ventana Chapter
Kaitilin Gaffney,
Ocean Conservancy
Lidia Rodriguez,
Líderes Comunitarios de Salinas
Jan Mitchell,
Prunedale Neighbors Group
Fred Keeley,
Planning and Conservation League
David T. Bates,
Monterey Pine Forest Watch
Bill Theyskens,
Prunedale Preservation Alliance
Alex Urciuoli,
Citizens For Responsible Growth
Julie Engell,
Rancho San Juan Opposition Coalition
Mary Ann Matthews,
California Native Plant Society, Monterey Bay Chapter
Mildred Price,
Coalition To Protect Housing, Farmlands, Air & Water
cc: Members, Board of Supervisors
Monterey County GPU Staff
County Administrative Officer
County Planning Director

Recommended Changes to January 2004 Draft GPU (PDF document 206K)

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posted 03.26.04