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Nature Conservancy Poll Shows Support For Draft County General Plan Update

The Nature Conservancy of California
201 Mission Street, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
415-777-0487

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bill Leahy
Monterey Project Director, 831-333-1722

EIGHTY PERCENT OF VOTERS SUPPORT POLICIES IN CURRENT VERSION
OF MONTEREY COUNTY GENERAL PLAN

Monterey County, September 12th – Quality of life and conservation issues in Monterey County concern an overwhelming number of area residents and voters, 80% of whom are likely to support a General Plan Update (GPU) containing strong protections for clean air, water, and other natural resources, a recent public opinion survey shows.

Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates (FMM&A), a public opinion research firm with expertise in community opinion and survey research, recently completed a survey of 500 Monterey County residents as part of The Nature Conservancy’s ongoing public assessment studies for statewide and local projects. The Monterey County survey, which includes a sampling of all demographic groups across the County, explores voter attitudes on issues related to growth, conservation, and the protection of land, air, and water.

The survey results reveal continued voter concern about issues like housing costs, traffic congestion, loss of open space and farmland, and the quality and availability of water in Monterey County. It showed that the intensity and level of concern among voters on key issues such as traffic, pollution, and clean water has increased since a similar survey was conducted one year ago.

The poll also evaluated the public’s attitudes towards the policies and objectives of the draft GPU currently being considered by the Board of Supervisors. The GPU will establish policies under which future residential, commercial, and industrial development will be allowed over the next 20 years, including policies to protect farmland and open space. Eighty percent or more of respondents say that they support a GPU that incorporates the following policies:

The poll showed strong support in every supervisorial district and a willingness among respondents to make financial sacrifices to ensure that growth and development are effectively managed and carefully located to protect air, land and water. A majority indicated a concern that development and growth should be managed, even if it means certain restrictions in order to do so.

"These results show that Monterey County voters and residents feel very strongly about a number of quality of life issues. The public views the current draft GPU as a good proposal, because it sets forth clear policies to manage growth, promote affordable housing, protect land, air and water, and preserve the quality of life for future generations," said pollster John Fairbank, of FMM&A.

"These results affirm what I’ve been hearing from my County constituents," said Congressman Sam Farr. "The Board of Supervisors has done a terrific job on the current draft plan – and clearly, it’s viewed as a reasonable approach to improving quality of life for all residents."

Said John McCaull, California Director of the American Farmland Trust, "Farming and ranching must be protected in Monterey County. I’m gratified to learn that the public supports a well-rounded plan that includes agriculture, affordable housing, and effective management of traffic and growth."

"Monterey’s beaches & bays, rivers & streams, and natural lands provide the clean air we breathe and the safe water we drink, critical to our special quality of life and worth preserving for our families and children, and the children of future generations. The people of Monterey County are the inheritors and protectors of these resources and great local treasures, like Monterey Bay, the Big Sur, Arroyo Seco and Elkhorn Slough," said Bill Leahy of The Nature Conservancy’s Monterey office. "The Nature Conservancy has worked in the community for over 30 years and looks forward to continuing our work with the citizens and all interests of Monterey to ensure these community values are preserved."

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The Nature Conservancy is an international non-profit membership organization whose mission is to preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy and its 1,000,000 members nationwide have safeguarded more than 12 million acres in all 50 states and Canada. The Conservancy has also worked with the like-minded partner organizations to preserve more than 80 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Pacific, and Asia. California is the Conservancy’s largest state chapter and a leader in program development. Headquartered in San Francisco, The Nature Conservancy of California has 118,000 members and has protected more than one million acres in the state.

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posted 09/23/02