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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

October 27, 2011

Paul Getzelman, Chair
Monterey County Planning Commission
168 West Alisal, 2nd Floor
Salinas, CA 93901

SUBJECT: PROOF OF ACCESS ORDINANCE

Dear Chair Getzelman and Members of the Commission:

LandWatch Monterey County reviewed the Proof of Access Ordinance which 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.

One of the County’s responsibilities related to processing land use permits is to assure that development is compatible with surrounding neighborhoods and incorporates provisions for adequate access for occupants, residents, and emergency services. Almost 50 percent of the streets in unincorporated areas are privately owned. Use of these roads is governed by agreements among the parties that share ownership. The County is not a party to such agreements and does not enforce their terms and conditions, nor does it have jurisdiction to adjudicate a dispute among the parties to such agreements. Frequently, these disputes are not resolved by the time an application is heard, leaving the issue of access unresolved.

LandWatch Monterey County supports this ordinance as a means to expedite the planning process and to save time and resources for both planning staff and applicants. This is particularly important at a time when the number of planners continues to decline.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Amy L. White
Executive Director

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posted 12.10.11