LandWatch Urges Opposition of No Net Increase

The "no net increase" of water demand policy has been rescheduled for the next meeting of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, which will be held Tuesday, September 15, 1998 at 3:45 p.m. This gives you another opportunity to contact your Supervisor and request that he/she deny the amendment to the Subdivision Ordinance.

The following was emailed to LandWatch members originally on September 4, 1998:

On September 15, 1998, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will consider amendments to the Subdivision Ordinance, which would allow the transfer of water rights from agricultural lands to subdivision developments, in an attempt to reach a "no net increase" of water demand within North Monterey County.

LandWatch has submitted the following letter to the Board of Supervisors opposing the amendment to the Subdivision Ordinance. LandWatch requests that you contact your Supervisor and urge him/her to oppose this amendment.

Supervisor Simon Salinias

Supervisor Judy Pennycook

Supervisor Tom Perkins

Supervisor Edith Johnson

Supervisor David Potter

Fax: 755-5888

September 4, 1998

Monterey County Board of Supervisors
Chair Dave Potte
1200 Aguajito Rd., Suite 001
Monterey, CA 93940

Dear Honorable Supervisors:

LandWatch Monterey County strongly opposes the proposed amendment to the Subdivision Ordinance which would allow offsets in water demand from subdivision developments to result in a "no net increase" of water within the North Monterey County Hydrogeologic Study Area. By allowing the transfer of water rights, this precedent-setting policy would accelerate the conversion of agricultural lands to residential development.

We urge the Board of Supervisors to deny this policy based on the unanimous recommendation of the Planning Commission and the following facts:

  1. The policy is inconsistent with the existing General Plan.

  2. There is insufficient analysis of the impacts of this policy on agricultural lands.

  3. No determination has been made as to the intended use of the retired lands and how much land is appropriate to retire.

  4. The proposed ordinance does not define the "variety of mitigation methods" that will be used to quantify the water offsets.

  5. You will delegate to the Monterey County Water Resources Agency discretionary review over significant land use decisions.

  6. There has been virtually no effort to advise the public about this very important public policy decision.

  7. This is a significant action affecting environmental quality. The negative environmental declaration ignores the impacts of this policy.

If approved, the "no net increase" of water policy will set a substantial precedent throughout Monterey County. The developers of both the Moro Cojo and September Ranch projects have requested water rights for their projects through the retirement of agricultural lands. These requests have been addressed at the project level without sufficient analysis of the broader implication on land use. If the County wishes to contemplate this policy further, we encourage you to prepare an environmental impact report as required by the California Environmental Quality Act. This report should address the cumulative impacts of the policy on the conversion of agricultural lands.

LandWatch encourages the Board of Supervisor to deny the amendment to the Subdivision Ordinance and any future projects that rely on the "no net increase" policy. These include any retirements of agricultural land that would provide water offsets for residential subdivisions, such as September Ranch.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment. If you have any questions regarding LandWatch's position, please contact Donna Kaufman at (831)375-3752.


Michael DeLapa
President, LandWatch

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