LandWatch monitors land use activity throughout Monterey County, and within the cities located in Monterey County, and supports policies and actions that appropriately balance economic, environmental, and social concerns. LandWatch supports policies that adequately provide revenue to cities and the county for the services required by residents. LandWatch believes that good planning uses land efficiently, supports and strengthens existing neighborhoods through reinvestment and redevelopment, and directs new commercial and residential development to areas within city boundaries, and into already existing unincorporated urban areas, while preserving farmland, open space, natural resource areas, and sensitive habitats.
LandWatch believes that development inside city boundaries should usually be mixed-use and mixed-income, pedestrian-oriented, with a design sensitive to neighborhood character, and should offer transportation options. New development should respect or enhance natural and cultural resources, reduce water overdrafts and conserve water, and reinforce existing mixed-use centers. LandWatch may seek to discourage development that does not meet all or most of these criteria. When necessary, and supported by clear justification, LandWatch may also support limited growth immediately adjacent to existing urban areas.
The following matters, processes, and activities are the highest priority for LandWatch participation:
- Legislation or initiatives that might have a regional impact on land use, transportation, water resources, or air or water quality.
- Revisions and amendments to General Plans and Zoning Codes that may contribute to the loss of farm land, natural resources, cultural and historic features, and other sensitive habitats.
- Proposals to rezone farm land, open space, and preservation areas to designations that allow development.
- Proposals to modify Spheres of Influence, Urban Transitions Areas, Urban Service Areas, or to permit annexations.
- Procedures and policies that protect or preserve farmlands, open space, or natural resource areas.
- Matters or projects identified in the Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program, Population and Employment Forecast; and Air Quality Management Plan, and other documents of regional significance.
- Proposals to modify the policies or procedures that govern the review of Spheres of Influence, the County General Plan, water supply, and other issues of regional significance.
- Buildout forecasts for each city and the county.
- Subdivision applications within county boundaries on parcels larger than 10 acres in size, or subdivision applications within city boundaries which would create more than 15 residential lots.
- County or City projects that have regional significance and are not categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act.
- Isolated residential, commercial, or industrial projects that have limited access to adequate infrastructure or retail services (leapfrog development projects).
- Residential, commercial, or industrial projects within city or county boundaries that are sited beyond existing physical urban boundaries (such as highways, roads, or rivers).
- Commercial, industrial, and residential development projects within city or county boundaries that will seriously violate the General Plan or set a precedent for activity that is not consistent with local design principles.
- Requests for intensification of use within existing city boundaries.
- City projects of regional significance that are not categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act.
- Permitting matters for facilities that will employ 200 people or more people or will generate 600 vehicle trips per day.
- Matters with a very high public profile when our participation will significantly enhance public awareness of LandWatch, on a city or county basis.
- Other matters of local or regional significance that are not already being monitored by an organization representing a similar public interest (unless an affiliation agreement is formed).
LandWatch has limited resources, and will focus its energies on projects and activities that are (1) of the greatest significance to land use in Monterey County in terms of public perception, or as planning and legal precedents; (2) that will build public support for LandWatch and help achieve its mission and goals; and (3) will likely result in a positive outcome for better land use.