LandWatch Joins Group Statement on GPU
March 2, 2004
Native Plant Society, Monterey Bay Chapter
Honorable Lou Calcagno, Chair
RE: Proposed Monterey County General Plan Update
Dear Members of the Board:
The policies contained in the current draft of the GPU fail to implement the twelve Guiding Objectives upon which the Board of Supervisors required the Plan to be based. Accordingly, the current draft of the Monterey County General Plan Update must be modified before final adoption, if it is to meet these Guiding Objectives.
We remind you that the Guiding Objectives were developed by the public during sessions that you initiated; that the Board has never deviated from the Guiding Objectives; and that the public has relied upon the Boards commitment to the Guiding Objectives throughout the four year General Plan process.
In its current form, the draft GPU would:
We urge you to make sure that the final plan effectively implements the twelve Guiding Objectives, which come directly from the public.
Guiding Objective #2 says that the GPU should "identify land that is adequate and appropriate for the residential, commercial, and industrial development needs of Monterey County during the next twenty years ."
In fact, the current draft of the GPU would stimulate growth and development far in excess of predicted needs. It identifies land that would allow more than three times the amount of residential growth that the Association of Monterey Bay Areas Governments predicts. Vastly more land is given over for development than is "needed."
More growth means more traffic, more pressure on our scarce affordable housing supply, more damage to our natural resources, and more water overdraft.
The current draft GPU is a "big growth" plan that puts the interests of the developers ahead of the interest of the public. This needs to be corrected, before final adoption.
Guiding Objective #9 says that the GPU should "provide long-term protection of identified resource-rich and critical habitat areas."
In fact, the current draft of the GPU would weaken existing environmental standards:
Before final adoption, the draft GPU must be modified to strengthen, not weaken, the policies that that protect the air, land, and water resources of Monterey County.
Guiding Objective #4 says that the GPU should "strongly encourage new commercial, industrial, and residential development to provide actual, new, permanently affordable living quarters, including housing for people with low, very low, and moderate incomes who live and/or are employed in Monterey County ."
In fact, the current draft fails to achieve this objective. Much stronger affordable housing policies need to be made part of this plan, before final adoption.
The policies presented in the latest draft of the GPU are worse than those presented four years ago, and the process has been fiscally irresponsible.
Before final adoption, the GPU needs to be modified to justify the time and expense that have gone into it. It needs, most simply, actually to achieve the twelve Guiding Objectives upon which it is supposed to be based.
The groups that have signed this letter have been part of the public process since the beginning. We urge the Board of Supervisors to keep faith with the public. Adding various special treatments for special interests is simply not acceptable!
We intend to appear before the Planning Commission, in its upcoming hearings, and to make specific suggestions on how the current draft GPU should be modified, to conform to the twelve Guiding Objectives.
We urge your Boards early involvement in this processbecause in the end, it will be the Boards responsibility to make sure that the new General Plan will:
Thank you for taking our comments seriously. We look to you for leadership. The twelve Guiding Objectives adopted by your Board should continue to be your guide.