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KUSP Land Use News
Week of February 1, 2016 to February 7, 2016


KUSP provided a brief Land Use Report on KUSP Radio from January 2003 to May 2016. Archives of past transcripts are available here.

Week of February 1, 2016 to February 7, 2016

The following Land Use Reports have been presented on KUSP Radio by Gary A. Patton. The Wittwer & Parkin law firm is located in Santa Cruz, California, and practices environmental and governmental law. As part of its practice, the law firm files litigation and takes other action on behalf of its clients, which are typically private individuals, governmental agencies, environmental organizations, or community groups. Whenever the Land Use Report comments on an issue with which the Wittwer & Parkin law firm is involved on behalf of a client, Mr. Patton will make this relationship clear, as part of his commentary. Mr. Patton’s comments do not represent the views of Wittwer & Parkin, LLP, KUSP Radio, nor of any of its sponsors.

Gary Patton's Land Use Links


Carmelized Valley?
Monday, February 1, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

A big new development is being proposed in Carmel Valley.

Tonight, Monday, the County’s Land Use Advisory Committee (or LUAC) will hold a hearing on a proposed Rancho Canada Subdivision. The hearing will be held at St. Philip's Lutheran Church, 8065 Carmel Valley Road, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The proposed development is presenting two alternative residential subdivision scenarios for the West Course of the Rancho Canada Golf Club. One alternative is a 281-unit residential project, with a mix of single family residences (141 units) and townhomes and condominiums (140 units). The second alternative is a 130-unit project consisting primarily of single family lots, but with 12 condominium units also proposed.

I heard about this development proposal from the weekly bulletin of the Carmel Valley Association. I think the Association is hoping that Carmel Valley residents will be out in force. All across the country, golf courses are shutting down, as demographic changes seem to be making golf less popular. Is the future of former golf courses inevitably going to be that they will turn into upscale residential developments? Take in that LUAC meeting tonight, and you might be able to have an impact on how that question gets answered in Carmel Valley.

This is Gary Patton.

More Information:

Will Downtown Go Up?
Wednesday, February 3, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Downtown Santa Cruz may be going up, up, up!

Decisions about land use have incredibly important impacts on the shape and character of our local communities. Of course, they have economic and environmental impacts, too. Currently, the City of Santa Cruz is engaged in lots of planning efforts that will, if carried through to where they seem to be going, lead to fundamental changes to the city. What is envisioned is a generation of much denser and higher rise developments. A “Corridors Plan,” currently under consideration, would promote these higher, denser developments along all of the City’s major thoroughfares: Mission Street, Ocean Street, Water Street and Soquel.

But that model of higher, denser development is also proposed for downtown Santa Cruz, and specifically for the very extensive area bounded by Soquel Avenue, Front Street, Laurel Street, and Pacific.

I advise anyone who cares about the future of the City to go the Planning Commission meeting tomorrow night, Thursday. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, and the so-called “Downtown Recovery Plan Amendments” is the only real topic for discussion. As proposed, the “Amendments” will turn downtown Santa Cruz, along both Front and Pacific Avenues, into a much different place. There is more information at

This is Gary Patton.

More Information:

The Moral Dimensions Of Climate Change
Friday, February 5, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

You can confront climate change right in your own home town!

The Progressive Christian Forum (and I believe other sponsors) are hosting a conference on the “Moral Dimensions of Climate Change.” Doors open tonight, Friday, at 6:00 o’clock at the Peace United Church, located at 900 High Street in Santa Cruz. The conference continues tomorrow, Saturday, from 9:00 in the morning till 2:00 in the afternoon. You are definitely invited, and please don’t doubt that one way to confront global warming is by changing our approach to land use.

As you might suspect, I have put links to lots more information about the conference on the KUSP website, which hosts a Land Use Report blog that gives listeners a written transcript of my Land Use Reports, and almost always provides resources for further investigation and study. The conference tonight and tomorrow is going to include singing, and art, and poetry, and music, as well as wonderful speeches, and opportunities for some hands-on organizing.

Global warming, and the climate change that is accompanying it, do pose a moral challenge, and we need to think about how we organize and change our ways of doing things, including how we use the land, if we have hopes that human civilization will survive.

I hope to see you at the conference. Tonight and tomorrow!!

This is Gary Patton.

More Information:

Cal-Am Presents A Status Report
Sunday, February 7, 2016 / 7:30 a.m.

Head’s up! Cal-Am has just issued a status report.

If you live, or work, or own a business on the Monterey Peninsula, you’ve got to care about what the California American Water Company, or Cal-Am, is doing to meet current and future water supply needs. As I like to point out, Cal-Am is not under the direct control of the public. It’s a private business, and its interest in water is first and foremost in how to sell it at a profit. The public interest in the Peninsula’s water supply is protected by the involvement of local officials, and most notably by the California Public Utilities Commission, or PUC, and in some cases by litigation, or threatened litigation against the company by various local interests.

As of January 31st, Cal-Am has issued a kind of status report on litigation-related activities, indicating that the company and various local groups that have either sued, or might potentially sue the company have come to a tentative agreement. You can get a link to that report at

When you read it, you will find that Cal-Am has agreed to take actions that are intended to help the water-challenged community of Castroville, and to prevent any further degradation of the Salinas River groundwater basin.

No final decisions, yet, but this is a positive status report.

This is Gary Patton.

More Information:

Archives of past transcripts are available here

LandWatch's mission is to protect Monterey County's future by addressing climate change, community health, and social inequities in housing and infrastructure. By encouraging greater public participation in planning, we connect people to government, address human needs and inspire conservation of natural resources.



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