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KUSP Land Use News
Week of February 29, 2016 to March 6, 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 29, 2016 to March 6, 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


The Toro Park Watch / Protect Monterey County
Monday, February 29, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The future of Toro Park may be at risk.

If you are concerned about illegal trail building in Monterey County’s Toro Park, there’s a meeting this evening that you will want to attend. For about nine months, concerned park users have been complaining that mountain bikers have been doing a lot of “self-help,” and have been carving out illegal mountain bike trails through Toro Park, putting our natural environment at risk. The biggest complaint of the concerned members of the public who have contacted me has been that Monterey County officials just don’t seem to care.

That may be changing. The County staff recently went out actually to look at some of the damage, spurred on by those who have been complaining. As a result, the Parks Department closed the badly damaged Marks Canyon Trail and has organized a “workshop” on Toro Park trail use. That workshop will take place this evening, Monday, February 29th, at 5:15 p.m., at the Laguna Seca Hospitality Pavilion, and if you are an interested park user—this means hikers, runners, equestrians, bird-watchers, and picnickers—you should show up at this evening’s workshop.

Let me also announce another important meeting. Tomorrow evening, Tuesday, March 1st, at Hartnell College, Protect Monterey County will hold a forum on its proposed anti-fracking initiative. It’s controversial! Get more information at

This is Gary Patton.

More Information:

Rezoning The Village
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The future of the City of Capitola will be discussed tomorrow.

Tomorrow, the Capitola Planning Commission will consider a comprehensive rezoning of the City. As listeners probably know, the zoning designation given to a particular property is the single most important factor in determining what the future use of that property will be. If a property is designated for residential use, it can’t be used for commercial purposes. If a zoning designation allows for single-family construction, then a property with that designation will not be developed with a duplex, or other multi-family structure. In fact, a city or county zoning code is almost always terrifically complex. It’s like the DNA of future development.

If you care about the future of the City of Capitola, you’d do yourself a favor by attending the Planning Commission meeting tomorrow evening. The Commission will meet at City Hall, starting at 6:00 p.m. I do have more information, including a link to the Commission’s complete agenda packet, at

A local agency General Plan is the “Constitution” guiding all future land use development. The zoning code has to be consistent with that General Plan, but what the planners look to first is the zoning code. The City Council will be voting on the zoning code later, but later may be “too late” if you have a concern. The meeting tomorrow night is really important.

This is Gary Patton.

More Information:

Is Growth Always Good?
Friday, March 4, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Is growth always good? Let’s think about it!

In general, we tend to think that growth is “good.” Parents want their children to grow and thrive, and “thrive” and “grow” are almost synonyms in that context. We want our bank accounts to grow. That’s always a good sign. Presidents are always trying to get the economy growing, and I have always loved Bob Dylan’s take on that issue. Do you remember these lyrics?

Well, my telephone rang it would not stop
It's President Kennedy callin' me up
He said, "My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?”
I said, "My friend, John," Brigitte Bardot, Anita Ekberg, Sophia Loren.
Country'll grow.”

Land use and growth are very distinctly related, and one of the premises of land use planning is that all growth is not good. Growth needs to be managed, and sometimes it even needs to be discouraged. Growing traffic goes along with job growth and new high-density development. Global warming impacts grow as the economy heats up. If you care about crops growing, and that’s a big thing around the Monterey Bay, then all sorts of new development and new growth put that agricultural economy at risk.

Check out today’s Land Use Report blog posting, found at, and think about that question: “Is growth always good?”

This is Gary Patton.

More Information:

Climate Change Hits Home
Sunday, March 6, 2016 / 7:30 a.m.

Climate change is hitting home!

A local video is now available for viewing online, and I have put a link in today’s edition of the Land Use Report blog. You can find that blog posting at Titled “Climate Change Hits Home,” this locally produced documentary film explores what global warming is going to mean to all of us who live around the Monterey Bay. The insightful interviews contained within the documentary relate to the impact of climate change here in our region, and to actions and activities that will minimize those global warming impacts. We do need to start mobilizing!

The film will be officially launched in a private showing scheduled for Wednesday, March 9th at the Museum of Art and History in downtown Santa Cruz, with public viewings to be scheduled shortly after that. A website will forthcoming, too, and the website will provide a forum for comments and questions, with the hope that there will be some real debate and discussion about what we can do ourselves, right here at home, to deal with the global warming challenge.

One thing we can certainly do is to put an absolute stop to any further sprawl development in any of the three counties that are part of our official Monterey Bay Region. The Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments could be leading the charge. Growth inducing highways and subdivisions on agricultural soils are definitely contraindicated!

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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