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KUSP Land Use News
Week of March 21, 2016 to March 27, 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 March 21, 2016 to March 27, 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


A Downtown Santa Cruz Switcheroo
Monday, March 21, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Lots of things are happening this week in the City of Santa Cruz!

If you care about the Santa Cruz downtown, and particularly about how automobile traffic flows, or might flow, or wouldn’t flow at all on Pacific Avenue, then you should be aware that there is a meeting this evening of the City’s Transportation and Public Works Commission, and this meeting will probably have a big impact on what used to be called the “Pacific Garden Mall.” The Commission meets at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. That’s tonight! The big item on the agenda is a proposal to change the direction of automobile traffic on certain segments of Pacific Avenue and related side streets, to facilitate <quote> “Southbound Wayfinding.”

I think this means that the currently somewhat complex traffic patterns downtown would be modified to allow Pacific Avenue to serve as a thoroughfare for people wanting to get to the Beach Boardwalk. That’s what “finding your way South” actually means, as far as I can tell. Some people want a total pedestrian experience. You can weigh in if you show up!

In other City news, the City Council meets tomorrow, Tuesday, at 1:30 in the afternoon, and will consider whether or not to allow the installation of exercise equipment on West Cliff Drive. If you like our West Cliff walkway the way it is, you should let the City Council know. And, of course, the opposite is true, too.

This is Gary Patton.

More Information:

Weigh In On Downtown Santa Cruz
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Here is another meeting coming up on the Santa Cruz downtown!

On Monday, the City’s Transportation and Public Works Commission considered a proposal to alter traffic patterns in downtown Santa Cruz. Current traffic patterns are designed to prevent cars from using Pacific Avenue as a thoroughfare to get to the Beach. If you have a car, and if you are in the downtown area, and if you want to get to the Beach, the best way to do that now is to use either Front Street or Chestnut, and Front Street is really the most direct route. This could change, and Pacific Avenue could become a more direct route out to the Beach Boardwalk. I’ll keep you posted. Meantime, if you have any preference about this, it’s time to start getting involved.

One way to get involved would be to attend tomorrow’s meeting of the Santa Cruz Downtown Commission, and to let the Commission know what you think. The Commission will meet on Thursday morning, March 24th, at 8:30 a.m. in the City Council Chambers. There are links to more information at

Besides hearing from the public under its “Oral Communications” item, the Downtown Commission will be reviewing the City’s Capital Improvement Program for 2016-2018. The infrastructure investments proposed for the next couple of years will have a big impact on City residents, you can be sure of that!

This is Gary Patton.

More Information:

To Permit Or... Not To Permit?
Friday, March 25, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

To permit, or not to permit? That is a question!

Land Use Report listeners know, I think, that I have occasionally taught in a course at the University of California at Santa Cruz called “Property and the Law.” One key concept is that property “rights” (which are very important, of course) do not consist in the right of every property owner to do what he or she wants to do with the property that he or she might own. Our individual right to use our property in the ways we’d like to use it requires us to get “permission” from the community. We need a “permit” to do almost anything. That is because how the land is used really does affect all of us. This is  one of the points I make frequently, here on this Land Use Report.

Anyway, I like it when I see this issue of property rights and permits being debated in public. When people really understand that our local government decisions will determine how each one of us can use our own property, it’s a motivation for us to get involved, and that is exactly what I encourage, and what “self government” requires.

A Monterey County Planning Commissioner is arguing for more regulations during “Car Week.” The Carmel Pine Cone newspaper is vociferously objecting. You can learn more about this debate by using the links you’ll find at

This is Gary Patton.

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Planning Next Week
Sunday, March 27, 2016 / 7:30 a.m.

Here’s a “heads up” about planning items next week!

I seldom get tired of reminding listeners of this indisputable truth: how we use the land is a major factor in determining what happens in our local communities. Land use affects our local economy, and it affects our ability to achieve our social welfare goals. Perhaps more than any other single factor, land use also determines what happens to the natural environment, and the natural environment, ultimately, supports all life. One of the members of the Monterey County Planning Commission maintains an online blog called Xasáuan Today. In the past, the blog has often featured this observation: “Nature Bats Last.” Since nature does “bat last,” we are wise to pay attention to what impact our land use decisions have on the natural environment.

Speaking of the Monterey County Planning Commission, the Commission is going to be meeting next Wednesday, March 30th, at 9:00 o’clock in the morning, at the County Government Center in Salinas. On the agenda is consideration of a facility at 62 East Carmel Valley Road that would host corporate events for up to 250 people. The question presented is whether this is an “ancillary use” within a vineyard. There is more on the Planning Commission meeting at

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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