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KUSP Land Use News
Week of April 25, 2016 to May 1, 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 April 25, 2016 to May 1, 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


Ag Land Buffers In Watsonville
Monday, April 25, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The Watsonville City Council faces a big decision tomorrow!

A City’s General Plan is supposed to be its "Constitution for land use," and the Watsonville General Plan says that any proposed development should provide a 200-foot ag buffer setback. This required setback helps protect any new, non-agricultural use from the impacts of farming operations. It also helps ensure that agriculture will not be displaced because of conflicts generated by the new development.

The Watsonville Planning staff wants the City Council to throw out this Constitutional rule, and to make other changes to the General Plan, in order to grant approval to a developer to construct two hotels, six restaurants, a gas station, and three retail stores on the ocean side of Highway One, right near the Riverside Avenue exit. The required ag buffer would interfere with this plan, so the Planning staff says to throw out that requirement.

If you think the proposed development might detract from the way the City presents itself to coastal travelers, you are probably right. Nonetheless, absent community opposition, the development is likely to be approved, and is likely to start a spiral of development on the ocean side of the Highway that will overrun nearby agriculture, given some time.

The meeting is tomorrow evening at 6:30. There is more information at

This is Gary Patton.

More Information:

A Special Planning Commission Meeting
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.



There is a "Special" meeting of the Santa Cruz Planning Commission tomorrow, and it’s important.

The City of Santa Cruz suffered from a major earthquake in October 1989. Large portions of downtown Santa Cruz were destroyed. Almost amazingly, the City bounced back, and in deciding how to rebuild, the community debated, at length, over the issue of building heights along Pacific Avenue, the main downtown shopping street. It is a bit of an oversimplification, but property owners generally wanted to be able to build very tall structures, reasoning that they could finance reconstruction better if their property were more developable. The community at large, while sympathetic, wanted to preserve a more human scale for the downtown, and compromises were made on both sides, with the result you can see today. The downtown is vital, and thriving (not that there aren’t problems).

The plan that governed the rebuilding of downtown was called the "Downtown Recovery Plan." Tomorrow, the City Planning Commission is going to consider amendments that would allow much taller structures on Pacific Avenue, between Cathcart and Laurel Streets, and on Front Street between Soquel Avenue and Laurel Street. Big, downtown residential structures would be built, if the standards are changed.

If you care, you had better get involved now. The meeting is at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, in the City Council Chambers. Get more information at

This is Gary Patton.

More Information:

The Highway 68 Corridor Project
Friday, April 29, 2016 / 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Do you care about the future of Monterey County’s Highway 68?

Highway 68 is a designated scenic route connecting the Monterey Peninsula to Highway 101 and the Salinas Valley. It is a key commute route, and carries up to 30,000 vehicles each day, not counting tourism and special event traffic.

A planning effort is just getting started, and you can participate. The Monterey-Salinas Scenic Highway 68 Plan will evaluate current and future travel patterns between Salinas and the Monterey Peninsula, the feasibility of operational and capacity improvements, and the potential for wildlife connectivity enhancements. The Transportation Agency for Monterey County, or TAMC, will conduct a program of public meetings and online outreach efforts, the objective being to find affordable strategies that will contribute to the long-range sustainability of Highway 68.

If you care, and there are a lot of reasons to care, I urge you to search out the links in today’s Land Use Report blog, located online at use, and then to use those links to chart your personal involvement. One workshop has already been held. There will be others. I suggest that you might also want to contact the Highway 68 Coalition, which has been fighting to preserve the scenic qualities of Highway 68 for years.

This is Gary Patton.

More Information:

Community Voices / Community Choices
Sunday, May 1, 2016 / 7:30 a.m.

Let’s talk about "Community Voices" and community choices.

Recently, the Land Use Report has been part of KUSP’s "Community Voices" series, which also includes "First Person Singular," a program that presents KUSP listeners with an opportunity to hear unique voices from the Monterey Bay Region.

I truly appreciate the fact that KUSP has featured the Land Use Report for so many years. The first edition of the Land Use Report aired on July 28, 2001. That means that the Land Use Report has now been heard on KUSP for fourteen years, nine months, and three days.

I don’t know how much longer KUSP listeners will be able to hear the Land Use Report. The station is facing major economic challenges, and there is a "May Day" campaign underway right now. If you want to keep KUSP community radio on the air, today would definitely be a good time to step up and contribute. As usual, I have a link in today’s transcript, at

Whatever the fate of KUSP’s community voices programming, I hope listeners will remember the basic message of the Land Use Report. Here it is: Land use decisions will determine our future, and the choice is ours. Community choices can create the kind of future we want. Get engaged. Get involved. And get going!

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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