Thursday, June 17, 1999
Evening The Score
The Coast Weekly in the past has fairly represented the redevelopment efforts of Sand City. In the June 3 issue, the Squid fried me and intimated that I work for a little city that shouldn't develop its coastal area. Here are some points offered in rebuttal to that insinuation.
1) Sand City does not want to be a city of 200 population; and the state, through its housing element law, mandates that it be a larger city. We plan on being a city with an ultimate population of 1,100-1,300 people. Don't get nervous.
2) The Coastal Commission in 1984 approved and certified the city's Local Coastal Program establishing an ultimate development build-out of approximately 2,400 units of various hotel, motel, timeshare and residential dwellings. It was believed at the time that this kind of economic incentive was needed in order to rout out the cement batch plants, sewage treatment plant, an abandoned regional dump, and sand mining operations that were all existing on our coast at the time.
3) Sand City is a coastal community with approximately 50 percent of its area within the coastal zone, and yet the city is disconnected from the coastal area by the freeway. The city would like to connect with its other half and make it its better half.
4) In 1996, the city entered in an agreement with State Parks and the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District to limit development under the LCP to a maximum of one-third of that allowed in exchange for the majority of the coast remaining in open space.
5) The city's capital improvement program requires at least a $40 million investment over the next 20 years to redevelop the community in the style of its model neighbors of Monterey, Carmel and Pacific Grove. This investment cannot be covered by retail sales tax dollars alone, tax dollars that Sand City shares with Seaside.
The city must diversify its revenue stream in the form of transient occupancy tax [TOT] revenue, which to date has not been raided by state government in times of economic recession.
Okay, Squid, you praised us once and have since fried us twice. How about another story with a little more depth in it to even out the score?
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
San Jose Or Bust
Thank you for the terrific feature on urban sprawl >(CW, June 10). You provide an important public service in helping Monterey County residents understand the growing contradictions between development projections, road capacities, water supplies and other infrastructure. The data speak for themselves: Without a major change in local planning policies, Monterey County will sprawl into a San Jose-like mess. That is why LandWatch is promoting the time-tested concept of Urban Growth Boundaries.
But let me see if I understand our critics correctly. The spokesperson for the Monterey County Association of Realtors believes the UGB concept is "problematic at best." Let's leave aside for the moment any debate over the financial conflict of interest in promoting excessive real estate development and the ethics of profiting at the public's expense.
What, exactly, is the alternative for addressing the major issues identified in "State of Monterey County 1999"? The data show that in terms of land use efficiency, Monterey County is among the worst in the state, with urban land expansion occurring at a rate of 159 acres per 1,000 new residents. If current trends continue through the year 2020, urban land uses will consume an additional 23,800 acres, much of it prime farmland.
Without smarter planning, starting with the establishment of Urban Growth Boundaries, what's going to happen to our roads? Route 1 north of Castroville, Route 1 near Seaside, Route 68 west and east of Highway 1, Route 183 north of Salinas, Route 218 from Highway 1 to Fremont, as well as Fremont Boulevard, Blanco Road and Reservation Road? All these roads are at Level of Service (LOS) D or below and there is no funding for improvements.
This same spokesperson also believes that the UGB concept will require a "radical restructuring of social policy." Tell that to the citizens of Oregon, led by Republican Governor Tom McCall, who in 1973 adopted UGBs as a state requirement with great success. Indeed, what demands radical restructuring is the current policy of imposing severe financial and environmental burdens on the public from ill-planned growth. It's unfair, it's costly, and it's benefiting the few at the cost of the many.
I encourage members of the Monterey County Association of Realtors to read "State of Monterey County 1999" in its entirety (available free at http://www.mclw.org/pages/Stateofcounty 1999/index.html) and think carefully about what kind of county they want to leave to future generations. Hopefully, they'll come to a different conclusion than their spokesperson. If not, perhaps it's time we had that debate about whether the Association of Realtors can understand and respect the public's interest or only its own.
LANDWATCH MONTEREY COUNTY
Future Without Fear
I am not concerned about the Y2K bug-- we will be prepared. On the other hand, I am very concerned that the fear of the possible technological glitches and inconveniences that Y2K may bring has eclipsed the reflective, retrospective, and action opportunities that the turning of the millennium affords us.
Instead of entering the year 2000 with fear and trepidation, we should be looking forward to the renewal potential of the next 100 and 1,000 years. To initiate that reflection, retrospection, and renewal, the Return of the Natives Restoration Education Project of CSUMB's Watershed Institute will be sponsoring a week of community participation in natural lands restoration in the week between Christmas 1999, and New Years Day 2000. From January 27 to January 31 we will be inviting the public to join us in restoring native plants to their ancient habitats while at the same time engaging in conversations about the state of the planet. Our goal is to heal ourselves while healing the earth.
We would like to encourage other non-profits and action oriented programs to join in presenting volunteer service opportunities during this pivotal week to build community and open dialogue. Together through working, thinking and talking about our communities, our planet, ourselves, we can enter the year 2000 with hope, commitment, and compassion.
LAURA LEE LIENK
CSUMB SERVICE LEARNING AND WATERSHED INSTITUTE