Thursday, December 8, 2005
SANCTUARIES IN SYNC
Like a fish with two heads, the Gulf of the Farallones (GFNMS) and Monterey Bay National Marine sanctuaries (MBNMS) will hold a joint advisory council meeting this week to ensure that both organizations are swimming in the same direction.
“This is an opportunity for council members from both areas to deal with common issues and help in individual planning,” says Rachel T. Saunders, the MBNMS community and public relations coordinator. There are a couple of hot topics on this year’s agenda, including a presentation on oil and gas exploration possibilities and a discussion of marine reserves.
“We’re going to hear from Rich Charter on seismic survey issues and LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) Tanker offload issues in the Gulf of Farallones—where there may be sitings for offload facilities for tankers,” Saunders says, and she’s quick to point out that there won’t be an up or down vote on offshore drilling. “This presentation is an informational matter. [It] simply apprises the council on latest news.”
Also at the meeting, sanctuary staff and advisory council members will give a presentation on marine reserves.
The meeting is open to the public, and will be held from 8:30am to 4pm on Dec. 9, at Our Lady of the Pillar Catholic Church in Half Moon Bay. [RM]
RV PARK TO EXPAND
An RV park sitting across the street from the entrance to Marina Dunes Natural Preserve has for months been trying to purchase an adjacent property along Dunes Drive in order to expand its services. On Dec. 6, the Marina City Council was expected to sell the park the land, totaling 48,495 square feet, for $80,000.
“The City has reached an agreement that’s good for them and good for the City,” says Marina Mayor Ila Mettee-McCutchon. “This RV park has received awards for being one of the best in the state, and we’re happy to have them in the city.”
While the natural preserve across the street from the RV park is now home to endangered species, including the western snowy plover, the land being sold won’t infringe on the protected lands.
“The portion they want to expand to is from their current property out along their side of the street, not across towards the other side of the street,” Mettee-McCutchon says.
Currently, the Marina Dunes Recreational Park has 65 spaces for rent. The added land would allow for about 10 more RV parking spaces.
Before the City gives the park the green light to start building on the new property, the expansion plan will undergo public review. [RV]
MEASURE C, REDUX
Voters will likely get to weigh in on Rancho San Juan. Again.
Opponents of Butterfly Village—a 671-acre, golf-and-home project planned for the Rancho San Juan area north of Salinas—turned in more than 14,000 signatures on Dec. 6. (About 9,000 registered signatures are required to force a June election to overturn the project’s approval.
“People feel that the Board of Supervisors isn’t listening,” says Julie Engell, chairwoman of the Rancho San Juan Opposition Coalition. “They feel they should have been allowed an opportunity to vote before the Board made its decision to approve a revised plan.”
On Nov. 8, county residents overwhelmingly rejected the entire Rancho San Juan plan.
A day earlier, County Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve Butterfly Village, the first piece in the larger Rancho San Juan plan. Many saw the move as an effort to undermine the public’s vote. [JL]