A LandWatch Report
Status of the Monterey County General Plan Update
This brief report is to let LandWatch members and
supporters know what actions the Monterey County Board of
Supervisors has most recently taken with respect to the
Countyís General Plan Update process. In addition,
this report outlines what sort of actions might be expected
in the future, and what concerned citizens can do.
On Tuesday, November 26, 2002, the Board took some very
significant, but interim actions:
1. On a 3-2 vote, the Board directed the county
staff to amend the General Plan Update to include twelve
specific ìproperty owner requests.î Approval
of these requests builds into the GPU a policy statement
allowing either residential or commercial development on
lands that are now in agricultural and open space use.
Each one of these property owner requests was
inconsistent with the twelve guiding objectives upon
which the General Plan Update has been based.
In other words, the Board of Supervisors approved
various property owner requests that are not compatible
with a future for the County that focuses growth in a
limited number of areas where infrastructure can be
provided, and where urban growth is appropriate. Instead,
these property owner requests are compatible with a type
of growth that permits rural landowners to develop
subdivisions and shopping centers in areas that are most
appropriate for agricultural and open space use.
Unfortunately, each one of the individual property
owner requests approved by the Board may act as a kind of
ìlegal precedentî for other land use changes
that violate the twelve guiding objectives.
As an example of what the Board did on November 26th,
the Board included approval of a residential subdivision
designation for lands outside of the Marina Urban Growth
Boundary, as established by Measure E, an initiative
measure enacted by the citizens of Marina in November
Here is how the vote went on this critically important
AYES: Armenta, Calcagno, Johnsen
NOES: Pennycook, Potter
2. The Board also directed the County staff to revise
the draft GPU to include many recommendations from the
Planning Commission, and recommendations adopted by the
Board itself. Many of these recommendations strengthened
and improved the draft GPU. Others weakened it (at least
from the LandWatch point of view). However, very few if
any of these changes were fundamentally inconsistent with
the twelve guiding objectives upon which the draft
General Plan Update has been based.
3. Probably most importantly, the Board said that
none of its decisions (neither the "good" ones, nor the
"bad" ones-again, from the LandWatch point of view) will
really be final until approved by a "new" Board of
Supervisors that will be seated in January.
Next January, Supervisor Judy Pennycook will be
replaced on the Board by Supervisor Butch Lindley.
Supervisor Pennycook has been a strong and consistent
vote for a General Plan Update based on the critically
important twelve guiding objectivesóobjectives
that came out of an extensive public outreach process,
and that call for a new commitment to focused, compact
growth, and an end to sprawl.
Supervisor Lindleyís thoughts about the GPU are
not yet known-except that he was very critical of the GPU
during his campaign last spring.
Because it is "next year's" Board (not the Board
that just voted) that will determine the final shape of
the General Plan Update, nothing can be taken for
Continued participation is vital! If the
ìnewî Board, next year, tries to discard the
twelve guiding objectives upon which the GPU has been based,
to approve even more property owner requests, and to
undermine good planning, citizens have remedies they can
use: lawsuits; referenda, and the initiative.
LandWatch is not going to give up the fight for a General
Plan Update that can protect and preserve our spectacular
environment, that will strengthen our agricultural and
tourist-based economy, and that will provide quality
affordable housing for working families throughout the
county. Stay tuned!
Gary A. Patton, Executive Director LandWatch Monterey
Box 1876 Salinas, CA 93902
>From the Monterey Peninsula: 375-3752