Liberal Humboldt, CA

Advocating Countywide for Small "d" democratic Values

The Private Participation Work Group

37 Comments

12/2/13  A pre-meeting planning session.  From left to right, Lee Ulansey, Bonnie Blackberry, Peter Childs and Dan Taranto.

12/2/13 A pre-meeting planning session. From left to right, Lee Ulansey, Bonnie Blackberry, Peter Childs and Dan Taranto.

I can’t emphasize this enough.  Your county government is being run by special monied interests which include or course all the usual suspects, realtors, developers, large property owners/investors, bankers and mortgage brokers, but now includes the HumCo special twist Weed Inc.

One demonstration of this is the Public Participation Work Group (PPWG) which at it’s heart is Bonnie Blackberry and Dan Taranto and Peter Childs.  The poor resolution photo you can see them in a pre-GPU meeting strategy session working out their approach to the day’s meeting which includes nicely, current Planning Commission Member at large and former Supervisor Fennel colleague at Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights Lee Ulansey.

This group is currently working directly with county staff to draft chapters 2 (and 3?) of the General Plan Update.  Their stated goal is to improve public participation.  In practice we can see the actual effect of their work by closely watching how the current BOS handles the GPU and the PPWG’s reactions to it.  The result of their work  is that the Board of Supervisors (BOS) spares no expense when it comes to reaching out to the county’s 5,000 or so property owners.  But on issues that the broader public might be concerned with, say, “protecting agriculture and timberland for the long term”, well, lip service is paid to encouraging public participation, but that is it.

Again, this isn’t public participation, it’s the opposite – it’s private participation.  So what is the confusion?  The confusion seems to be in the definition of public.  I think to 4 of the 5 members of the Board of Supervisors, to Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights founder and current Planning Commission at Large Commission Member Lee Ulansey and to the PPWG “public” is defined as those owning property.  It’s that simple. Everything in this process favors either those who have property or other stakeholders such as realtors, home builders, developers, large corporate interests, etc.  Those who have a financial stake in the process are those who are listened to – very carefully by the way.  This is how something as simple and obvious as “protecting agriculture and timberland for the long term” FULL STOP is not generally accepted as a guiding principle for our county’s plan for the future.

Words have meaning and it’s very interesting if one pays attention to how they are often used to mean their opposite – or in other words deceive.  I think the most significant of these word games, is the Public Participation Work Group.

Next time – PPWG and double jeopardy democracy.

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37 thoughts on “The Private Participation Work Group

  1. ha! I’m glad someone noticed…I tried to join the “Public” participation working group, but they weren’t interested in my input.

  2. Thanks observer – I’m glad you did too. Its been driving me nuts. I’d love to talk to you about your experiences with them. When I sat back down in my seat after TRYING to make this point at a BOS meeting in October I think, I got back to my seat which was right in front of Peter Childs and friends. As Dan Taranto went back up to argue against my attempted points, Peter leaned over and told me – “We are working for you.” “No” I told him, and then may or may not have added, “you are definitely NOT working for me”.

    We had some contentious mini debates during one of the breaks as I was trying to argue that their group had nothing to do with democracy. He asked me to define democracy, and I said it started with education. Interestingly he changed the subject. I really would like to continue the conversation with Peter or anyone else in the group if they would care to spend some time commenting here with me and whoever else would like to join.

  3. you are picking fights with people on your side

  4. That’s what Peter contends too. He said the PPWG is working for me (us). No thank you. I don’t need double jeopardy Democracy. I don’t have the quote in front of me by Dan Taranto as said one of his supporters or someone he works with is the Chamber of Commerce. Generally, if the Chamber of Commerce is for it, most liberals or Democrats will be against it. Not everything, but most. And that doesn’t mean that liberals and Democrats are against economic growth, just the brand of economic growth that the Chamber of Commerce generally promotes – you know the usual – lower taxes, fewer regulations, etc. Don’t worry yourselves government officials, we in the private sector got this.

    Also, I’m not picking fights. I don’t want a fight, I want an open debate – there is an important difference and as always words have meanings – even if said anonymously.

  5. You heard one of his supporters or somebody he works with is in the chamber of commerce, so you discount everything they have to say.

    And you don’t see anything wrong with your thinking here?

    • No – Anon – not at all. I use that as supporting evidence. I discount their sincerity because their definition of public seems to only be the public that is concerned about property rights issues. When the BOS wrote the Guiding Principles behind closed doors then failed to listen to the 50 plus people in the room except to add salmonids and change “honoring residents” instead of “honoring landowners” , that was a hint of their priorities. Where where they then? That was the most significant demonstration of public participation, but they were absent from the outcry. Except for one letter which Bonnie sent which stated that she agreed that there should be another meeting after the 6/3 meeting. Another meeting toward what end? Just to hear the public outcry and even change back one of the principles you wrote that night?

      No, by “Public” Dan, Bonnie, Peter, Tom, and Lee mean private, and Dan’s mention of the Chamber of Commerce is further evidence of that.

  6. Serious question here:
    What are you afraid of regarding growth and the general plan? There is an article in the TS today that details the recent county growth, and according to the article it is basically the number of people born here. It also states the prospects for growth are slim due to the remoteness and lack of industry. The current plan we are under is less restrictive than any version the BOS is considering, and we have essentially no growth. What are you so excited about? What do you think is going to happen with the general plan that will suddenly induce a mass influx of people? I just don’t get why some of you lefties are so hung up on this issue.

    • It’s the pattern of growth, not growth itself. We need to be able to plan growth as a community. The BOS and current Planning Commission is determined to return the planning to private concerns. Without the ability to plan for growth we will not be able to address larger issues like climate change, walkability of our towns, protecting long term agricultural and natural resource needs, water usage, etc.

  7. There is no growth, what are you planning for?

  8. Are you telling me if allowed another residence on TPZ lands, property owners won’t build them? Humboldt county didn’t grow much if at all during the las 20 years but McKinleyville’s growth and schools did well it seems while Eureka’s population and schools dwindled. No growth doesn’t necessarily mean no development. Even so, it is the pattern of potential growth. By ceding the public’s need to plan for the future to the private sector, we lose the ability to plan the pattern of development. Growth or no growth people will move around and we will need to continue to to control where and how we build new structures. How many unpermitted structures do you think the county has right now? Allowing a greater laissez faire attitude is going in the wrong direction.

  9. Some might. Probably not too many since most people want to live closer to town. All the school enrollments are down, though. It is funny you ask how many unpermitted structures there are. Who knows, but if they aren’t getting permits, it doesn’t matter what the plan says, does it? Most of the unpermitted structures are probably pot grows, but you want to regulate my neighbor building a mother in law unit for his kid? It just seems bizarre to be so worried about the future growth patterns while the past 10 years have seen most development patterns as illegal grow developments in the woods, but rather than talk about that you run around like chicken little because you think some contractor might split a lot and build a house. Well, at least those developments are going through planning and environmental processes, whereas the developments that you aren’t worried about (pot) are not.

  10. Both are problems. The mother in law unit is a nice narrative, but it is still un permitted. What the current crop of Supervisors and planners will do is unplan. One “mother in law unit” is not a problem. What is the total we are talking about? Are ther other motivations for the doubling if the residential homes on what is taxed extremely lightly to benefit timber production? Is the “mother-in-law unit” right next to or far away from the main unit (more driveways/roads)? What is to stop the next GPU from doubling the total again? What is the mechanism you propose for us as a community to halt this PATTERN of growth/non growth if we can’t control unpermitted structures? How much of this is being driven by real estate gains and interests trumping our ability to plan. This isn’t about chicken little this is about solving big problems with baby steps. It’s also about right and wrong. Building illegal structures, whether for weed, one’s child, to increase the income generated on one’s land with rent, or to increase the value of one’s property, is wrong and we should not be saying it was fine to do and set up the same problem for the next GPU.

    Only next time it may be 3 or 4 structures instead of 2. Why not? It’s their land, they have property rights, right?

  11. The units must be in the same 3 acre footprint as the main unit, and that area is taxed the same as all other residential property. Only the actual timberland gets the break.

    You can’t do 3 units without a lot split or subdivision, and I don’t believe you can split our subdivide tpz parcels, you would have to go through a ten year slide out.

    I am not sure where you are getting your information, but it is not accurate.

    I wasn’t talking about unpermitted mother in law units, by the way. I was saying that while the lefties are throwing a fit about somebody building a permitted second house on 80 or 160 acres that would go through an environmental and planning review, where everything is looked at from the drainage, creek setbacks, to the type of wiring and nail patterns on the siding, growers on the other side of the road dammed up the creek, poisened the animals, leveled off the top of a mountain, and what do we hear from the left? Future growth patterns! OK Nero, play on.

  12. My information may not be complete because I am not a professional. I am doing the best I can as an amature. Obviously you are quite versed in this subject. According to Gordon Leppig, the nature of the TPZ zone is lost with adding another residence so yes, I see your point, but isn’t the nature of the TPZ property changing so that the tax break itself becomes questionable. What is to stop a 3rd unit change in State law (or where ever the limit originates) in the future? Won’t there be a similar push to add more or is 2 the perfect amount of homes. (this represents a doubling btw – which is HUGE over large areas of land which I think is part of the point Gordon is making – check out his appearance on KMUD on 11/12/13 at 7 and Tom Grover’s call in reply. This is a conversation we are not having.

    Is it appropriate to have only those with vested interests involved in policy, especially when there is so much at stake. Not overnight – not chicken little, but over time. We can have our cake and eat it too if we plan and if most of us are on the same page. We are not, this process is being run from behind closed doors lead by unknown people (see GP 4) and advocated for by special interests.

    Yes, Nero fiddled while Rome burned. That is the question – what you are saying is since people are doing this all on their own accord anyway, we should reduce regulations so that they may decide to be legit. Hmm, seems awfully heavy handed to me.

    There are additional concerns you are missing – concerns about our living patterns – are we going to continue to encourage spread out living which depends even more on fossil fuels, or are we going to start finally paying attention and connecting the dots and seeing that with a little foresite, and modicum of belief in our publlic institutions we can solve many problems as once instead of bending over to business, private and property owner demands all for the sake for whatever narrative is this week’s choice – jobs, a busted economy – to compete with Redding – etc. Read Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine – that’s what is going on here.

  13. What happens to the tpz? Do the trees stop growing because there are two houses on 160 acres instead of one? That seems totally ridiculous, especially taken in context that the second house has to be in the same 3 acre converted area as the first. I suppose nothing could stop a 3rd unit if the law changes, but at some point, wouldn’t the tpz owner run out of space, water, or septic carrying capacity in the 3 acres? They couldn’t sell any of these houses, so it would be limited to rentals.

    Nero, what I am saying is you are focusing on the very small number of potential housing units in tpz while people are blowing up thousands of industrial grows in the areas you think you are protecting by not allowing houses. Who knows, maybe if there were a bunch of neighbors out there the growers would go somewhere more discreet or leave the land alone.

    If you really believe we need to live in self-sufficient little cities because we don’t have the means or ability to drive, please tell me what in the hell we are going to eat?

  14. “especially taken in context that the second house has to be in the same 3 acre converted area as the first”

    Is this true? For reals? I did not know this. Do you have a source – not questioning you as much as I’d like to become familiar with the 1st hand material myself as I continue to learn about forest management (my interest stems from carbon footprint, reducing transportation needs concerns – the rest I’m on a sharp learning curve.

    “They couldn’t sell any of these houses, so it would be limited to rentals.”

    Why can’t they sell the houses? Couldn’t they sell the whole improved property? That seems to me to be the point.

    So – the extra unit has to be built on the 3 acres? I didn’t know that and that is very good. That still doesn’t change the larger point that Gordon Leppig addresses on the 11/12/13 KHUM Environment show which I have on my to do list to trascribe – the large area in the county currently under TPZ just had it’s potential population double. I don’t see how that will ever be able to be brought back. Once there those umpteen hundred or thousand new allowable structures are not ever going away.

    “you are focusing on the very small number of potential housing units in tpz while people are blowing up thousands of industrial grows in the areas you think you are protecting by not allowing houses. Who knows, maybe if there were a bunch of neighbors out there the growers would go somewhere more discreet or leave the land alone.”

    So because of someone else’s bad behavior we have to accept a doubling of the population in TPZ zones? It feels something like extorsion.

    “If you really believe we need to live in self-sufficient little cities because we don’t have the means or ability to drive, please tell me what in the hell we are going to eat?”

    Please. I don’t even understand this. “Protect Agriculture and Timberland long term” was something I am strongly supporting. The people I am arguing against had to modify that phrase out of significance.

    “Nero” – brilliant rhetorical device. (sarcasm)

  15. I am pretty sure that is what the board voted on, but go watch the video. There is a checklist or something to be developed and if you hit all the right marks, you get your second unit. One of those was that 2nd unit had to be in the 3 acre “converted” area. Others were probably related to roads, setbacks, etc.

    They can’t sell the houses because that would require a lot split or “subdivision” and in order to get a subdivision on TPZ approved, it has to enhance the ability to grow timber, a pretty tough thing to achieve, as evidenced by the HRC representatives and Sundberg arguing a couple months ago:

    from the mck press:
    But the subdivision policy isn’t new – it’s in the 1984 General Plan and perhaps confounding the expectations of those who view Sundberg as being uniformly pro-development, even on TPZ lands, he said TPZ subdivisions should only be done if timber management is improved.

    “We want to keep the larger TPZ parcels,” said Sundberg. “This has been in effect since 1984 so I would have to have a pretty good reason why someone would split that down to half.”

    “You don’t have that right now – I don’t see why you would expect it,” he continued.

    Sundberg referred to the values outlined in the update’s guiding principles and their call for protecting forestlands. He said once a TPZ parcel is reduced in size, “It’s easier to do something different with it.”

    I suppose a person could buy a 160 acre parcel with three houses on it, but who could afford that? I doubt the return on the 3rd third is worth the extra expense.

    Regarding the food thing, I am not sure if you know this, but almost all of the food here arrives by truck. So, if we reach the point it is too expensive to drive around and we have to walk or ride horses or whatever, how is the food going to get here? Seriously.

  16. I was there for that. I remember Supervisor Sundberg crowing that people will be suprised he didn’t subdivide or something like that. The Working Resources Workgroup Guy sure did try to have the Supervisors allow divisions though.

    I did not catch the 3 acre bit. If true that would be a very good rule, however that does not take away from Gordon Lippig’s very important point of doubling the human impact in the TPZ zone – a huge area – and we are never, ever getting that back.

    “160 acre parcel with three houses on it, but who could afford that?” Plenty of people. The whole Bay area – especially if weed is legalized.

    That’s what is so frustrating – people, especially the growers are concerned about themselves right now. That’s fine, that’s right, but just don’t pretend your interests are also the broader interests. Capitalism still rules and especially with Weed’s uncertain future, the chances that property in the hills could get very desirable are pretty high. Once they are, I foresee a similar future for the local grower as what happened to the family farms in the Central Valley and the mid west. This lattest move by the BOS to send the GPU back to the Planning Commission is another example of just who actually is in charge. Take a look at HBE’s member roster – that’s who is in charge right now, HBE and property owners via HumCPR.

  17. Does every tpz parcel have a house now? I doubt even half of them do. Probably cabins mostly for weekenders. They are too remote. Why in the hell would you want to drive a hour out of town and live in a cluster of houses? Seems to me the reason people live out that far is to get away from neighbors, not bring them in.
    If weed is legalized, those values will be in the toilet. You have it exactly backwards.

  18. So most of the TPZ homes are not used to help manage the forest? I think that was part of the argument for them.

    Are we agreed that Weed Inc. is going to be a net negative for HumCo? Most people don’t agree.

    What values will be in the toilet once weed is legalized?

    That’s the problem with allowing a second home – it’s a blanket allowance, some may have a real need as you described above, need to build Jr. a home, but most will be using the allowance for another reason, and we are never getting that allowance back, especially when Weed Inc. is legalized.

  19. No, the county wanted you to have to prove the house was necessary for the timber management, which is ridiculous. What kind of forest needs a house to grow? None. It was just another dishonest way for the county to deny people of their property rights. That way they could say you can build a house to pacify the public at large and still deny every single applicant. Who would have thought they would gert together and talk? This is the kind of crap that got humcpr going, and it is why they have broad support. County planning pulled some very dishonest maneuvers and Humcpr isthe only group that called them on it.

    Property values out in the woods will plummet with legalization. Probably in town too, but to a lessor degree.

  20. I was there when a similar subject was discussed. The Working Lands Research Guy was trying to get the county to allow subdivision of TPZ lands – the BOS wouldn’t have it. Apparently it is allowed as long as you can show that the proposed improvement, whatever it is, subdivision or building a second home will benefit the purpose of the land – timber as a resource.

    So I can tell from this post your biases. It’s not dishonesty, its about central planning. If every property owner where allowed his way many or most would choose to extract the resources with little or no concern for the commons – the long term impact. It’s just human nature. Even if most were proper crunchy California hippies with sustainability as the goal, capitalism works such that the person with the least amount of scrupples will be more successful financially and thus more powerful.

    There is a legal concept of eminent domain to balance the concept of property rights. And let’s be clear, they are both political concepts before either one becomes either law or is enforced

    If the forest doesn’t need a 2nd house to grow, then we agree, it shouldn’t be allowed. That’s what TPZ land is for – timber management. I’m afraid though that this will be changed with a stoke of a pen (map designation).

    That is so interesting that you think property values in the woods will plummet with legalization. (They would in town too if you are right). This goes against any common sense I’m familiar with. The lands would become more valuable….

    (light bulb) Oh, wait, I get it – OMG -The light bulb just lit.

    Clearly you are not from Weed Inc. from your writing style amd your priorities. I’m guessing you or yours are involved in realty or development or construction of some kind? But this is the thing isn’t it. You depend on illegal weed, because once it’s legalized you are afraid that it will be grown somewhere more profitably than HumCo.

    This is actually a huge admission and one I will note that you didn’t actually make, but one that has to be implied.

    This is the unspoken connection between Weed Inc. and (sorry for the rhetoric) Greed Inc. And by Greed Inc. what I mean is if you only focus on property rights – the argument works if all you mean is you need a “mother in law unit” because Jr. can’t afford his own property. But where this is inevitably going to go with capitalism (I’m pro capitalism, but with the public helping to save it from itself) is the land will again become a commodity and the salmonids and any hope of regional planning will suffer.

  21. First, tpz is voluntary. You know that, right? So if people really want out, they just opt out and in 10 years they are out. If you make it too much of a burden, there won’t be any tpz, at least the smaller parcels.

    The county has been very dishonest in years past about the general plan policies, including tpz. Remember when they cut half the language out of the law to persuade the planning commission on a tpz issue? You call that “good planning”? Or when they told the state they expected 4400 houses to be built in shelter cove so they could meet their housing quota for the state? Good planning?

    No, it is dishonest. It is a way to trick people. The new plan has a number of these poisen pills as well. You want that from our government?

    I am not in weed or greed inc. I don’t care about the pot, other than the destruction in our community it has caused What difference does it make if I am presenting facts? I don’t see how the weed or greed has anything to do with mother in law units. It’s nor like if they were suddenly allowed by right you would see any significant difference in development. There just isn’t that much interest in living here. Santa Rosa, we are not.

    There you go with the chicken little rhetoric again. The land is very protected, read the plan.

  22. TPZ is voluntary? But how great are the tax savings? Would anyone in their right mind unTPZ? How many people have?

    You keep saying the county has been dishonest. How honest has the Public Participation Group been? Their dishonesty is in the name itself.

    We agree that too much of politics is to trick people. But the problem is we don’t seem to be grown up enough to deal with actual language from what I can tell. What we have is narrative on top of narrative on top of narrative on top of policy. Again – we agree on honesty.

    And again again, speaking about honesty and false narratives, this isn’t about Santa Rosa – it’s about the pattern of growth. We need to as a community be able to plan for a pattern of growth that is not dependent on fossil fuels. Yes the problem with this is many people who own land will not be able to do exactly what they want with it. That is the difficult pill to swallow that no politician can run on – at least when there is a myopic me-first tea party infusing our community.

    “I don’t care about the pot, other than the destruction in our community it has caused.”

    ***** I agree with you on this. This is new for me, I’am not a cultural conservative, but I’m becoming one on “the pot”. Environmental liberals need to see the larger problems with Weed Inc. and I will be evangelizing this with you (assuming this is important to you too – important enough to push away an ally on property rights lobbying). The problem is you will find many businessman or economic conservatives beginning to disagree with you. See Rex Bohn’s latest comments* and I think Supervisor Fennel’s connection to Weed Inc are very clear despite her property-rights and land use conservatism.

    It’s not chicken little – its a slow steady creap of continually making decisions based on individual wants rather than the public’s best interest. It’s the type of policy that you get when you have a BOS whose first concern is private participation rather than public participation.

    My question for you would be why did you say this if you really don’t care about “the pot”. “Property values out in the woods will plummet with legalization.”

    *http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2013/dec/1/sac-bee-says-supervisor-bohn-wants-brand-humboldt/

  23. Because you said they will go up due to legalization. I hope they do go down, I would like to be able to afford a home in the woods someday, but I can’t compete economically with somebody who is going to use that land to make a million a year growing weed.

    The pattern of growth here is slow. We don’t have near the boom and bust as other areas. I don’t know why the enviros are so stuck on this issue. What does that mean, “a pattern of growth not dependent on automobiles”. Is that a potential reality? I was serious about where our food will come from if there are no cars. I do not believe Humboldt has the ag capacity to feed all of us. What will they do in LA?

  24. ” I hope they do go down, I would like to be able to afford a home in the woods someday, but I can’t compete economically with somebody who is going to use that land to make a million a year growing weed.”

    I agree and disagree. I hope you can afford and get a home in the woods if that’s what you want, but we have to understand that the number of those homes has to be limited – that’s where we disagree and where I appreciate the back and forth because I’m beginning to understand your position outside all the legal talk.

    Where we agree and we may be in the minority is we both don’t want Weed Inc to ratchet up land prices. I think it is important for people like us to go back to our respective camps and start having – again – something we agree on – honest conversations about weed. The increased property prices will likely be a result of legalization – but that’s an educated guess on my part – but it’s also an honest guess. I’m not sure if people who are growing are objective enough to give an honest guess.

    “The pattern of growth here is slow.” Again, by pattern, I don’t mean speed. We will grow slow if at all. It is important to start offering afforable and nice homes in town again and move away from this 70 year growth patterns that reshaped Callifornia. We still have a chance to do this in HumCo because we haven’t had the growth that the rest of California has had since, say, the 50′s. Unfortunately growth like McKinleyville is happening, and we need to be able to start offering other alternatives – which btw are going to require professionals employed by the county who know a whole lot more about this sort of thing than I do.

    “a pattern of growth not dependent on automobiles” , means this… It means Eureka and this area circa 1900 to 1920 but with modern technology. It means many more people being able to survive with a very high standard of living without a car – or maybe with sharing a car with other families. It’s a lifestyle I’m living and I love it. I think many younger people would to if given the choice. That’s why when cities and/or towns do begin to focus on growth in town it often becomes too expensive. So again, we would need people with the public interest at heart, not ONLY private to plan for growth. The “plan” that is in the name “planning” commission.

    Where would we get our food? The same places we do now. Not everyone would be carless, some like maybe you, would still have a house in the woods. Maybe there would be a grocery store near you instead of all the way in town. Or maybe there would be a “robust” (a term Dan Taranto hates btw) public transportation system. The food will still come from the central valley, and hopefully we would stop using increasing amounts of our areable land and maybe local farms would become more popular again.

    I know this sounds utopian, but it’s really not. It is the alternative that is possible if we get out of the mind-set that people have been selling us, well, because we want it. We want that suburban home with the slightly bigger footprint than the ones in town, we want our double garages and immaculate new yards sans weeds, etc. My guess is, IF we were offered an alternative, people would like that too. It’s a matter of getting Supervisors to start taking in the bigger picture too.

    In a nutshell Anonymous what I would like is for us to be the rural Portland IN TERMS OF PLANNING. Portland since the 70′s has focused on planning growth and has a much better urban landscape because of it. I want to promote something similar here. We can do it – we can have our cake and eat it too but only if – like you said – we speak honestly. And we will have to come to grips with the simple fact that we live in a society and we will not all be able to do exactly what we want with our land. Some land is best left for agriculture, some for forestry, others to act as a buffer between nature and civilization. But it is important to map these types of areas and plan – and even thought we aren’t in danger of becoming Santa Rosa, we don’t want to plan for a map that has a spread out footprint that allows people the maximum distance between eachother but may ultimately be a cost our society can’t bear in terms of gasoline (economic and environmental)

    “I was serious about where our food will come from if there are no cars.” It’s not no cars, just fewer, just the option to live without if that’s what you want. Think of it as Freedom of Choice. The onus is on the public sector to help provide this freedom because the private sector isn’t interested. They would not make enough money off of it.

  25. “but we have to understand that the number of those homes has to be limited ” yes, they are currently limited by minimum parcel size and zoning. I don’t understand why this has escaped you. it’s as if you know enough to have an opinion, but not enough to have an informed one. read the plan. ag lands are protected, open space is protected, timberlands are protected, open space is protected, critical habitats are protected, endangered species are protected, etc. you really have to read the plan. it is somewhat complicated, but if you go to each section and just look at the goals, that should ease some of your worries. the problem is, if you do that and start to understand the policies, you will see that you have been duped by the left into believing some things that aren’t true, or at best, taken totally out of context. this new plan is much more restrictive than the one we are currently living under.

    why do you think land prices will go up? weed can be grown anywhere and there are companies setting up right now for legalization. the only reason it is grown here is because we are so remote. without the price supports from a black market, the value will go down.

    i am all with you on the town center type stuff, be we have to have jobs to support that and also a critical mass of people. you are saying there are not choices to allow for this, but there are. the only place there aren’t choices is where there isn’t enough land. where will you put in a development downtown eureka or arcata? very limited options. it will happen as buildings become obsolete.

    the growth in mckinleyville is almost nonexistent. it is all infill, by the way, with higher densities. isn’t that what you want?

    You have a really extreme bias against the private sector. the reason these developments you seek are not built isn’t because they won’t make enough money, it is because it will most likely put them out of business. as in, they will lose their asses. would you do a project like that? one that costs a million more than you take in? I wouldn’t.

  26. “yes, they are currently limited by minimum parcel size and zoning. I don’t understand why this has escaped you.” What I’m speaking of is the absolute number – even at 2 instead of 1 per parcel, that is a doubling of homes. I will have to get and transcribe the Gordon Leppig quote on this to make this clear. It’s about a new policy that is going to move more people into the woods.

    ” lands are protected, open space is protected, timberlands are protected, open space is protected, critical habitats are protected, endangered species are protected, etc.”

    No they are not. If they were, they would have been able to keep the phrase “protect agriculture and timberland for the long term” (GP#6) AND “protect natural resources” (which actually should have been upgraded to “protect ecosystem values”.(GP#7)

    Not to mention #4′s rewrite which deleted a phrasing all 5 (or at the very least 4) supervisors agreed with before their friends in the private sector got back to them “discouraging resource conversion” (GP#4)

    “this new plan is much more restrictive than the one we are currently living under.”

    Yes, but the 1984 plan has been superseded at least at the state level by a very proactive – regional planning friendly GPU process. Unfortunately the Private Participation Work Group is working hard to reinstall the 1984 plan into the GPU plan. I’ll post on this again sometime soon. (I know it’s “public”, technically, but that’s a farce, again, I’ll post later to explain)

    “is where there isn’t enough land. where will you put in a development downtown eureka or arcata?”

    That is the right question and it is a hard question. It is going to hurt and it is going to involve taking some bitter pills. The development costs will not be as great as on unimproved land but this is why we need a strong Planning Division with support and protection fom the BOS instead of a BOS which is against planning – or sees planning as a customer service issue.

    “one that costs a million more than you take in? I wouldn’t.”

    Then something has to change, because the market alone is creating an unsustainable growth pattern.

    “You have a really extreme bias against the private sector.” –

    I’d be very curious to finally find out what your interests are. If you will question mine, then I think it would only be fair to find out if you are disinterested (unbiased) also. I am pro business, I want their to be a growing, successful economy, but I want us to grow in a pattern that is sustainable – to start being able to make decisions that are becoming obvious to those of us who pay attention to larger issues like our huge military that dispite the rhetoric is largely maintained to keep oil supply routes open, …(I’ve typed it too much so I won’t again – it includes the words “costs”, “environmental”, “and” “economic” … AND ….just in case the scientists are right … climate change.

    btw, did you happen to notice how close we are the sea level – at least I am. You would think that climate change would be a no-brainer – at least for Distric 4′s (Eureka) Supervisor.
    :)

  27. Read the goals, policies, and implementation measures,not the guiding principles.

    This is like reading only the preamble and then claiming there is no free speech in the us constitution.

    • Do you know that argument was used all summer? Why were the guiding principles so important to change very with very specific language if they did not matter?

      Have you been following the pressure brought on by the environmental lawyers employed by HBE and Mercer Fraiser? The GPU is being sent back to the Planning Commission and part of the argument was the internal inconsistencies of the GPU, with the specific example of the Guiding Principles.

  28. the plan has to go back to the commission to review changes that weren’t part of the planning commission draft. also, there has to be consistency. can you imagine trying to implement policies that aren’t consistent with eachother? which one rules? business is looking for stability and predictability in a planning process, and inconsistent policies do not provide that.

    regarding the mineral element letter, the way the current policy is written, there will never be another gravel mine opened up in the county. for example, you can’t have a gravel mine that does not have environmental impacts. you can mitigate them, you can have a statement of overriding considerations, but you can’t always prevent them. there will be traffic, noise, etc. you can prevent or minimize to the extent feasible though. another example of dishonesty. if they don’t want any more gravel mines, it should be stated, not allowed in concept and denied in practice. this is the beef that many people have with the plan. they say things are allowed, but when you get down to the rules, there are so many conditions that things are not actualy doable.

    another good example of this is the tpz thing you are so worried about. read the fire safe rules. you can only have so many homes over a certain distance on the road without upgrading it. this is a huge limiting factor on rural lands. tie that in with creek setbacks, septic requirements, staying in the 3 acre converted area, etc. you are not going to see a doubling of those densities, there simply aren’t enough parcels that will meet all the criteria.

    here are some policies for you that may be comforting since you seem unable to find them:

    GP-P10. Conversion of Resource Lands. Parcels of timber site quality III or higher and
    prime agricultural lands suitable for resource production should not be
    included within Urban Expansion Areas unless the County makes a finding that
    there are no alternatives to increase the Urban Expansion Area on lands less
    suitable for resource production. [BOS tentative revision 7-16-2012: Straw
    vote: Make sure there is consistency with the land use maps; some of the
    properties designated RA are in Expansion areas. Straw vote: 3 for PC version;
    (Sundberg abstaining to allow further research) (refer to p. 4.2-9 of Binder 2)]

    GP-S7. Required Findings for Urban Expansion. To determine when it is permissible to
    extend urban level development into the Urban Expansion Area, the Planning
    Commission shall evaluate housing demand and capacity within the Urban
    Development Area and public service availability and capacities for Urban
    Expansion Area proposals including factors such as: water and sewer
    availability; roads, streetlights, parks and recreation and trail capacity; police
    and fire protection; proximity to educational and health facilities; and solid
    waste management capabilities and make the following findings:
    A. That the amount of land available within the Urban Development Area for
    urban uses is insufficient to meet Housing Element goals; and,
    B. Necessary public service systems have current or expansion capacity to
    serve the proposed addition; and,
    C. The addition is adjacent to the existing urban development area and will
    assist in the completion of an orderly and contiguous extension of urban
    development.

    D. Such lands can feasibly be annexed to a district providing water and
    wastewater service.

    E. The expansion will have a neutral or positive impact on the financing of
    County services.

    AG-P6. Agricultural Land Conversion – No Net Loss. Lands planned for agriculture (AE,
    AG) shall not be converted to non-agricultural uses unless the Planning
    Commission makes the following findings:
    1. There are no feasible alternatives that would prevent or minimize
    conversion;
    2. The facts support an overriding public interest in the conversion; and
    3. For lands outside of designated Urban Development Boundaries, sufficient
    off-setting mitigations have been provided to prevent a net reduction in
    the agricultural land base and agricultural production. This requirement
    shall be known as the “No Net Loss” agricultural lands policy. “No Net
    Loss” mitigations are limited to one or more of the following:
    a) re-planning of vacant agricultural lands from a non-agricultural land
    use designation to an agricultural plan designation along with the
    recordation of a permanent conservation easement on this land for
    continued agricultural use; or
    b) the retirement of non-agricultural uses on lands planned for agriculture
    and recordation of a permanent conservation easement on this land
    for continued agricultural use; or
    c) financial contribution to an agricultural land fund in an amount
    sufficient to fully offset the agricultural land conversion for those uses
    enumerated in subsections a and b. The operational details of the
    land fund, including the process for setting the amount of the financial
    contribution, shall be established by ordinance.

    FR-P9 Residential Construction on TPZ Zoned Parcels. Recognize the right to
    construct a residence and accessory buildings under a ministerial permitting
    process subject to physical County standard consistent with other Elements of
    the General Plan when the use does not detract from the growing and
    harvesting of timber and associated compatible uses. s set by the County.
    Second units: may be allowed on TPZ parcels greater than 160 acres; And,
    may be allowed on TPZ parcel less than 160 acres as a conditional use only in
    the area already converted, intended to be converted, or that does not
    meet the definition of timberlands. Seconds units may be allowed on TPZ
    parcels less than 40 acres within Community Planning Areas. [BOS tentative
    action 6-3-2013: Straw Vote 5-0]

    FR-PX Secondary Residential Construction on TPZ Zoned Parcels. Second residential
    units may be allowed on TPZ parcels greater than 160 acres; and, may be
    allowed on TPZ parcel less than 160 acres as a conditional use only in the area
    already converted, intended to be converted, or that does not meet the
    definition of timberlands. Seconds units may be allowed on TPZ parcels less
    than 40 acres within Community Planning Areas. [BOS tentative action 6-3-
    2013: Straw Vote 5-0]

    http://co.humboldt.ca.us/gpu/docs/documentsbos/chapter4_landuse.pdf

    • “has to go back to the commission to review changes that weren’t part of the planning commission draft. also, there has to be consistency.”

      Do you know who forced their hand and brought up this point? Is the Guiding Principles part of the inconsistencies in your view – because it was in the view of another very influential (and non-HumCo resident I might add) opinion.

      “business is looking for stability and predictability in a planning process, and inconsistent policies do not provide that.”

      Would business be ok with stability and predictability if that meant we would have to build an economy around the idea of “protecting timberland and agriculture for the long term”? That is a powerful idea – can you see where a for-profit business might not be as concerned about the ag-land 2 generations form now if it meant being (more) profitable now?

      “regarding the mineral element letter, the way the current policy is written, there will never be another gravel mine opened up in the county. ”

      “if they don’t want any more gravel mines, it should be stated, not allowed in concept and denied in practice. this is the beef that many people have with the plan. they say things are allowed, but when you get down to the rules, there are so many conditions that things are not actualy doable.”

      Hmmm. Listen to the Halvorson quarry part of the agenda during the 12/10/13 BOS meeting. What staff and a neighbor and Humboldt Baykeeper agreed with is some simple measures including measuring turbidity. Mining can occur, it’s just a matter of doing it right. That’s why the language is so important and the discussion we are having as you would like to have it framed is – those being cognizant of environmental impacts and wanting the public sector to have oversight are dishonest. How is one to argue that? (This was discussed on the KMUD’s Environment Show in detail 12/17/13 http://www.kmud.org/programs-mainmenu-11/kmud-audio-archive)

      Also, listen to the BOS archive – listen to the exchange when Jen questioned Alves’ story. Rex said it bluntly. Alvees employes 35 people – Supervisor Bohn is inclined to believe Alves over Jen.. Jen’s “story”, btw seemed pretty innocuous and believable, but of course if your frame holds, why would we believe the dishonest environmentalists – especially when in cahoots with the dishonest Planning Commission staff.

      No, trust the anonymous blogger. Read the entire element section instead of paying attention to plain language like “protecting agriculture and timberland for the long term” or “discouraging resource conversion”. That general language was the public’s last hold on any HONEST public planning – and yes, the darn public is concerned about water quality (as measured by turbidity – see BOS archive above) and yes the darn public is concerned about “protecting natural resources”.

      During campaign season please be sure that you and your choice of elected representatives are out there proclaiming your honest position of the rights of the private sector over any hope of the public sector having authority or oversight on helping to define what measures can reasonably be taken . Let the private sector figure this out and the public sector appreciate the private sector for supplying income and jobs. We are that desperate, right?

      You need to read Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine. That is what I think is going on here. It’s exploiting a crushingly bad economy by promising more economic activity by resource extraction and discouraging a controlled PATTERN of development that could go a long way to help solve future problems if we started working on problems holistically instead of piecemeal. All for the sake – when it comes down to it – to myopic private needs.

      The point is of course anon that this dishonest argument will not hold water with the electorate. That’s why people like Supervisor Bass, Supervisor Fennel, Planning Commissioner Ulansey and many of the public speakers supporting this BOS have to brandish either their Democratic credentials during campaign season or their “environmental” credentials during public appearances. It’s all posturing to help minimize the public’s role in planning, regulation and enforcement so the private sector has a little more power and can more easily make the difficult decisions themselves. I wonder when they make those decisions if their bias will be more this quarter’s bottom line or a salmonid habitat – or – heaven forbid – working harder and with more overhead to start to rethink our pattern of growth.

      You are very right to bring up honesty. In the end, that is what the entire argument is about. Hey – electorate – trust us – don’t trust them. Both sides are saying this one of them is right. I think it’s significant that this is being said when so much of what is going on is right in front of our eyes. You don’t need to have a zillion hours and be a real estate broker or forester to understand – you just need to pay attention and listen to language – 9 simple phrases that were changed to include 3 on public participation. The public participation language was used so effectively by private interests that the process was stalled until a new BOS could get in, change course 180 degrees in plain language from “protecting natural resources” to “honoring landowners”. Then, because of this change, despite everyone in the development crowd in public dialog saying the Guiding Principles were insignificant, a private firm has halted the BOS’s efforts in their tracks.

      “Honesty.” Honestly. It’s another diversion, another shiny object to help distract people from what is going on right in front of their eyes. And it’s working because people don’t have the time or energy to figure this out on their own. And – the local media has no interest or ability honestly to tell the boring narrative of a private sector that cannot abide by a public sector’s need to plan for the future.

      Reading those elements will not give me comfort, I’m sorry. What I noticed is the inability of the BOS to declare we should “protect agriculture and timberland for the long term”. If you can’t say that, I fail to see the public interest in a General Plan – it’s pretty basic.

  29. what do you think “no net loss” means?

    • Also, there seems to be an “unless” in the sentence after the “no net loss”

      Unless…”The facts support an overriding public interest in the conversion.” – uh, good luck with “public interest” with this group. Remember – this group defines “public” as “private”. That contradiction is kinda the point of this entire thread.

  30. then why not “protect agriculture and timberland for the long term”?

  31. you are upset they have done exactly what you want – protect agriculture for the long term – but you don’t like the way it is worded? are you actually interested in a good plan, or just looking for “gotchas”? i think you have this narrative of certain supervisors in your head and when they don’t fit your prejudice, you discount the facts.

    the no net loss policy certainly makes high and specific hurdles – all but impossible the way I read it – for somebody to do anything but agriculture on ag land, but you would rather have a nebulous statement like “protect for the long term”? read the policy again, all of those findings have to be made, not just one of them. but go ahead and ignore that, because you are dead set that these supervisors are planning to pave the planet, facts be damned!

    it’s called cognitive dissonance.

    and it’s why you probably don’t get much attention at the podium or wherever you are making your comments (i assume you are making public comments). they are doing exactly what you are asking for, and you are giving them shit for it.

  32. a) push – back on the term “upset” it implies irrationality – I am upset btw, but just a little push back on that characterization

    b) they have not done exactly what I want. If you point is the “no net loss” clause? Don’t you see the leniency the staff is allowed in that clause with the following clause that introduces “no net loss” …(the staff ) Lands planned for agriculture (AE,AG) shall not be converted to non-agricultural uses unless the Planning …

    Who is being dishonest now? Don’t we both know that staff has discretion and part of the importance of the Guiding Principles is to act as a guide for staff in making these decisions? Also – let’s see what the Planning Commission changes in the element now that the GP have been changed. Will you admit that the guiding principles were important if the Planning Commission decides to change the element section more toward the language in the GP? – Not just as the GP relates to TPZ, but to the entire GPU?

    ” nebulous statement like “protect for the long term” ” There is nothing nebulous about “protect for the long term” That is the whole, darn point.

    “it’s called cognitive dissonance.” At least we agree on that. We just disagree on whom is experiencing it. :)

    Happy Christmas Eve, btw.

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