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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Chapter Chair's Column
Planning decisions will affect County’s future
December 2010

The Ventana Chapter has been involved in the General Plan process in Monterey County for over 11 years. On October 26, the Board of Supervisors approved the plan, now known as GPU 2010, despite objections from the environmental community over several issues related to biological resources, traffic, and water supplies. Based on projections by the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) the GPU provides guidelines for adding up to about 10,000 new housing units, as well as new commercial and other development. It predicts the impacts of that growth on the County’s traffic, water, open space, public services, agriculture, and biological resources through the year 2030.

This month the Board of Supervisors will also be considering an interim ordinance designed to allow new development to proceed under the new growth policies before a long list of ordinances have been created to enact the polices into law. This “urgency” ordinance would take effect immediately and last for 45 days. It could be extended twice for up to two years after public hearings.

At least two organizations have filed lawsuits to protect the County’s environment. The Carmel Valley Association’s suit is a complaint that the County has adopted a new method of monitoring traffic that will allow a huge increase before measures to lessen the impacts could be enforced. The Open Monterey Project’s (TOMP) lawsuit is described in an article on page 8. TOMP has filed a legal challenge covering three of the most important interrelated policy failures of the GPU: steep slope conversion which would spread vineyard cultivation and development into nearly half a million acres of wildlife and sensitive species habitat, inadequate protection for wildlife corridors, and lack of proof of adequate water supplies for growth.

—Rita Dalessio

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