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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Proof of Access Ordinance Approved at the Planning Commission

July 2014

Ventana Chapter supported the "Proof of Access" non-coastal ordinance (PLN060127) proposed as an amendment to Monterey County zoning approved unanimously by the Planning Commission on July 9. This is an important topic as over 50% of the roads in the unincorporated areas of Monterey County are totally or partially private. What exists now is not working. When a developer fills out a project application for the Planning Department, he is not required to do anything special because his project is on a private road. Neighbors on that private road may or may not be notified because the notice only goes to those living within 300 feet of the project. Depending on the project, it may go to the local Land Use Advisory Committee. Neighbors may or may not get notice about the LUAC meeting.

The new ordinance moves the question of access to the front of the application process. The applicant (developer) is required to provide the following information with any project: a copy of the private road agreement, if applicable; a copy of the private road maintenance agreement, if applicable; and a site plan showing existing access limits and minimum requirements of the local Fire Authority and the Public Works Department. If these requirements are not met, the applicant must demonstrate the ability to obtain access necessary to meet this minimum.

The Planning Director then determines if the project is exempt from the ordinance (example a single family home). If it is not exempt, the Planning Director provides notice of the project, within 10 days of the application submittal, to all easement holders and interested parties on that private road (not limited to 300 feet).

Then, these parties, easement holders and interested parties have 30 days from mailing of the notice to state their objections, if any. The applicant and all the interested parties are encouraged to work together to resolve issues. If over 50% of the interested parties still object, before a permit is issued, the County will require adequate documentation that the dispute has been resolved. This improved process is now more transparent and even-handed for all parties.

The Board of Supervisors will hear this issue on July 22. We recommend support.

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