General Meeting February 23rd 2004
CPOA ‘s Special General Meeting on February 23 rd was attended by approximately 160 residents, property owners, friends and interested individuals.
Candidates for District 5
Susan Goldbeck, Steve Collins and incumbent Dave Potter shared their accomplishments and aspirations for the Supervisor seat in the upcoming election. As the last debate prior to the election, all three candidates provided clear position statements and eagerly answered questions from the audience.
Steve Collins acknowledged Big Sur 's concern about how the continued buyout of private land is impacting the community. Steve also stated that he is opposed to approving the General Plan Update in its current condition citing that the document needs more work.
Susan Goldbeck reiterated her position of being a staunch supporter of the environment and spoke more broadly of issues impacting the county at large.
Dave Potter briefly recalled his record as Supervisor and pointed out the value a 3 rd term could bring to the continuity of the General Plan process. Dave stated that his position on the Coastal Commission could help with the upcoming certification process.
A member of the audience asked how each of them would “fix” the planning department. This was received by the audience with laughter and applause. Steve Collins promised to work on making the planning department more service oriented. Dave said that the planning department did not get this way overnight and that any fix would take some time to implement.
Coast Highway Management Plan Update
Alan Perlmutter made a brief presentation on the importance of the community providing comments to CalTrans on the final draft Coast Highway Management Plan (CHMP). Alan expressed concern about the lack of a detailed map showing the impacted area and stated that everyone in Big Sur , Carmel Highlands , Carmel Meadows and Carmel Riviera are included in the “corridor” as currently defined in this document. Alan added that the Coastal Commission is asking to make permit applicants show that they conform with the CHMP.
A list of issues was sent out via e-mail to members and interested parties on March 1 st , 2004 .
Aileen Loe, Project Manager for the CHMP with CalTrans, gave a brief presentation, but was unable to clarify the corridor definition.
Coastal Commission Periodic Review Panel Discussion
Four members of the Monterey County community participated in a detailed discussion of two significant issues in the 200 plus page periodic review document. Our panelists were Vern Yadon (a biologist from Pacific Grove ) Aengus Jeffers (land use attorney), Brian Finegan (land use attorney) and Supervisor Dave Potter (Coastal Commissioner).
The Coastal Commission staff is recommending that all development within, or adjacent to historic, current or potential future environmentally sensitive habitat areas (ESHA) be subject to broader and more stringent policies. Additionally, staff is recommending broader viewshed policies by requesting the establishment of critical viewshed from the ocean, viewshed constraints based on views from trails and the establishment of air space viewshed over the tops of structures. Other policy recommendations would require that existing structures comply with current policies to the point that homeowners would be asked to reduce the size of their structures if they are in the viewshed. This reduction would be requested when residents applied for repair and maintenance permits as well as any new construction. A comprehensive list of issues CPOA feels the community should be concerned about can be found on our website.
Brian pointed out that the policy recommendations as currently written would result in a building moratorium in Big Sur.
Vern stated that some of the plants on the “rare and endangered list” got there by accident and are, in fact, abundant and in no danger of disappearing. Vern also mapped out the difficulty of determining historic ESHA, although many of the historic references can now be accessed on-line.
Aengus remarked that the Coastal Commission Staff participated in discussions with the Big Sur and South Coast Land Use Advisory Committees over a 2-3 month period and never used the opportunity to discuss these proposals with these groups. He pointed out that many of these policy recommendations run contrary to the expressed desires of the community as stated in these meetings.
Dave strongly urged Big Sur residents to attend the March 18 th , 9:00 AM Coastal Commission Hearing which will be the first opportunity for residents and property owners to voice their concerns to the staff and the commission. Dave also recommended and offered to assist CPOA with setting up meetings with the various commissioners to discuss the recommendations and the community's concerns.
Trip Bennett, San Diegans for Sensible Land Use (SDSLU)
Trip Bennett, founder of SDSLU shared his recent experience with the Coastal Commission staff during San Diego 's certification of their LCP. In the 11 th hour, the staff wrote in 85 amendments to the LCP without consulting any of the stakeholders in the process. The staff and commission proceeded to railroad these amendments through the approval process providing little or no review period for the public. The resulting certified LCP contains broader open space restrictions, expanded ESHA regulations and more viewshed limitations. Trip's group is in the process of filing a suit against the Commission and the city of San Diego for lack of due process. Please check out their web site at http://www.sdslu.com. Trip's experience was a reminder that we need to stay vigilant during this process. Please read Trip's feedback and recommendations.