LUAC Meeting Report, 6/23/09

IIf you don’t live in Big Sur, or even if you do, but aren’t interested in Land Use Planning, skip this post. It is rather boring, though I do try to lighten it up, a tad. I had written a very factual report, but even I could not stand to read it!

South Coast LUAC (Land Use Advisory Committee or Council or Cuckolds (I’m kidding here, I’ve never been clear on which) meetings are generally pretty boring. We are supposed to “advise” the County Planning and Building Commission about building projects. Typically, only Cal-Trans is going through the process. Gorda does whatever it wants, whenever it wants, without regard to the rules or repercussions. (of which I have seen absolutely zilch.) This is the South Coast, after all.

Anyway, there are five of us on this LUAC: Jerry Provost, President; Harry Harris, Secretary; and general members – Robert Willett, Ken Harlan, and yours truly. Most have been on this LUAC for decades. I am a newcomer. Most of the time, Jerry has to talk one of the three general members into coming, so he can get a quorum. This meeting, I had planned to attend, so Ken and Robert were off the hook. Jerry, Harry, and I show up for an 11:15 am meeting. It starts at 11:50. This is Cal-Trans, remember.

Anyway, there are 4 items the Planning Department and Cal-Trans wants to discuss. Two are minor changes. But two, are significant. Cal-Trans wants to take away the office trailer to free up that space for a 7th residence, and build a new office down below. Granted, this has been in the plans for about 25 years, and the State of California is drowning in debt, and it is not likely to be funded. (If they do, I’ll be asking why it is I can’t get paid for the $$ the state is making me front, and all the work I am not getting paid for!!) But it is a significant change from the status quo. One that deserves some thought. What’s wrong with the current office?? I’ve been in it many times. It is nice.

But, the kicker is, in order to accomplish the building of the new office, of course, the County wants CT to get the designation changed from “viewshed/watershed” zoning to Gorda Rural Community Center zoning. Cool, now Cal-Trans can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, just like Gorda. (I’m sorta kidding here, I think.) CT claims that the County said it was left out of the contentious General Plan (I think it is #5, now?) by accident, and should have been changed with the CP. Of course, the CP hasn’t been adopted, yet, because there have been so many difficulties and fighting factions.

Sure, it doesn’t matter that Cal-Trans has been at this same location since the mid-30’s or over 70 years, now they need to change the zoning on this historical place. (I used this time to let them know if they tried to tear down the original bunk house, I would come after them!) As to “grandfathering” in this old location, there is a reason it cannot be done, but I’ll be damned if I understood it.

Being the new kid on the block, and being an attorney who engages in argument just for fun, I don’t want to “rubber-stamp” the project, as I have seen done at all the prior LUACs I have attended, few though they may have been. I want to ask questions, seek answers — engage in dialogue. I think this change in zoning requires some dialogue. I suggested that a public meeting be held down on the South Coast, with adequate notice, so that South Coasters can be involved, if they want to be. At least they should have the opportunity. What could it hurt? A little time wasted, right? Probably no one gives a hoot and wouldn’t attend. We all love CT down here. They keep the road open for us, fer gawd’s sake. That’s serious business to us South Coasters. Really serious. We’ll give them whatever they want. Always have, always will. But could we talk first? (hm … reminds me of some partners I have had.)

Apparently not. Jerry & Harry voted to advise the County to approve the zoning change without further input, while I voted against. Democracy in action. You know, I probably would vote to give my blessing, eventually, after I was confident that this was not going to bite me in the ass sometime in the future. I just don’t think we had enough information to make an informed decision. But when has that stopped us? Americans prefer ignorance.

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. That’s how this damned state got in this mess in the first place, in my opinion. Voters voting for short term, without thinking of long-terms repercussions and possible solutions. That’s tough and requires thinking, which is work. Please, lord, don’t make me think!!

Okay, this is one of my rare (hopefully) rants, and I thank those of you who bothered to take the time to read it. For the rest of you, who aren’t reading this anyway, I’ll go back to some visuals soon, or reporting on local events, or doing what you’ve come to expect from me.

Bigsurkate, 6/23/09