Yesterday’s meeting was the longest yet (4 and 1/2 hours), with four power point presentations and a SRO crowd. It has been a long time since I’ve seen a meeting as well-attended as this one was. It was great to see such community involvement in action. The tone of the meeting was one of sharing information and points of view.
The first presentation, was given by Kelly O’Brien on the new Monterey County Wildfire Community Protection Plan. Kelly did a wonderful job of informing us about what it is, what it does, and how. The plan is complete, and is available for viewing here: firesafemonterey Please read Kelly’s interpretation and presentation about our MCCWPP and the work she and many others are doing to make collaboration possible, as well as sustain this as a “living” document open to change as change occurs. Her comment is below in the comment section.
All agencies hoped to sign on in support of this plan, have, and all required to sign, have done so, save one. The Monterey County Board of Supervisors has not yet agreed to this plan. The reason given is that the Sierra Club has lodged an objection to the plan’s desire to permit homeowner to create the 100 ft. defensible space recommended by all fire fighting agencies with a minimum of regulatory impediments and the maintenance of the “big box fire” breaks.
Lawyers for the Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club sent a 7 page letter to the Board of Supervisors, which is too lengthy to repeat here, but concludes thusly:
The letter does not state that it will bring litigation against the county, but that is clearly the concern, given the nature of the letter.
However, by far the most controversial subject was the creation of a new Wilderness Area from the eastern portion of the Andrew Molera State Park. This has been introduced by Bill Monning, State Assemblymember, as AB 2074, who was present and seriously listening to the concerns expressed by the Big Sur Community. Tom Hopkins, president of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance was present and he and Gordon prepared the power point presentation on behalf of the VWA.
Michael Caplin on behalf of the Coast Property Owner’s Association prepared a power point presentation which outlined concerns over the loss of a portion of the big box fire breaks. Michael’s presentation covered specifically the Andrew Molera Wilderness area designation, but it also referenced the wilderness expansions which have occured since the creation of the Ventana Wilderness Area in 1968 by President Johnson, which has more than doubled in area since it’s creation 42 years ago.
This is a long and complex subject, but one I think my readers who live and work here should be interested in. Toward that end, I plan on doing a more in depth presentation of the information on the wilderness designation expansion, hopefully, in the next few weeks.
The final power point presentation was on the USFS Firescape plan, presented by Sherry Tune, District Ranger of the Monterey District of the LPNF, and Jeff Kwazny, Resource Officer.
This firescape plan is just in the formation stages and there will be ample opportunity for public input.