STRs in Big Sur

I have covered this issue before — last month before the end of the public comment period here: https://bigsurkate.blog/2019/05/16/vacation-rentals-tourism-and-big-sur/ but it comes before the Planning Commission next Wednesday, and I wrote an article for the Voices of Monterey Bay website published today.

Here is part of what I wrote:


“The special characteristic of the Big Sur Coast should also be recognized as a primary resource. Man’s presence along this coast continues to reflect a pioneering attitude of independence and resourcefulness; and the environment has been a special nurturing ground for individual and creative fulfillment. The community itself, and its traditional way of life are resources that can help protect the environment and enhance the visitor experience.”
— Big Sur Land Use Plan

By Kate Woods Novoa

Big Sur is raw, rugged, and humbling. It has been said that she can — and will — spit you out, if you don’t belong here. Longtime locals speak of her as if she is an entity. Visitors think of Big Sur as idyllic, and it is in many ways. But this romance does not have a place for short-term rentals.

Those who live here know the difficulties that are a part of the life here: the instability of the road, town trips and school days that must be canceled due to the ever-changing road conditions of Highway 1; storms that take out power lines and telephone lines; slides that take out our main artery, water systems and private roads, not to mention critical bridges; the isolation and the lack of any of the amenities most people have come to not just expect, but need. Get away from the highway, and you may see no services, except what landowners or neighborhoods provide. Here, it is still possible to live up close and personal with Mother Nature. That is why it is humbling. Those who survive the lessons that she has to teach become a community with shared values and a love for this place and one’s place in it.

Fabian Pfortmüller, a Swiss community builder and entrepreneur, defines community “as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” But community, to me, is more than that. We care about each other, help each other, and care about the places where we live. “This is where the magic of a community happens,” Pfortmüller said. “When people care about each other, they develop trust. And trust unlocks collaboration, sharing, support, hope, safety and much more. While most organizations in the world optimize their performance towards external goals, communities optimize for trust.”

Tales of collaboration, sharing, support, hope and trust are legendary in Big Sur. From the early settlers to the last fire, road closure, or bridge collapse, tales of neighbor helping neighbor abound.

For the rest of my article, please see: https://voicesofmontereybay.org/2019/06/20/big-surs-str-problem/

Are Big Sur’s Native Wildflowers headed toward extinction? 6/12/19

Almost 600 plant species have been lost from the wild in the last 250 years, according to a comprehensive study.

The number is based on actual extinctions rather than estimates, and is twice that of all bird, mammal and amphibian extinctions combined.

Scientists say plant extinction is occurring up to 500 times faster than what would be expected naturally.

In May, a UN report estimated that one million animal and plant species were threatened with extinction. (http://Plant extinction ‘bad news for all species’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48584515)

Here are some of the delicate clarkias (wine cups) that face extinction here in Big Sur due to off-roading:

Clarkia
Am I headed for extinction?

How do these delicate flowers face extinction here in Big Sur? From this:

How many extinctions are you responsible for?

USFS Invasive Species Removal

Public comments sought on draft Environmental

Analysis for Invasive Plant Treatment Program

GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials today announced the release of a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposed Forest-wide Invasive Plant Treatment Program. Interested members of the public are encouraged to submit written comments on the draft EA by June 27.

CORRECTION – Los Padres National Forest News Release – We regret the mistake of providing the wrong due date for public written comments – correct date is June 19, 2019

The draft EA evaluates the environmental impacts of implementing a program to control non-native and invasive plants using a combination of mechanical, manual, livestock and chemical treatment methods. With limited capacity to control or eradicate these non-native populations, the Invasive Plant Treatment Program provides necessary tools for improving and restoring native ecosystems and habitat.

Exotic invasive species create a host of environmental effects, including displacement of native plants, loss of habitat and forage, potential loss of soil productivity and reduction in water quantity, as well as a potential increase in the intensity and frequency of wildfires. The program would provide for the aggressive treatment of existing infestations of invasive plants, and would encourage rapid containment or eradication of new infestations before they can become established.

The program is designed with resource protection measures to reduce or eliminate potential impacts to natural resources and the human environment. Following these treatments, restoration actions may be needed to stabilize the area and prevent re-colonization of invasive plants. More information on the Invasive Plant Treatment Program is available on the Los Padres National Forest website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=51845.

Written comments may be mailed to the Los Padres National Forest Supervisor’s Office, Attention: Kyle Kinports, 6750 Navigator Way, Suite 150, Goleta, CA 93117; or hand delivered to the Supervisor’s Office at the address shown above during business hours (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm); or submitted by FAX to 805-961-5729. Electronic comments may be submitted to comments-pacificsouthwest-los-padres@fs.fed.us.

Public Meeting June 6th at 10 am at MAF re use of the old Naval Facility

The Monterey District of California State Parks will hold a public meeting on June 6, 2019 to present its’ plan for initial public tours of the Point Sur Naval Facility located within Point Sur State Historic Park.

The purpose of the meeting is to disseminate information and gather public input prior to offering the initial public tours of the facility. The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. at the Big Sur Station, Multi-Agency Facility, 47555 Highway 1, Big Sur.

Questions, inquiries and comments (for those unable to attend) may be directed to State Parks’ Supervising Ranger D.L. Kraft at dkraft@parks.ca.gov.

Mary Trotter sent me this. It was supposed to be noticed in several local media, but she was unable to locate it, so be sure to share this far and wide. Post to FB, twitter, and/or instagram so we can get the word out.

Naval Facility as seen from the Ocean.

June 6th at 10 am at the MAF Facility (Big Sur Station next to Cal Trans yard.)

“This will be your chance to ask questions and make comments about viewshed issues.  Eleven point 4 million dollars of the Prop 72 money went to preserve the viewshed surrounding this facility.  It is therefore important that everything be done to prevent the eye being drawn to the blot in the landscape through parking lots, reflections off of cars, crowds of people milling around, additional signs and night lighting.
Self directed tours are being planned, and they speak of a visitor center. Is this what Big Sur needs now in this period of over-crowding, over-use.  New easements and new roads are planned – once again in the viewshed. No water is available.  Will the new ADA bathroom also be in the viewshed? Please come and get your questions answered.” Mary Trotter

Msg from Rep Panetta re: Oil Drilling on Public Lands on the Central Coast

 

Dear Neighbor,

The administration just announced a proposal to open over 700,000 acres of public land on the central coast of California to new oil and gas drilling. Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Fresno counties are included in the proposal.

Our community is concerned about expanded oil and gas exploitation on the Central Coast. You can share your opinion of the proposal directly with the Administration during the next 27 days, through June 9, 2019.

Click here to share your public comment here.

Tips for submitting effective comments can be found here.

In Congress, I have cosponsored bills that would prohibit oil and gas exploration and leasing on our public lands and off of our coast. I will continue to fight to protect our public land, ocean, and coastlines so that our communities, country, and future generations can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of the Central Coast.

I encourage everyone to speak out and participate in this public comment period.

Sincerely,

JIMMY PANETTA
Member of Congress

 

This is an official correspondence from Congressman Jimmy Panetta. If you have any questions please contact my office.
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USFS approves expedited commercial logging project in Condor habitat, 4/29/19

Forest Service Approves Expedited Commercial Logging Project in Condor Habitat

Trees of all sizes will be on the chopping block as part of the project.

Goleta, Calif. – Yesterday, the Forest Service announced its approval of the second of two commercial logging projects in the Los Padres National Forest. The approval of the 1,600-acre project along Tecuya Ridge comes just five months after the agency authorized an adjacent 1,200-acre project allowing commercial logging in Cuddy Valley at the base of Mt. Pinos.

The agency fast-tracked both projects without preparing a standard environmental assessment or environmental impact statement, instead declaring that the projects were excluded from environmental review under a loophole in the National Environmental Policy Act. A full environmental review examines potential impacts to plants and wildlife as well as alternatives to the proposed activities. The normal review process also provides more transparency and opportunities for the public to weigh in with concerns about the project.

The logging area provides prime habitat for endangered California condors. According to condor tracking data provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, nearly fifty condor roost sites occur within a half-mile of where trees will be cut and removed. These roost sites are typically large dead or live trees that are used by condors for resting overnight between long flights. Federal standards require a minimum half-mile buffer from condor roosting sites to protect them from disturbance, given their sensitivity and importance in condor survival.