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Coastal Hearing appeal venue
Coastal Appeals in Ukiah?
On April 12, at the Supervisor's Planning meeting, Supervisor Patty Campbell teamed up with inland Supervisors Delbar and Lucier to eliminate local coastal hearings on "controversial" coastal zone projects. They passed a new ordinance that will give Planning Director Ray Hall complete discretion in sending selected projects directly to the Board of Supervisors, thereby eliminating half of the public comment time, and housing all paperwork in Ukiah, an hour and a half from the coast.
This decision was made in the name of "streamlining" for developers, although cutting public comment time and access to paperwork will certainly inhibit public involvement. In her comments, Supervisor Campbell said that she had many calls opposing the ordinance, but that "most of the calls were from the Fifth District residents." Then she voted for sending big projects directly to Ukiah.
Aside from the fact that the supervisors make loud noises about representing ALL the county, why did she not get calls from her own district, the Fourth? Does no one care what development goes on in the coastal zone north of Mendocino? No comments on a (hypothetical) resort on Caspar Beach? An amusement park at the Botanical Gardens? Executive retreats in the Cleone Dunes? Rock concerts on Todd's Point? Admittedly, these are extreme examples, but the point is that you may not hear about such proposals until 10 days before they are rubber-stamped in Ukiah. Extreme proposals are the exact ones that would be routed directly to Ukiah.
Supervisor Colfax advocated for keeping maximum public access to planning, and Supervisor Shumaker offered a compromise of routing the projects to the Board but mandating that the hearing be held on the coast. Both were outvoted.
This affront to the public interest still has to pass the Coastal Commission, so if residents do have some interest in reviewing development proposals locally, they can write to Robert Merrill, California Coastal Commission, 45 Fremont, Suite 2000, San Francisco, CAL 94105-2219, phone 415/904-5260, with a copy to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, 501 Low Gap Road #1090, Ukiah, CA 95482. Refer to Mendocino County Ordinance #OA 3-98.
Sincerely, Rixanne Wehren
GeoGraphics / Coastal Land Trust
707-937-2709 * Mon-Fri 8-2
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