Lisa Uttal, marine biologist
Bryan Largay, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County
Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Bonny Doon School Multipurpose Room,
Pine Flat Road & Ice Cream Grade
Land and Sea
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is the largest
marine protected area adjacent to the continental United States. And it’s right
down the hill from Bonny Doon! But how much do you really know about it?
Even if your answer is “a lot,” you will probably learn
something new at the Jan. 11 RBDA meeting, when marine biologist (and Bonny
Doon resident) Lisa Uttal will tell us about “Monterey Bay National Marine
Sanctuary—the largest Marine Protected Area in North America—Threatened and
Thriving.” Lisa will talk about the Sanctuary’s role in ocean conservation and
research, and tell us why we are so lucky to live on this particular section of
Lisa Uttal has more than 25 years of marine education and research background in the Monterey
Bay, developing and designing programs that use science as the basis of
learning experiences. She received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from
the University of Hawaii-Manoa, and holds a Master of Science from Moss
Landing Marine Laboratories, where she conducted deep-sea research on
gelatinous mid-water organisms at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
Lisa's ability to
liaison between scientific research and informal/formal education enables her
to involve and educate the public in marine and coastal resource issues through
science-based stewardship. For the last 10 years Lisa was the Project
Manager for the exhibit and facility design, development and construction of
the Sanctuary Exploration Center at the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf.
Lisa’s talk will be preceded by a short update from the Santa
Cruz Land Trust’s Conservation Director Bryan Largay on public trail
development at San Vicente Redwoods, the 8,500-acre property, formerly owned by
CEMEX, that runs from Empire Grade near Crest Ranch south toward Davenport.
Since 2013, with input from the public and its conservation
partners in San Vicente Redwoods (Sempervirens Fund, Peninsula Open Space Trust
and Save the Redwoods League), the Land Trust has been developing a public
access plan under Bryan Largay’s leadership.
Bryan last updated us on the plan a year ago. The first draft of
the plan was developed following input from more than 2,500 people at over 100
meetings and interviews, and it was shared with the community in the fall of
2014. It’s available at the Land Trust’s website, landtrustsantacruz.org.
received generally supportive feedback from the community on the draft plan,”
says Bryan, “and we have been working since to develop the management approach
for public access to protect the resources on the property. Our approach has
three elements: expert design of trails and facilities to encourage desirable
behavior; robust engagement with visitors to promote a stewardship ethic; and
an effective monitoring and enforcement capability.
In early December the Board of Supervisors approved a plan for
the conservation partners to provide rangers at San Vicente.
“The rangers are a key element of the plan because we are
trying to provide up to 38 miles of trails through a vast forest—and we want to
make sure everyone using these trails stays on the trails and does not go off
building their own or straying into areas we’ve set aside for wildlife,” Land
Trust Executive Director Stephen Slade wrote recently. “The partners will pay
the rangers, at least for three years, while we monitor the impact of nature
lovers (and adventure lovers) on nature. Last week’s decision was a first step—directing
County Parks to return with a fully fleshed out proposal in February.
Bryan will give a brief and general update about where the planning
process stands, answer questions and receive your input.
Cement Plant Reuse Update
At a meeting in Davenport on Dec. 15, Supervisor Ryan Coonerty
and County Environmental Health Dept. staff gave local residents a preliminary
look at the cleanup plans for the shuttered CEMEX cement plant in Davenport.
Consultants now have identified the areas where various types
of contaminants will need to be removed or remediated. Additional investigation
will lead to a cleanup work plan for each area. A separate regulatory framework
applies to the huge pile of cement kiln dust: the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution
Control Districtis supposed tomonitor the windblown dust that may escape and the Regional Water
Quality Control Board watches for pollution in storm water that runs off the
pile. The pile is supposed to be kept covered but the covering (tires weighing
down tarps) has not been maintained so there is cause for concern over
A key question is whether the properties will be cleaned up to
a high “residential” standard that assumes daily long-term exposure to
remaining contaminants, which would be consistent with the current Mountain
Residential zoning. However, the expectation is that the property will be
rezoned for some sort of commercial use, most likely visitor services, that
would require a less stringent cleanup based on an assumption of only short
exposure for visitors.
Cleanup for the whole cement plant site will likely take many
years to complete, but the land across Hwy. 1 on the coastal bluff, the
location of the old hospital, is a separate parcel with simpler contamination issues.
Its proximity to the rail line and proposed trail suggests that we might see it
cleaned up and repurposed long before the rest of the plant is ready for a new
On Nov. 10 an overflow crowd of more than 100 people attended a
meeting at Cal Poly Ranch in Swanton to hear about the process for reusing the
cement plant site, and to voice their preferences.
The meeting was run by RRM
Design Group, which the Board of Supervisors hired to help guide the restoration
and reuse plan. RRM was given 18 months to create the plan, whose
primary focus is to create a public entrance to the adjacent Cotoni Coast
Dairies federal land and San Vicente Redwoods. However, no plan can be approved
and executed without the consent of CEMEX, which still owns the property.
Sempervirens Fund, one of San Vicente Redwoods’ owners, is a
major partner with the county on this project. Reuse plan financing comes from
a mix of public and private funds: the Coastal Conservancy (a state agency), the
Moore Foundation and the Resources Legacy Fund.
CEMEX or a new owner must adhere to County zoning regulations. When
the plant closed, zoning reverted to Mountain Residential, which would allow perhaps
nine homes to be built there. Changing that zoning would require altering the County's
Master Plan, but the current Local Coastal Plan zoning designates the site as Visitor
Serving. CEMEX or a new owner will have to tear down as many as 20 buildings, and
clean the property of kiln dust and other pollutants.
RBDA Board Election at January 11 Meeting
The January meeting is the RBDA’s official Annual Meeting, when
we elect Board officers. Nominations were made at the November meeting. There
are 3 seats up for election
this time, those of Tom Hearn, Andy Davidson and Jennifer Joslin.
Marty Demare is retiring from the Board after more
than 15 years of service. He says he hopes
to make way for the new generation of Bonny Doon residents who care about
habitat conservation and the responsible use of the land they live on. He
reflected: “ Proactive engagement when proposals arise like the biomedical goat
operation or the construction of a mansion at the foot of Sand Hill Bluff, has
taught me that becoming informed about issues and working with State and County
government can bring real change to the place you live. At a time when sweeping
changes are coming to our area with a rail trail and the opening of the Coast
Dairies and San Vicente properties, I encourage other Dooners to join the Board
and help preserve Bonny Doon's rural quality of life.”
My wife and I have owned property here in Bonny Doon for 20
years, and I remain in awe of the natural beauty and serenity of our community
to this day. I’ve been on the RBDA Board for 10 of those years and have seen a
number of issues arise that have challenged the rural nature of our community,
as well as some challenges that remain. I believe the RBDA has done a
remarkable job in maintaining the values and quality of life that make our
community so unique, and I would like to serve on the Board for another term.
I have been a Board member for the last 3 years
and am the current Board Chair. I am long-time resident of Bonny Doon. My
wife is a lifelong resident of Santa Cruz. She grew up on Branciforte Drive, an
area that used to be very similar to today’s Bonny Doon. One main reason we
moved here was Bonny Doon’s rural nature and excellent school, which both of my
children attended. I have been very active in several youth organizations, in
particular the Boy Scouts, as Cub Master, Summer Camp Director, and Parent
Committee member for 12 years. I coached soccer and was active in Little
League. I recently left a position as Data Scientist and Software
Architect in Apple’s Applied Machine Learning Dept. to focus on other research
interests. I am an avid surfer and mountain biker.
change is inevitable. Bonny Doon is a diverse community. It’s important to
listen to all voices to ensure that the Bonny Doon of the future is one we
choose, while not losing what makes this place special.
I have been a Bonny Doon resident for 30 years, having moved
here with my husband in 1988. We chose Bonny Doon because of the lack of
development and the amazing natural beauty of the area. I am a strong
environmental advocate, and for many years ran the Marine Mammal Center’s
membership and direct mail fundraising activities.
I am also a returning RBDA Board member: I served on the Board
in the mid-90s. I have a background in marketing and advertising as well as
membership development. I am deeply appreciative of the unique environment and
community of Bonny Doon and am excited to be involved with finding solutions to
the many issues facing Bonny Doon today.
Santa Cruz County is proceeding with plans for commercial
medical cannabis cultivation and licensing of growers. Since our detailed
summary of regulations in the July/August Highlander,
several local and Statewide actions have occurred.
On Nov. 8, California voters approved Prop. 64, to Control,
Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana (AUMA). It will allow adults to possess
small amounts of marijuana and pot products for personal non-medical use, if
local jurisdictions approve. On Dec. 13, the Board of Supervisors voted to
extend a moratorium on non-medical cannabis regulations until Nov. 14, 2017 (as
permitted under AUMA). The moratorium will allow the County to develop personal
non-medical cannabis regulations first, and then develop rules for commercial recreational
In September, the County chose Dan Peterson as our County’s
Cannabis Licensing Manager. He is currently working on recommendations
regarding regulation of cannabis cultivation for personal use. According
to Dan, 951 people have registered for commercial medical cultivation
permits, but a total of only 300-400 permits will likely be issued for
commercial cultivation of medical and non-medical cannabis. Thus there is
significant potential for abuse by people using personal grows for commercial
purposes. Dan has formed a committee to gather input on this issue from
various perspectives. Julia Gaudinski, a past Bonny Doon school board president,
who has been fighting to ensure that neighborhoods and the environment are not
impacted by marijuana cultivation, is on this committee.
Dan will also be hosting two public meetings to review State
cannabis regulations and get public input on the personal cultivation of non-medical
cannabis for Santa Cruz County. The meetings will be on Jan. 12 and Feb. 9 at
the Board of Supervisors chambers from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
On Dec. 13, the Supervisors also approved a contract for
$392,773 with Amec Foster Wheeler Environment and Infrastructure, Inc., to
prepare an Environmental Impact Report for proposed regulations regarding
cultivation of medical cannabis and associated land use.
The County has previously documented impacts of cannabis cultivation
on fire hazards, the environment and neighborhoods. They were described in the
RBDA report posted elsewhere on this website—click here
We are thankful that the regulations for commercial growing
exclude much of Bonny Doon. Within the Coastal Zone plus 1 mile growing is
restricted to properties zoned Agriculture or Commercial Agriculture; only a
handful of properties meet these requirements. Growing is also permitted on
properties zoned Residential Agriculture if they are farther inland and larger
than 5 acres.
Our Sky Could Get Louder
The near-constant intrusion of loud jets descending to land at
San Francisco Airport (SFO), that has so angered residents of mid-County, could
become our headache instead. However, it is still far from clear whether the
flight path will be moved back to near its old location, over Santa Cruz, the
San Lorenzo Valley and Bonny Doon, and whether that move will actually have a serious
impact on the relative quiet we cherish. The situation is complicated,
controversial, and the subject of a lot of speculation and misinformation.
Here is what we do
know: On Nov. 17 the Select Committee for South Bay Arrivals, which has been
studying the situation, voted 8 to 4 to return the flight path of planes
arriving at SFO from the south to the “legacy BSR flight path,” which will
provide relief to the communities of Soquel, Happy Valley and the Summit from
the noisy SERFR flight path which the FAA enacted on March 5, 2015. The Quiet
Skies Nor Cal lobby convinced the Select Committee that this change was the
best resolution for the community at large. SLV, Santa Cruz and Bonny Doon
residents, who will be under the new (and former) flight path, were unconvinced.
What the Federal Aviation Administration will implement is
uncertain. It seems likely that it will take measures to protect the peace and
quiet of whatever area the aircraft will be flying over. The Select Committee
had a split decision in favor of the change in ground track, but it unanimously
voted to recommend a return to flight altitudes at
least as high as (and preferably higher) than the historic BSR flight procedure
along its entire route. It also voted to recommend that the FAA implement other
changes that would either restore the noise generated along the flight track to
its former relatively quite level or less, along with other recommendations to
reduce the negative noise impacts and yet comply with the new “Nextgen”
regulations. The committee recommended that the new flight path be reviewed
with the public within three months of its implementation. We will have to wait
to see what the outcome actually will be, but it seems likely that the FAA has
learned a lesson of how not to roll
out changes in flight paths that negatively effect a portion of the population.
A founder of Quiet Skies Nor Cal told us that it was totally
outrageous to have a low and noisy flight path moved over one’s head, with no
warning and no real consideration of the consequences. We totally agree. But we
are concerned that the FAA will move the path and change the height of
approaches and rules about “air braking,” which has a very large influence on
the perceived loudness of the sound, before they have a clear, data-driven idea
of what the noise impact will be.
Our source indicated that in private conversations with the FAA
he was assured that they would fix the issue, and that the return to the BSR
track, along with the other recommendations, would indeed yield an
acceptable result. He said the FAA doesn't want to incur any more negative
publicity and is motivated to get it right this time.
Before the Nov. 17 Select Committee vote our Board of
Supervisors was in unanimous agreement that any flight path changes should not
just move the noise impact to a different subset of County residents. But our
Supervisors on the committee split their votes. We hope that they can resume
acting as a united force, and we fully support Supervisor Ryan Coonerty’s
efforts to achieve that.
Joining or Renewing Your RBDA Membership Now Easier
In the recent mailed Highlander you should have found a postage-paid envelope that you can use
to send in your dues. Just fill it out, put in your check, and pop it in the
year we are encouraging our members to provide an email address so we can
continue to build a database to use in very time-sensitive and critical
situations, and strictly for RBDA related issues and business. We promise that
we will never share your email address with a third party without your
the RBDA isn’t just good for us, it’s good for you. The more members we have
the more accurately we can represent you, and the more seriously public
officials will consider our position on issues!
The RBDA is your community organization
and your voice at the County Building for the many issues that affect us
directly here in the Doon. Our volunteer Board members spend many hours working
on the community’s behalf. From understanding new laws regarding marijuana cultivation,
land use issues and visitation on Coast Dairies, San Vicente Redwoods and other
conserved land, the RBDA is involved and active in all the issues that impact
us here on Battle Mountain.
To keep as many Dooners informed
as possible about important topics we mail The
Highlander to everyone who lives here, RBDA member or not, because a key part
of our job is to educate and inform. Some people think they are RBDA members
because they get the Highlander, but
you may not be. Contact Tom Hearn (423-2483) if you aren’t
sure. Or just send in your dues! If you are already current, we’ll apply them
to next year. Memberships run Feb. 1-Jan. 31, and you can only vote for
officers at the January meeting if you’ve joined before December.
Thank you in advance for your
support! Almost all dues and donations go to publishing and printing The Highlander and rent/insurance at
the school for our public meetings, which educate and give you a chance to
comment on current issues affecting Bonny Doon.
The RBDA is a 501(c)(4)
non-profit organization, so donations are
not tax deductible. We have that designation because it allows us to
legally lobby for laws and regulations that are important to Bonny Doon.
No More Large Trucks on Felton Empire
Thanks to the efforts of determined Bonny Dooners and the Board
of Supervisors large trucks will no longer be allowed on Felton Empire Road.
Until now signs have warned that the road is unsuitable for semis, but that
didn’t stop a few foolhardy drivers every year from trapping their rigs on one
of the very tight turns on that heavily used thoroughfare, closing it for hours
until it could be removed.
The ban once again shows that citizen action is vital and
necessary to solve problems, and we cheer those who made it happen, and Sup.
Ryan Coonerty, for persuading his fellow Supervisors to go along.
Dairies Will Never Be Sold
Contrary to the recent false claims from the backers of the
campaign to name Coast Dairies a national monument, the federal government will
never be able to sell the BLM-managed property. Although it’s true that if it’s
not a monument that the federal government legally would be able to sell
the 5,800-acre property north of Santa Cruz, two factors prevent it from being
attractive to any possible developer.
One: very strict and permanent deed
restrictions, echoed in a Coastal Development Permit, require the land to be
used only for activities that promote outdoor recreation and environmental
Two: the federal government doesn’t own the water rights. They
were kept by the Trust for Public Land when it transferred the deed to BLM.
What developer would pay millions for a property so encumbered? Shame on the
campaign for these scare tactics.
Heidi E. Hart, President, CEO
California Dreaming Real Estate
Local / Non-Corporate
831 247-9410 email@example.com
Boyce-Abel Associates & Family Land Planning
Facilitating & mediating land, estate and asset transference issues
of Our Sponsors
Sponsorships: $100 a
Send check and text
P.O. Box 551, Felton
The Rural Bonny Doon Association
• Felton, CA 95018
voice in preserving our special quality of
The Highlander is mailed free to Bonny Doon
residents prior to the
RBDA General Meetings, which are usually
held on second Wednesdays of
January, March, May, July, September and
We encourage you to participate.
mail correspondence to the Highlander Editor
at the above address,
or by email, below.