January/February 2018 issue

Does Santa Cruz County Need
Better and More Formalized
Regional Planning for Open Space Lands?

Panel Discussion (see below) 

Annual Meeting!
January 10th, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

Bonny Doon School Multipurpose Room,
Pine Flat Road & Ice Cream Grade

For our January 10 RBDA Annual meeting, we are hosting a panel of six CEOs (or their surrogates) representing the principal open space land management organizations in Santa Cruz County. Our central objective is to gain better insight regarding the degree of communication, coordination and cooperation of these organizations in the planning and management of like resources and visitor use activities across the County.

Participating organizations will include the federal Bureau of Land Management, California State Parks, Santa Cruz County Parks, Santa Cruz City Parks, UCSC Natural Reserves, and private non-profit entities represented by the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County.

Having six different speakers together will be a non-traditional format for our meetings, so we will be running the program in the following manner to give each speaker sufficient time: Each panelist will be allocated about six minutes to comment on two pre-selected subjects (agreed upon by the RBDA Board) that are somewhat common to all: mountain lion habitat, as the representative issue concerning natural resources management, and trails, as the representative issue concerning visitor use activity management. The panelists will be asked questions related to the importance of these specific topics to their organization, and how they communicate, coordinate and cooperate in regard to these two matters with the other organizations on the panel. We’ll follow that with some brief panelist interaction, followed by a longer period for traditional audience comments and questions.

Lastly, we’ve invited two local elected officials to comment on these matters.

The RBDA Executive Board plans to follow up on the information gleaned from the meeting in an effort to facilitate a comprehensive and efficient approach to open space planning, given the inadequate and limited amount of resources that these stewards of our extensive preserved land have at their disposal. This brief insight can only, at best, reveal the tip of the iceberg regarding how the various agencies relate to each other. Deeper exploration than this panel interaction affords will be needed to establish a more solid picture of the status of these relationships.

Most importantly, we hope that RBDA members and Bonny Doon residents will share their ideas about the future collective and shared management of our open space lands with the RBDA Board: email board@rbda.us or contact any of our officers (see page 4 for our individual phone numbers).

Please join us for this meeting, which we hope stimulates an ongoing conversation about the future of collective organizational management of our grand array of public open space resources in Santa Cruz County.

Recap of the Davenport Cement Plant Reuse Community Workshop

In 2010, the Davenport cement plant closed after over 100 years of operation. The plant made Portland cement that was used in the construction of the Panama Canal and the rebuilding of San Francisco after the great earthquake. The closure of the plant impacted the Davenport community and the local economy, causing the loss of jobs and County revenues. Furthermore, the facility and its associated quarries need to be cleaned up, restored, and have all the remaining toxic material removed.

The County is in the process of developing a Final Restoration and Reuse Plan that is supported by the community, the Board of Supervisors, the property owner, and the Coastal Commission. Using grant money, the County hired RRM Design Group to run a series of community workshops to explore what people think an acceptable future use of the site might be.

On November 30, RRM gave a public presentation describing potential reuse alternatives developed by one of their economists based on community feedback from previous workshops. Their assumption is that the current owner, CEMEX, wants to sell the property and is currently responsible for all clean up. Here is a quick summary of the alternatives presented to the community:

Default alternative: Do nothing. Let the zoning revert to “Mountain Residential.” This alternative would severely limit economic activity, resulting in the lowest property value of all the alternatives. Given this, it’s not clear how easy it will be for CEMEX to find a buyer or how motivated CEMEX will be to complete the cleanup and restoration process quickly.

Alternatives 1 and 2: Re-zone to encourage tourism. These options would allow for camping, eco lodging, a conference center, restaurants, retail space, etc. It also includes some employee/family housing. The difference between the two options comes down to how much lodging and retail space would be allowed.

Alternative 3: Re-zone to encourage tourism and senior housing. The main difference between this alternative and the others proposed by RRM Design Group is that it allows for 300 units of senior housing. This alternative is anticipated to result in the highest property value because of the dependability of rental income from the senior housing component.

Alternative 4: Re-zone for Clean Technology. This proposal was developed by and paid for by JoeBen Bevirt, founder of Joby Aviation and long-time North Coast resident. This alternative would re-purpose the facility for the research, development, and limited manufacturing of state-of-the-art electric vertical takeoff aircraft (www.jobyaviation.com). The proposal also includes some restaurant space and employee housing. In order for the Clean Technology proposal to be viable for Joby Aviation, the County would need to complete the re-zoning process very quickly. Our County Supervisor, Ryan Coonerty, believes this can be done.

It is not clear which (if any) of these alternatives would restore revenues the County lost when the plant closed. RRM’s economist created rough estimates of property values under each alternative but did not provide estimates of the value of overall economic activity. It’s also important to understand that alternatives 1, 2, and 3 do not have an interested developer at this point in time. We have no idea if and when a project based on one of these three alternatives would be completed.

It is expected that the Draft Restoration/Reuse Plan and LCP Amendments will be available sometime this winter or spring. To learn more, go to http://co.santa-cruz.ca.us/DavenportCementPlant.aspx.

RBDA Board Members up for Election in January!

Clay Peters
Corresponding Secretary
Clay E. Peters is a third-generation native of Santa Cruz and has owned land in Bonny Doon for over a half century. He has been a member of the Executive Board for two years and currently serves as its Secretary.

Clay has spent his life and career dedicated to our national parks, working as a national park ranger in many western parks and then in the Washington headquarters office, writing goals and objectives to guide management of the National Park Service, establishing park wilderness boundaries for submission to Congress, and creating the Service's first-ever nationwide wilderness management program and policies.

He was subsequently hired onto the staff of the Natural Resources Committee of the House of Representatives by the father of the National Wilderness Preservation Act and served there for a dozen years, writing legislative policy for the National Park Service and identifying and adding new park units to the system, including 80 million acres in Alaska.

Clay later served on the Bill Clinton for President national campaign staff, directing and writing environmental policy and, after the election win, served on the Clinton Transition Team doing national park work. He co-conceived the creation of and served on the President's (Reagan) Commission on Americans Outdoors and wrote its central recommendation—to create an annual one billion dollar land acquisition trust fund for parks and open space lands at all levels of government across America, and subsequently wrote the legislation to accomplish this.

He also served as Executive Director of a large coalition encompassing all of the nation's principal national environmental organizations to assemble an array of 700+ policy recommendations to better protect the American environment, and led a small delegation invited to present the product to the President-Elect over breakfast in the White House.

Clay is highly dedicated to the slogan of “KEEPING BONNY DOON RURAL AND NATURAL” and wishes he could say that he conceived and wrote these words! (He didn't!)

David Rubin
Vice Chair
I moved to Bonny Doon 18 years ago with my wife Michelle. I am a geologist who has worked on sedimentology problems for 42 years, first at the US Geological Survey and now at UCSC. My two research projects are interpreting the geology of Mars viewed by the rover Curiosity, and advising the Interior Dept.’s Bureau of Reclamation how to operate Glen Canyon Dam to restore sand bars in Grand Canyon. In the late 70s, a USGS colleague and I led a marine geology survey offshore of Humboldt Bay, where we discovered an active earthquake fault. As a result, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission permanently closed the nuclear power plant nearby.

Because of my professional experience, I am particularly concerned about environmental issues in Bonny Doon, such as the heavy use of water and toxic chemicals in commercial cannabis growing, and their impact on local wildlife and on fish in creeks that drain Bonny Doon. I have a wildlife camera in our meadow, and I would be glad to share my movies of the coyotes, bobcats, skunks, foxes, and an occasional mountain lion that pass through. My other recreational activities include hiking, in California and southern Utah, welding, and other metal-working projects.

David Regus
Recording Secretary
Moving to Bonny Doon has been one of the best decisions for my family. Having grown up on the East Coast in urban and suburban areas, I’ve come to love the peace that comes with living in our open air. Soon after moving into our home, we welcomed our first-born, a real “Dooner,” peacefully in our home. Aside from being a first-time father, I enjoy gardening, hiking, home improvement projects, dabbling in electronics and the occasional outdoor adventure.

For me, joining the board is an exciting opportunity to do the work of so many before me to continue to keep Bonny Doon pristine. While, I may be new to the area, it feels like I’ve been on a long journey to find my home. My background consists of working in a project management capacity in various industries from Medical to Renewable Energy to most recently Supply Chain Analytics. I look forward to bringing my experience to the board. As a community, we will continue to face challenges; I believe by joining the Board that I’ve been given the chance to help steer things in the best interest of the community. Lastly, my hope in working with the community is to keep Bonny Doon as perfect as I’ve come to know it, so that my daughter learns to love it as much as I do.

Kendra Turk-Kubo
Highlander Editor
Originally from Colorado, I am a new Bonny Doon resident, but have lived in Santa Cruz County on and off (mostly on) for 23 years. My husband, daughter and I moved to Braemoor Drive in October 2016, and we feel fortunate to have been able to relocate our family to such a beautiful and rural community. As we set our roots down here, I’ve enjoyed getting to know and serving this community as an RBDA Board member. I am a marine microbial ecologist, and I am living the dream of my 6-year-old self to study the ocean as a Research Scientist in the Ocean Sciences Department at UCSC.

Life does not afford much spare time right now, but when it does, I try to pick up my camera, help my husband with our do-it-yourself remodeling lifestyle, and spend as much time as possible exploring our new neighborhood with my daughter, who will be starting kindergarten at Bonny Doon Elementary next year. I have a vested interest in preserving the rural environment and unique community we all enjoy, and hope to serve Bonny Doon well as the Editor of the Highlander.

Joining Or Renewing Your RBDA Membership Is Now Easier

Inside the mailed edition of The Highlander was a postage-paid envelope that you can use to send in your dues. Just fill it out, put in your check, and drop it in the mailbox. If you are so inclined, including your own stamp on the enclosed envelope will save the RBDA the cost of postage. Or you can just click here.

This year we are encouraging our members to provide an e-mail 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 e-mail address with a third party without your permission.

Joining 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 Jennifer Joslin (831-419-7141) 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. We’ve also given you the option of joining for more than one year, or simply making a donation to the RBDA.

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.

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.

Updates on the County’s Strategic Plan and Hosted Rentals

This is an invited contribution to the Highlander by Ryan Coonerty, our Third District Supervisor. The opinions stated below are not necessarily those of the RBDA Executive Board. However, the RBDA is very interested in receiving feedback from our community about these issues. Please share your opinions with us by contacting any of the Board members (see here for our phone numbers), or e-mail the RBDA board at board@rbda.us

County Strategic Plan. The County of Santa Cruz has embarked on our first-ever strategic planning process and we want you to participate! A strategic plan is a high-level vision for our community, which includes our collective values, mission and goals. The Strategic Plan will provide guidance to County staff and Board members when it comes to allocating County resources and energy. ...Last year, I toured several other counties in California to learn about best practices, what we could do better and also what we are doing well. What I observed in the best-run counties was that they all had a strategic plan and went through a process with the community to develop that plan. Please consider taking the survey and sharing your thoughts about where we are as a community and where you would like to see us heading.   
Hosted Rentals. Recently the Board of Supervisors considered regulations on hosted rentals. You may know these as “Air BnBs.” Hosted rentals are vacation rentals where the owner is present and occupies the home in which the room or rooms are rented on a short-term basis (less than 30 days at a time). I approached this issue with concern for our housing stock and wanting to preserve and protect long-term rental housing. What I’ve learned through many conversations with constituents and hosts is that the vast majority of hosts (many of whom are seniors and empty nesters), did not and would not rent their extra bedroom long-term, so the loss of long-term rental stock is extremely low.

However, we still need to maintain neighborhood integrity and prevent unabated commercialization of residential neighborhoods through reasonable, common sense regulations. At the December 5th Board of Supervisors meeting when this item was considered, the Board directed staff to develop regulations that will grandfather almost all existing hosted rentals in the County and cap those permits at 200. In the unincorporated area of the Third District, there are four hosted rentals that I am aware of. The ordinance is due back at the Planning Commission on January 10th and back to the Board on January 23rd. If this is an issue that is important to you, email my office or attend these meetings and make your voice heard.

Commercial Cannabis Cultivation Update

As reported in the November issue of The Highlander, the Coalition for Environmental Santa Cruz (CESC) submitted 60 pages of comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for commercial cannabis cultivation, which effectively discredited the DEIR for failing to address adequately the substantial issues involved in growing cannabis. In particular, the DEIR didn’t adequately address impacts to residential neighborhoods, to wildlife, and fire hazards. CESC hired the law firm of Wittwer Parkin to assist in the analysis of this DEIR, and a summary of their analysis concluded:

“After careful review of the DEIR we have concluded that the document is among the most deficient we have seen in our years of practice.”

The County has not yet responded to the comments, but the RBDA board and CESC are arguing that rather than making Santa Cruz County commercial cannabis regulations so lenient that we attract growers from around the world, the County should retain all the protections in the Supervisors’ proposed County Code Ordinance 7.128.

While the County is reviewing the comments on the DEIR, CESC is soliciting donations so that they can continue to keep the pressure on the County to protect the environment and preserve neighborhood values. If you would like to contribute, or find more details on the effort, please visit www.cesc2017.wordpress.com.

Are you an RBDA Member? Join the conversation, get news updates on the Facebook page exclusively for RBDA members: RBDA, Rural Bonny Doon Association

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Bonny Doon CA 95060   831 426-3733

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The Highlander
The Rural Bonny Doon Association Newsletter
Box 551 • Felton, CA 95018

Bonny Doon's voice in preserving our special quality of life, 
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 November.
We encourage you to participate. 

 Send mail correspondence to the Highlander Editor at the above address, 
or by email, below.

Contact the RBDA Board in one email

Support the RBDA
- Renew Your Membership
: all 1-year memberships expire on January 31st.

Your continued support enables the RBDA Board to work on issues critical to Bonny Doon, to hold meetings to educate and get feedback regarding those issues, and to publish The Highlander newsletter.

Some people may not understand that receiving The Highlander in the mail doesn’t mean you are a current RBDA member. To reach the whole community we mail The Highlander to all mailboxes in Bonny Doon.

So unless you joined for multiple years, all 1-year RBDA memberships will expire on Jan. 31, 2016. To continue to support the RBDA, we need you to renew now for the 2016 year. Details are here.

Dues and donations go mainly to printing and mailing The Highlander, and rent and insurance for the public meetings at the school.

Ideas for RBDA Meeting Topics?

We are always open to suggestions for interesting programs and speakers at our bimonthly (except July) RBDA public meetings.

What are you interested in? Local flora and fauna, gardening, environmental and political issues, Bonny Doon history or geology, public safety?

What were some of your favorite speakers or presentations at past RBDA meetings?

Were there any that you would like us to repeat?

Please email us with your ideas and comments at board@rbda.us.

The Bonny Doon Planning District
Bonny Doon Planning
                    District map

If you live in or own property within this district, roughly from Empire Grade to the ocean and from San Vicente Creek to the City of Santa Cruz border, you are eligible to be an RBDA member.

Please support the RBDA!

Annual dues are used primarily for printing and mailing The Highlander,
your voice for keeping Bonny Doon rural and natural.

Click here for details!

Those who make additional contributions qualify as:

CONTRIBUTORS ($ 25+ dues)
SUSTAINERS ($50+ dues), or
PATRONS ($ 100+ dues)

Sharktooth Beach trash and graffiti, photo by Ted Benhari 

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