March/April 2008 issue




RBDA General Meeting
MARCH 12, 2008, 7:30 PM

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

State Wants to Spray Bonny Doon for Apple Moth

In the fall of 2007, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) began a program of aerial spraying of a synthetic chemical in an attempt to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. The LBAM is an agricultural pest common in Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii. The spraying program has been highly controversial, with many concerns raised about potential health and environmental consequences.  Whether the program is effective, or even legitimate, it raises serious concerns that CDFA has bypassed environmental reviews under the California Environmental Quality Act and instead has proceeded by declaring a state of emergency.
Besides questioning the unstudied health effects of the spray’s components on humans, some critics charge that the moth actually does very little damage to crops, and that we are the innocent victims in an agricultural trade war because the U.S. has used the presence of the LBAM to deny importation of certain crops, and now that it is here, too, American farmers of those crops won’t be able to export.

While Bonny Doon was exempt in 2007, the CDFA eradication program is now projected to spray very large areas of Santa Cruz County, including Bonny Doon, at a minimum of three times a year and possibly as often as every 30 days for an indefinite number of years starting as soon as June 1, 2008.

Come to the RBDA General Meeting March 12 to get informed, understand the complexity of the issues, discuss alternatives, and to find out how you can get involved. The speakers will include Roy Upton of CASS (California Alliance to Stop the Spraying), an alliance of non-profits and individuals that originated in the Monterey Bay Area in Dec. 2007, and Mark Lipson of our local organic Molino Creek Farm.

Roy Upton, RH, has been working and practicing professionally as an herbalist since 1981.  Trained in Ayurvedic, Chinese, and western herbal medicine traditions, Roy is the founder, executive director, and editor of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and a co-founder of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG). Roy is also visiting faculty for the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program at UC School of Pharmacy in Los Angeles.  Mark Lipson is an appointee on the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s LBAM Environmental Advisory Task Force (EATF). Molino Creek Farm is famous for its dryfarmed organic tomatoes and is now under a Compliance Agreement for the US Department of Agriculture quarantine since an LBAM has been trapped at the nearby Swanton Berry Farm.  Molino Creek and Swanton Berry will be subject to intensive monitoring, inspection, pest management and shipping restrictions during this growing season. Mark was chair of the California Organic Foods Advisory Board from 1991 to 1997 and works now on federal policy for organic farming research and education.

Please visit and for more details on the Apple Moth and the plans for eradication.

UCSC Mediation Drags On

The last three months have been marked by lengthy days filled with tedious debates about where the additional students UCSC wants to admit in the next 12 years will live, how much additional traffic the streets of Santa Cruz will bear, and what will happen if a drought reduces the City water supply. Every two weeks or so the City and County, UCSC or CLUE (Citizens for Limiting University Expansion) meet and exchange new documents on what they will accept in order to settle the lawsuit brought by CLUE (and the RBDA, whose chairman, Ted Benhari, has been working with CLUE) and the City/ County.

UCSC lost in Superior Court, voiding its Long Range Development Plan Environmental Impact Report, which called for a growth or 4,500 in the student population, and the first buildings on the pristine North Campus, in Bonny Doon. In an unusual move, Judge Paul Burdick then suggested that rather than pursue a lengthy and costly appeal process, the parties go into mediation.

Meanwhile, UCSC is playing hardball in trying to prosecute and intimidate professors, students and others who are supporting the tree sitters in the redwoods slated for elimination in order to build the Biomedical Sciences building, part of the LRDP. Despite the court decision which halts construction, UCSC is still trying to obtain permits to cut the trees.

Supervisors Continue to Mull Building Code Changes

On Feb. 13 RBDA Board members Ted Benhari and Joe Christy met with Supervisor Neal Coonerty and Rachel Dann, an analyst on his staff who also sits on the Planning Commission, to discuss the proposed changes to the County Building Code and permit process which will ease the rules regarding accessory structures like offices and studios.  Neal provided some of the background, stating that the proposal was meant to increase the percentage of permitted building in the county, rather than to encourage unpermitted building. As Neal recounted, when the proposal was originally presented to the Board of Supervisors, they expressed concern about some of the issues of interest to us such as the addition of toilets, and the owner residency requirement. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors told the Planning Department that the board thought that “their CEQA position was weak.” Neal stated that (as of Feb. 13) he had heard nothing new from the Planning Department.  Ted expanded on our concerns about the impacts in the proposal; toilets in accessory buildings, residency requirements for additional development, increased building density and number of additional structures, and our belief that an Environmental Impact Review (EIR) is necessary and required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Joe expressed concern about whether the loosening of the requirements could work without an effective enforcement method, especially since enforcement is a separate line item in the budget.  Rachel said that she would email a list of questions from our meeting to Tom Burns, the Planning Director, and that she would let us know his response. Neal pledged to keep the RBDA in the loop when the Planning Department comes back before the Board of Supervisors on the proposal.

On Feb. 20, Betsy Herbert, representing the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, and Kevin Collins, of the Sierra Club, met with the Planning Director and two members of the Planning staff. According to Kevin, Planning has realized that they needed to take the issue of CEQA compliance seriously and have removed from the proposed planning changes those items that the County believes would require CEQA review. Some important controversial aspects remain, including a provision to facilitate approval for two “Habitable Accessory Structures” (640 sq. ft each with heating and bathroom, but no kitchen) on any lot larger than one acre that already has a Second Dwelling Unit, defined as a building with bathroom and kitchen, one of which is allowed on a parcel.

Planning contends that current code allows two Habitable Accessory Structures, but the legal route to get them would now be “by right.” In this case, the potential problem of four habitable units on one lot remains. A major change here is that Planning removed the provision to allow toilets in these buildings, with a statement “Defer for further analysis.” If this restriction is enforced (an entirely separate matter), anyone living in such units is more likely to be a member of the “household” occupying the property, and the units themselves are less likely to be rented as separate living quarters. Planning also removed the change that would have allowed these units on lots that are not owner-occupied.

Regarding “Non-Habitable Accessory Structures,” Planning removed the change to allow those buildings to be 1,500 sq. ft. and keeps the current code limiting the size to 1,000 sq. ft., again with the statement “Defer for further analysis.” There is now no specific language allowing two of these buildings as there was before. The rule change to allow for both sheet rock and insulation is still present.

It would appear that the problem of code enforcement is basic since these buildings cannot be distinguished from ordinary houses, because they are not limited to being used as barns or garages or studios. The issue of making Code Enforcement effective was not addressed during this meeting, however. Planning stated that they will address enforcement in the agenda packet for the March 18 Board of Supervisors meeting when this proposal is again considered.  Enforcement is fundamental to this entire discussion because at present enforcement of compliance with County Code is ineffective.

Another important code change from the original proposal remains. This change allows developers of subdivisions to build Second Units into the original plan for the subdivision, thus doubling the number of units over current rules.

Evaluation of the Planning Department’s modified claims of CEQA exemption will continue. The next public hearing before the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for March 18.

Fire/Emergency Services: Still Many Questions

Will Bonny Doon get its own Fire District?  Will it include Davenport and the North Coast?  How will the Board of Supervisors deal with the shortage of funding for the Santa Cruz County Fire Department, of which Bonny Doon is now a part?

The answers to those questions will have a profound effect on our fire and emergency services, but those answers will be slow in coming. The first answers, how to deal with the County Fire shortfall, will come shortly from the Supervisors. County Fire, contracted out to CalFire (formerly called California Department of Forestry), staffs four stations around the county for seven months a year, November through May. The closest one to Bonny Doon is in Swanton. Our local Fire Team, which responds by itself to most of the emergencies in Bonny Doon, serves under its direction.

The Supervisors may close one of the stations on a rotating basis, or cut staff, or a combination. They had hoped to close the funding gap through an increase in fire district taxes, but that increase was rejected by the voters.

Meanwhile, LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) continues considering the ramifications of the formation of a Bonny Doon Fire District. That application was submitted 16 months ago by our Fire Team. Since separating Bonny Doon from County Fire would have a profound effect on the latter, there were many ramifications to consider. Bonny Doon property owners help underwrite the costs of covering Davenport and the North Coast, so how would those areas continue to be protected? Would our new district have to pay County Fire for the equipment and stations it currently uses, even though a lot of it was paid for through our own taxes and contributions?

The Fire Team’s leaders have been meeting with Supervisor Neal Coonerty, County administrators, other fire department heads and LAFCO to try to work all this out. At some unspecified time, hopefully not too far in the future, LAFCO will issue a report, make recommendations and hold a public meeting to discuss it. Those could include creating a greater Bonny Doon district that would also cover Davenport and the North Coast.  Fire Team board chairman Tom Scully told the Highlander that regardless of the actions taken by the Supervisors regarding CalFire cutbacks, our volunteers will continue to provide the services we need.

At the March 12 RBDA meeting, he and Supervisor Coonerty will discuss the present state of fire protection, and try to provide answers to your concerns about these critical services.

No Answers Yet to Cemex Issues

Air and water are two of the vital elements for life, and both are being studied in relation to Cemex. Water, that is, how Liddell Spring, which supplies about 10% of the City of Santa Cruz’s water supply, will be affected by Cemex’s application to expand its Bonny Doon limestone quarry, is the chief stumbling block for Cemex. The County Planning Department is redoing the DEIR, the draft Environmental Impact Report (actually, a contracted firm is doing the work) after problems and deficiencies in the first version were pointed out by the City Water Dept., the Sierra Club, the RBDA and neighbors. A new date for publishing the DEIR hasn’t been set, but should be in the next few weeks.

Air, that is, what kind of emissions, and how much of each, are coming out of the Davenport cement plant stacks, is finally under study by the State after the new data was vetted by the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District (MBUAPCD). The study was kicked off several years ago when Cemex made changes to the way it manufactures cement. Cemex said the first data it collected, which showed some dangerous compounds exceeded legal limits, were inaccurate and collected new data last year, and finally submitted the results to MBUAPCD earlier this year. The State is expected to issue its report in the fall. If there are harmful substances that are still found to be higher than the legal limits, Cemex will have up to 10 years to fix it. Meanwhile, residents of Davenport, and possibly Bonny Doon, may have to decide whether to purchase gas masks or risk coming down with cancer or other conditions.

RBDA Website: Do You Use It?

The RBDA has had its website for several years, There you’ll find back issues of the Highlander, our Bylaws, the board officers and how to contact us, links to government sites and public officials and organizations the RBDA works with or supports, among other things.

Have you ever visited it? If not, why not? If you have, what do you find useful about it or what else would you like to see on it? In short, how can we make it a better communication and information tool?

Would you like to see it have a Frequently Asked Questions area? Photos taken around Bonny Doon? Links to other BD websites, like the rain records sites? Important events that come up in between Highlander issues? Any other ideas?

Please click on this link to email the board with your comments. 

2008 Board Officers

At the Jan. 9 Annual Meeting, Jan Hilkert, Joe Christy and Ben Harmon were elected to the three vacant seats on the RBDA Board.  Ben, the Membership Coordinator, has been on the board for eight years, while Jan and Joe are starting their first terms.

The new board held its first meeting with the newly elected members on Feb. 4 and as the first order of business, determined the new officer slate as follows: Ted Benhari, Chairman; Yana Jacobs, Vice Chair; Jan Hilkert, Recording Secretary; Jodi Frediani, Corresponding Secretary; Joe Christy, Treasurer; Ben Harmon, Membership Coordinator; Tom Hearn, Highlander Editor.  Tom will be filling the very large “shoes” of the departing Highlander Editor Jane Cavanaugh, who did such an excellent job for the past four years, and will be very sorely missed.

What the New Membership Policy Means to You

At the Jan. 9 General meeting, the membership unanimously passed a proposal to change the validity period for memberships.  The proposal was described in detail in the November edition of the Highlander. Here’s what this means for your membership in practical terms.

• If you sign up (join or renew) your membership anytime from Jan. 1 through Dec. 1 of a given year, your membership will expire on Jan. 31 of the next year. This ensures that you have the right to participate in the election of that year. For example, if you sign up on March 23, 2008, your membership will expire on Jan. 31, 2009.

• If you sign up between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31 of a given year, your membership will expire on Jan. 31 of the year after the next. For example, if you sign up on Dec. 2, 2008, your membership will expire on Jan.  31, 2010. (The reason for the difference is that, by Dec.1, it is too late to participate in the upcoming election. The extension to the following year grants you the right to participate in the election that will take place in that year.)

• Of course, you can still sign up for multiple years. We will just add the appropriate number of years and your membership will expire on Jan. 31 of the appropriate year.  For example, if you sign up for three years on Nov. 27, 2008, your membership will expire on Jan. 31, 2011.

If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact the RBDA Board via our email address here.

RBDA Executive Board actions - February 4, 2008
1) RBDA Business
2) Update on Bonny Doon Fire District and Cuts in County Fire Dep't Services
3) Featured Program: LBAM Spraying in Bonny Doon

RBDA Board meeting agenda March 12, 2008
1) RBDA Business
2) Chose new board officers
3) Approved sending a letter to the Bd. of Supervisors regarding the proposed building code changes
4) Approved giving Webmaster Paul Hostetter a $100 gift certificate.
Support Our Sponsors

Frans Lanting Gallery
Limited Edition Fine Prints, Books, Calendars
by Wildlife & Nature Photographer
Frans Lanting
207 McPherson St., Suite D, Santa Cruz

Boyce-Abel Associates & Land Planning
Facilitating & Mediating for Families with Land
& Other Real Property Transfers
1003 Smith Grade, Bonny Doon CA 95060

Become One of Our Sponsors

Sponsorships: $100 a year (6 issues).
Send check and text to:
RBDA, 102 Sunlit Lane
Bonny Doon CA 95060

The Highlander
The Rural Bonny Doon Association Newsletter
102 Sunlit Lane • Bonny Doon, CA 95060

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.

RBDA Executive Board
Board Chair
Ted Benhari
Vice Chair
Yana Jacobs
Joe Christy
Corresponding Secretary 
Jodi Frediani
Ben Harmon 
Recording Secretary
Jan Hilkert
Highlander Editor
Tom Hearn
Contact the RBDA Board in one email

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!
Dues payments count for a full year from date received.
Dues mostly go for printing and mailing The Highlander,
your voice for keeping Bonny Doon rural and natural.
Those who make additional contributions qualify as:

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

Back to the RBDA homepage
To the Highlander index