13 February 2003
The Honorable Anna G. Eshoo
Dear Mrs. Eshoo:
Residents of Bonny Doon, a rural area in the Santa Cruz Mountains, have their mail delivered by contract carriers rather than regular U.S. Postal Service employees. Service is highly idiosyncratic. There are no collection boxes, and mail theft and vandalism are frequent occurrences.
Until approximately a year ago, when I had two surgeries and spent some time recuperating, I was in fairly frequent contact with the local postmaster, Donald Cattivera, about the difficulties of our situation: copies of two letters to him, outlining the problems, are attached. Also attached are an article from the Rural Bonny Doon Association's newsletter, The Highlander, a copy of the U. S. Code (39, section 101), and an advertisement for a contract carrier route.
Since I wrote the last letter, the situation has not improved. The carrier who has contracted for two of Bonny Doon's three routes subcontracts to what seems to be an assortment of other people, and deliveries remain unreliable. A couple of examples from 1411 Pine Flat Road:
§ Saturday 17 August: No mail deliveryWe believe our problems could be addressed by:
On behalf of the Rural Bonny Doon Association and the residents of this mountain community, I thank you for exploring this matter.
With best wishes,
21 February 2003
Re: Permit Number A-3-SCO-02-088, Production Increase for RMC Pacific Materials’s Davenport Plant
Dear Commission Members:
The Rural Bonny Doon Association commends the Coastal Commission staff and in particular its planner, Dan Carl, for his diligent, measured report. We offer strong support for the staff's recommendation, that RMC Pacific Materials’s request for a permanent production increase at its Davenport Plant be denied.
While we share the concerns of our friends in Davenport about traffic increase on Highway 1 (for many of us, a daily commuting route), and of the City of Santa Cruz's Water Department (a water crisis in Santa Cruz would affect us in many obvious and very detrimental ways), we have grave fears of our own regarding RMC's proposal.
Most important, from the viewpoint of this community which nests on the mountain above Davenport, is the implicit increase in mineral extraction from the Bonny Doon limestone quarry. RMC argues that "It is a red-herring to introduce concerns about mining impacts into this issue since the quarry operation is a separately permitted operation." (letter from John L. Ritchey III to Coastal Commission, 3 January 2003) In fact, the red-herring is RMC's insistence that quarrying and cement production are separate.
The accompanying map, provided by RMC to the County, makes clear RMC's understanding of the linked relationship between the quarry and plant. Without the quarry, the cement plant could not continue: stockpiles are finite, and importing limestone, by truck and train, does not appear a realistic option. Thus, increasing production at the plant has an unavoidable cumulative impact: increasing production at the quarry.
Under its existing permit, RMC may not be able to continue mining in the existing quarry, at least not for very long. In 2001, the quarry had already reached its permitted depth of 750 feet. Once this maximum depth has been reached, expansion on the quarry floor requires expanding the quarry's perimeter. And indeed, RMC's projection for 2002 (2002 Estimated Quarry Contours, prepared in July 1997 by Bowman & Williams Consulting Civil Engineers for RMC Lonestar situate in Bonny Doon Limestone Quarry) shows mining in an area which has not been approved for extraction. RMC is currently both initiating the County-required EIR for this area and litigating against the requirement.
RMC has, at the time of writing, not yet submitted to the County its annual Bonny Doon quarry report for 2002. But we wonder how the quarry can continue to supply the plant when it is unable to produce limestone from the area – and, presumably, in the quantity -- it had projected. We believe that RMC should be asked what source will supply the plant, if it cannot take mineral from its Bonny Doon quarry? And how, under these conditions, can RMC ask for an increase in plant production? Will RMC find a way to expand quarry production, regardless of public outcry and harm to the environment?
A large multi-national corporation with a minimal local presence, RMC has demonstrated, by its unwillingness to revise its reclamation plan for the quarry (the soil has been so disturbed and its chemistry so changed by RMC's quarrying activities that it cannot sustain its original, native plant species) or to prepare an EIR for the contested expansion area, a complete disregard for Bonny Doon. Non-compliance seems, indeed to be characteristic of RMC: we note its five-year review for the Davenport Plant, required by Permit #88-0188 to be completed in 1995 and not yet initiated, and its impasse over Liddell Springs with the Santa Cruz Water Department (letter from Terry Tompkins to Coastal Commission, 3 January 2003).
And so we fear for our mountain, with the unique plants and animals it supports. We ask you, in denying RMC's request, to protect it.
Thank you for honoring our concerns.
Miriam Beames, Corresponding Secretary
William Dunlap, Roads Superintendent
Dear Mr. Dunlap:
In September 2000 (which doesn't seem so very long ago!) you and Tom Bolich came to a meeting of the Rural Bonny Doon Association to discuss the state of the roads on this mountain, to tell us the County's plans for fixing them, and to offer us your assistance. We remain grateful for your interest then and for the work you have accomplished since. And we realize that not all the monies you hoped would be available during the seven-year plan may make their way into your budget.
You did, however, encourage us to work with you to improve the roads’ condition. In that spirit of cooperation, the Rural Bonny Doon Association has formed a Roads Committee. This group has its own e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, which residents can use to communicate their concerns. The Committee will make decisions about which situations need the most urgent attention and bring them to your department. We hope that this will be a useful system, as you will receive a list of priorities. With this in hand, you can discuss your resources and plans with a group which will report back to all of Bonny Doon's residents through the RBDA.
Tom Scully is the Committee's chair. He will be in touch with you soon.
Again, we thank you for your continuing concern for our vital but needy road system.
Miriam Beames, Corresponding Secretary
cc: Mardi Wormhoudt, Supervisor, Third District, County of Santa
Emailed letter from the Board:
The U. S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), likely future owner of the
Coast Dairies & Land Corporation's property east of Highway 1, offers
a meeting for public input about interim access to the land. It will
We urge anyone concerned about preserving this beautiful property, which contains threatened and endangered species and highly sensitive watersheds, or anyone who is worried about the burden on protective services, to attend. We believe that BLM is jumping the gun by talking about public access before putting in place the resources necessary to maintain it.
Specifically, we suggest speaking in support of the Coast Dairies Long-Term Resource Protection & Access Plan (26 June 2003), prepared by Environmental Science Associates. Among their prescriptions for an Interim Access Stage:
· "As funding becomes available additional access may be provided, but only to the extent that significant impacts to the environment can be avoided." (p. VII-2) A "planning document will be required . . . the Interim Access Plan will be designed to avoid the potential for significant environmental impacts . . . " (p. VII-5)The entire Plan is* available at www.tpl.org/California, (
* was, link is updated 26 November 2003
22 October 2003
Robert Beehler, Field Manager
Dear Mr. Beehler:
The Executive Board of the Rural Bonny Doon Association, a group numbering about 300 citizens who share the ocean side of Ben Lomond Mountain with the Coast Dairies and Land Corporation's former property, have grave concerns about how this most precious land should be treated. We thank you for asking our advice.
In short, we very strongly support the Coast Dairies Long-Term Resource Protection & Access Plan (the Plan) (26 June 2003), prepared by Environmental Science Associates and, in particular, their prescriptions for an Interim Access Stage. Below we respond to your questions, as promulgated in the 8 October Public Workshop in Davenport.
What ISSUES/CRITERIA should we be considering?
Environmental Impacts. The Plan states, "As funding becomes available additional access may be provided, but only to the extent that significant impacts to the environment can be avoided." (p. VII-2) A "planning document will be required . . . the Interim Access Plan will be designed to avoid the potential for significant environmental impacts . . . " (p. VII-5)
The Adaptive Management Program, described in Chapter VIII of the Plan, is based on continual monitoring of natural resources and visitor experience/impacts. This essential process yields information to make possible decisions about whether ‘significant impacts’ are happening, and to make reasonable changes.
We insist that before any public access, with the exception of docent-led walks, is permitted, the Interim Access Plan be drafted with Adaptive Management requirements: desired conditions defined, monitoring protocols designed to assess them, and staffing in place to carry out the tasks. Otherwise, the goals of the Plan are void and the Bureau of Land Management has failed in its charge. It may be that lack of staffing, a likely result of lack of funds, will prevent any access for a number of years.
Safety Concerns. The Plan requires that, "To protect public health and safety . . . provisions will address staffing levels, cooperative agreements with agencies and citizens groups, & operational standards for provision of . . . services, [including] refuse, sanitary facilities, litter, fire, search & rescue, police, park patrols, permits for special events" (p. VII-10)
We are extremely concerned that professional support services must be in place before public access. Danger to users is obvious; this is another reason to require visitors to be docent-led, and limited to the less accident-prone pedestrians. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office faces further budget cuts, and Davenport has only a small volunteer fire department.
Facilities. The Plan notes that new facilities, such as toilets and parking areas, must be constructed (p. VII-1); signage, physical barriers, and marked trails must be provided (p. VII-9) before the public can be admitted.
Staffing. For continuity, we heartily endorse retaining Bern Smith
as manager of the property. He, and he alone, has the essential knowledge
of the property and its resources necessary to begin monitoring for the
adaptive management program. We also ask that whatever BLM staff
are assigned to the area be biologists: the sensitive issues here
are primarily related to endangered plants and animals, and only a biologist
has the knowledge to deal with them.
Our further comments below, in response to the other questions, are what we consider reasonable starting points for Adaptive Management monitoring. We ask that they be included in the Interim Access Plan.
Which farm roads should be OPEN or CLOSED to public use. WHY?
We consider the Plan's chosen roads for initial access to be well thought-out. The Plan states, however, that "Access to trails may be limited to foot traffic only." (p. VII-9)
We believe that once any roads are open, it will be impossible to keep traffic from straying, with inevitable environmental damage. For this reason, we strongly endorse escorted foot traffic only as the starting point for monitoring – and that no more roads be opened than can easily be monitored.
What rules/stipulations should apply to Coast Dairies visitors? WHY?
To make possible the essential monitoring system, visitors should be required to log in before entering the property, and to report their route. Presumably this would mean only one or two access points, and other potential entrances would be blocked. Again, a docent would facilitate this necessary record keeping.
What types of trail uses should be allowed (pedestrian, horse, mountain bike, etc.)? WHY?
We hope we have made it clear why we believe that, at least initially, use should be limited to pedestrians with a docent as escort.
We trust that you will take seriously our very serious concerns. We are grateful to you for this opportunity to express them.
Miriam Beames, Recording Secretary
cc: Julie Anne Delgado, Bureau of Land Management
2 November 2003
Dear Ms. Rugani,
Residents of Bonny Doon love the natural, unspoiled beauty of this wonderful area: that's why we make sacrifices to live here. And so the Rural Bonny Doon Association's board wasn't surprised when a number of community members recently complained about the proliferation of signs advertising real estate.
We sympathize with your wish to inform the public about houses for sale. But we do think that the sort of person who seeks a Bonny Doon home will be offended at a neighborhood cluttered with definitely non-scenic signs – in other words, multiple signs have a negative effect on the very clients you hope to entice.
In addition, we remind you of County code, Volume 2, Section 1310.580:
"No signs or outdoor advertising structures or displays of any kind shall beThe ordinance goes on to state that the one sign must be placed closest to the
point at which the access to the property intersects a public road.
We trust that you will pass our request -- to respect the sensibilities of Bonny Doon residents, and the law -- on to your staff. We do appreciate your cooperation.
Miriam Beames, Corresponding Secretary
6 November 2003
Mr. Jeff Richmond
Dear Mr. Richmond:
The Executive Board of the Rural Bonny Doon Association supports the Community Concerned about Lockheed-Martin’s letter of 9 September 2003, which requests that the Lockheed-Martin files in the Environmental Health Department of Santa Cruz County – specifically the Hazardous Materials Management Plan -- be opened for inspection by qualified representatives of the Bonny Doon community.
This facility was originally located in Bonny Doon long before any review process concerned with its potential dangers was in place. We are now, however, not by our own choice, residents of an area through which hazardous materials are transported, and in which they are used and stored. We believe that citizens in our position have a right to know what these materials are, and how they are being handled.
We trust that you, as responsible neighbors, will recognize the appropriateness of our request.
Miriam Beames, Corresponding Secretary
cc: Byron Ravenscraft, Lockheed-Martin Corporation, Empire Grade, Bonny
11 November 2003
Jack Nelson, Planner
Re: Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve: Erosion Control
Dear Mr. Nelson:
The Executive Board of the Rural Bonny Doon Association has consulted with members of the Bonny Doon community who have long association with the Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve in various capacities – original movers for public acquisition, fire team member, residents whose property is surrounded by and adjacent to the Reserve, docents who walk in and observe the Reserve on an almost daily basis, and the docents’ leader. These people have read Timothy Best's plan. We are happy to offer to you a synopsis of their knowledge.
First, and most important, we very much support the observations and recommendations of Valerie J. Haley, 11 November 2003. As a professional botanist and revegetation specialist, as well as Coordinator for the Reserve's docents, she has unique qualifications to represent the community in reviewing Mr. Best's plan.
Second, we add comments and corrections in addition to Ms. Haley's report.
History of the road damaged by unauthorized grading in September 2003
Whether or not RMC retains this access right is a matter for legal resolution. What is sure, however, is that the road in question was not an access route to the Laguna Creek property. This road, in fact, did not exist until the 1950’s, when it appears first in photographs: at that time the property was acquired for subdivision, and the road was laid out accordingly.
Since1989, traffic on this road has been mainly pedestrian (to some extent equestrian), with occasional vehicular use for emergencies and for maintenance by the Department of Fish and Game. (Note: Warren Drive residents and the Bonny Doon Fire Team drove it in the El Niño winter of 1997-98 – not, as stated in Best, 1999.) As Mr. Best notes (page 2, paragraph 4), RMC last used it in 1974, for a timber harvest.
Condition of the road
We agree that the road was "in reasonably good condition", but dispute the phrase "lack of maintenance". Volunteers worked doggedly every year to construct and maintain the waterbars, and they held through the emergency events noted above.
We also most emphatically deny that the recent "regrading" (this euphemism occurs in Best, page 1, paragraph 1) "was an improvement over what probably existed". The damage wrought by RMC's recent activities is far greater than that created by repeated vehicular use during the El Niño storm of early 1998.
Potential Future Use and Goals for Reconstruction
We also ask that a licensed civil engineer review the plan. This is, after all, a road of a mile and a half long on a steep hillside.
Otherwise, as we noted, the carefully built and maintained wooden waterbars have held up to occasional vehicular use (acknowledged in Best, page 10, last paragraph, "The waterbars appears [sic] to have been reasonable [sic] effective in moderate storms even though they received little maintenance [italics supplied]. Moreover, it appears that vehicles could pass over many of these without too much problem."). Such use is all we and Mr. Best envision (pages 6, last paragraph and 7, paragraph 2). We are concerned that construction of a heavier, partially rocked road will involve many truck trips, causing further damage to the already eroded sands and sensitive plants. The very frequent waterbreaks described in Mr. Best's plan will be unsightly, will "change the character of the trail" (page 9, paragraph 2), and "waterbreak outlets could damage sensitive species . . . " (page 10, paragraph 2).
And so, unless Captain Gagarin requests a more substantial road, or unless a civil engineer determines that heavier construction is needed to control erosion and sedimentation, we hope that the damaged area can be returned, to the extent possible, to its former condition. We also hope that, if it is legally determined that RMC has access through the Reserve to its Laguna Creek property, it can be routed through a less sensitive habitat (as suggested in Best, pages 6, bottom, to 7, top).
We thank you for your efforts to help the Reserve, and for giving our comments your serious consideration.
Miriam Beames, Corresponding Secretary
For a detailed letter to the County from Valerie Haley, Botanist and
Docent Coordinator, Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve, on this subject, click
28 November 2003
Dear Ms. Elliott:
Since its founding in 1957, the Rural Bonny Doon Association has been working on Ben Lomond Mountain and Santa Cruz’s North Coast to "keep Bonny Doon rural and natural". Understandably, then, many of our members made donations toward the acquisition of the Coast Dairies and Land property. In addition to the RBDA’s designated delegate and alternate, many of our members have attended the Trust for Public Land’s Community Advisory Group’s meetings; in turn, RBDA meetings have been enriched by reports from our delegates, as well as from TPL’s Ann Cole and Darcey Rosenblatt, and Tom Roberts from Environmental Science Associates. Also, many of us have toured the CD&L property with Bern Smith.
We share your dream of preserving this wonderful area. As stated in the deed restrictions, and as we independently believe, this dream requires that "The land currently in agricultural row crop production will be managed in such a way that continued agricultural use is feasible to the maximum extent possible . . ." We have been deeply concerned that federal management will not be best suited to this goal.
And so the Executive Board of the Rural Bonny Doon Association is delighted to support Save Our Agricultural Land’s proposal to acquire and manage the inland agricultural land at Coast Dairies. We believe this group will be the very best steward of the land, because:
§ As its name states, SOAL was founded for exactly this purpose. Its mission is "to protect and preserve land that has the capacity to be agriculturally productive in a manner consistent with protection of biotic resources." SOAL’s focus is limited, its dedication complete.
§ As outlined in the proposal, SOAL Board members have extensive, varied, hands-on knowledge of the different aspects of agriculture on Santa Cruz’s North Coast. They are known and trusted by the farmers and by the agricultural workers. On a daily basis, they practice dry farming, manage ranches, house workers, deal with water and water rights, work to protect endangered/threatened species, and resolve legal issues surrounding land use.
§ SOAL Board members also have extensive and varied experience working with different governmental organizations. They understand bureaucracies and legal restraints. Since its founding in 1996, SOAL has demonstrated commitment to a long process, and ability to work with State and County government and various local groups -- including the RBDA. Not only will they cooperate with BLM and State Parks, their local knowledge and connections will be an essential resource for these agencies.
§ The SOAL Board members’ practical experience, and eagerness to participate in practical ways, makes their modest-budget proposal realistic. We believe that knowledge -- of the land, of the people, of community groups, of potentially helpful agencies -- and commitment, more than dollars, are necessary to make North Coast farming survive.
And so we, who care intensely about our local land, feel most fortunate that SOAL exists, and that it is willing to take over management of this most precious tract. We could not urge you more strongly to accept their proposal.
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