|The Honorable Don Perata
Chair, Senate Rules Committee
State Capitol, Room 205
Sacramento, CA 95814
August 9th, 2005
Dear Senator Perata,
The Rural Bonny Doon Association (RBDA)is a community-based group with the mission the “Keep Bonny Doon Rural and natural”.
Our Executive Board does not believe that Mr. Ron Nehring is qualified under California law (PRC, Section 731 to serve on the Board of Forestry.
The official press release from the Governor's office states:
∑ He has served as senior consultant for Americans for Tax Reform since 1998
∑ He is currently a member of the Governing Board for Grossmont Union High School District.
∑ Nehring is also the vice-chairman of the California Republican Party.
∑ He was previously director of development and public affairs for the National Center for Public Policy Research.
Mr. Ron Nehring should not be confirmed.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
University of California Santa Cruz
John Barnes, Director of Campus Planning
Physical Planning and Construction
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064.
February 14, 2005
Dear Mr. Barnes:
The Rural Bonny Doon Association (RBDA) has already sent the LRDP group a letter expressing our concerns about the LRDP. This letter raises those and other concerns with an emphasis on the detail that would need to appear in the future EIR, which would address problems with the LRDP. We begin with a very general statement of the primary concern, and then particularize to specific problems.
The University has long worked together with the County of Santa Cruz in supporting the County General Plan, even though by law it is not constrained by the Plan. As such, the University has cooperated with neighborhood organizations such as the RBDA in being an effective curator for the preservation of the Cowell lands and those immediately adjacent. This proposed growth for the UCSC campus contains enormous ramifications for the Santa Cruz and Bonny Doon communities and the environment, and would destroy the spirit of cooperation and conservatorship the University has heretofore exhibited. We are saddened to learn that more of the splendor of this mountain is threatened. The development of the upper forests and meadows of the former Cowell estate will be a huge loss to all. We appeal to you to reconsider this expansion and leave the Cowell lands to the north of the present campus untouched.
One direct impact for Bonny Doon is the proposed road that would link Empire Grade, through Cave Gulch, to a newly developed northern loop. Empire Grade is a steep and winding mountain road that is already overburdened by truck traffic from the Felton Quarry. It serves as the major of only three arteries connecting the 4000 or so residents of Bonny Doon to Santa Cruz This new campus access road would drastically increase use of this steep stretch of two-lane road, with its long history of landslides and accidents, by heavy equipment, trucks, and ancillary traffic (particularly for the many bicyclists who use it, despite the lack of bicycle lanes or even, in places, any shoulder) intensifying an existing safety hazard and thereby imposing a major negative impact on its adjacent Cave Gulch neighborhood and the larger Bonny Doon community beyond. We understand that Empire Grade is also classified as a scenic road. The EIR should contain: details of the expected increases in traffic (as well as tonnage loads); reports from knowledgeable people as to expected increases in accident rates; safety considerations for the students commuting to and from the Waldorf school, located on Empire Grade just north of the proposed development on Cave Gulch Rd.; geological studies of the stability of the road and shoulders under the new impacts; the legality of putting the Corporation Yard adjacent to a scenic corridor; the impacts on displaced or destroyed animals and plants, including trails and passage routes to other ranges.
As a separate issue, we also remain very concerned about possible impacts to the water table from northern expansion, which may adversely impact the Bonny Doon community. The EIR should contain detail from qualified hydrologists about possible changes in the water table on Ben Lomond Mountain caused either by building or well-drilling on the formerly pristine lands. We expect to see an analysis not only for the immediate Cave Gulch neighborhood, but for the residents of Bonny Doon up higher on the mountain, and those indirectly affected by the water tables of those areas. The unstable karsts structure of the University lands also suggests impacts going beyond their boundaries to the west, so we ask for an analysis of hydrological and biotic impacts on the adjacent Coastal Zone.
The above are issues of actual physical damage to the environs. We also ask that the EIR considers an impact of a different nature: the deterioration of the quality of life for the Bonny Doon residents living immediately adjacent to the area of proposed development, namely, the Cave Gulch community and the Waldorf School. Appropriate items for consideration would be the lighting and noise levels and the deterioration of views from these venues. Since the University has not enforced rules of entry onto its land in these areas, we would also like to know of the legality of removing trails and stream access formerly available publicly.
We know that we are only one voice among many urging the University to reconsider this entire plan, but our agenda for land preservation is one that predates the presence of the University here, and has shaped the General Plan for all of Santa Cruz County and even some of the attitudes of your faculty, many of whom live within our boundaries.
Whatever course is taken, the RBDA intends to take an active part in the examination of future plans. To this end, we strongly recommend that the comment period for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) be extended from sixty to at least ninety days.
We are grateful to you for this opportunity to express our
and hope that you will treat them very seriously. Please keep us
as this planning process continues so that we may consider its impact
Bonny Doon, and keep our membership and community informed.
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