These are all the official RBDA correspondence items sent by the Board in 2007

October 3, 2007
Capt. Christina Maniriquez
California Highway Patrol Santa Cruz Area
10395 Soquel Drive
Aptos CA 95003-4937

Dear Capt. Christina Maniriquez,

In recent years the number of motorcycles touring through Bonny Doon neighborhoods on weekends has dramatically increased. Their presence has created increased road hazards on already dangerous roads. Frequently these motorcyclists travel well over the speed limit, pass other vehicles despite double yellow lines and blind curves, and create a deafening roar from customized mufflers.

Enclosed are signed petitions from 45 residents of Bonny Doon requesting that CHP and/or Sheriffs perform weekend patrol on all major Bonny Doon roads to enforce speed limit and “nuisance” noise laws. The Rural Bonny Doon Association (RBDA) board circulated these petitions at a recent public meeting in response to complaints from residents who have made unsuccessful attempts individually to contact the Felton Sheriff’s office for assistance.

Please let us know what you plan to do to address this dangerous and annoying situation, so that we may communicate it to our members.

Respectfully yours,

Yana Jacobs
Corresponding Secretary

cc: Neal Coonerty, 5th District Supervisor
cc: Santa Cruz County Sheriff Steve Robbins

Sept. 28, 2007
Todd Sexauer
County of Santa Cruz
Planning Department
701 Ocean Street, 4th floor
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Dear Mr. Sexauer,

Regarding the draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the expansion of the Cemex Limestone Quarry in Bonny Doon.
We believe that the DEIR is deficient in some areas, most significantly regarding the potential impacts on Liddell Spring, which is a major source of water for the City of Santa Cruz. In fact, it is, according to the City Water Dept., the purest and most dependable source, and operates with little maintenance. Any negative impacts on this source will severely affect City Water customers, who have few, if any, dependable water source alternatives.

We are concerned that if the quarry expansion does indeed reduce the quality and/or quantity of water from Liddell Spring, the city may be forced to try to obtain more water from Majors and Laguna creeks in Bonny Doon, which could have lasting negative impacts on both private property owners who draw their water from these streams, and on fish and other wildlife dependent on them. In addition, North Coast farmers who draw “raw” water from North Coast streams could potentially be impacted if Liddell Spring production is reduced or halted in the dry months. All these possible impacts have not been studied in the DEIR.

Therefore it is of utmost importance that there be very strong assurances that the quarry expansion will not negatively affect Liddell Spring. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, the DEIR states specifically that the quantity and quality of the water that flows into Liddell Creek and Liddell Spring is potentially affected by clearing and mining the Boundary Expansion Area. Studies have shown beyond a doubt that turbidity in Liddell Spring is affected by existing quarry activity. The implementation of key mitigations HYD-1 and 2 are far from guarantees that Liddell Spring won’t be negatively and significantly impacted. Quoting from the DEIR: “In any event, potentially significant impacts to water production from Liddell Spring may occur even with implementation of measures HYD-1 and HYD-2...” Once the Boundary Expansion Area is mined, if it turns out that Liddell Spring is harmed, like Humpty-Dumpty, it cannot be put together again.

That brings us to HYD-3, which is the only mitigation that could reduce impacts to a lower than significant level. We believe that this mitigation is also less than reassuring in its effectiveness of guaranteeing no harm to Liddell Spring. It doesn’t deal with all the potential impacts, including production and recharge area loss and several others. Furthermore, it is based on a mutual agreed upon pact being worked out between the City of Santa Cruz and Cemex, which in fact may never be achieved. If that is the case, HYD-3 is moot. We saw in the recent case of the City and County of Santa Cruz and CLUE/RBDA vs. University of California-Santa Cruz regarding the EIR for its 2005-2020 Long Range Development Plan that the judge voided the section dealing with water use because it was based on the successful completion of a desalination plant, an event with perhaps an equally speculative outcome which could take years to work out and implement.

HYD-3 also speculates that all the water resources impacted by quarry operations can be economically and environmentally feasibly corrected, while in fact that may not be the case. It is critical to bear in mind that while quarry operations may be extended by three years by the expansion, as forecast in the DEIR, the water impacts could be impacted forever. Liddell Spring will continue to be an important water source for the City of Santa Cruz in perpetuity. What will be the cumulative costs of mitigating these impacts over the next 20, 50 or even 100 years? Who will pay them once the Cemex operation ceases?

We also question whether HYD-3 considers the legal interests of other regulatory entities that have jurisdiction over the Clean Water Act (CWA), California Fish and Game Code, the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the California Water Code and the state and federal  Endangered Species Act. These should be dealt with before the final EIR is approved.

If indeed there are increased sediment levels in Liddell Creek from quarrying activities, there are potentially significant harmful effects on stream habitat for steelhead that may not be able to be mitigated.

We also are very concerned about the possible interception of the water table by the quarry expansion. We recognize that Cemex is very anxious not to do this, but recognizes that the possibility exists because of the constantly changing height of the table and the dynamic nature of the karst formations through which the water flows. As the DEIR states (page 5-27): “Without long term monitoring, the maximum ground water levels are not known with certainty…Other researchers have described ground water levels fluctuating as much as 63 feet in 20 days.” While Cemex plans to monitor the table height with wells, it is far from a guarantee that the slender 20 foot margin of safety won’t be breached. If that happens, it will have an unknown, and possibly deleterious and permanent affect on Liddell Spring. Because of that, we recommend that quarrying be limited to a 50 foot margin above the water table.

Another failing of the DEIR is that it does not analyze climate change related impacts of the quarry expansion. In light of this increasingly dire situation, this is an oversight that must be addressed.

A third area of the DEIR that we feel should be more definitively studied is the potential increase in noise levels at neighboring properties. More extensive ground test simulations would help assure the Expansion Area’s neighbors that noise levels would be under the legal limits, both from blasting and other quarry activity.

The DEIR states (Section 8.3.2) that during site preparation activities the noise levels on parcels adjoining the Expansion Area will routinely exceed 75 dBA., which is above the 60dBA L25 standard set forth in Mining Regulation 16.54.050(d), Since the site preparation will take many months, this is a significant impact, yet no mitigation is offered.

Respectfully yours,

Ted Benhari
Chairman, Rural Bonny Doon Association
July 10, 2007

Leslie Markham
Deputy Chief, Forest Practice
California Department of Forestry
135 Ridgeway Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401

By email to:

Re:  Public Comment for Timber Harvest Plan# 1-07-062-SCR (Regents of the University of California)

Dear Ms. Markham,

This letter is a followup on my comments at the June 13 public hearing in order to bring to your attention more details about the lack of adequate cumulative analysis, both in this THP application and the EIR it is based on.

On reviewing pertinent sections of the UCSC 2005 Long Range Development Plan EIR and CDF comments concerning that document with regard to timberland conversion, I find that UCSC analysis was deficient in many respects.

In the March 17, 2006 SCH#: 2005012113 CDF comment letter to UCSC by Richard Sampson concerning the UCSC 2005 LRDP EIR, he stated: 

“After our review we are concerned that your analysis of the removal of this resource (timberland) was deficient in the project description, regional setting and alternatives analysis.  While this resource is arguably not unique or threatened, it is significant both locally and regionally with respect to social, environmental, economic and aesthetic values.”

“In light of the public controversy generated by previous development projects on the campus where considerably smaller amounts of this resource were removed it is confusing why the DEIR places so little value or discussion on this resource.  Evaluation of the value of this resource to the local economy, wildlife species, and aesthetics appeared to be absent.  It appears that conversion of this resource to clearings is preferred as opposed to development in the abundant existing open areas on the ownership.”

Significantly, with respect to fire safety and equally to cumulative analysis, Mr. Sampson stated: “One new revision to PRC 4291 strengthens the requirements of 4291 with an increase of the radius of the defensible space zone from 30’ to 100’ around structures.”   UCSC, in contradiction to the new revision, used a variable standard of 30 to 100 feet surrounding buildings.   Neither does the EIR specifically refer to the areas to be converted under the current Timberland Conversion Permit and this timber harvest plan. Thus, it appears that the total amount of timberland to be converted over 15 years in the 2005 LRDP EIR was significantly understated.

The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board requested that UCSC complete a campus-wide wetlands delineation before issuing a final EIR, which UCSC declined to do.  The area where most of the timberland conversion will take place is in the north campus area where most of the undelineated wetlands occur. Since we do not know the true extent of how much timberland will be converted and we do not know what the impacts will be to associated wetlands, since they are not delineated, we do not have adequate knowledge of the cumulative impacts of proposed development. 

Additionally, the EIR contains no specifics for the north campus with regard to where roads will be built, what buildings will be constructed, where they will be located, how much timberland will actually be cleared, and what impacts this development will have on wetlands and sensitive plant and animal species.

In summary, as the lead State agency with regard to CEQA and the review of the timber harvest plan, it is imperative that CDF demand an adequate cumulative impacts analysis from UCSC, which the LRDP EIR and the current THP application do not have, for this and all future UCSC THP applications. To do less would risk violating your oversight responsibilities and would allow the segmentation of the LRDP project. The UCSC timberland conversion is expected to be the largest in Santa Cruz County history; this first THP application connected with the LRDP EIR sets an important precedent.

Thank you so much for your consideration.


Ted Benhari

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