Lessons from a Former California Coastal Commissioner “Farming for Developers” by Steve Blank

bench-at-the-bay
The Local Coastal Plan being proposed by PRMD/Supervisors includes language that’s sets up an “economic feasibility” commission either by the California Coastal Commission or local entity that can sub out the report with little to no transparency and public input. The commission would decide if farmlands can be subdivided if economic feasibility is not determined. See the LCP section for full text: Section 30241.5 Agricultural land; determination of viability of uses; economic feasibility evaluation. Here is the link to the full text: http://www.sonoma-county.org/prmd/docs/coastal/LCP-Element-03-Agricultural-Resources.pdf

Excerpt: Farming for Developers
……..My first lesson was learning that developers love farmers.

In fact, developers think farms and farmers are the best thing to ever happen to the coast of California. Developers love buying farms. They buy-out family farms for prices that far exceed what the farmers could ever get from selling their crops. And often developers let the farmer stay on the farm, leasing them back the land so they can continue to farm it. Developers even help farmers optimize their output by making sure that they plant multiple crops each year and insisting that each time they plant they till each and every inch of their fields. And the farmers are told to make sure the fields are perfectly level so no water can collect or pond on the fields, regardless of how small.

When I first ran into this I thought, “Wow what a great deal. The developers are helping farmers maximize their yields by making all these improvements to California farming. “

Boy was I dumb.
See the links below for the full story and part 2 of the series

Farming for Developers: Coastal Commission Stories – Lesson 1
http://steveblank.com/2014/06/17/hostages-strapped-to-the-front-of-the-tank-coastal-commission-stories-lesson-2/y