Dear Supervisors and county planners-
My family has owned first and second homes on the Russian River since the early 1950s when our region was known as the Redwood Empire. The pressures of tourism, wineries and urban growth has reached the peak carrying capacity of the Sonoma Coast. We can’t accommodate more traffic, more water consumption, more businesses or more people. The Local Coastal Plans even states it: “Increased tourism on the Sonoma Coast may result in an imbalance between local and tourist oriented commercial development. Too many facilities in sensitive areas may harm the unique qualities of the coast which are protected under the California Coastal Act and the Local Coastal Plan.”
In reading the Local Coastal Plan, I especially liked the sections where an effort is made to control the growing virus of Vacation Rentals. Item 6 of Richard Charter’s September 28 letter to PRMD speaks to it very well. Just last week, Santa Ana and Anaheim imposed moratoriums on short term rentals due to cramped parking, rowdy renters and trash. I can add that as a Jenner second home resident for over 20 years I am not at all happy with the sale of the home next door to investors who are bringing in “new neighbors every weekend”, many of whom keep us awake at 2:00 A.M., block our limited parking and are found in our boat house. Many of my Jenner neighbors are fed up with the lack of county oversight of this issue in our coastal communities. Vacation renters add little to our communities just ask Healdsburg and Sonoma. Add enforcement to the suggested policies.
Policy C-LU-5l: Prohibit the use of second Dwelling Units for Vacation Rentals. PolicyC-LU-5K: Consider regulating the use of existing residences on residential lands for vacation rentals.
The expansion of vineyards, tasting rooms and wineries into our coastal hills.
We have very little water in our coastal zone and viticulture is a very poor choice for replacing timber lands and grasslands. Our roads too narrow and remote for first responders to arrive at accident scenes or fire emergency locations with current tourism levels. If you add the drunken wine tasters to all the bicyclists up there we have more disasters that will happen. Vineyards fence off wildlife. The California Coastal Act seeks to promote and preserve the environmentally sensitive habitat areas that our coast is so special for.
Wineries are industrial plants which use lots of water. Add to that the cooking and “event centers” which always follow a winery permit and the water need explodes. The coastal zone is a water scarce area. The SWiG letter to PRMD describes this well.
Keep our coastal hills wild and it’s animal life free to live in it’s native habitat. Prohibit the development of vineyard and wineries on our coastal hills.
Don’t sell out our coastal hills to the wineries for A Fistful of Dollars.
The Ugly: Waste water treatment.
As a Jenner homeowner and one who swims, sails and kayaks in the river, I am concerned with water quality. I installed a permitted aerobic septic system which works perfectly on a postage stamp property. We’ve been to Mars, There are many systems that are much better than the failing redwood or concrete tanks in use now that could be upgraded immediately. According to the LCP,”Jenner has the highest density and most severe septic problem than any other area on the Sonoma Coast”. I don’t know how they came up with that statement, but Policy C-PF-2t wants to “Consider development of a community waste water collection and treatment system or package waste water treatment plant at Jenner”. The only entities who would want such a plant are the commercial businesses and those who want to build more in Jenner. That is a super minority.
We don’t want a sewer treatment plant in Jenner, Jenner residents need technical assistance in choosing which small treatment system works best on their individual property.
The county does not enforce it’s own rules regarding failing septic systems. Some of the restaurants and hotels are the ones who are leaking into the river and the county does nothing to force them into compliance. My phone calls and e-mails to the county well and septic go unanswered with regard to river health and septic’s.
Please consider the important documents and comments serious scientists have prepared: Jane Nielsen’s’ Sebastopol Water Information Group (SWiG) regarding the LCP
and also Richard Charter’s comments on the draft proposed LCP.