Note: todays LCP workshop was held in Bodega Bay with more than a full house. So many showed up to support the coast! Some changes from public input have been made so keep writing. Government agencies with more recent studies than 2005 and 2008 which have been used in the draft for decision making still have not been consulted. The public voiced concerns that the draft needs better referencing as tables, maps and index should make it easier for the public to read and find information.
It was clear from the audience no one wants any more vineyards or tasting rooms on the coast. Everyone was united. Housing concerns with 53% of all housing as vacation rentals still a huge problem for many people.
“Principally permitted use” was brought up as applying only for non commerical and no development would be allowed in ESHA (Endangered Species Habitat Areas) or MPA’s (Marine Protected Areas), however the county has eliminated all MPA’s and the ESHA’s are down from 3 in last LCP to 1in current draft. County was pushed for maps showing the changes and what the zones will be.
Coastal plan hearings
EDITOR: Thanks for covering the creation of the local coastal plan update, which was created behind closed doors at the county (“Hearings set to revise Sonoma coastal plan,” Thursday).
At the recent public meeting, Permit Sonoma’s planner acknowledged that numerous coastal and nonprofit stakeholders were never consulted about the plan. Thus, the department missed the opportunity for expert input from other knowledgeable sources.
Most worrisome, the new draft frequently uses loophole phraseology — “principally permitted use” — that allows ultimate discretion of the planners about what permits might be issued and what level of review is required. This language embeds a permanent opening for the planning department to do whatever it wants or is pressured to do by development interests. This is unacceptable.
All of us should be alarmed that the current concept of a principally permitted use, as specified on Permit Sonoma’s website, says that zoning designations won’t be appealable to the California Coastal Commission once approved at the county level. So the public will have no appeal to higher authorities.
This flawed document needs to go back to the drawing board with the goal of protection rather than development.
Public input is needed now. The county is hosting public workshops, and your voice is needed to protect our coast.
Please see Localcoastalplan.org for upcoming dates and places.