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2008 in Review

 

 Public Participation in Local Land Use Planning

            The year began with a major victory for public participation in the land use planning process of California. A practice referred to as "streamlined zoning" was soundly rejected by the Third District Court of Appeals. The decision resulted from a case by the High Sierra Rural Alliance (formerly, the Environmental Defense Project of Sierra County). The published case established firm precedent for the entire state that the public's right to participate in local land use decisions cannot be restricted. Want to know more? Read HSRA's January 9, 2008 newsletter, the Court's decision and comments by Bry Martin and/or S. Douglas Kerner

Conversion of Resource Production Land to Residential

           Also, in January of 2008 the HSRA appealed the Plumas County Zoning Administrator's decision to approve a subdivision on lands designated as Resource Production Lands. The project known as the McMorrow Tentative Parcel Map and located on the banks of Spanish Creek is the latest in a series of subdivisions which has divided the former Charlton Ranch into smaller and smaller parcels between Quincy and Buck's Lake. This project highlights the lack of protection for resource production lands (agriculture, timber and mining) and open space lands in the County's General Plan. Since 2004 the HSRA has been advocating for an update of the General Plan to correct the problem.The Board of Supervisor's denied the appeal in November of 2008. The HSRA has appealed that decision to Superior Court. Want to know more? Read  HSRA's January  and March newsletters. 

Rezone of Remote Timberland to a Resort-friendly Zone

            In April Sierra Pacific Industries' rezone of over 7000 acres of timberland from a protected zone to a zone which would allow development was recommended for approval by the Sierra County Planning Commission. The rezone was ultimately approved by the Board of Supervisors and appealed to Superior Court by the HSRA. Currently, negotiations are proceeding well and we hope to be able report a successful settlement soon. Want to know more? Read HSRA's June newsletter, more info and the filed petition.

General Plan Shenanigans in Plumas County

           The Plumas County General Plan adopted in 1982 is by far the oldest County General Plan in the Sierra Nevada Range. The next oldest is Mono County with a plan from 1993. The recent request for proposals and qualifications for a firm to update the Plan is hopeful after the shenanigans of 2008.  

          Rather than presenting the technical review of the Plan for which consultants, Pacific Municipal Consultants (PMC) were hired, the company presented a proposal for a General Plan update which would go beyond the completed "technical update". The "technical update", completed and paid for with tax payer dollars was not available to the public. After repeated requests for documents under the state sunshine laws, HSRA was able to obtain these documents (posted here). 

          We can only deduce that PMC's attempts at evaluating the General Plan led them to a conclusion which they and the Board of Supervisors were loath to commit to paper. Namely, that the current Plumas County General Plan is inadequate and inconsistent. A conclusion which could invalidate any land use entitlements the Board might confer. To sidestep the issue the Board was considering giving a $600,000 contract to PMC without going out to bid. 

          By bringing this caper to light the County was forced to reconsider its direction and put the contract for the General Plan Update out to bid. The deadline for the request for proposals and qualifications was December 19, 2008. The proposals are to be reviewed by a committee and the Board will select the contractor. HSRA will closely monitor the process to assure transparency. Check back for updates or subscribe to have the updates emailed to you. 

          Want to know more? Read HSRA's June 2008 newsletter . Want to know even more? Check out these files.

  
Sierra Valley GIS

            With a grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, the HSRA has been working with UC Davis to create a geographical information system for the Sierra Valley to aid local jurisdictions with land use decision-making. As of December 17, 2008 funding for the project as well as funding for countless public works projects in California was suspended. As soon as the governor and the legislature work out a budget, we'll be able to finish the project and present the mapping. Want to know more? Click here.

Your Support Matters

          If you believe Sierra and Plumas Counties are under pressure to alter their rural character, your membership donation can make a difference. Please, Donate Now through the Just Give organization's secure server.  

     
or
send a check to: High Sierra Rural Alliance, P.O. Box 65, Sierra City, CA 96125
 The High Sierra Rural Alliance is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. All donations are tax-deductible.



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High Sierra Rural Alliance
P.O. Box 65
Sierra City, California 96125

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