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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

GPU Community Forums receive tremendous public support

A countywide crowd of well over 200 met in Carmel Valley, and greeted Supervisor Dave Potter at the second in a series of Community Forums on September 14. Potter told the participants that he was disappointed in the actions of the Board of Supervisors for scrapping the General Plan Update (GPU) process after five years and $5 million of public money. He said: "[The Fifth District] is always loud and proud about the importance of protecting the environment and our quality of life. If the Board of Supervisors isn't going to show leadership on promoting responsible development, the community will have to."

Sitting at tables of ten, with worksheets listing the GPU elements of land use, housing, circulation, open space, conservation, noise, safety and administration, participants in Carmel Valley reviewed recommendations and made suggestions.
Photo: Rita Dalessio

Three weeks earlier, an enthusiastic crowd of over 120 people met at the Prunedale Grange to kick off the first in a series of five GPU Community Forums planned for this fall. The goal of these workshops is to develop a community-based General Plan, that would include accepted community priorities for clean water, clean air, open space, free-flowing roads, protection of farmland and proof of water for new development as a requirement for growth for the next 20 years.

Former Assemblymember Fred Keeley introduced the goals of both workshops. Terry Watt, a professional planner, provided details of the structure and components of a General Plan. Then everyone got to work. Sitting at tables of ten, with worksheets listing the GPU elements of land use, housing, circulation, open space, conservation, noise, safety and administration, the participants reviewed recommendations and made suggestions.

Several planning consultants and community activists, including Gary Patton, Mari Kloeppel and Carolyn Anderson, were present to help with questions. Lupe Garcia of LandWatch did simultaneous translation into Spanish.

The workshops are sponsored by 18 community, homeowner, and environmental groups, including: Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club; LandWatch, Monterey County; Friends, Artists, and Neighbors of Elkhorn Slough; the Monterey County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society; Prunedale Preservation Alliance; Coalition to Protect Housing Farmlands, Air & Water; Save Our Shores; Highway 68 Coalition; Líderes Comunitarios de Salinas; Citizens for Responsible Growth; Planning and Conservation League Foundation; League of Women Voters of the Monterey Peninsula, Prunedale Neighbors Group, Rancho San Juan Opposition Coalition; Monterey Pine Forest Watch; North County Citizens Oversight Coalition; Concerned Citizens of River Road and the Carmel Valley Association.

The next Community Forum will be at the Santa Lucia Room of the Salinas Community Center, Thursday, October 14, from 6-9:00 p.m.

Future forums are on October 28 in south Monterey County and November 13 in Seaside. For more information go to or call 645-6776.

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