Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county
Monterey General Plan Update
Sierra Club Comments, Addendum D
Addendum D to Sierra Club Comments on GPU4/EIR
Grand Jury Excerpts
Permitting and Enforcement Problems:
The EIR defers considering impacts from land use policies to the permitting process for individual development/conversion applications. The following 2005 Grand Jury findings illustrate that permitting and enforcement will not and cannot be feasible mitigation measures for dealing with such impacts, on a project-by-project basis, and cumulatively.
Excerpts from the 2005 Monterey County Grand Jury Report Findings
154. One major draft report, the Zucker Report (2003), and other reports initiated by staff on making the permitting process more efficient have been prepared. The Zucker Report was never finalized, and staff recommendations were not implemented.
155. The role of the 12 Land Use Advisory Committees (LUACs) established to review projects in the Planning Areas has been marginalized because of limited staff resources and lack of a strong commitment to the structure by the Department. This leaves the Department without valuable input from local communities where land use issues can be more effectively addressed. Additionally, LUACs frequently are not provided with all the reports and information necessary to make recommendations.
56. Complex regulations, onerous time requirements, and costs for obtaining permits encourage people to avoid the permitting process altogether and undertake illegal building activities.
157. Fees for appealing Planning Commission decisions to the Board of Supervisors are excessive and discourage public participation.
59. As of this writing, there is a backlog of 1,050 code enforcement cases. Fees and penalties are collected for code violations. Enforcement of many cases has been held in abeyance for many years because a decision was made in the past to enforce them only if the property were transferred to a new owner. This status results in either deferred revenue or a loss of revenue to the County. A reputation for timely code enforcement by the County is an important preventive stimulus. In some cases these issues are required to be cleared prior to transfer, others after.
61. Code enforcement personnel establish their own priorities for pursuing enforcement cases when there is a backlog and they are unable to complete all assignments.
63. Several hundred other unresolved enforcement cases were closed in 2004 later to be reinstated after a lawsuit was filed. Tabling unresolved enforcement cases results in unequal enforcement of regulations.
64. Code violations have occurred resulting in nominal penalties where it is less costly to the applicant to pay penalties than to comply with regulations.
Inadequate information technology resources are crippling the permitting process. Information Technology Systems to assist in project evaluation is fragmented and not up-to-date.
65. The Grand Jury found during inquiry into PBID Information Technology (IT) operations, that County land use databases, as needed by PBID for its operations, are not accessible, not existent or not up-to-date. The Grand Jury’s findings unavoidably have to include findings concerning the greater County land use system, due to its impacts on PBID operations.
76. Lack of database updating adds significant time to the planning process.
78. Not all parcels in the 100-year flood plain are noted on maps. If a flood plain boundary extends beyond the boundary of the parcel map, a planner does not know if a parcel is in the flood plain, because the flood plain is not noted on the parcel map.
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