Land Use

Land Use

This position combines previous versions of LWV of the Monterey Peninsula (LWVMP) and League of Women Voters of the Salinas Valley (LWVSV) into a League of Women Voters of Monterey County (LWVMC) position. The LWVMP's interest in land use dates back to the 1960s when a position supporting Area Planning was adopted. The position was restudied in 1971, resulting in a broader position that enabled the League to act on city and county plans and specific projects. The position was updated in 1978 to include support for growth management programs, protection of natural resources, and criteria for assessing projects. In 1992, the position was updated to address the reuse of Fort Ord. The LWVSV adopted land use positions in 1979 and 1980. In taking action on land use, the League focuses on plans, ordinances, and projects that involve basic principles of good planning and environmental protection and have broad application. The League position follows:

Support for, and continuing evaluation of:

1. Area planning and growth management policies and programs for the Monterey Peninsula area.

2. Preservation of open space by public acquisition of land.

3. Short and long-term measures to control growth and provide for orderly development that is consistent with environmental protection.

4. A planning process which is well-coordinated, based on, adheres to, and implements the appropriate General Plan, and provides adequate information for timely, well-informed decisions.

The League further supports:
1. Development that is balanced to provide for an adequate supply of housing, employment, service and public facilities, and should takes into account transportation planning.

2. Planning decisions that provide for protection of the physical environment including water quality and supply, air quality and prime agricultural lands.

3. A planning process that provides opportunity for energy and housing considerations as part of routine planning practice.

4. Growth management techniques appropriate to the area that would control timing and placement of development and contain building within the limits of water supply, sewage facilities, pollution standards, and road capacity.

5. Limits on sewage disposal capacity which may determine the amount of growth allowable could be supported.

6. Federal, State and local air quality controls are supported, recognizing that they may place upper limits on the amount of growth allowable.

7. Demographic and land use studies to determine the best use of land and the capability of the Peninsula area to support increased population and economic studies on net community benefit from development.

8. Development based on the economic feasibility, availability, or assurance of urban services and infrastructure such as water and sewage disposal.

9. Planning to perpetuate scenic assets and a beneficial environment and to protect natural resources.

10. Measures which provide for orderly planning for cities within Monterey County and Monterey County.

11. A strong rule for the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) in growth management.

12. Efforts to educate members of city and county staffs, decision-making bodies, and the public about the total planning process and new technology and planning techniques as they are developed. Public access to the process must be maintained.

Criteria for development:
1. Public need for development should be demonstrated, and the services required by the existing population should be assured.

2. Development should not be growth inducing.

3. Development should meet environmental and socio-economic standards set forth in local and state regulations and building codes.

4. Roads should be clearly needed, minimize environmental damage, and preserve the integrity of existing communities.

5. Consultation with government agencies and dissemination of public information should precede and follow preparation of plans.

6. Development should be within well-defined and compact urban areas separated by open space and parks.

7. Development should be designed to support higher density that includes reasonable limitations on high rise structures, pedestrian oriented communities, mixed land uses and jobs/housing balance, and land uses that support public transit, air quality, and the availability of low and moderate income housing.
8. Housing, commercial development, and light, agriculture-related and service industries that provide for balanced development patterns could be supported, depending on their impact on the physical environment. Heavy industry is not supported for the area.

9. Growth patterns:

  1. To accommodate future growth, first priority should be given to infilling, revitalization and rehabilitation.
  2. High-rise with design controls could be supported for a combination of residential and commercial development.
  3. Annexation for contiguous development is preferable to satellite communities or leapfrogging.
  4. Satellite communities could only be supported if they include housing, opportunities for employment, services, and public facilities.
  5. Leapfrogging is opposed.

10. Preservation of prime agricultural land should be encouraged. Appropriate developments on other than prime land could be considered, taking into account other planning and environmental objectives.

11. The planning process should be required to assess the cumulative impact of proposed developments on

12. Measures which would more adequately allow the determination of actual water supply for planning purposes are supported.

On the reuse of Fort Ord, the League supports:

1. Development that promotes replacement of jobs lost due to the downsizing of Fort Ord and new jobs which provide a diversity of job opportunities and address unemployment within infrastructure and resource constraints.

2. Development that accommodates a residential population similar to the population loss resulting from the downsizing of Fort Ord.

3. Development adjacent to existing urban areas.

4. Provisions for low-income housing, including housing for agricultural workers and the homeless.

5. The League supports the following land uses within infrastructure and resource constraints:

  1. A university or consortium of universities.
  2. Light industry that is marine oriented or related to the education facilities.
  3. Agriculture and mariculture research and production facilities.
  4. A full range of housing to support the employment base located adjacent to employment centers, with requisite support services.
  5. Preservation of existing medical services and provision of medical facilities that meet future medical needs.
  6. Maintenance of coastal areas west of Highway 1 in open space (including use for storm water storage) except for development of marine research facilities dependent on coastal access at the old main sewer plant site consistent with maximum protection for coastal dunes and visual resources.
  7. Areas that include steep slopes, endangered species, unit habitat, wildlife, and wetlands preserved as open space and for recreation use consistent with resource preservation.
  8. A performing arts center and recreation and sports facilities developed in cooperation with the university.
  9. Maintenance of existing golf courses irrigated with reclaimed water.

6. The League does not support the following land uses:

  1. New golf courses.
  2. Tourist attraction recreational facilities such as a Disneyland or Marine World.

Planning Process

1. Environmental Review Process:


  1. a. Environmental review of projects should include assessments of cumulative impacts on air quality, water supply availability, water quality, drainage capacity, and sewage facilities, and assessment of impacts on public facilities such as public safety, parks, schools, roads, open space, transportation, and libraries.
  2. b. A master database should be developed for Monterey County. Organization of such a database should be a high priority within the planning process. database should be computerized as information retrieval is extremely important.
  3. Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) should be developed for areas of the county where major development is anticipated. Information from the EIRs can contribute to the formulation of the master database and EIRs for individual projects.
  4. d. Ideally, EIRs should be done by planning staff ("in-house.") The alternative would be to have EIRs done by consultants chosen by the developer from a list provided by the city or county.
  5. e. Planning departments should allocate a portion of their staff time to long-
    range planning.

Coordination in the Process:

1. Development proposals should receive a preliminary review by all appropriate departments. This review should determine if the proposal is complete and consistent in general with applicable planning policies.

2. Review should be accomplished at a committee meeting of appropriate department representatives. he developer should not be present at these meetings but should be available to answer questions at the request of the committee

3. This preliminary review should be followed by concurrent department review. A second committee meeting should then be held for the purpose of forming a recommendation to the decision-making body.

4. In cases where an EIR is determined necessary, the above process would be repeated after the EIR is completed.