Billboards in the Open Space Element of the GPU
Thursday, Feb. 27 @ 6 p.m.
Humboldt County Courthouse: 825 Fifth Street, Eureka
With barely 24-hours’ notice, the Planning Commission has announced it will revisit what was a unanimous decision by the previous Planning Commission to protect our viewsheds from billboard blight along Humboldt Bay and other scenic areas in the County.
Considering that in the past few weeks, this Planning Commission has slashed protections for streams and wetlands, eliminated the Countywide trail system from the Open Space Element, and weakened the goal supporting Community Forests, one can only guess that the majority will be more than willing to gut the policies regulating billboards.
The policy unanimously supported by the Commission in June 2011 (SR-SXX) would require permits for new billboards, as well as expansion, repair, or re-construction of existing billboards.
Other policies that will be considered at tomorrow’s hearing include:
Removal of billboards on public lands in the rail right-of-way between Arcata and Fields Landing (SR-P8)
Removal of illegal billboards on lands under County jurisdiction (SR-P9)
Let the Planning Commission know what you think! Public comment for items on the agenda is generally near the beginning of the hearing, just after the general public comment (for items not on the agenda).
If you can’t make it, you can watch it live on Access Humboldt or online at http://co.humboldt.ca.us/include/showagendas.asp.
Complete text of the policies that will be considered:
SR-SXX: Permits for Billboards. SR-SXX. Permits for Billboards. Require Conditional Use Permits and conformance to building, zoning and other local codes for construction of new billboards as well as expansion, repair, or re-construction of existing billboards. (unanimous)
SR-P8: Removal or Relocation of Billboards on Public Lands and Rights-of-Ways in the NWP Railroad ROW. Support efforts of public agencies, such as the NCRA and USFWS to remove or relocate billboards from their right-of-way between Fields Landing and Arcata on lands under their control. (3-2)
SR-P9: Removal of Illegal Billboards. Illegal billboards on property within County jurisdiction shall be removed through code enforcement. The County shall advocate for removal of illegal billboards in areas outside of County jurisdiction, including petitioning Caltrans’ Outdoor Advertising Office to remove illegal billboards along highways. (3-2)
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Arcata, CA 95521
Humboldt Baykeeper was launched in 2004 to safeguard our coastal resources for the health, enjoyment, and economic strength of the Humboldt Bay community through education, scientific research, and enforcement.
This from the Humboldt Trails Council FB action alert for GPU
Thank you to everyone who is following the Planning Commission’s review of the Conservation and Open Space Element of the General Plan.
Since the Planning Commission was not able to meet on Tuesday due to illness, everything on Tuesday’s agenda was bascially carried over and added to what was already on Thursday’s agenda (shown here)… which is waaay too much to cover. On top of that, they’ve been making much slower progress than they anticipated. The Commission has held 7 special meetings so far and has averaged just over 2 policies per night. Of the 13 policies on the original “short list” they were given, they have only managed to work through 5.
So THIS Thursday, tomorrow, after they take care of a few details, we’ll have an opportunity for public comment, then they’ll have to debate what, exactly, from all the short-list items and other policies on the agenda they should be focusing on during the last special meeting reviewing Conservation and Open Space Element. They will also discuss asking the Board of Supervisors for an extension of review time, which the Supes unfortunately voted to extend money for yesterday.
This is where ongoing, focused public input will be very helpful!
We strongly suggest that-
1) They should to go back and UNDO WHAT THEY DID TO THE TRAILS GOAL, CO-G4!! The change removed the goal of “a county-wide trail system that meets future recreational and non-motorized transportation demands” to the goal of “trails offering a range of popular recreation opportunities.” They could add language to the goal that would acknowledge the needs of alter-abled trail users.
If they had met on Tuesday, we could have asked them to put it on the agenda for Thursday, but it’s not clear if the re-vote could actually happen tomorrow night. It could, however, help ensure that — if there are going to be any further meetings on this element later, or even just when the Supes get it back — that that policy change would be revisited.
2) Rather than make any additional changes to policies they haven’t even discussed yet, the commission should limit its review to only the short list, and only take up other policies if there is a compelling and widespread demand from members of the public.
3) We should counter the false argument that county-wide trail plan was cut from Open Space because it’s already in Circulation. All of the arguments they gave against it (too big, too expensive, too difficult for developers, discriminatory to disabled) would apply regardless of which element, so perhaps the only reason the county-wide trail goal is still in the Circulation Element is because the PC hasn’t yet got its hands on the Circulation Element.
PUBLIC COMMENT addressing these points will take place during the initial public comment period (for items NOT on the agenda) that begins promptly just after 6 pm.
Beyond this, we need to keep talking to our Supervisors about the value of trails in our community. The General Plan update will ultimately go back to them for final decisions.
If anyone would like to meet TONIGHT, Wednesday, to discuss these points and other trail-related issues before the meeting tomorrow, MikkiMoves’ Living Gallery has kindly agreed to provide a space for folks to meet. Refreshments will be provided. 6:30pm. 805 7th Street, 7th & I, Eureka