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A Better Community Through Engagement
Happy New Year! The coming year is both exciting and challe nging as w e wil l face many questions about land use, development, housing, and transportation (to name just a few). It is my belief that good policy and development are born out of a robust pu blic process. That is why I want to give you a brief overview of some issues and projects that are coming before the Board and the community in 2018. 

At the beginning of the year, cannabis became legal. The County has approved licensing for retail stores/dispensaries, and we expect that around February, the Board will be reviewing new rules for cultivation and manufacturing. We have worked to incorporate a lot of voices, and I will let you know when the Board will be discussing this in the near future.
On the housing front, we will be holding a community meeting soon to hear from MidPen Housing, the developer that has been selected to develop the 17 th Avenue and Capitola Road property for the first time. Over 130 people attended a meeting held last spring and talked about a mixed-use project that included retail and housing. Stay tuned for dates to come so you can participate in the future of this key property in the Live Oak community.  This spring, we will also be revisiting our affordable housing policy about inclusionary zoning. The staff has recommended, and I support, that we require that affordable housing be built on the actual building site at the time of development. Board members have wavered on this issue, so I will be writing more about this as the issue unfolds in the future.
With respect to proposed and future commercial development in the First District, the process for setting new design standards for the Pleasure Point Commercial Corridor will be continuing with a public meeting in February to follow up on all the input we have received from the community. In addition, we have just received the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Nissan car dealership proposal at the corner of 41 st Avenue and Soquel Drive (see more below).  This document will be instrumental in formulating some of our decisions.  I will be sure to keep you informed of the schedule and when this proposed project will be heard by the Planning Commission, and ultimately the Board.
Lastly, by the end of the year, we will have some good information from the Unified Corridor Study to determine how best to use our three major transportation corridors. The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) expects to make a decision about where to go with the idea of passenger rail after that document is published.
Our community is stronger because of the active involvement of so many community members in the First District. I hope you will stay engaged as we make critical decisions for our community in 2018. 
Climate Change Lawsuit
Co2 Leaf
At the end of the year, the County of Santa Cruz and the City of Santa Cruz joined a lawsuit against 29 oil and coal companies for their role in contributing to negative climate change effects that must be paid for with local tax money.  For 50 years, these companies' own internal memos have pointed out the environmental catastrophe generated in part by their products.  Instead of working with government on policy changes or developing a cleaner product, they spent billions to shore up their own facilities and pay for phony science to cloud the policy debate. Enough is enough. Taxpayers should not have to solely pay for the negative impacts that fossil fuels created with the awareness of these industries. The heavy work in this litigation is being provided by a public interest law firm, and most of the County's litigation expenses were in the creation of our Climate Change Adaptation Study, approved in 2013. This year's devastating storms in our County and the wildfires throughout the state point to a future that we need to prepare for given the changing nature of the climate. To read the complaint, click here.

NISSAN Proposal
The draft EIR is out for the Nissan proposal on the corner of 41st  Avenue and Soquel Drive. It evaluates the project, a commercial development akin to one envisioned in the Sustainable Santa Cruz County Plan, and other alternatives. You can read the document by clicking here.  The Appendices (A through K) can be found at the bottom of the Planning CEQA website here (scroll to the bottom) . Comments are due by February 12 . Please review the document and look for issues that have not been adequately addressed. If you identify any additional topics or areas of concerns, please submit your questions, so they can be addressed in the Final EIR.  Comments and questions about the EIR can be sent  to:  
Phone: 454-2580 (Please ask for Todd).  Please feel free to contact my office if you want more information.
Wednesday, January 10
5:30-6:30 p.m.
People's Coffee
1200 17th Avenue 
Live Oak

Wednesday, January 17
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Loma Prieta School
23800 Summit Road
Summit Area
Wednesday, January 24
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Discover Hope Church
4001 Granite Creek Rd.
Scotts Valley

Not paid for with County funds