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Supervisors Step Back From TPZ Revisions

EUREKA — County staff’s recommendation that the supervisors postpone action on timber production zone revisions pending a recommendation from the planning commission took a different route Tuesday when the board voted 4-1 to end consideration of the matter at the board level until the county’s general plan update is complete.

Third District Supervisor John Woolley opposed the motion.

Just prior to the afternoon session, a contingent of about 30 TPZ supporters rallied outside the courthouse with a forest of protest signs: "Where’s Our Due Process," "Save Rural Life," "I want my TPZ," and more.

The debate inside began early in the afternoon when 5th District Supervisor Jill Geist questioned the lack of planning staff’s consultation with the state Board of Forestry on the entire issue. Geist recounted her own conversations with state staff indicating that The Pacific Lumber Co.’s plans for dividing timber land could not be accomplished under the Forest Practices Act, hence the board’s temporary moratorium on building on TPZ lands wasn’t needed.

The incomplete assessment, she said, prompted the board to give direction to the Planning Commission that was not proper.

The supervisor’s final vote came hours later after about 30 residents commented on the controversial issue.

Many spoke of a growing distrust of the planning staff, others called for a focus on protecting wildlife habitat and some urged the supervisors to keep their hand in the TPZ debate. Still others urged the board to halt the entire general plan process.

First District Supervisor Jimmy Smith spoke in favor of slowing the process down.

Confusion, an expedited process and bad information prompted many people to feel they haven’t been included, he said.

"My sense is the process has been expedited and now, because of all the questions and new audiences, it is time to slow this process down," he said.

Geist agreed, but noted that the TPZ considerations won’t be abandoned.

"It’s not a win-lose," she said. "We’re simply putting ourselves back on track and putting it back in the general plan process."

Jessie Faulkner can be reached at 441-0517 or

Jessie Faulkner The Times-Standard
Posted: 12/12/2007 01:21:14 AM PST