A little more than two months after ending a hard-fought battle to represent the 2nd District on the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, former candidate Estelle Fennell is now the public face and executive director of the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights.mensclub24
The 2,000 member group — currently applying for nonprofit status — got its start in the fall of 2007 to protest the county supervisors’ temporary moratorium on building on TPZ land.
When the moratorium was withdrawn, HumCPR remained in place to preserve and protect rural lifestyles, especially in regard to the ongoing update of Humboldt County’s general plan.
HumCPR founder Lee Ulansey said the group’s board has been in talks with Fennell for a few weeks now, working out the final details.
Fennell, the organization’s first executive director, described her vision for the job as one of not only advocacy but education. Part of that effort is to ensure that rural landowners know how the county’s general plan update will impact their ability to use their property. Fennell said she hopes to work toward that goal with town hall meetings in various rural communities from Orick to Benbow.
At the same time, she’s determined to ensure that the decision makers understand the concerns of rural property owners.
"We’ve all got the same interests at heart, protecting the environment and protecting property rights," she said.
Ulansey said one of the organization’s missions is to ensure everyone understands the impacts of land-use designations. Such designations can have huge impacts on a resident’s rights to live rurally.
The intent is to make sure that the general plan update takes everybody into consideration, Fennell said.
"We’re trying to ensure that that balance occurs," she said.
As well as overseeing the organization’s volunteers, Fennell will keep open hours for the organization’s office, 407 Fifth St., Eureka.
The bottom line is making sure that Humboldt County’s updated general plan — proposed development guidelines — truly reflects Humboldt County, particularly the North Coast’s rural lifestyle.
The proposed general plan update’s language, specifying that building permits for rural parcels be approved if the project is "environmentally sound" — although there’s no criteria for "environmentally sound" — is just one of HumCPR’s objections to the proposed document, Ulansey said.
Meanwhile, Fennell said she is planning to set up e-mail updates, a newsletter and possibly issue alerts to keep the organization’s members informed.
"I think this is a really good way to continue working with my community," Fennell said. "I look forward to working with this broad-based coalition to make sure decision makers at the county level hear our voices. This is a critical time for people to become educated about their rights as property owners as well as the challenges they may face in coming months and years."
Jessie Faulkner/The Times-Standard
Posted: 01/16/2009 01:15:43 AM PST