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Humboldt Coalition For Property Rights > Press > Press Coverage > County Agrees to Hold GPU Meeting in Southern Humboldt

County Agrees to Hold GPU Meeting in Southern Humboldt

Daniel Mintz, The Independent – 11/17/

Southern Humboldt residents have been asking for a local public hearing on the rural land use sections of the General Plan Update and they’re going to get one.

Persistent lobbying by SoHum residents Estelle Fennell of the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights (HumCPR), Bonnie Blackberry of the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project (CLMP) and others has yielded results. Noting the demand for a SoHum public hearing at their Nov. 12 meeting, the county’s Planning Commission directed staff to set one up.

A location in Garberville will be sought and Dec. 17 was named as a target date for the hearing, which will consist entirely of public comment.

Southern Humboldt residents have repeatedly asked both the Commission and the Board of Supervisors that the Update’s Rural Lands section be the subject of meetings in the areas of the county where it’s most relevant. Southern Humboldt is probably the place where such a meeting would have the most value.

Commissioners discussed whether a SoHum meeting would lead to requests for others in different out-of-the-way places, further complicating an already-delayed General Plan Update process. But commissioners identified the southern part of the county as the one where the demand is coming from.

Commissioner Mel Krebs’ district includes SoHum and he said that although there have been regional scoping sessions and workshops, “It keeps coming up so, I think we need to schedule a meeting in Southern Humboldt.”

“There’s a lot of feeling in Southern Humboldt with respect to the issues that are before us and maybe that’s an appropriate place to hold a meeting as opposed to Willow Creek or Orick or other outlying places,” said Commissioner Ralph Faust.

When Community Development Director Kirk Girard said other regions might want an equal opportunity, Commission Chairman Jeffrey C. Smith said he’d agree to that but added, “We’re just not getting a lot of input from other parts of the county, saying they’re having difficulty with access – Southern Humboldt is the toughest.”

The call for a local meeting hasn’t been limited to residents. During the Commission’s public comment session, Bob Higgons of the Humboldt Association of Realtors referred to a Nov. 9 his group sent to the Commission on holding a General Plan meeting “in a rural area, specifically in Southern Humboldt.”

Higgons said SoHum is the area where agricultural, timber and rural development issues are most relevant. Julie Williams of the Northern California Association of Homebuilders supported his suggestion.

The Board of Supervisors has also heard demands for a local hearing. At the Board’s Nov. 10 meeting, Fennell represented HumCPR and told supervisors that holding regional meetings “makes up for the inequality of access experienced by those who live beyond the urban areas and beyond the reach of Humboldt Access TV.”

Representing CLMP, Blackberry said that the Commission is missing out on Southern Humboldt’s contributions by holding meetings in Eureka. “I don’t see how you can get any representation of a community’s values if there’s no input from the community,” she said. “Since we are a rural county, I think that the Planning Commission needs to get out of Eureka.”

The Garberville/Redway Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to supervisors asking them to direct the Commission to hold SoHum meetings. “There’s a misconception, apparently, in that it’s further from Garberville to Eureka than it is from Eureka to Garberville, but that’s not true,” said Chamber President Sid Lehmann.