Spring 2010 pg5

Political Elections 2010

This year’s local elections could prove pivotal to the future of your rights as a Humboldt County landowner. Please take the time to look over the following replies to a questionnaire that we sent out to all the candidates for office in several important races; 4th District Supervisor, 5th District Supervisor, County Assessor and District Attorney.

We invite you to read each candidate’s answers carefully and urge you to cast your vote for the candidates most likely to uphold your rights. Election Day is Tuesday June 8th. Vote by Mail begins May 10th.

Humboldt County 4th District Supervisor Candidates

A ) VIRGINIA BASS


1. Do you believe the County should uphold the people’s principally permitted right to build a home with a ministerial permit on their existing legal parcel?
– I believe that the County should uphold a person’s principally permitted right to build a home with a ministerial permit on their existing legal parcel, as long as all State and County laws are followed. I believe in the sanctity of property rights and don’t think rules should be changed after the fact.


2. Should the County have the right to unilaterally merge existing parcels that were legally created just because a single owner now owns them?
– I do not believe that the County should have the right to unilaterally merge existing parcels that were created legally just because a single owner now owns them. The decision to merge these parcels should be the decision of the property owner, not County staff. An owner of multiple parcels that are merged would see a marked decline in value. Additionally, the land owner would lose some rights that other property owners take for granted. Such could be the case where an owner, faced with a financial crisis, cannot sell off a portion of his property to stave off the crisis. A landowner could also lose the right to give his children part of his land, which is wrong.


3. Do you believe that the public has been adequately informed and given sufficient opportunities for meaningful input in the General Plan Update process?
– There certainly has been a great deal of time through the years allotted to this general plan update. However, I do not believe that the public has been given adequate information in a timely fashion to truly participate in the process. There appears to be some confusion and a lack of clarity in information coming from the County. Of particular concern is the Summary of Key Issues and Review of Alternatives, which is unclear and perhaps misleading. The public unfortunately has to spend the time to sort out information and read between the lines before being able to address concerns in a public forum.


4. Do you believe that the County is effectively administering the current General Plan?
– I do not believe that the County is effectively administering the current general plan. The staff in the planning department is operating on marching orders that are lacking clarity. Because this update process has taken so long, the “rules” are in a constant state of change and uncertainty. Between the current general plan, exceptions that have occurred and potential future direction coming from the board, nobody knows what the “rules of the game” are.

 

B ) JEFF LEONARD


1. Do you believe the County should uphold the people’s principally permitted right to build a home with a ministerial permit on their existing legal parcel?
– By definition, ministerial permits are “over-the-counter” permits and available to anyone who successfully meets the requirements. The Coastal Commission recently changed this definition to stop cleanup of the Balloon Track. Environmental cleanups in Eureka have always gone forward once the permit requirements of the Regional Water Board were met. In this case, the permit requirements were met, but the Coastal Commission appealed the project after the fact. I object to changing the rules after a permit has been processed – unfair!


2. Should the County have the right to unilaterally merge existing parcels that were legally created just because a single owner now owns them?
– No.


3. Do you believe that the public has been adequately informed and given sufficient opportunities for meaningful input in the General Plan Update process?
– The County has taken ample public input on the General Plan. Unfortunately, the Board of Supervisors has failed to adopt a new plan after 10 years of work, even though most counties take less than 3 years to get the job done.


4. Do you believe that the County is effectively administering the current General Plan?
– For eight years, I’ve served on the Eureka City Council, and I’ve been responsible for the fair and unbiased implementation of our General Plan. Bonnie Neely has been a supervisor for 24 years, so complaints about the implementation of the County General Plan should have been resolved by her. When I’m elected Supervisor, I will ensure that the County General Plan is administered fairly and free from personal bias.

 

C ) BONNIE NEELY


1. Do you believe the County should uphold the people’s principally permitted right to build a home with a ministerial permit on their existing legal parcel?
– Actually, you cannot build a home with a ministerial permit every where in Humboldt County under existing land use policies. However, many zoning designations require discretionary permits for the construction of a home to be sure the home will be compatible with surrounding land uses, which I believe is appropriate.

Our Board is reviewing the issue of permits for residences on the agricultural and timber lands that enjoy discounted property taxes. I don’t want to get in the way of someone’s right to build a home and I don’t think discretionary permits should be required in most cases but I do believe we need some checks and balances to prevent homeowners that don’t intend to use their property for agriculture or timber from getting a tax break.


2. Should the County have the right to unilaterally merge existing parcels that were legally created just because a single owner now owns them?
– The County does not have the unilateral right to merge parcels. The merger provisions that exist today adopted by the Board of Supervisors many years ago require proper notification and due process. I want to limit the fragmentation of timber and agricultural lands but continuing with the current merger ordinance may not be the best approach. I am looking for input from all sides on this issue.


3. Do you believe that the public has been adequately informed and given sufficient opportunities for meaningful input in the General Plan Update process?
– Yes. The General Plan Update has received tremendous attention and input from the public. The Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission have been listening during every step of the process. I encourage those with additional input to contact my office.


4. Do you believe that the County is effectively administering the current General Plan?
– Yes, especially considering our funding limitations. Our existing General Plan established modern land use practices in this County, and this has gone a long way towards protecting our quality of life. The existing General Plan is now over 25 years old. It’s time to update the General Plan, to face our current challenges, and pursue the opportunities available to us over the next twenty five years.

 

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