Spring 2010 pg6

Political Elections 2010

Humboldt County 5th District Supervisor Candidates

 

A ) RYAN SUNDBERG


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 am very troubled by proposed changes to require a conditional use permit to get a building permit for a house on an existing legal parcel outside urban areas. As I understand, your organization supports the rights of rural landowners and the proposed change would offer a significant increase in cost and time delay in getting a building permit for mostly rural landowners. I believe that the current permit process provides for an adequate level of analysis to ensure that the building of a house has adequate safeguards.


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 think that contiguous parcels with common ownership should be merged into a single parcel.


3. Do you believe that the public has been adequately informed and given sufficient opportunities for meaningful input in the General Plan Update process?
– I commend the Planning Commission for their trip to the Garberville area to listen to the concerns of the residents from that area. The best decisions are made when the decision makers listen to and act on the wishes of the public who will be impacted by their decisions. When I attended the Planning Commission meeting at the College of the Redwoods, I became concerned about the large numbers of people who have very deep concerns about the proposed plan. I believe that the Planning Commission should continue to go to communities in Humboldt County to seek input.


4. Do you believe that the County is effectively administering the current General Plan?
– A central theme of my campaign is that I want to work toward families having the opportunity to own a home that is affordable for the average working family. I hear throughout the 5th District that there are significant time delays when seeking approval from the County. If our current General Plan was effectively administered, then there should be few time delays from our Community Development Department.

 

B ) PATRICK HIGGINS


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?
– A person owning a legal, buildable parcel who has been issued a ministerial permit has the right to build a house. A ministerial permit must, as stated in the Constitution, meet the terms of general welfare, health, and safety. As a fisheries biologist, I know that the carrying capacity of each watershed is the bottom line when it comes to development. Poor planning in the past has yielded dry streams, nutrient polluted rivers, and massive unsustainable soil loss. The County’s focus should be on watershed level planning while offering current residents incentives for restoration, road maintenance, and energy and water conservation measures.


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 Merger Ordinance, on the books since 1986, applies only to land under voluntary Williamson Act contract or zoned TPZ. Both programs allow landowners to pay a fraction of the taxes they would otherwise have to pay. Consolidating resource lands preserves long-term economic and ecological viability of family run timber, farming, and ranching businesses. The County needs such tools to stop the fragmentation of resource lands that undermines our timber and agricultural heritage and could cripple future productive capacity.


3. Do you believe that the public has been adequately informed and given sufficient opportunities for meaningful input in the General Plan Update process?
– While the Planning Commission has made significant efforts to keep the public informed, Supervisors also need to spend time in their district explaining the update process. Up at 5:00 AM, I do my homework and advocate tirelessly for my constituents. Since taking off work and commuting to hearings are often difficult for people, I will make regular visits throughout my district to keep people informed about the General Plan update and other processes. Having lived in Humboldt for 40 years, I know the issues facing the 5th District but I am learning more every day from constituents regarding what they think should be done to make the planning process more streamlined and less frustrating.


4. Do you believe that the County is effectively administering the current General Plan?
– Lack of resources, too few county staff, and changing State directives undermine the pace and effectiveness of General Plan administration. As a Harbor District Commissioner, I have made our District more responsive to my constituents’ needs and will make sure that Planning Department efficiency is improved to serve the public more effectively. I have also found some inequity in that people of means can hire expert help and usually attain their desired outcome, while those of lesser means are less likely to prevail. Government should work for everyone. I will strive diligently to improve outcomes for working class people trying to improve their circumstances.

 

C ) PATRICK CLEARY


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?
– Yes, I support the right to build a home with a ministerial permit for all legal residential parcels. Parcels zoned for other uses, (such as agricultural or industrial) can be more complicated and sometimes may require a conditional use permit.
I support the proposal that parcels zoned Timber Production Zone (or TPZ) and consisting of 160 acres or more may have one house per parcel built with a ministerial permit.


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 support the merger ordinance in its current form. This ordinance has been on the books since 1986.
I support offering incentives for landowners to keep timber and agricultural lands in larger parcels, and to meet state minimum parcel sizes for preferential tax programs like TPZ and Williamson Act.
The current proposal to make it easier for smaller, sub-standard parcels to roll out of TPZ should make mergers truly voluntary. For those landowners wishing to remain in TPZ or Williamson Act, we need a merger ordinance or some way to meet state requirements for 160 acre minimums for these preferential tax programs.
It’s my understanding that none of the currently proposed general plan alternatives would force someone to merge their property with someone else’s.


3. Do you believe that the public has been adequately informed and given sufficient opportunities for meaningful input in the General Plan Update process?
– I am a strong advocate for increased public information and government transparency. We should always try to do more. However, we also need to make government more efficient and cut through red tape and delays. This process has gone on for ten years, with over 160 hearings and 600 comments submitted and responded to. It’s time to adopt the general plan. It is not the first one we have had, nor will it be the last.


4. Do you believe that the County is effectively administering the current General Plan?
– The current General Plan is so out of date, it is now very difficult to administer. It is not in compliance with a myriad of state laws adopted since that plan was passed in 1984.

I believe the County could do a better job of administering the planning department. The permit streamlining project funded by the Headwaters Fund to increase transparency into the permitting process has not been implemented, though it’s been four years since it was approved. As supervisor, I will make sure this is completed.

In 2002, the county adopted the McKinleyville Community Plan but has yet to implement much of it. For example, the Municipal Advisory Committee was to be formed within a year, but it was never done. I will get this plan implemented.

 

D ) JEFF LYTLE


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?
– Absolutely yes, because a “Right” is different than the behavior by the person who owns that “right”.


2. Should the County have the right to unilaterally merge existing parcels that were legally created just because a single owner now owns them?
– Humboldt County Public Employees and Elected Officials SHOULD NOT engage in the practice of “stripping land rights” by forcing upon developers maliciously intended fees and restrictions, or superior court, through the processes to sub-divide their land TWICE after land owners find out that Humboldt County merged parcels just to “strip more rights and take more fees” to redo something which was already done in the past for which involved “A LEGAL PROCESS”. Jeffrey Lytle does not recognize FRAUD!


3. Do you believe that the public has been adequately informed and given sufficient opportunities for meaningful input in the General Plan Update process?
– I understand that the General Plan Update process has been twisted, deflected and deformed since Day 1. Local Municipal Advisory Committees have been ready to be formed for years. Political Leaders who embrace secrecy understand that a disconcerted GPU Process does at minimum TWO things: (1) allows more political shifting toward special interests (2) creates a chaotic environment so confusing, that important “sub-issues” can get buried in the political jives. The citizens are much more savvy and intelligent than given credit for. It is past time for elected leaders to “seriously” listen to people’s voices for a change.


4. Do you believe that the County is effectively administering the current General Plan?
– For the past 25 years, enough local leaders have failed The People and The Community that “effectiveness” does not even begin to touch upon the truth of the matter of what is wrong with the political atmosphere within Humboldt County. Having a good relationship with The General Public is healthier when that relationship is effective; yet, take out special interests and then define “effectiveness”. Specificity, clarity, uniformity, no games – this is effectiveness!

 

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