Thursday, June 10, 1999
No Time Like The Present
Like many other writers, I too am a native of the Salinas/Monterey area and hate to see my peers forced from their hometowns by the current price structures. But I do hope, on the other hand, that this cry for affordable housing does not fuel more urban sprawl.
The Armstrong Ranch development north of Marina is in the planning stages now. The city of Marina at this point has not annexed the land, but is considering it. If it is annexed they can change the zoning to provide for the development of up to 2,500 homes plus commercial building so the project can "pay its way" for increases in city services.
There is a group of concerned citizens called Marina 2020 Vision that is considering a petition drive to get an Urban Growth Boundary put on the ballot at the next election. If passed, this boundary would put future development to the north of Marina on hold for a period of 20 years. This could have the effect of directing development toward Fort Ord, where land has already been disturbed, rather than ripping up pastureland, where once it's gone, it's gone.
The actions of our one small town will impact many. If you are concerned about the Armstrong Ranch, the time to let the Marina City Council know is now.
In response to Carla Benejam's letter regarding our local tide pools in the May 30 issue of Coast Weekly, I might wonder what "her" agenda is? I don't believe anyone has misrepresented the issue to the public. The petition being circulated in our community, which I signed, is a straightforward issue about much needed and long-overdue tide pool conservation.
It is fairly obvious our seashore is being picked over by everyone, including local scientists and researchers, who are taking more than their fair share. They should find someplace else to park their blue trucks and take their white collecting buckets elsewhere.
I am concerned to hear the emotional protests to the USFS Environmental Assessment for Invasive Weed Control >(CW, May 13). I assume they are from people who are unaware of the seriousness of the problem this EA addresses. I understand the apprehension because I too have a lingering suspicion and distrust of the chemical industry.
I sought information on herbicides from sources other than the industry and this has somewhat eased my fears. And, whereas I signed a petition in 1984 to stop herbicide use in the forest for an ill-conceived fire break scheme, now I think the invasive pest plant problem eating away at Big Sur's biological communities justifies this approach on forest lands.
I am one of the Big Sur resident "broom bashers" and have observed the explosive spread of problem plants for 19 years and I have experimented with various eradication techniques. I think several tools like mechanical/manual removal, biocontrol and herbicides are necessary to make real headway--especially on public lands with vast acreage and limited funding. Unlike the Santa Cruz mountains, with its large population base, "broom bashes" in Big Sur have been poorly attended.
I wonder if the anti-herbicide contingent ever volunteered at the numerous hand-pulling events on public lands in Big Sur. Unless a radical increase in volunteerism materializes, I know that something else is necessary, and I believe the rapid loss of habitat and ecosystem degradation due to invasive plants warrants this calculated risk: the use of at least two of the unrestricted herbicides named in this EA.
Articles about the high price of housing on the Monterey Peninsula abound these days. Pacific Grove is one of the cities that is fast becoming unaffordable for many of those who already live here, some of whom were raised here and now find they can no longer afford to stay.
Not only are the small houses fast becoming ludicrously overpriced, many of them are being replaced with second mansions for people from elsewhere who can afford expensive second homes they rarely visit. Absentee owners are fast becoming the majority property owners here.
Pacific Grove, which likes to call itself the LAST Hometown, will soon be called the LOST Hometown if the Planning Commission doesn't soon put a stop to the disease of "mansionization" which is plaguing this city.
We do not need more homeowners who are invested solely in their real estate, we need residents who are invested in their community.
HELEN V. OGDEN