The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors will hold a public meeting on February 28 at 9:00 am to consider adoption of proposed ordinance and General Plan amendments which are intended to help streamline and ease requirements to improve or rebuild both homes and commercial properties in Santa Cruz County. This ordinance would allow legally built structures which have become nonconforming due to ordinance changes to be rebuilt after a natural disaster with few exceptions.

Please refer to the following e-mail for more information.

Dear Community Member:

An important set of proposed regulatory changes will soon be considered for adoption by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. The proposal is intended to bring additional flexibility to certain aspects of the planning process, especially for commercial properties, while continuing to protect neighborhoods and the environment.

The proposed regulatory changes can be summarized as follows:

Nonconforming uses and structures: Amend Chapter 13.10 to provide new regulations for nonconforming uses and structures, and amend related General Plan/ Local Coastal Program policies, to allow existing legal nonconforming uses and structures to continue and be improved, and facilitate repair after catastrophic events, while continuing to require discretionary review as appropriate to address potential impacts.
Commercial Uses: Amend Chapter 13.10 to simplify the review process for commercial changes of use, and reduce the number of parking spaces required for certain commercial uses based upon evidence-based parking studies.
Geologic Hazards: Amend Geologic Hazard Regulations (Chapter 16.10) regarding when the County may require geologic review, replacing the current approach for evaluating repairs or alterations to existing habitable structures according to the percentage of exterior walls and/ or foundation that are altered with an approach which evaluates alterations to the entire structure.
Level 4 Approvals: Update the Level 4 permit approval process in Chapter 18.10, revising the noticing process to reduce processing costs, and providing a public hearing process for appeals.
Code clean-ups: Update Chapters 13.10 and 13.11 to correct code citations, clarify existing provisions, and improve consistency with state law.

These proposals have been developed and improved through extensive community participation, initially though a series of focus groups, followed by several public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. At the most recent public hearing on January 25th, 2012, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the proposed changes. On February 28th, 2012, the Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing to consider adoption of the proposed ordinance and General Plan amendments implementing the proposed changes.

Public comments will be accepted in writing or during the Board of Supervisor’s public hearing, which is scheduled for Tuesday, February 28th at 9:00 am at the following location:

County of Santa Cruz Board Chambers
701 Ocean Street, 5th Floor, Room 525
Santa Cruz, California

You may view the materials online, and send comments via email to the Board of Supervisors prior to the hearing, by clicking on the agenda date for the Board of Supervisor’s Meeting (2/28/12). (The agenda will be posted by Friday, February 24th):


You may contact Planner Annie Murphy for additional information (contact information provided below).


Kathy M. Previsich
Planning Director

Annie Murphy
Planner, Policy Section
Santa Cruz County Planning Dept.
Phone: (831) 454-3111Fax: (831) 454-2131
Email: pln400@co.santa-cruz.ca.us

The Planning Commission meeting has been scheduled as follows:

Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Board of Supervisors Chambers
701 Ocean Street
5th Floor, Room 525
Santa Cruz, CA

You may view the materials online, and send comments via email to the Planning Commission prior to the hearing, at
(Or, Click on the “Agenda” link on the Planning Department Website http://www.sccoplanning.com/
go the Planning Commission page, and then click on the agenda for 1-25-2012).

You may contact Planner Annie Murphy at 454-3111 for additional information.


Keith Adams
Coastal Property Owners Association of Santa Cruz County

Please visit our web site at http://www.coastalpropertyowners.org/ for other news about coastal issues.
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