This page last updated Wed. April 28, 2004.
Bear Creek Estates (BCE) Timber Production Rezoning Information
This web page is devoted to the proposed rezoning (to Timber Production (TP)) of Santa Cruz Assessor's Parcel Numbers (APN) 089-121-82 and -83 (~60 acres) by the owner's (Bringhurst LLC) and consulting forester (Gary Paul). The southern border of these parcels is shared with an already TP zoned parcel (APN 089-231-01) of ~100 acres, also owned by the Bringhurst’s, which was most recently logged under Timber Harvest Plan (THP) 1-00-160 SCR.
Parcels 089-121-82 and -83 were previously owned by the SLV Water Company and were supposed to be used as wastewater percolation fields. This use was fatally flawed in its design and implementation, so the fields were abandoned sometime before 1994. The Bringhurst’s purchased the property in 2000. The Bringhurst LLC (aka Bringhurst Trust) is a family business, owning something like 28 parcels of land throughout Santa Cruz county for timber harvesting. Gary Paul is the family’s preferred forester. Timber $$$ trivia: TPZ owners pay $2 per acre in real estate taxes (to the county). Harvesting returns ~$700 per 1000 board feet of timber to the owners, but I digress...
During the last BCE timber harvest plan review (THP 1-94-421 SCR), some of your neighbors successfully worked to establish a Conservation Easement (CE) on this property when the water company sold the property. The CE portion is now under the stewardship of the Santa Cruz Land Trust (Laura Perry, Executive Director). However, since much of the BCE neighborhood borders the proposed TPZ parcels, the CE is too small to protect all at-risk properties. We hope to complement the existing CE through whatever mechanism is mutually beneficial, environmentally responsible and practical for all parties.
Note: for tracking purposes, this rezoning item is the Board of Supervisors' Jan. 13, 2004, Agenda item #41 (previously, December 9, 2003 Agenda Item #83).
- This link to the Santa Cruz County Government home page takes you to the agenda item summary and the Gary Paul / Bringhurst rezoning application documents, including the marked up 1994 THP that Gary has submitted as the TMP required by the county, plus other inputs submitted using the County's email comment facility. All of which you can download in .pdf format. In particular, the attachments include Patti & Stacey's Jan. 12, 2004 letter of concerns to the Board, and the only electronic copy I know of describing the Land Trust CE agreement. I urge everyone to read these documents for education / background purposes! You can access them via these steps:
- In the Board of Supervisors area--the green area, lower right--click on the
"Agenda and Minutes" link.
- Navigate to the 2004, January 13 Agenda link, click on it, then in the Agenda items list, scroll down and click on "41."
- If all is ok, the documentation should open so you can read it. If you like, save it as a file instead and download it to your computer.
- Our first letter / petition submitted to the Board of Supervisors on January 13, 2004. Note: the signatures included with the actual submission are not included here for privacy reasons.
- The topographic map portion of the attachment to our letter. The map shows roughly where the attachment pictures were taken.
- The pictures portion of the attachment to our letter.
- The CE parcel map is the best BCE residential map (including the Fernwood Rd. and Harmon Gulch residences, bordering TPZ and other parcel numbers) I've seen to date. It doesn't show any topography, creeks, etc. so you'll need the map in the Jan 13, 2003 letter attachment (above) or the next one (below) + the CE map for better perspective. (This map is Exhibit "B" in the CE. I've scanned it in and published it here for easier web viewing and printing.)
- Here's a really cool topographic map of the BCE area copied from the SC Planning Commission's Interactive Information Services (AirPhoto) maps. You can see the hills beyond the end of Meadow Drive are pretty small compared to those farther away from us. I see nothing that indicates the sheer grey cliff accross Bear Creek along Forest Hill Dr, so this map may not be recent. Note: the fat, light blue lines are NOT creeks--they indicate the outermost edges (ridges) of the Bear Creek watershed--the greenish blue lines ARE creeks.
- Here's a link to the Lompico Watershed Conservancy’s most recent newsletter. This website is awesome--it has an amazing amount of interesting information and trivia about the Lompico watershed, the potential effects of timber harvesting and the battles they’ve endured so far. I urge anyone with even the slightest environmental inclinations to check out this site. Lompico neighborhood’s biggest issue (drinking water quality) is not on our issues list, nevertheless the lessons learned wrt the Lompico THP appear to be extremely valuable. Makes you really think about our responsibilities in Mother Nature’s overall scheme of things...
Check out this April 28, 2004 Valley Press article on Kevin's totally awesome win fighting the Lompico THP with SC County's help.
- Santa Cruz County Planning Commission home page.
- Santa Cruz County Zoning Regulations home page.
- See the California Government Codes (aka state laws), several of which deal with timber harvesting. First, check the "All" box. Then, in the keyword(s) search box, type in (including the quotes) "Timber Management Plan" and click on the "search" button to retrieve the pertinent links. Click on each link to see the laws online or download the pages and print them out. Be prepared for some disheartening reading :-(
- Here's a recent news story on the Big Creek Lumber vs Santa Cruz county court case (Big Creek, et al. v. County of Santa Cruz, Civil #H023778), filed in December, 1998. And an earlier article, also published by the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
As of 3/16/04, the county will appeal the zoning aspects of this case to the California Supreme Court.
In the meantime, the existing county zoning rules apply to the Bringhurst TPZ application. As of 3/30, it is unknown whether the CA Supreme Court will hear the appeal--so please stay tuned!!
Here's Mark Stone's April 12, 2004 letter to me, confirming the Bringhurst's intention to formally withdraw their rezoning application in the April 20, 2004 BoS meeting. And here's a link to the formal withdrawal letter. Assuming the appeal will be heard, we can all take a breather while the appeal is held (but...I have no doubts that the Bringhurst's will want to pursue timber harvesting on this property, no matter which legal vehicle, as long as its economically viable...)
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