Friday, October 12, 2007

Save the Redwoods. Here's your chance.

Would you pay 5 or 6 million to save 160 acres of redwood forest?

If you were willing to be arrested, go to jail, give up two years of your life or even die to save them, the answer ought to be "Yes."

I've been thinking alot about the recent discussions of "what it's worth" with respect to those forests, and I think the environmental community is missing the boat here.

It is a whole lot cheaper than the donations for the protracted media, activist and public relations efforts.

I predict "environmentally involved celebrities" will be standing in line.

Background and updates:
Anger still boils over timber ordinance 10/16/07
Landowners continue to seethe over a temporary ordinance banning building on timberland passed last week by Humboldt County supervisors.
At the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce meeting Monday, attorney Bob Barnum, whose family owns 36,000 acres of timberland in the county, urged members to speak up against what he sees as improper use of a police power. He said supervisors set off a “neutron bomb” when they adopted the 45-day ordinance aimed at an exclusive rural development pitched by the Pacific Lumber Co. as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan

☛ TS editorial County has a Palco freakout 10/14/07 ★ ★ ★ ★
At first blush, the 4-1 action by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors last week -- a 45-day de facto housing permits moratorium on timberlands -- seemed like a run up San Juan Hill in reaction to Pacific Lumber Co.'s proposal that it buy its way out of bankruptcy by converting 2,200 acres of trees for 136 160-acre parcels with luxury homes in an exclusive development.
In the light of day, however, it's looking like more like a “run in circles, scream and shout” reaction that stands to hurt the county's planning process and cause collateral damage to other, smaller landholders. Panic is not a way to run a county.

☛ NCJ The Town Dandy - Jolly Good Show 10/11/07
If you’ve got a head for it, the gears of democracy in action can sometimes deliver unparalleled drama, and Tuesday’s supes meeting was a fine example of the genre. It went on for four hours, and I don’t think I was bored once.
Palco creditors put lower value on asset 10/11/07
A document that had been under seal in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court case of the Pacific Lumber Co. holds that its timberlands are worth only a fraction of what the company has estimated.
☛ TS Supervisors pass timber ordinance 10/10/07
A barely muted battle between most county supervisors and the Pacific Lumber Co. played out Tuesday, with dozens of timberland owners begging not to be caught in the middle by a temporary ordinance restricting building.
☛ ER Supervisors pass TPZ ordinance 10/10/07
This is “really our only shot to send a message of concern to the bankruptcy court,” Supervisor John Woolley said.
☛ TS Forest land owners nervous over ordinance 10/9/07
A temporary building moratorium for timberland parcels being considered by county supervisors today has some landowners sweating over possible damage to the value of their property and their ability to sell it.
Humboldt County supervisors will weigh the adoption of an interim ordinance that would be in place for 45 days with extensions possible out to 22 months, 15 days. It's aimed at a proposal by the Pacific Lumber Co., which has pitched an exclusive development of more than 130, 160-acre “kingdoms” linked together with amenities like a golf course and a club house.

☛ TS Landowners sweat short-term TPZ rule 10/8/07
☛ TS Supes to hear ordinance in response to Palco plan 10/7/07
Faced with a possible rural development on a scale the county hasn't seen in years, Humboldt County supervisors on Tuesday will consider a temporary halt to issuing building permits on timberlands
☛ TS 'Make no little plans' 10/05/07
The Pacific Lumber Co. has come out with an ambitious and creative (and some say outlandish) proposal for pulling its way out of bankruptcy. While a satisfactory solution to debt problems is to be desired for the sake of the many Humboldters whose livelihoods depend upon a healthy Palco, the company's plan seems to be overreaching on its face.
☛ TS Palco plan hinges on big money land sales 10/3/07
The Pacific Lumber Co. is looking to reinvent itself by selling thousands of acres as an exclusive planned development bordering pristine redwood reserves, and using the cash to pay down its massive debt.
☛ ER PALCO files reorganization plan 10/1/07
To pay off its creditors, PALCO is seeking to generate $400 million through the sale of approximately 6,600 acres of SCOPAC’s logging-restricted timberlands, which the company is calling “Ancient Redwood Groves.” Under the reorganization plan filed in the Texas bankrupcty court, the company aims to to sell off the old-growth forests within 24 months of the plan’s approval at a value of $60,000 per acre to buyers who are willing to commit to the permanent environmental protection of the land. PALCO is also seeking under the plan to raise an additional $780 million through the sale of approximately 22,000 acres of lands the plan identifies as “Redwoods Ranch Development,” which will be offered for sale as individual 160-acre parcels that will be marketed as “trophy” properties valued at approximately $5 million on average. Map provided by PALCO (caption on image shown below)
Fred reports - The Sacramento Bee takes a look at Palco/Scotia (obliquely related)n. Makes the situation sound a little rosier than the news we get locally. Or maybe it's just me? If asked for a login, you can use humboldtlib as the username and blogspot as the password.

10 comments:

  1. Define "redwood forest." A treeless mudslide doesn't count.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was waiting for Rose to say their plan was reasonable...

    so predictable

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  3. Well, for as long as I can remember, we have all known that the timberlands would not always be timberlands. The hills between McKinleyville and Fieldbrook, for example, will one day be neighborhoods. You would hope for 5 and 10 acre minimums, but ultimately they'd end up like the Cutten proposal.

    Personally, I like Fieldbrook's 10 and 20 acre minimums, but 160 would be nice too. If I had the money, I'd buy one. You could live off the grid, never have to see another living soul if you didn't want to.

    Housing doesn't have to mean living in a city with paved streets, sewer and water and cable TV. That's something people seem to miss.

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  4. Define "asshole", Hearldo does count.

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  5. Doesn't everyone complain about the lack of affordability in this area? Isn't this proposal just a quick jab to the face? 5 Million? There is probably less than a dozen people in Humboldt who could afford this property.

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  6. But there are many more nationwide - even statewide - who can.

    It was interesting to see Mark Lovelace, Greg King, Tracy Katelman and the others get up and smoothly declare that timber production is important to them. Well, maybe it it has been their cash cow, conversely. If Hurwitz goes away and the logging company stops producing, their incomes will evaporate.

    The most chilling words spoken on Tuesday? You're next, Green Diamond. You're next, Barnum Timber.

    You can't have timber companies and make it impossible to operate. You can't have affordable lumber when the restrictions drive the cost of doing business up up and up. You can't go back to "affordable" housing when the price of lumber goes nowhere but up.

    It's ok, we can all buy Trex and recycled plastic products to build our homes.

    But the Greg King's of this world have put you on notice. Green Diamond is next. He's already started that attack. Cattle ranchers are next. Wineries will not be far behind.

    Palco is the focus, but this ain't about Palco.

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  7. I think this is a very important question. An even more important question is this. "When will you post photos of your new hamsters?"

    Some of us are really curious.

    :-)

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  8. LOL! If they sit still long enough... though it does seem they sleep ALL day and run, run run run run ALL NIGHT long. The hamster balls are the most fun though. I'll have to get pics while they are sleepy.

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  9. This is long but informative. Who is calling the shots here? Guess the planning department and staff believes it is superior to the will of the community.

    Seems pretty arrogant of them to me.


    ---- Original Message -----
    From: Kevin Caldwell
    To: Martha Spencer
    Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 11:23 AM
    Subject: TPZ/Forestry Recreation Zone
    Hi Martha:
    In light of yesterday's Board action, I have received probably 40 to 50 calls, almost all of them regarding the process for removing their lands from TPZ. Please let me know if the GPU will include amending the zoning consistency matrix so that the Forestry Recreation Zone is consistent with the Timberland designation.
    Thanks for your help.
    Kevin Caldwell
    Real Property Solutions
    943-1900
    FAX 943-1626



    -----Original Message-----
    From: Kevin Caldwell [mailto:realpropertysolutions@gotsky.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 1:17 PM
    To: Hofweber, Tom
    Subject: Fw: TPZ/Forestry Recreation Zone
    Hi Tom:
    I got Martha's auto-reply. Please let me know when you get a chance.
    Thanks
    Kevin Caldwell
    Real Property Solutions
    943-1900
    FAX 943-1626



    -----Original Message-----
    From: Hofweber, Tom
    To: Kevin Caldwell
    Cc: Spencer, Martha ; Girard, Kirk
    Sent: Friday, October 12, 2007 9:54 AM
    Subject: RE: TPZ/Forestry Recreation Zone

    I consider the Forestry Recreation zone a “junk” zone, with far too many disparate uses to be recommended for broader use. That being said, I think there may be a place for such a zone if it were pared down to something reasonable, consistent with the Timberland general plan designation. Feel free to suggest a pared down zone that might fill the bill. We are also giving some consideration to the suggestion to have a TPZ “Exclusive” zone that would restrict houses versus a regular TPZ zone that would not.

    Tom Hofweber, Supervising Planner
    Humboldt County Planning Division
    3015 H St
    Eureka, CA 95501
    ph: (707) 268-3738
    thofweber@co.humboldt.ca.us


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Kevin Caldwell [mailto:realpropertysolutions@gotsky.com]
    Sent: Friday, October 12, 2007 11:49 AM
    To: Hofweber, Tom
    Cc: Spencer, Martha; Girard, Kirk
    Subject: Re: TPZ/Forestry Recreation Zone

    Hi Tom:
    Thanks for getting back to me. I confused on why you world refer to the FR zone as a "junk zone with too many disparate uses". The principally permitted uses are:
    Single family dwellings and farm dwellings
    General agriculture, nurseries, greenhouses and roadside stands
    public and private noncommercial recreational uses, including golf courses and public stables
    Manufactured homes
    The conditionally permitted uses are uses very similar to the allowed uses of the rural community center designation. Based on a properties location, the uses may not only be appropriate, but needed in the community. Take a look at Bridgeville and Dinsmore. Of course the minimum parcel size should range based on topography, location, access, etc.. In regards to being consistent with the Timberland designation, depending on the scale, the intensity and actual on the ground conditions, these uses may not significantly detract from the growing and harvesting of timber. However, under the current General Plan, Section 2721, the Timberland designation is restricted to TPZ parcels. That begs the question, how come the AE and AG zones can be considered consistent with the Timberland designation.
    In regards to alternative TPZ designations, what zone would those parcels who's owners never intend on conducting timer operations as defined in Section 4527 of the PRC or who sell the timber rights through conservation easements? Section 51115.1 of the CGC basically states that TPZ shall only apply to those parcels where timber operations are reasonably expected. Looks to me the Forest Recreation zone would/could be appropriate.
    In any event some alternative zone needs to be considered. I personally believe the FR zone is or could be appropriate. It may require that we amend the Timberland designation so that the FR zone is considered compatible and/or amend the lands use designation of those parcels from Timberland to another appropriate designation.
    In regards to the TPZ moratorium, I'm sure you're aware that litigation is being pursued. I would think that the ordinance could be re-written to avoid all potential litigation with the exception PALCO if the ordinance were written to apply to:
    "All TPZ lands subject to, within or immediately adjacent to a Habitat Conservation Plan, Natural Community Conservation Plan or other approved, local, regional or state habitat conservation plan."
    I think only PALCO, Green Diamond and Sierra Pacific have lands subject to a HCP. Furthermore, I think only these three companies are required to have Sustain Yield Plans. Of course, you should include a safety valve provision for exceptions.
    Anyway, my two cents worth. Thanks again for getting back to me.
    Kevin Caldwell
    Real Property Solutions
    943-1900
    FAX 943-1626



    -----Original Message-----
    From: Hofweber, Tom
    To: Kevin Caldwell
    Sent: Friday, October 12, 2007 12:01 PM
    Subject: RE: TPZ/Forestry Recreation Zone

    Golf courses by right and hotel and motels in remote rural areas not near communities seems like junk to me.
    Tom Hofweber, Supervising Planner
    Humboldt County Planning Division
    3015 H St
    Eureka, CA 95501
    ph: (707) 268-3738
    thofweber@co.humboldt.ca.us

    ----Original Message-----
    From: Kevin Caldwell
    To: Hofweber, Tom
    Cc: Martha Spencer ; Kirk Girard
    Sent: Friday, October 12, 2007 1:10 PM
    Subject: Re: TPZ/Forestry Recreation Zone
    Hi Tom:
    First of all I apologize for my spelling mistakes in my previous email. I hate it when that happens.
    By inferring that golf courses are allowed by right, is an example of the misinformation that the Department is often accused of when providing information to the public and/or decision makers. You know any golf course is subject to CEQA, the County Grading Ordinance, the RWQCB General Permit and SWYPP requirements just to name a few. As you know, even a residence can be subject to CEQA (SPAWN v County of Marin). Golf courses are not allowed by right.
    There are a number of lodges in remote rural areas, including on the northcoast, that are very successful. In fact, the remote location is what makes most of them successful. You infer that such a use would be principally permitted. Again, that is misleading. As you know, this type of use requires a CUP.
    I didn't say the FR zone was perfect. What other zone would you recommend? There needs to be a zone for those folks want rural recreational, residential uses who have no intent on ever cutting any trees or who have sols their timber rights though conservation easements. State law requires that these lands not be zoned TPZ.
    I'm not trying to be a pain in the ass. But I sense frustration or anger in your reply's. It sounds to me like you or the Department have already decided what's best for us. You sound like Nancy Regan... "Just say No!".
    Anyway, I hope the Department and the community can work together in developing forest resource policies that foster sound forest management and allows property owners to continue to use their land in ways that do not significantly detract and/or inhibit or preclude timber operations.
    Thanks again for getting back to me.
    Kevin Caldwell
    Real Property Solutions
    943-1900
    FAX 943-1626


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Kevin Caldwell
    To:Roger Rodoni
    Cc: Jimmy Smith ; Bonnie Neely ; Jill Geist ; John Woolley
    Sent: Friday, October 12, 2007 2:50 PM
    Subject: Fw: TPZ/Forestry Recreation Zone

    Hi Folks:
    Thought you might be interested. Hope you are.
    Again, I wish you would have given yourselves more time to consider your options. For the following reasons I truly believe that intentionally or unintentionally, staff has mislead you.
    1. As mentioned Tuesday, prior to the issuance of any Building Permit,a Zoning Clearance Certificate is required. In order to obtain a Zoning Clearance Certificate you have to demonstrate that you have a separate legal parcel entitled to a Certificate of Subdivision Compliance. As most of you know, the processing of Certificates of Compliance are not subject to the Permit Streamlining Act. The Department could and does take years to process a Certificate of Compliance application. You should have been provided this information before being forced to make such a litigious decision.
    2. Single family development on an existing lot is not always exempt from CEQA. Where an agency (City/County) believes that the project could have an adverse impact on the environment, Statutory and Categorical Exemptions do not apply. The Courts recently reaffirmed this in SPAWN vs.. County of Marin. You should have been provided this information.
    3. Staff apparently has mislead your Board regarding houses on TPZ land. At the time TPZ was adopted, the State allowed each city/County to determine what compatible uses would be allowed on TPZ land. Our Board of Supervisors at the time, after significant public input in 1976, determined that houses are a compatible use. In 1989 and again in 1998 your Board clarified and approved provisions for second houses on TPZ parcels 40 acres or larger.
    4. Staff used as its primary legal finding in imposing the ordinance is the justification that PALCO's proposed Redwood Ranch is not consistent with the pending General Plan Update policies. As I mentioned on Tuesday, based on the proposed clustering policies, not only do the proposed Alternatives, including Alternative A, the so-called environmentally superior alternative, support PALCO's plan, but they allow for and facilitate additional development and the removal of more land from TPZ that proposed by PALCO's Redwood Ranch. In fact, I understand PALCO will be presenting the clustering options recommend in Alternatives A and B of the General Plan Update at their bankruptcy hearing.
    As indicated above the County already has the power to ensure adequate review of any proposed building permit on PALCO land without encumbering thousands of other parcels throughout the County.
    I'm sure you're aware that litigation is being pursued. I would think that the ordinance could be re-written to avoid all potential litigation with the exception PALCO if the ordinance were written to apply to:
    "All TPZ lands subject to, within or immediately adjacent to a Habitat Conservation Plan, Natural Community Conservation Plan or other approved, local, regional or state habitat conservation plan."
    I think only PALCO, Green Diamond and Sierra Pacific have lands subject to a HCP. Furthermore, I think only these three companies are required to have Sustain Yield Plans. Of course, you should include a safety valve provision for exceptions.
    I would love to hear any of your thoughts or comments. I truly hope we can resolve this issue without dividing the community and costing individuals and the County thousands of dollars in litigation.
    Thanks for your time and consideration. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
    Sincerely,
    Kevin Caldwell
    Real Property Solutions
    943-1900
    FAX 943-1626

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'll bet Vickie Cooper (sp?) could sell those parcels. She sells all the high end properties in Humboldt County. Shoot, there's only 136 to sell. That's 2 per state roughly, just start with the Forbes Top 100 and work your way down, piece 'o cake.

    ReplyDelete

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