Supervisor Damon Connolly's
stance on the status of
Scenic Highway Program
for Lucas Valley Road
April 28, 2015
For years there has been significant community support behind the idea of designating Lucas Valley Road as a Scenic Highway under the CalTrans Scenic Highway Program. This initiative was also included in the Marin Countywide Plan adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2007, which calls for the County to “consider participation in the Scenic Highway Program” as a strategy for preserving and enhancing the County’s scenic highway corridors. (Program DES-4.f)
Scenic Road status would offer meaningful recognition of an amazing source of community pride, and would offer some minimal design standards in an area of the County that does not have a local community plan.
This initiative requires the dedication of resources and staff time from the County’s Community Development Agency (CDA), which is charged with implementing a high volume of work based on the Countywide Plan.
Work associated with a Scenic Highway application would include the preparation of a Visual Assessment, a letter of intent and application for nomination, review and outreach with the public and CalTrans, and ultimately the preparation of a Corridor Protection Plan that would be voted on by the Board of Supervisors before designation. The Countywide Plan identifies the Scenic Road program as a “medium priority with a long-term timeframe for implementation.”
My goal was to have this issue included in the CDA’s two-year work plan, covering 2014-16, as I made clear to staff and to colleagues in public meetings. However, after working with local community members to fully understand the issue and assess a path forward, we decided not to pursue the designation at this time.
This decision ultimately hinged on the reality of requiring ‘yes’ votes from three out of the five Supervisors for the program to move forward. We did not think the proposal could obtain this level of support, and we concluded there was nothing to gain at this time from putting forward a proposal that would not be approved.
As previously stated, the idea for this program has maintained significant community support and momentum, and we will explore it again in the future per its inclusion in the 2007 Countywide Plan.
My hope is that in the future my colleagues will approach this issue with an open mind.
I want to thank the committed community members who have pressed this issue forward over the years, and to commend them on a thoughtful and well-reasoned approach in the face of frustrating circumstances.
Damon Connolly, Supervisor
Marin County Board of Supervisors, District 0ne