Supervisor Damon Connolly
Scenic Highway status for Lucas Valley Road
Yesterday morning the Community Development Agency (CDA) held a Board of Supervisors’ workshop on the status and progress made to date on the CDA two-year work plan, covering 2014-16. At this workshop, I announced that I will be re-initiating the request for the Board of Supervisors to pass a resolution of intent to nominate Lucas Valley Road to be officially designated a State Scenic Highway. The Lucas Valley Scenic Road proposal was not addressed substantively at this meeting but rather will be taken up at the CDA budget hearing on April 20, 2015, as discussed below.
As many of you know the 2007 Countywide Plan (CWP) 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). The CWP identifies the Scenic road program as a “medium priority with a long-term timeframe for implementation.” At the workshop yesterday, staff presented a “2007 Countywide Plan Implementation Program Update” that identified participation in the Scenic Highway program as an “Incomplete Medium Priority Program.” The Scenic Road project is not currently in CDA’s two-year work plan. My objective is to get the project in a position where it will be included in the current work plan by initiating the nomination process where Lucas Valley Road can be considered for designation.
The process to designate a Scenic Highway is spread over time and includes the preparation of a Visual Assessment (first step), 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 BOS before designation. Staff time has been estimated at a cost of about $44,000-$45,000.
The Scenic Road project was taken up during 2014 budget hearings when Supervisor Susan Adams raised the issue. However, no action was taken at that time. At the workshop yesterday I put my BOS colleagues and CDA staff on notice that I would be re-initiating the request at the April 20, 2015 public hearing on the CDA’s budget for implementation of the CWP. This will be the time for the public also to weigh in on support for inclusion of the Lucas Valley Scenic Road project in the CDA work plan.
The April 20, 2015 hearing is the only means by which we can advance this project now. If the project is not in the CDA work plan and budget, it won’t be pursued.
To prepare for this important BOS meeting, I’d like to propose a group meeting on Wednesday, April 15 at 3PM in the Rug Room at the Civic Center, where we met previously. We will work with you in advance to prepare an agenda for this meeting to ensure that it is productive, and covers all of the ground needed to be properly prepared for the 20th.
Moreover, I strongly recommend that supporters let their voices be heard publicly and to my BOS colleagues. The recent Op-Ed in the IJ was a good step. You should also communicate directly with the BOS members as well as plan on getting a sizable group to attend on 4/20. We can talk further about strategy at our meeting.
Please keep in mind that while my support is secured, it will take two more BOS votes to move this plan beyond the levels that it has reached in the past. Supervisor Kinsey has already voiced his resistance to the nomination, citing that there are already ample tools at the disposal of the community and county in regards to community plan and design standards. He reiterated his opposition to the proposal at the workshop yesterday and has also done so to me personally. Another issue is the prioritization among other issues in the County – a Streamside Conservation Ordinance and Baylands Corridor protection are examples of “high priorities.”
We are likely to hear from CDA staff that other projects and programs that have been designated as “high priorities” should be given precedence over Scenic Road, at least for now. Therefore, our effort will need a combination of demonstrating the importance of this project, that it should not take an inordinate amount of time or cost, that it has strong public support, and that it can be done without displacing other high priority efforts.
We look forward to working together towards the goal of getting the resolution approved. Please let us know if the proposed 4/15 group strategy meeting date is agreeable for you –we’ve secured the Rug Room and will be in touch regarding an agenda once we have confirmed.