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Spring 2013

Asserting Local Control

Family Water Alliance and the Glenn County Rangeland Association are encouraging local elected officials to assert their authority over local land use.  While it may not be a new idea the issue has reached a tipping point in California.  

There are numerous state and federal agencies that have produced plans and initiatives aimed at implementing a range of conservation goals throughout the state.  The majority of these plans have dramatic impacts on land use to various cities and counties throughout California.  Local officials are responsible for overseeing the planning and development of their communities.  Land use greatly impacts a communities overall health and well being, and it is critical that land use authority remain a locally driven effort. 

Habitat restoration and land conversion activities must be consistent with local existing planning activities to assure that they are located, constructed and sited in areas where they are compatible with surrounding land uses and sensitive to the needs for a strong local economy.  As such, any land preservation, land conservation or habitat restoration program should be subjected to local land use policies.

Recently, the Glenn County Board of Supervisors voted to direct staff to finalize a resolution that affirms the county must be consulted in any planning effort that affects land use within their jurisdiction.  Whether it is the California Foothill Legacy Plan being proposed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services or the American Great Outdoors Initiative that was introduced in 2010 by the Obama Administration, there is a statutory process required by law that must be followed.

“We are not saying that they cannot effect land use, we are just saying we want a public hearing”, said Lawrence Martin, a director with the Glenn County Rangeland Association. 

This effort to assert legal standing is in response to a growing trend of unelected bodies, committees and groups attempting to affect land use by engaging federal agencies, circumventing local jurisdictions and their general plans, and not adhering to the required process under state and federal statutes.

Everyone needs to play by the same rules.  ■

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