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Candidates Respond to Land Use Policy Questions

LandWatch asked candidates for Monterey County Sheriff, and candidates for election to the Board of Supervisors, to state their views on key land use policy issues. We asked five questions of each candidate. Here are their responses!

Candidates For Sheriff

Question #1
What connections do you see between land use policy and public safety?

Jim Cronin
Candidate Cronin did not respond.

Lonnie Heffington
Development, both business and residential, bring increased demands for public safety services. Development and growth that does not provide for the required increase in police services will become a major problem.

Terry Lee Kaiser
There are many connections. Proper planning means efficient and effective services for all and insures that we, as law enforcement personnel, can do our job properly. Everything from the types of services to response time is affected by these policies. It is a very important safety issue for all. Our current situation of not having efficient and properly designed roads through Monterey County that can and will handle the ever-increasing traffic here is a prime example of this failure. How can we bring in more traffic if we cannot handle that which we already have? Try getting emergency service into Highway 68 area during a major event at Laguna Seca or into the Moss Landing Area during a major event on the Monterey Peninsula, very frustrating and time consuming.

Crime, education, as well as environmental issues are likewise seriously affected by these policies, and must be address. Growth means more people and businesses, which in turn requires not only more law enforcement coverage but other public services. The issues that can and will have an effect on us can vary greatly, but the bottom line is that development does and will continue to have an affect on the level and type of services that we in law enforcement provide, thus it is vital that we get in at the earliest planning stage possible to ensure that potential problems are addresses and eliminated.

Mike Kanalakis
The connection I see is that through environmental design and involvement in the planning of our communities, together we can improve the quality of life for our citizens and public safety in general. A safe community is more than just the number of deputies you put in it. As an example, we can design in features to improve nighttime lighting conditions, design residential and commercial areas to reduce their vulnerability to certain crimes, improve access to responding public safety vehicles, and generally make them safer. From an agency perspective, this means assigning, training and developing staff to recognize these issues so they may work with others involved in the overall planning process.

Stephen Sapiro
There is a great connection between land use and public safety. Both fire and law enforcement agencies should have an interest in any new development. Traffic concerns, response by emergency services, jurisdiction, type population to utilize new development are all major concerns for safety agencies.

James V. Scariot, Sr.
There are numerous connections between land use policies and public safety. Population density, ingress-egress, available public utilities, and service personnel to population ratios are just a few of those connections. Haphazard land use policy can create public safety nightmares.

Rocky Flores Ugale
Candidate Ugale did not respond.

Steve Villegas
The connections that are evident are the plans that need to be made to address the staffing needs in regards to the number of deputies and civilian workers needed to fulfill the community needs. How much capital and equipment needs (vehicles, 4 X 4’s) will need to be purchased to reach the rough terrain areas. Are there enough capital funds in the department budget to provide the extra deputies needed to cover the new neighborhood?

The current policy among the Sheriff’s department is that three people (civilians) from the Crime Prevention Unit are assigned to work with LandWatch issues. Dave Crozier (Monterey), Cindy Cooper (King City), and Donna Galletti (Salinas) are the people that conduct the overview of the plans from the Planning Department. Captain Luther Hert oversees the same plans and the Crime Prevention Unit.

The Crime Prevention Unit personnel are trained in land use policy and implement the County’s Master plan.

Question #2
Do you think that the Sheriff should play a role in the review of proposed new development projects? Please elaborate on your answer.

Jim Cronin
Candidate Cronin did not respond.

Lonnie Heffington
The Sheriff’s Department must have a role in reviewing proposed new development, in order to determine the impact and demand that will be placed on the Department.

Terry Lee Kaiser
Yes. Public safety is our primary objective and anything that affects it, we should be involved from the start. Not only should the Sheriff be involved but any and all other law enforcement agencies that may be affected by these proposals. Projects proposed around any incorporated city will have an effect on them and thus they should be included in whatever decisions that are made.

Mike Kanalakis
I do. This idea is not new in this agency. The Monterey County Sheriff’s Department has previously has a unit and staff designated to review all plans for new development. I plan n bringing these duties back to one location and renewing our review and work in this important area.

In the examination of alternate ways to fight crime, we need to utilize the design and review process to improve protection to residential and commercial structures, remove blind spots that hide perpetrators while they access buildings, and better plan communities with an eye towards these issues.

The best example I can give to you on what I think law enforcement can do to improve in this area is to imitate the total review of plans that fire departments conduct. Over the years, their concern for fire safety has influenced improved building codes and their own codes to better protect our citizens. Law enforcement needs to do the same thing. While I realize I cannot do this alone, my staff and I can work with organizations such as yours to accomplish this.

Stephen Sapiro
Yes, the Sheriff should play a role in the review of proposed new development projects in the county. It is in the best interest of the county residents and workers that the Sheriff provides for and protects them with regards to safety issues. As mentioned in answer #1, people who utilize new developments are entitled to the shared concern by law enforcement officials.

James V. Scariot, Sr.
The Sheriff should and is playing a role in the review process of proposed new developments. LEEPAC and CEPTED, are two local programs currently in place for evaluating projects and their impact on public safety. The basic premise of these programs is that each proposed project is evaluated to determine the impact the project has regarding public safety issues. This is crucial in the unincorporated areas of the county. For example, most roads in the unincorporated areas of the county are two lane roadways. Accidents, chemical spills and natural disasters already have negative impacts on them. Increasing population density by development would increase traffic, lessen the public safety personnel to population ration, and increase response times to calls for service.

Rocky Flores Ugale
Candidate Ugale did not respond.

Steve Villegas
Yes. The Sheriff’s department must be aware of future plans and be included in the proposed projects so they may prepare for staffing needs that the new projects will require. How much of an impact will the new projects impose upon the department budget and future planning? The Sheriff will have to decide on whether he has enough resources to provide for the additional services for the new proposed projects, and if not, then how many more deputies will he need to provide to be able to provide adequate service to the neighborhood? How much more equipment will need to be purchase to provide to the deputies so they may carry out their duties. How many more vehicles will need to be purchased for deputies for the additional service? These are some of the issues that the Sheriff’s department will have to address when additional services are requested so they play a very important role in new proposed projects.

Question #3
Would you support a General Plan policy that would require new residential, commercial, and industrial projects to pay a fee or otherwise ensure that adequate public safety services will be available after the project is built? Please elaborate on your answer.

Jim Cronin
Candidate Cronin did not respond.

Lonnie Heffington
I certainly support a policy requiring new development projects to pay a fee or otherwise ensure adequate public safety services. Each new development adds to the need for additional vehicles, equipment, personnel, and specialty equipment. If not provided for up front, the Department falls behind, and has a difficult time acquiring those funds later.

Terry Lee Kaiser
This is a must. I do not feel that it is solely the responsibilities of the taxpayers to ensure that these issues are addressed. I feel that those building these projects must assume some of the responsibilities.

Mike Kanalakis
The simple answer is, “yes,” I would support such a policy if it realistically improved the manner we use to meet increasing population and density issues.

As part of the overall planning process, I would like to see a mechanism where law enforcement could acquire funds to better prepare for new development. As it stands, law enforcement is forced to be reactionary to development; we usually do not get funds for staffing or equipment until after a development is planned, built, and people start paying property taxes. Schools, fire departments, and other special districts are more involved in the development process than most law enforcement agencies. This is where I want to go and I will work to make it a part of the General Plan.

A classic example of this is in our North County. The increases in population have been steadily rising and this has created a great need for a new patrol station. In the case of fire departments, they gain funds as a community develops for such things as capital improvements, i.e., structures and major pieces of equipment. Law enforcement does not have the capability to do this locally at this time.

I will work to become a partner in the planning process instead of trying to find solutions to crime problems after they arise. I want to examine the issue and see what can be done to improve upon what we have now.

Stephen Sapiro
For big business development projects, I believe a one time fee to cover additional safety features would be adequate followed by normal taxes should suffice for safety concerns. For residential projects, the developer should also be subject to a one time fee. In the area of small business and low or moderate income residential projects, I think a fee would be self defeating as the costs would be born on the people who would utilize the same, and therefore the tax base would have to suffice.

James V. Scariot, Sr.
I would support this requirement. The current standard for police protection is one office per 1,000 residents. Currently, the King City Office of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department is the only office that meets that ideal standard. Any new developments are going to further erode the ration. Calls for service will go up and response times will go down. The physical and financial assets of the county are finite. Therefore, developers should be required to fund the necessary assets needed to provide public services to these new projects.

Rocky Flores Ugale
Ý Candidate Ugale did not respond.

Steve Villegas
Yes. The question is who should be paying the fees that will provide the additional services to the new projects? Right now it’s the people that pay the building fees that support the three Crime Prevention Officers and additional services. When you increase population and housing in the community, it’s the new residents that should pay the fees that will support the cost of additional public safety. New projects have to pay their own way to exist. Downside to this issue? The developers surely don’t want an increase in fees so it must be passed on to someone else.

Question #4
Would you assign a staff person in the Sheriff’s Department to work specifically on the public safety issues related to land use policy and the design of new development projects? Please elaborate on your answer.

Jim Cronin
Candidate Cronin did not respond.

Lonnie Heffington
The Sheriff’s Department currently has Crime Prevention personnel who are trained on this type of planning. The Patrol Captain and Chief Deputy of the Operations Bureau also have review responsibilities for this area. I would like to see our Department review process expanded in a program to be funded through development fees.

Terry Lee Kaiser
Yes. We once had a unit that was assigned to do just this and it was called the Sheriff’s Environmental Task Force Unit. This unit was a very effective unit that addresses all kinds of public safety issues and why it was ever done away with is beyond me. If we do not participate or take an interest in these issues than we have no room to complain when problems arise because of them. I plan on bringing such a program that will be well staffed and active in all community problems.

Mike Kanalakis
First, let me say that today such a function is a necessary and important part of any law enforcement agency. At the same time, this agency and most other law enforcement agencies in this county are having a great deal of difficulty hiring and retaining people to meet their primary law enforcement service requirements.

A large part of this projected continuing hiring and retention issue in that our deputies cannot afford to purchase a home locally. This imparts many other aspects of what we do. Beyond the hiring and retention issue, this goes to a basic philosophy of keeping the deputies involved in community activities and a real part of the public they police. That’s why I support efforts to provide purchase assistance for Deputies who want to buy a home in the community they serve.

Without affordable local housing for our employees, the people that we hire cannot get the same sense of community. Their kids do not go to local schools, and they don’t have access to the same sense of community issues as someone living here.

I want to assign a staff officer and a unit to work on public safety issues related to the design of new development and land use policy, but first I must have enough people to ensure we can meet the basics. Fulfilling our primary duties will be at the top of my list. Once this is ensured, I want to review some of our employee positions and functions to fill my idea of the way the organization should be staffed.

Reality impacts functionality. I have seen people running for office pledge many things and then when they get into that position, find that the reality of the office and the situation at that time do not allow them to follow through as they would like. Besides the hiring and retention issue I have discussed, I see other things on the horizon that will affect the way we all do business.

I hope you understand that my first obligation is the staffing of the jail and other primary department functions. I believe the citizens require this kind of commitment.

Stephen Sapiro
Yes, I would assign a staff person to work specifically on the public safety issues related to land use policy and the design of new development projects. Once again, refer to answer #1. A good Sheriff in order to plan, budget, and provide services needed must be informed as to any new development projects within this county.

James V. Scariot, Sr.
Yes. Currently, the Patrol Division Commander has this responsibility. Each of the stations has a Community Services Component that consists of a DARE officer and a Crime Prevention Specialist. The Crime Prevention Specialists have received training in evaluation project plans in terms of their impact on public safety. The evaluation process covers the major issues mentioned in response #1. It also includes lighting, signing, landscaping, and structure design and the potential impact these may have on public safety response. As an example, consider a convenience store. The lighting, the use of surveillance equipment, the location of the check out counter, the layout of the aisles, and the ability to access alcoholic beverages would all be considered in the review process because each item is crucial in determining how much effort is being addressed to reduce the likelihood of robberies and thefts.

Rocky Flores Ugale
Candidate Ugale did not respond.

Steve Villegas
Yes! The personnel are already assigned so it’s no additional cost to the public. Captain Luther Hert, patrol division commander of the Sheriff’s department, performs this duty already along with his people in the Crime Prevention Unit. What is their role? They review the plans and proposed new projects that are presented to them. Upon review of the proposed projects they recommend safety tips for commercial buildings and residential homes. They conduct safety presentations to the developers and occupants of the new homes. Then they must recommend how many more public safety personnel would be needed to adequately fulfill additional services.

Question #5
Do you think that the availability of affordable housing is related to public safety, and if so, how?

Jim Cronin
Candidate Cronin did not respond.

Lonnie Heffington
Everybody must have decent housing, and everyone must be provided proper levels of public safety services. Enforcement must be maintained at high levels, as espoused in the “Broken Window Theory,” addressing even the smallest of problems in order to prevent neighborhoods need to be created, where equal levels of public safety service are more likely to be maintained.

Terry Lee Kaiser
Yes it is related. Where does one start? We see problems everyday and have for years. People living in caves off of Blackie Road, crammed up in sheds, converted garages and so on. These are both safety and environmental issues that need to be addresses by all. Again, everyone must be involved. Not just the Sheriff’s Department, but every Agency in the county, from planning, the housing authorities to the various social services units that provide assistance to the public. It’s a concern for all. We must work together not just on identifying the problems but on solving them. Teamwork is something I strongly believe in and will continue to be involved in.

One issue I have is getting more police officers back into the communities. It is a proven fact that in any residential area where you have peace officers living and active, you have fewer problems. When these officers move out, problems seem to go up. I intend to work aggressively to stop what I call police flight from these areas and get them incentives to move back in. How can we serve the public if we do not live there or take an active role in its safety and development? We are public servants and we need to act it by being more involved in our communities.

Mike Kanalakis
I have already addressed the need to find affordable housing that will allow our employees to become a more involved and better part of the community they serve.

Let me also say that the lack of affordable housing may create a “have” and “have not” society. I believe this could cause other problems, including some that require law enforcement action.

Part of my platform is that I am planner who has a vision of how I want this department to move in the years ahead. I would appreciate the support of anyone who agrees with my views on these topics and anyone who believes we must ensure the public is safe from crime.

Stephen Sapiro
Yes, affordable housing is related to public safety. This is a current issue with our department and is becoming increasingly moreso. More and more deputies are seeking affordable housing outside of our county. Their only stake in our county is their job. They aren’t raising their families here and they aren’t paying taxes here. Their cares and concerns for Monterey County are less and less. In time of emergency, will they be able to respond on time? Affordable housing is also good for the public sector for the same reasons. It keeps businesses, workers, tax dollars, and concern in our county.

James V. Scariot, Sr.
I believe affordable housing does have an impact on public safety. Food, clothing, and housing are basic necessities for survival. There have been numerous stories throughout Monterey County over the years regarding people living in camper shells, converted garages, vehicles and earthen caves. These stories have appeared in the news media either because of the environmental impact they have had or the tragic result of fires caused by extension cords, heating plates, fuel stoves, or charcoal briquettes used in heating stoves. Because of the unavailability of affordable housing, unscrupulous people are exploiting the less fortunate people in Monterey County.

Rocky Flores Ugale
Candidate Ugale did not respond.

Steve Villegas
Yes! When affordable housing becomes unavailable to some people criminality starts to breed. Crime rate increases in the neighborhood. Homeless people start living in the streets and they become targets for robbery, assaults, and homicides. Drug dealers’ start flooding the neighborhood and prostitution usually follows along. Where do the people go if they can’t find affordable housing? Temporarily solutions are that people move in homes with other family members where you might see two or three different families living under the same roof.

 

Candidates For County Supervisor

Question #1
What measures do you support to protect and conserve commercially productive agricultural land?

District #2 – Lou Calcagno
A strong general plan with language directed towards the preservation of productive farmland is a very important first step. However, it is only as good as three votes from the Board of Supervisors. I strongly support conservation easements that are held by private non-profit enmities such as Monterey County Agriculture and Historic Lands Conservancy. This is the only guarantee that you have for long range protection of our vital agriculture land in this manner. Language should be incorporated into the general plan, which would encourage these types of easements.

District #2 – Carol Lacy
I assume by the question “commercial productive agricultural lands” you mean land which is currently being farmed, on which a crop is being grown. Measures I support, include, but are not limited to: Williamson Act protections, Resource conservation zoning, Monterey County could have its own Williamson Act. Lesser tax reductions for less contract time; adherence to the Right to Farm Act, including buffer zones. Land which is not currently in crop production also needs protection. Considerations have to be given to wildlife and its corridors. Conversely, some land currently in production needs changes in farming practices or perhaps removed from production, i.e.: protection of the Elkhorn Slough and other waterways.

District #3 – Butch Lindley
Candidate Lindley did not respond.

District #3 – Richard Ortiz
Candidate Ortiz did not respond.

Question #2
Do you support the creation of “urban growth boundaries” as a way to prevent urban sprawl, and to insure that future growth is compact, efficient, and protective of the environment? If not, what measures would you support to prevent urban sprawl?

District #2 – Lou Calcagno
Urban growth boundaries are very important to prevent urban sprawl. They are also a vital tool in protecting our productive agriculture ground. I strongly support this concept.

District #2 – Carol Lacy
While I do support the creation of urban growth boundaries as a way to prevent urban sprawl we must be sure the buzz-words of “smart growth” do not mean building as usual, just different designs in different places. We must also be sure the designated growth areas have the proper infrastructure to support that growth.

District #3 – Butch Lindley
Candidate Lindley did not respond.

District #3 – Richard Ortiz
Candidate Ortiz did not respond.

Question #3
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors will soon be considering a proposed new General Plan Update. Would you vote for a General Plan policy to eliminate future subdivisions in rural areas, and to direct new growth into existing urban areas (including the existing cities, Castroville, Pajaro, Boronda, and Fort Ord)? Please elaborate on your answer.

District #2 – Lou Calcagno
To eliminate all future subdivisions and not consider them on their merits would be very difficult. For example, a subdivision in San Lucas is very badly needed for farm labor housing in the area. It would also help in solving some of the problems with the existing community such as streets, sewer and water. There might be similar situations that would need consideration. As an overall statement, I do not support building large housing developments in rural areas of the county.

I would support growth in Castroville, Pajaro and Boronda only if it was considered infilling. Along with that growth we would have to build community centers for recreation and other community functions to take care of the high density population. Fort Ord offers all the opportunity to build a complete new city with all the character that would incorporate it into a smart growth community. I support this concept very strongly, however we would have to consider its impact on traffic and water in the immediate area.

District #2 – Carol Lacy
I would vote for a General Plan policy eliminating future subdivisions in rural areas but I am not at all convinced directing new growth into some of the areas now identified is the answer, especially in North County. North County currently has a 100% over drafted water table, so to envision anything until water is available is unconscionable. Those plans also call for train stations surrounded by walkable communities. What this could end up being is walkable communities gathered around a train station in which the tracks virtually only go North. That’s building for silicon valley commuters, not our residents. I’m not necessarily opposed to trains but we need to address the needs of current residents, which include providing public transportation to work destinations in Salinas and Monterey.

District #3 – Butch Lindley
Candidate Lindley did not respond.

District #3 – Richard Ortiz
Candidate Ortiz did not respond.

Question #4
Would you support a General Plan policy to require new residential, commercial, and industrial projects to pay a fee or otherwise ensure that adequate infrastructure (including water, sewer, transportation facilities, schools, libraries, and public safety services) will be available before the project is built? Please elaborate on your answer.

District #2 – Lou Calcagno
I would support general plan policies that would require residential, commercial and industrial projects to pay a fee to ensure adequate infrastructure including all the items mentioned in question #4 providing that it can be done within the present laws.

District #2 – Carol Lacy
The practice of paying fees has been going on for years in Monterey County under the guise of mitigation measures. However it takes so long to amount to enough to actually do the project, we are left with inadequate infrastructure for years after the project is built. Having developers paying fees high enough to ensure the infrastructure is in place prior to the project could be just as problematic. The fees could contribute so greatly to the cost of the project that nothing but expensive homes would be feasible for the builder. This is counter to the county’s objective of affordable homes.

The county needs to have a definitive plan, ideally in stepped increments, which are realistically obtainable, for each of the deficient infrastructures (roads, sewer, water) Everyone would know what the ultimate goal was, the steps to be taken to get us there and the associated costs. In transportation that’s the responsibility of TAMC but it certainly hasn’t been happening. The Board of Supervisors sits on TAMC Board. Other agencies also have long term planning responsibilities but you don’t see any definitive plans there either. Under a definitive plan, with all steps understood you might find the populace more apt to support bond measures to help correct deficiencies.

District #3 – Butch Lindley
Candidate Lindley did not respond.

District #3 – Richard Ortiz
Candidate Ortiz did not respond.

Question #5
Affordable housing is a critical problem throughout Monterey County. Would you support:

  • Modifying county policies to make it easier and cheaper to build housing? Please elaborate on the techniques you support.

  • Increasing the “inclusionary housing” requirement so that residential developers must ensure that 25% of the new residences they build are affordable to a family with an income that is equal to or less than the median income in Monterey County?

  • Requiring developers actually to build inclusionary units, instead of paying an “in lieu” fee?

  • Requiring that “inclusionary housing” units be made permanently affordable to families with incomes that are at or below the median income in Monterey County, even upon resale?

  • Requiring commercial and industrial developers to provide for residential units to be built concurrently with commercial and industrial projects that would increase demand for already scarce housing resources?

District #2 – Lou Calcagno
A) Other programs that we need to look into, and I would explore, would be eliminating redundant building fees when we are duplicating the same floor plans over and over again on these types of projects. This would reduce the building cost.

B) I would possibly support 25%, however at the present time I feel more comfortable supporting 20%.

C) In new subdivisions, I feel it would be appropriate to build inclusionary housing within the subdivision so they are incorporated within the community – I support this concept. When a house is built in infill, it would then be appropriate to pay in lieu fees.

D) I could support this concept providing it is the realm of Federal and State laws.

E) I feel that this is a good concept and it would provide residential units that the commercial or industrial development might create. I would go a step further and try to create policies that would encourage industries such as agriculture and tourism to participate in joint ventures with county and federal government to build housing for their employees at a site such as the former Fort Ord.

District #2 – Carol Lacy
Yes, I certainly would support modifying county policies to make it easier and cheaper to build housing. Techniques I would support would be streamlined application processes, fees based on square footage. The larger the house the larger the fee. Differences in fees for mega-homes then put in a trust to help low and very low people qualify for housing. Tax incentives to the developer i.e. a percentage off the real-estate taxes for the length of time it takes to get an approval and/or build the project. Loosening the strict requirements for manufactured home parks. Waiver of fees including things like sewer fees etc.

Q 5. (b)
I support the inclusionary housing requirement being changed to 20%.

Q5 (c)
Yes, I support requiring the developer to actually build the units instead of the in-lieu fee. Additionally I support requiring the developer to build the units in the same location as the project.

Q5 (d)
Yes, I support inclusionary housing being permanently affordable, including resale. To do otherwise is abrogating our responsibility to the next generation.

Q5 (e)
I do not support requiring commercial and industrial developers to provide residential units. I would support incentives for them to participate but would not be in favor of making it mandatory.

One of the major problems in this area is lack of jobs which pay a decent wage. Hospitality and agriculture, while being the backbone of our economy, do not pay wages that are consistent with our high cost of living. We must aggressively pursue other non-polluting industries which pay higher wages. This can be done with the use of enterprise zones etc. which would still protect farmland. We already have a number of problems to overcome in attracting new business; to add a requirement of providing residential units would virtually ensure no new businesses.

I envision a totally separate program to encourage employers to provide employee housing. In a separate program many more incentives could be incorporated (the carrot) without the regulatory minefield (the stick).

District #3 – Butch Lindley
Candidate Lindley did not respond.

District #3 – Richard Ortiz
Candidate Ortiz did not respond.

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