Nearly 18 years in the making, the County’s 20-year land use plan was finally adopted in October. It will create ten percent fewer new homes with more environmental impacts than the version recommended by the 2012 Planning Commission. The 2012 recommendations were largely overturned after years of a stalled process and the election of four new supervisors who felt they had a mandate to make major changes. The new plan sets the stage for converting thousands of acres of timberlands and farmlands, allowing further subdivision and expanding areas for cannabis cultivation.
The final plan isn’t all bad—it includes better protection for riparian areas and wetlands, as well as a 5-year plan to identify critical watersheds. Landmark trees will be defined and a program to protect them will be developed within five years. Light pollution will be minimized once a new zoning ordinance is adopted to establish rules for new development.
Since many of the improvements are yet to be defined, public participation will continue to be important. Stay tuned for opportunities to make a difference for Humboldt County’s future!