Letter added to confusion
Unfortunately, Mr. Wojciechowski’s recent letter does little to clarify alleged “misleading puffery” about Section 9 proposed revisions and, in fact, adds to any confusion or misunderstandings that may exist.
Mr. Wojciechowski’s letter alludes to my comment that “exemptions for ranchers are intended for existing structures, not for any new structures.” My comment at the public hearing was made in the context of a direct question about agricultural structures. The structures referred to in this context were barns, sheds, stackyards and other outbuildings. Agricultural structures (and mining outbuildings) such as just described, new or existing, are exempt unless located on an escarpment or ridgeline. This applies to new structures and roads just as it does in the current code.
Mr. Wojciechowski conflates a “primary residence” and an “accessory house” (presumably an accessory dwelling) with “ranch structures.” A structure used as a primary residence (or accessory dwelling) on a ranch is subject to the same rules as any other residence as in the current code. An accessory dwelling on a ranch is a “use by right” subject to the rules stated in Section 22 of the current land use code. Section 9 does not change the rules stated in Section 22.
In a convoluted paragraph referring to remodeling or reconstruction, Mr. Wojciechowski assumes that the structure in question is non-conforming and visible from the viewing corridor. It may or may not be. If it is a conforming structure the intent of the current code and the revised code is to prevent creating a new non-conformity. If the structure is already non-conforming, the intent of the revised code is to limit a significant increase in the non-conformity relative to skyline breakage and setback. But some increase is permitted. It is true that the exemptions are one time only but they are inherently granted. The important point is that under Section 4 of the current code, no increase in non-conformity in any zone would be permitted.
The proposed Section 9 revisions have no impact on actual agricultural operations; i.e., grazing, irrigation, hay production, etc. Many ranches are presently located in the existing visual impact corridors including houses, barns, stackyards, sheds, fences and other structures and appear to be operating without “draconian limitations.”
The biggest threat to our agricultural heritage, agricultural employment, and to the agricultural economy is the long-term sustainability of agricultural land not Section 9. Long-term sustainability cannot be achieved without careful land use planning that includes sensible development that harmonizes, as reasonably as possible, with the open lands of our valleys and our mountain vistas.
Some in this community see land use regulation as an “unnecessary intrusion of government.” Some see land use regulation as a means to protect common interests as stated in the Master Plan.
I agree with Mr. Wojciechowski, don’t accept the proponents’ of Section 9 propaganda but I would add don’t accept the opponents’ propaganda either. Please read the actual language and base your decision on the facts.