Thursday, November 1, 2007
What is a TPZ? Board of Supervisors act to protect our local forests.
From: Earth Tree News
On October 9th the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to impose a temporary 45-day suspension on residential development on Timber Production Zoned (TPZ) lands, as an urgent response to Maxxam's plans to develop 22,000 acres of Pacific Lumber's timberland into private 'kingdoms' with trophy homes, golf courses and a lodge. Maxxam was able to propose its project specifically because of Humboldt County's historically lax interpretation of State law regarding residential development on TPZ lands. The interim suspension had a dramatic effect on the bankruptcy court in Texas, clearly communicating that Maxxam's plan was not in the interest of the local community. Now the Supervisors are seeking to restore people's property rights, but in a way that is consistent with State law. The Supervisors have directed staff to bring forward an ordinance that would require either an administrative permit or a Conditional Use Permit for homesite development on TPZ lands. Under the policies being proposed, anyone with legitimate needs to build a house on their timberland would be able to get an over-the-counter administrative permit with a minimum of hassle, and no discretionary review. Anyone whose proposal does not meet the defined terms for the administrative permit would still be able to seek a Conditional Use Permi at the discretion of the Board of Supervisors. This approach would weed out the speculators and 'bad actors,' with a minimum of inconvenience to those with legitimate needs. If approved, the new ordinance would not take effect for 30 days. The interim suspension will expire on November 22nd, meaning that there could be a gap of up to a month which would allow Maxxam to move its plan forward, and would allow a filing frenzy by speculators who would take advantage of the County's lax policies. To prevent this from happening, the Supervisors will need another 4/5 vote to extend the interim suspension, just until the new TPZ ordinance takes effect.
Related news from Earth Tree News:
Thousands of acres of forest throughout the Sierra Nevada will go to the highest bidder next month in an auction that has become a regular occurrence for Sierra Pacific Industries, Californias largest private landowner. Among the nearly 5,000 acres the logging company has put up for sale this year is a 338-acre tract of Nevada County land along the upper reaches of the South Yuba River west of Truckee. Other parcels include properties near the Feather River north of Sierra Valley. The properties represent a minute fraction of the timber companys 1.7 million acres of ownership in the state. The company said it chose the parcels because they dont fit into the logging giants future plans. We have a series of these properties that are isolated, said company spokesman Mark Pawlicki. They dont sit near where our mills are. The Nevada County property is close to recreation and far removed from other timber land, said Pawlicki, making it a natural candidate for the auction block. And, despite a variable California real estate market, auctioneers say demand for the fairly remote, wild and undeveloped land is still high. John Rosenthal, the president of Realty Marketing Northwest, a Portland, Oregon-based company that has handled property auctions for Sierra Pacific Industries over the last 16 years, said he expects multiple bids to come in by the Nov. 14 deadline, promising a competitive price for the land. Theres still a strong demand for rural properties, Rosenthal said. The collection of 18 California properties for sale run up and down the spine of the Sierra Nevada mountain range as well as on the North Coast from Tuolomne County in the south to Trinity County in the north. This is probably one of the larger [auctions] weve offered in terms of number of tracts, Rosenthal said. All but one of the properties are designated as Timber Production Zone a zoning that exempts timber harvesters from paying taxes on the propertys real estate potential while it is used for logging. It typically takes 10 years to convert a property from Timber Production Zone to another zoning, without paying back taxes a conversion that a countys board of supervisors must approve. Rosenthal said the properties generate interest from people who want to extract the timber, and also from someone who has made money in the stock market and wants to put it into some dirt. http://www.sierrasun.com/article/20071028/NEWS/71028006/-1/rss01
David Millarch, co-founder of the Champion Tree Project, said: We can rebuild our old-growth forests when we use old-growth forest genetics. The group will grow the cloned trees until they reach two to three feet in height, then plant them in various locations in Californias coastal region. The group will ensure genetic diversity by planting new growth with 80% seedlings and 20% clones. The group will create the clones by sending climbers high into the trees. The climbers will collect tissue samples from the tips of branches, then ship the samples to a lab where they will be raised using one of four different growth techniques. Some have questioned whether cloning is the proper method to restore the forests. Ruskin Hartley, executive director of Save the Redwoods in San Francisco, says that the groups methods are unnecessary and inappropriate. Hartley believes cloning could muddy the gene pool due to regional differences in the species. He also points out that the forests naturally reproduce using clones already, and that many of the forests damaged by logging are now beginning to show naturally grown young redwoods. According to Hartley, The only way that you can really go about restoring the ancient forest is waiting a really long timethats the essence of the oldness of these forests. http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/?p=399
From Earth Tree News(248th edition)
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