05/01/2012: "Confusion On County vs. Private Form?"
County Council members Patty Miller and Richard Fralick reportedly received complains about a form that can be filled out and submitted to the County by April 30th, as part of the on-going update of the Shoreline Master Program.
The County does have a simple one page form, but in response to the complaints about "some other form", said no form was in fact required to make comments on a Draft SMP (Shoreline Master Program) Inventory and Characterization report that listed existing conditions and uses of the shoreline in SJC.
The purpose of the form -that need not be used- was to aid reporting of any errors or additions that someone may believe is a mistake in the report. The form could be used to submit what they believed needed to be corrected or added; but the comments could be submitted in any form, or on any form, they wished to use.
Enter the CSA (Common Sense Alliance ). The CSA informed their readers the “Report establishes a baseline that may limit the use of your land. Any change you might propose, even so much as a minor alteration in landscape, may require a permit and a determination that there will be “no net loss” of the "functions and values" of the ecological system.”
The CSA was concerned the public may not understand the potential importance of having a record of current uses of a property -uses that would be allowed to continue, even if the uses became non-conforming uses after the new regulations were in place; but if-and-only-if the uses were documented prior to the passing of the final update of the shoreline regulations.
For the CSA the goal was to avoid having to prove, after the fact, the uses were historical. The CSA thought the comment period was a good time to do just that.
The CSA paid a well known land use attorney to draft up a Form that would cover the important points that the CSA and their attorney believed were most important in making comments to the Inventory & Characterization report.
They put it and their recommend instructions on their website, and also emailed it out to those on their email list.
According to the County, some people became confused that the CSA recommended reporting form was a County form. Calls to Miller and Fralick were not returned, so no additional information was available at the time of the posting of this report. And in any case, the deadline to submit the "form." or any form, in any form, has come and gone.