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Feb 12th
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Supervisor Ellen Pirie

ellen_pirieWhat are some of the biggest issues surrounding vacation rental homes in the county, and how are they being addressed?

Coastal neighborhoods have seen an increase in both the number of vacation rental homes and the year-round marketing of those homes. This evolution has caused growing problems for residential neighborhoods, where the complaints include loud, late-night parties, excessive traffic, loss of neighborhood parking, and garbage. The vacation rentals are in essence a commercial business in a residential neighborhood.Unlike hotels or motels, there are currently no restrictions or limits on vacation rentals, nor are any operational permits required. Capitola is currently the only jurisdiction in the county to govern vacation rentals. The city requires a permit and a business license and limits where rentals can go. Monterey and Carmel have much stricter rules, essentially banning short-term rentals in all residential districts.

Regulations under consideration include registration and licensing of vacation rental homes, minimum rental periods, prohibiting additional vacation rentals, occupancy and vehicle limits, and a complaint process.

In addition to the public meeting before the Board of Supervisors in June, a group of vacation homeowners, neighbors of vacation homes, and county leaders have met and talked about the issues. The Planning Department will draft an ordinance regulating vacation rentals in the next month and will present it to the Housing Advisory Commission on Sept. 20. The proposals will then go to the Planning Commission before reaching the Board of Supervisors for final approval. Clearly this is an issue whose time has come. I expect to see new regulations in effect by next spring.

What are the plans for the Highway 1 Auxiliary Lanes Project?  What does it mean for county drivers?

The Soquel/Morrissey auxiliary lanes project proposes to add an "auxiliary lane" northbound and southbound between Soquel Avenue and Morrissey Boulevard, respectively—a distance of less than one mile in each direction. An auxiliary lane is a lane that runs from one freeway entrance to the next exit. It extends the area in which entering traffic can merge onto the freeway and exiting traffic move into the exit lane.  There is an existing auxiliary lane on Highway 1 between 41st Avenue and Bay Avenue.

As part of this project, the La Fonda Avenue over-crossing must be replaced to accommodate the auxiliary lanes under the bridge. The new La Fonda Avenue bridge will be wider to provide bike lanes and wider sidewalks for pedestrians, making it easier and safer to bicycle and walk on La Fonda.

This project is designed to complement the work recently completed at the Highway 1/17 interchange by eliminating the existing lane drop north of the La Fonda Avenue and extending the southbound lane as an exit only lane to the Soquel Avenue interchange.

Construction could begin as early as Summer 2011, and the project is scheduled to take two years to complete.

The one-mile section of Highway 1 between Morrissey Boulevard and Soquel has historically been one of the most congested sections of Highway 1 in our county, carrying more than 100,000 vehicles per day.  Highway traffic spills over onto parallel roads, affecting residents in the nearby neighborhoods.

In addition, Soquel Drive and Avenue are home to two hospitals, two major medical clinics and scores of dental and doctors' offices.

The improvements on the highway will serve a wide mix of transportation modes, from express buses to private vehicles to bicycles, as well as reduce spillover traffic in the neighborhoods.

This project won't solve all the Highway 1 congestion problems, but it is a common-sense approach to transportation that will improve safety and reduce congestion on one of the most heavily traveled sections of the highway in our county.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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