CPA Public Comments: LAFCO re Bailey Avenue.

Citizens Planning Association of Santa Barbara County has been closely following this annexation attempt since it was first proposed in 1998. In the past, LAFCO has denied the annexation. Today the city returns with another approach, a more piecemeal approach for 2 of 6 parcels, this time with a SOI expansion request.

CPA will focus our comments today on the discussion memorandum submitted by Mr. Hertzberg where he argues that there are now ‘new rules’ for LAFCO based on changes made in 2020.

Mr. Hertzberg argues we should give up prime agricultural land because of the existing state housing crisis.. State mandates which are now controlling the Housing Element Updates do call for increasing densities and upzoning to accommodate the RHNA numbers. However, the policies also state that prime ag. land is to be spared at all costs. The City of Lompoc has already mapped out its HE without needing to destroy the prime ag. land . The County HE has very few mapped parcels in our area because RHNA numbers are not as high as previous cycles.

Mr. Hertzberg states lafco must now consider environmental justice and then goes on about the dangers of pesticides being used near several public schools. CPA supports environmental justice but we also need to know the facts. Those of us who have lived in Lompoc a long time know these ‘pesticide’ battles have been fought in the past, creating conflict between ag. and those who prefer development. Our local farmers, several of whom are in attendance today, farm responsibly and follow all mandates the state and feds put on our Testing occurs and as far as we know. Pesticide levels are within safe range.

That takes us to building sustainable communities Mr. Hertzberg argues building on our farm land will create community. CPA sees this differently. Our local agriculture provides jobs, and provides our farmers markets and grocery chains stocked with fresh produce. Our farmers give to Food Banks. Workers are not commuting to South County, which contributes to Vehicle Miles Traveled, the antithesis of a sustainable community. Ag. land produces 70 times LESS GHG emissions than paved over urban areas.

In conclusion, CPA urges the commissioners to be informed by the existing mandates of LAFCO. CPA believes Preservation of prime ag. lands, creating a viable sustainable community and preventing urban sprawl are realistic goals that could be supported by denying this sphere of influence expansion today.

Thank you.