Moving Towards a Special County Wide Open Space District

44509600_8b75b27135Perhaps the most commonly shared value in our community is our love for the natural environment.

Supervisor McPherson is interested in exploring the concept of an Santa Cruz Open Space District which will enhance and protect our rich open space and environmental treasures.

Proof of wide-spread dedication to a healthy and sustained environment was again made clear in the June election. Passage of Measure AA in the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District (San Mateo County and Santa Clara County) and Measure F in Santa Cruz County were the cases in point for 2014. These two measures each received more than two-thirds vote.

As the Board of Supervisors began annual hearings on the County’s proposed 2014-15 Fiscal Year budget, many residents of Santa Cruz County appeared and spoke about these successful ballot measures, and encouraged the Board to explore whether or not we can do a better job of protecting our environmental through the establishment of an open-space district.

Groups such as Save Our Shores, Sempervirens Fund, the Coastal Watershed Council, and others, pointed to the robust efforts in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Sonoma counties to provide natural resource protection, active and passive recreational opportunities, and land and water quality improvements through the mechanism of an open space district.

Based on the testimony of those folks on the first day of budget hearings, and the success of local ballot measures, the Board of Supervisors directed the County Administrative Officer to explore the issues and steps that would be involved in establishing an open-space (or similar) district in our community. The vote was unanimous.

The Board of Supervisors will receive an initial report back from the County Administrative Officer in November. That report will be prepared by the CAO in conjunction with County Treasurer Fred Keeley (who also served as 5th District Supervisor, and represented us in the California State Assembly).