Fern Canyon lot conservation

Fern Canyon lot conservation


Board of Directors


FROM: John F. Weigold, IV, General Manager; Carlos Mendoza, Facilities & Resources Manager

Meeting Date: October 20, 2022

Subject: Discussion and Consideration of Acquisition of Land Conservancy Lot in Fern Canyon and Adoption of Resolution 70-2022 Authorizing Acceptance of the Lot

RECOMMENDATIONS: Staff recommends that the Board of Directors discuss and consider approving a Real Property Transfer Agreement (“Agreement”) with the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County (LCSLO) for the transfer of one lot (APN 023-341-065), subject to District Counsel’s approval, and adoption of Resolution 70-2022 authorizing acceptance of the lot.

FISCAL IMPACT: The lot is not currently on the annual weed abatement program. The lot has some aging Monterey Pine trees, invasive plants and has accumulation of fuel loads. In the future, funds will be required to address these issues.

DISCUSSION: In June 2017, the Board of Directors entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with LCSLO for the Transfer Development Credits Lot Retirement Program (TDC Program). Under the MOU, LCSLO will acquire parcels by donation or purchase from landowners and immediately transfer the parcels to CCSD. CCSD then encumbers the parcels with a conservation easement in favor of LCSLO, effectively retiring all development rights on the property. LCSLO has identified a landowner that wishes to donate an eligible lot to LCSLO and will provide the Agreement to facilitate the transfer, which is subject to District Counsel’s approval. The Agreement will transfer the lot from LCSLO to the CCSD and memorialize the process described above.

The North Coast Area Plan (NCAP) contains provisions relating to LCSLO’s promotion of the TDC Program, as well as implementation of the CCSD’s Buildout Reduction Program (BRP) through the acquisition of vacant lots and retirement of development rights. The TDC Program voluntarily retires lots within designated sensitive resource areas of Monterey Pine Forest Habitat by recording a conservation easement or other document on the property. The building potential of the retired lot is then transferred to a buildable lot outside of the CCSD’s service area to allow for development of dwellings with a larger square footage than would otherwise be allowed by planning area standards. LCSLO manages the program, coordinating land purchases or donations with lot owners and turning the land over to the CCSD for long term management.

The TDC Program was established in the late 1980s as a way to address concerns over the development of antiquated and substandard lots in Cambria. Several thousand parcels created in the 1920s and 1930s are located on densely forested and steeply sloped lands. Rapid 104 2 development threatened the rare Monterey Pine Forest and presented erosion and sedimentation concerns, as well as further straining the area’s already limited water supply. The lot is located on Camborne Place in the Fern Canyon Preserve as shown on the attached assessor’s parcel map. LCSLO indicates this lot has a high ecological value and is worth retiring through the TDC Program. Staff inspected the lot and did not find any hazards. The CCSD owns several lots surrounding the property as shown in the assessor’s parcel map. There will not be an immediate maintenance cost to the lot as it is currently not on the annual weed abatement program; however, if the CCSD wishes to address the invasive plants and the accumulation of fuel loads there will be an associated cost to this, which would be paid out of the General Fund. This transaction will also help implement the BRP.

Fern Canyon lot pictures

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