SANTA CRUZ – City leaders will hear new details on Tuesday about a plan to move the Homeless Garden Project’s agricultural skills training program to a 10-acre slice of undeveloped urban open space.
The proposal, involving an estimated two-year effort that would require an update of the city’s Pogonip master plan and an environmental impact assessment, has gained its share of community support and opposition since the terrain changed. first aired over the summer. Originally, the organization aimed for an area of similar size closer to the outer edge of the park.
Leaders of the Homeless Garden Project are seeking permission to use the city-owned site – on land in front of the dilapidated and closed Pogonip Clubhouse featured in the 1987 vampire film “The Lost Boys” – due to contaminated soil in their long-planned Lower Main Meadow. residence. Historically, the club’s activities have included clay pigeon shooting that left Lower Meadow soils encrusted with lead and other contaminants, the town discovered after launching an environmental investigation at the site in 2018.
Council generally approved the plan in August, requesting timing and cost estimates from city staff, leading public education efforts, and sending it to the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission for comment. The commission voted on Sept. 13 to approve the effort and proposed timeline to consider relocating the farm to Upper Meadow.
Pogonip a “crowned jewel”
The privileged new site, however, deserved public criticism, for reasons ranging from personal preferences and procedure – some residents alleged insufficient public notice before meetings – to environmental and legal constraints. Many community members who opposed the resettlement also said they supported the Homeless Garden Project’s mission, according to dozens of letters sent to the city this month.
In her letter to the city, resident Rebecca Supplee described Pogonip as the “crown jewel of the city’s greenbelt,” adding that the originally proposed site of Lower Meadow, close to the existing agricultural uses of Golf Club Drive, was the natural location of the Homeless Garden Project. Linda Brodman, president of the Santa Cruz County chapter of the California Native Plant Society, also wrote to the city that she was against planting row crops in sensitive habitats.
“The proposed site includes extensive wetlands, protected by the Federal Water Sanitation Act and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act,” Brodman wrote to the Parks Commission. and recreation of the city in a letter dated September 13. “The original EIR for the property correctly noted that this upper main grassland was not ‘feasible for garden relocation… due to the presence of the Ohlone tiger beetle habitat and the grassland in coastal terrace ”.
The “Pogonip Farm and Garden” was designed to triple the vocational training capacity of the Homeless Garden Project over what can be provided at its currently leased site on Shaffer Road, according to a Department of Parks and Recreation report prepared for the city council before Tuesday’s meeting.
Cost and benefit
Many members of the community have also stepped forward in support of the Homeless Garden Project’s mission, citing the long-standing importance of the organization’s mission.
“Moving the HGP from the Delaware Avenue site to increasing the area of the Pogonip farm is a strategic plan that increases the cultivable area in the long term,” wrote the volunteer navigators of the Santa County Director’s Housing. Cruz, John Dietz, September 12. “There have been countless delays in this move due to regulatory processes. A most suitable part of the Pogonip area has been identified as offering an ecologically safer area with lower environmental impact: Upper Meadow.
According to the city report, cleaning the ground to the enhanced environmental standards necessary for agricultural uses would cost at least $ 1 million. Without soil remediation, the Homeless Garden Project could farm about 4.5 acres of the original 9-acre Lower Meadow site, according to the report.
“If requested by City Council to move forward with the proposed process, over the next 90 days Parks and Recreation staff as well as the Homeless Garden Project will take the first due diligence steps to answer key questions and seek public input. Says the council report.
The council will also be asked on Tuesday to support the hiring of a planning consultant to help with changes to the city’s master plan and analysis of the California Environmental Quality Act, with an estimated price tag of around $ 102,500.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
• What: Meeting of the City Council of Santa Cruz.
• When: Tuesday 12:15 pm.
• Where: TV: Comcast Channel 25, or Zoom: zoom.us/j/94684401344.
• At issue: the relocation of the Homeless Garden Project to Pogonip.
• Participate: Toll free: 833-548-0276 or 833-548-0282. Meeting ID 946 8440 1344. When prompted for the participant ID, press #. Press * 9 to “raise your hand” and * 6 to unmute.