After taking another week to consider their options, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors opted last Tuesday, July 24 not to fill the current vacancy on the county planning commission.
The appointment was tabled at the July 17 meeting after 3rd district supervisor Mark Lovelace withdrew two motions to appoint Virginia Graziani and then Mel Kreb to the commission. At 1st district supervisor Jimmy Smith's request, the board decided to take more time to weigh its options.
An at-large position on the commission was left open when longtime commissioner and former chairwoman Mary Gearheart retired in June. The commission's two at-large appointments must be approved by the entire board, while the other five positions are appointed by individual supervisors.
The board voted 4-0 Tuesday, with Smith absent, to leave the position vacant until Jan. 31, 2013, when the seat is up for reappointment. At that time, the board will include a new 1st district and new 2nd district supervisor.
Lovelace said he would prefer the board made an interim appointment, but voiced support for the motion by 2nd district supervisor Clif Clendenen to leave it vacant. Concerns were raised during the previous meeting that whoever is appointed to the interim position could be replaced next year by the new board.
In addition to discussing the commission, the board approved new fees for the Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, which is located about 17 miles east of Fortuna.
On a 4-0 vote, with Smith absent, the board decided to reduce the park's camping fee from $35 to $25 and reduce the day-use fee from $8 to $5. The group campsite fee was increased from $90 to $100, due to a high-demand for the space. The county has been operating the park since May in partnership with the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the Save the Redwoods League. Collected fees, a grant from the Save the Redwoods League and funds from a county settlement with the league are being used to operate the 459-acre park, so the county doesn't have to put any funds toward its operation.
Deputy director of Public Works Environmental Services Hank Seemann said the fees are being reduced so the park can compete with the nearby Van Duzen-Pamplin Grove County Park, which is $20 a night. He said the hope is that the reduced price at Grizzly Creek will give locals an incentive to visit.
The board was also presented with an update on revisions being made to the county's urgency ordinance.
On June 19, the supervisors voted 3-2, with Smith and Clendenen dissenting, to direct county staff to look into modifying the urgency ordinance - including repealing the overnight restriction. Currently, the ordinance - enacted March 27 - prohibits activities in front of the courthouse from 9:30 p.m. to 6 a.m., prohibits people from erecting structures or securing items to county property and other activities.
County administrative officer Phillip Smith-Hanes said the draft revisions will likely be before the board Aug. 14. “We were fully intending to get those revisions back before the end of July,” Smith-Hanes said, adding that additional meetings need to be held before that can happen.
He said the good news is that a draft of the revisions could be available far in advance of the meeting, giving the public more time to review the documents. Lovelace encouraged him to make the revisions available to the public as soon as possible.
As part of its consent agenda, the board approved sending a letter commenting on the Bureau of Reclamation's plan to use up to 92,000 acre-feet of stored Trinity River water to supplement flows in the Klamath River this fall.
The letter commends the bureau for its decision, but asks that public advisories be put in place if the water is released, so people know about the change in water flow.
Megan Hansen can be reached at 441-0511 or email@example.com.