Seascape Uplands Subdivision – Aptos Area, Santa Cruz County

Issue: A subdivision was proposed on vacant 190-acre site in the Aptos area. The Santa Cruz County’s General Plan designated the entire site for urban expansion but the property contained several environmentally sensitive habitats and species that were protected by either local, State or federal regulations, including the Endangered Species Act

Subdivision Map for the Seascape Uplands project

Solution:  Managed the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project, which resolved how to allow urban development while protecting the site’s rich natural resources. This was the first project in the County that proposed encroachment on the habitat of a federally listed wildlife species, the Santa Cruz Long-toed salamander. Other environmental issues included impacts to rare and locally unique plant and animal species, conservation of oak woodlands, ridgetop development, visual impacts to scenic corridors and school overcrowding. Tasks included review of the proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (to address impacts to the salamander), presentations at numerous public hearings, representing the County at the Coastal Commission hearing and assisting County Counsel with defending against litigation from project opponents. The project was approved, based on staff recommendation, for 107 units with a 125-acre biological preserve by the Board of Supervisors on November 1, 1994. This approval was sustained by the Coastal Commission on appeal. After approval, Kim monitored the implementation of the rigorous mitigation measures and other permit requirements at the project site.