POST acquires 1,000 more acres of open space Palo Alto Issues, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Jan 28, 2013 at 3:03 pm
The Peninsula Open Space Trust is richer in open space by nearly 1,000 acres after spending about $13.6 million for three tracts of land in San Mateo County on the western side of the Santa Cruz mountains.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, January 28, 2013, 11:42 AM
Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2013 at 3:03 pm
Meanwhile, PA & surrounding region residential real estate prices continue to go through the roof, making home ownership in the area a pipe dream for those who don't already down, and increasingly difficult for many who do.
I rather suspect the financial benefactors of these environmental groups already have *their* slice of local real estate secured, and would have a different view were they local land 'have-nots'.
Don't get me wrong, I love them thar hills as much or more than the next person (and grew up visiting them frequently), but I also feel like much of the land purchases to the west of us are overkill that is effectively killing the dream of being able to afford living here.
I'm sure many/most disagree with me, but that's my opinion.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton, on Jan 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
I recently had the opportunity to meet with a 4th generation farmer who owns land on the coast side. He is leaving the coast and California because of the pressures from POST and other environmentalists have made it impossible for him to continue to farm his family's land.
He made me realize that there are always at least two sides to any story and that the continued growth of POST will inevitably drive out local farmers.
Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm
Peter, what do you mean by 'pressure'? If the farmer owns the land and has been working it for generations, what could POST and other environmentalists do to make it hard/impossible for him to continue to farm his family's land?
BTW, I'd definitely put locally-grown organic farming above environmental corridor enlargement in order of relative importance. We want & need our local produce for health & strategic reasons - the same cannot be said for sparsely visited mega-parks.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton, on Jan 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
"If the farmer owns the land and has been working it for generations, what could POST and other environmentalists do to make it hard/impossible for him to continue to farm his family's land?"
They restrict his water supply, prohibit him via other agencies from adding or even repairing/replacing his farm structures, prohibit his stock from grazing on adjacent lands that POST now owns that he used to lease for grazing etc. I was amazed at the number of obstacles that POST puts in front of the coastal farmers - all in the name of land preservation. But I now realize that land preservation sadly means the elimination of farming.
Posted by bru, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm bru is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
> but I also feel like much of the land purchases to the west of us are overkill that is effectively killing the dream of being able to afford living here.
I don't really see how that would work?
The land in the hills, were it added to the real estate market does not seem like it would drop prices in the area significantly or at all to me ... how do you figure?
As long as this is not a long range city investment to hold land for very rich people, or to do favors for rich people and keep the bounds of some of these billionaires estates from having to touch the property of commoners ;-) what is the difference?
I just wonder relative to current real estate prices if the city gave away money or got a good deal on this land?
On the question of farming it doesn't sound like both sides are being represented fully here in this conversation. Farmers like to play the put-upon victims, but often they are larger corporations or are used to exploiting the land and resources they do not really own and them complain when things change.
Posted by who cares, a resident of the Palo Alto Hills neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2013 at 7:07 pm
More land for POST- more taxes for residents of surrounding county residents. Ever wonder where POST gets it's money from? Need only look at your property taxes to find out. This self serving group recently paid millions back to Santa Clara County residents for imposing an illegal property tax fee. After fighting litigation to keep this illegal fee, they then spent taxpayer money sending flyers out to try and convince taxpayers to let them keep the money even though they were ordered by the courts to return money obtained by this illegal tax. Those who feel POST is somehow serving the public are sadly mistaken. Using tax incentives (our money) to convince uninformed land owners to contribute (sale) their family land to their agency only continues the circle of ignorance and places further burden and restrictions on local land owners by having POST lobby for restriction of land use rights on those current owners who have been the caretakers of land and now sought after by this corrupt group.
Posted by Not an issue, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm
If Peter says it, it has to be true. He is using his own name so he has source credibility. Of course, mike is using his own name as well, so he must haven sour e credibility also. What a conundrum! Whom to believe
Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2013 at 7:53 pm
I have a small (80 acre) ranch next to the Pinnacle National (now) Park. I have little doubt that the Federal government will come after my ranch, in order to expand the park. Frankly, I am all for wild lands, and wildlife, as I am currently privileged to have. If the Feds or Nature Conservancy, etc., approach me, with dignity, I will listen to them. However, if they attempt to regulate me out of my ranch, I will fight it...and it will cost them much more, in the long run.
Posted by Maureen, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm
>>Ever wonder where POST gets it's money from? Need only look at your property taxes to find out. This self serving group recently paid millions back to Santa Clara County residents for imposing an illegal property tax fee.
@who cares: You are completely wrong. POST is a private organization and runs completely on donations. You obviously don't know what you are talking about.
Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2013 at 8:46 pm
@Maureen -- that's a matter of opinion. The illegal tax reference is probably this one -- Web Link
The Santa Clara County Open Space Authority apparently overstepped their bounds, according to the California Supreme Court, and was required to reimburse property tax payers $57 million. Much of the land that POST acquires by purchase or otherwise, gets resold to public agencies like the SCCOSA -- Web Link
So in a sense, it's difficult to deny that POST is subsidized by tax-payer money.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton, on Jan 29, 2013 at 10:24 am Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
I am well aware of the laws governing Western water rights and I am also convinced that POST subverted those laws in denying this farmer a portion of his water rights. On the coast nobody has the political and economic power to fight POST.
Posted by curmudgeon, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2013 at 11:41 am
"I am well aware of the laws governing Western water rights and I am also convinced that POST subverted those laws..."
Then present your evidence in court and hang 'em up high by their Birkenstocks.
This shows how far our national character has fallen. Four generations ago, hardy pioneers carved farms out of the wilderness using simple tools and their hard labor. Four generations later, their descendants whine about being defeated by sandal-wearing, brie-eating, white-wine-sipping environmentalists.
Posted by Happy with open space, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2013 at 5:48 pm
Well, I for one think it's wonderful news that POST purchased and will preserve this land as open space, with the full cooperation of the selling farmer it seems.
All our open space is one of the major reasons this area is so wonderful to live in. Thank goodness we are visionary leaders in the 60s and 70s who started this, otherwise by now this area would probably resemble Los Angeles.
Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community, on Jan 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm
I am for saving land, farm land, wild land, beach land, wet lands. But we need to create more housing, not those big homes or more leap frog housing tracts in the Central Valley or the Sierra Mountains.
People driving on small amounts of freeways, what do we have connecting San Jose area. 101, 680 all come in from the east, 92 and the 84 bridges. We are going to be connected to BART, Cal Train is a good system, but very limited, public transit from Tracy, Modesto or Stockton, just takes to long.
The only option is the car, don't say bikes, who in the right mind will ride a bike from San Jose to Menlo Park, or switch it back around.
Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jan 30, 2013 at 1:28 am Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Peter, I think your farmer may be basing his beliefs on old information/practices. It was the case that for a long time grazing was prohibited on conservation lands around here. However, it was eventually realized that our local native grasslands co-evolved with grazing wildlife, and that without some grazing the plants had issues and did not create a healthy and balanced ecosystem. It is my understanding that groups that manage such lands now want limited grazing of grasslands to keep things in balance. Yes, overgrazing is detrimental, but undergrazing can be as well.
Your farmer may want to get involved with and help from groups like the San Mateo or Santa Clara Food System Alliance Web Link
I am pleased to hear of this acquisition to protect and connect wildlands. Many animals range over large areas and need connected wildlife corridors to survive. It's not really farmers who are the problem, but sprawling development (which also threaten farmers and wiped out the valley's agriculture). Sprawling development can also be detrimental to municipalities' abilities to serve their residents with water, gas, electricity, trash collection, schools, let alone public transportation. More mansions in the hills aren't going to help Joe the Plumber by a home, but affordable BMR apartments along El Camino Real might.
Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jan 30, 2013 at 3:53 am
Cedric, with all due respect, I think that your statement perfectly illustrates the lack of perspective many supporters of unrestrained POST land buying have.
When Barron Park was first developed, do you think those who wanted to live there would've been happy had someone said to them "Gee, I think we should keep that as orchards"?
It's one thing to want development to be constrained, but wholly another to be the one willing to / needing to live in the BMR apartments. *Those* are the people, frankly, whose opinion is not heard enough, and you should try putting yourself in their shoes.
I, for one, could envisage more development in the foothills that would bring much more sustainable economic growth to Palo Alto, and that would allow for a much, much, much better quality of life for its inhabitants. But *where are the moderate environmentalists* who want *both* wildlands *and* the flat to lower real estate prices that might come from less constrained development?
Posted by Emily Renzel, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jan 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm
I support POST's open space acquisitions. They protect the watershed which slows flooding in nearby urban areas. They provide vital wildlife corridors. And, in many instances, acquired lands are leased, or leased back, to farmers as part of the conservation plans.
As for the Owens Valley, the City of Los Angeles purchased the water rights from some prior owners who could have chosen not to sell. It had the "effect" of impacting present landowners, but they bought land without the water rights that had already been sold. Caveat emptor.
Public costs of developing foothills land are very pricey. Roads, utilities, fire & police protection are much more costly than in urban areas. We should all applaud protection of open lands.
Posted by Mike Alexander, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm Mike Alexander is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Searching online, I think Peter's talking about the Giusti family, who sold their Half Moon Bay farm to POST and leased it back. A few years later, Fish & Game shut down the water diversion on that farm because of its impact on steelhead migration, which would have been done whether POST was there or not.
POST has designed, and now has (this month) gotten approval for, a new system that addresses DFG's concerns. Would your landlord do that?
POST uses what's called "conservation grazing" to minimize grazing's negative impacts, while still getting the benefits mentioned by Cedric. It's just a rotation scheme that leaves a different portion ungrazed each year. Smart stockmen have been doing this for centuries.