SCOTTS VALLEY -- Scotts Valley will work with its partners over the next year to develop a long-range plan for the 160 acres of open space off Glenwood Drive, ultimately leading to a trail system for use by school children and the public at large.
Those plans have been in place since 2003, when the city approved the creation of the Glenwood Open Space Management Plan. Baseline conditions in the area have already been documented, and work on a plan to protect the area's plant and animal species will soon be completed.
Plans call for the area, located near the high school and Vine Hill Elementary, to be managed by the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. The trust's conservation director, Bryan Largay, conceded at Wednesday's City Council meeting that the process has "dragged on perhaps longer than it needed to," but said the trust wants to work with the city to "finalize the plan and get public access as efficiently as possible."
David Sanguinetti, a commissioner with the city's Parks and Recreation Department, said he was glad to hear talks have "revved back up," adding the best way to protect the area's resources is to develop a workable plan.
"Even though it is closed to the public, the public is still using it, and they're using it inappropriately," he said.
When the city approved the Glenwood subdivision nearly a decade ago, an endowment also was created. It now stands at $1.2 million, and the long-term goal is for the property to be maintained with those funds rather than dipping into the general fund, said Corrie Kates, the city's deputy city manager.
In other business, council members held a lengthy discussion on a proposal to consolidate the water district with the city, an idea that has also languished in recent years.
Two years ago, the council created a subcommittee to look into the possibility of the merger to erase any duplications in staff and facilities. Some talks were held later with water district officials, but the idea never picked up momentum because of lack of interest from the water district, Councilman Dene Bustichi said last month.
At Wednesday's meeting, the council agreed to ask that the item be discussed at a future water district board meeting so it can get a better idea whether there is enough interest to justify the time and expense of pursuing the matter.
The discussion came about six weeks after Bustichi filed a public records request for information on a special meeting held by the water district's board of directors, largely to discuss the future of the district. Officials have so far declined to fill the request, saying personnel issues were involved.
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