ZAYANTE -- Nearly two dozen San Lorenzo Valley residents gathered at the Zayante Fire House on Thursday to toss around ideas on how they and county officials can work together toward a more sustainable future.
Among the ideas developed during small-group brainstorming sessions were creating more bike and pedestrian paths and carving out areas where food can be grown locally, rather than hauled over long distances. Other themes revolved around such alternative energy sources as solar and biodiesel fuel, and building housing closer to the areas where most people work, and transit lines to get them back and forth.
It was the last in a series of meetings officials have held around the county over the last month, aiming to get input from a wide swath of residents as part of the Transit Corridors Plan for Sustainable Communities in Santa Cruz County.
"This is our chance to try to plan what we'd like to see rather than what we have to accept," said 1st District Supervisor John Leopold, who held a meeting on the topic earlier this year.
The basic idea behind that plan is to ensure future growth and development in Aptos, Soquel and Live Oak is more sustainable, with an emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making "better connections between where people live and where they work," Planning Director Kathy Previsich said.
Where are the greatest opportunities for growth? Where should transit lines be built so they benefit the
A progress report on the work done so far this year is due to the county's Board of Supervisors in January.
The first phase of the project wrapped up last month, and involved documenting zoning, urban design, housing, transportation and other existing conditions in the plan area, Aptos, Live Oak and Soquel.
Those studies showed, for example, that there are 17,000 jobs in that area, out of a total 110,000 across the county. Of those who live in the plan area, 80 percent work in Santa Cruz County and 75 percent commute alone.
The information gathered at the community meetings since October will be used to prepare a vision statement, goals and policies for the overall plan, and should be completed sometime next month.
The county planners and consultants will then turn their attention to alternative development scenarios, all of which also will take land use, housing, transportation and other issues into account.
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TRANSIT CORRIDORS PLAN
To view the existing conditions report, and a timeline for the three-year project, go to http://transitcorridorsplan.org.