Eureka attorney Bill Barnum
addresses spectators at the timber production zone protest held at
the county Courthouse in Eureka Saturday. His family owns Barnum
Timber Co., which has TPZ acreage. Daniel Solomon/The Eureka
by Wendy Butler,
11/4/2007, The Eureka Reporter
Their father was visibly angry, and, Garett and Elizabeth
Pierson said, they became angry, too.
They are not landowners, but, the 16-year-olds said, they
identified with the issue they perceived was at hand —
“Slowly but surely, our American God-given rights have been
taken away,” Garett Pierson said.
So, the two founded the Humboldt Property Alliance as a direct
result of a Humboldt County Board of Supervisors’ interim
ordinance passed Oct. 9.
The ordinance suspends building permit entitlements on all
timber production zone lands in the county.
HPA held a protest/petition signing Saturday on the steps of
the Humboldt County Courthouse in Eureka.
During the succession of podium speakers, passing cars and
trucks honked their horns in response to a variety of picket
signs. The sizable gathering ranged from families with small
children to people like Joe Russ, whose family is notable in
the ranching community, to Supervisor Roger Rodoni.
The latter dissented on the Oct. 9 and an Oct. 23 supervisors’
vote, which was to have the county Planning Commission develop
two ordinances addressing single-family residential
development on TPZ lands.
The supervisors are due to hold a public hearing on Tuesday at
approximately 1:30 p.m. or shortly thereafter to consider
extending the interim ordinance.
They were not compelled to hold the hearing on Tuesday; they
had 45 days by law. However, a staff report said, the
supervisors will not be meeting on Nov. 13 or 20.
Supervisors Jill Geist and Bonnie Neely previously said they
introduced the interim ordinance as a result of Pacific Lumber
Co.’s proposed bankruptcy reorganization plan, which includes
the sale of 21,800 acres of second-growth commercial
timberland for a Redwood Ranch Development — 136 residential
Staff has said the plan potentially could conflict with state
law as outlined in the 1982 California Timberland Productivity
California Government Code Section 51104 (h) states a
“compatible use” is one that “does not significantly detract
from the use of the property for, or inhibit, growing and
harvesting timber” on TPZ land.
In that same section, there is a phrase that found its way
into supervisors’ discussions on Oct. 9 and is also in county
planning staff’s proposed revisions of the county TPZ code —
“A residence or other structure necessary for the management
of land zoned as timberland production.”
That depends on how one reads state law, and, Eureka attorney
Bill Barnum said, county planning staff is misrepresenting
that law. He said the key word in the aforementioned sentence
He spoke about his concerns during the Saturday protest, as
Barnum also has taken county planning staff to task for, in
his opinion, ignoring the supervisors’ Oct. 23 direction to
have the Planning Commission “develop, hear, consider and
recommend” two draft ordinances to the supervisors.
A revised TPZ ordinance, including several newly composed
sentences in the “Special Restrictions Regarding Residences”
section, will be heard first by the Forestry Review Committee
Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Those aforementioned sentences include: “Credible evidence has
been provided that demonstrates that the residence is
necessary for the management of the timberland.”
“Obviously most of the community doesn’t own TPZ land,”
Elizabeth Pierson said during an interview before Saturday’s
speeches began. “Everybody in the community should be
concerned about property rights, in general.”
At a little past noon, speakers addressed the crowd.
Elizabeth Marshall Maybee said she has heard supervisors
discuss the beauty of the redwoods.
She spoke about what she considers the beauty of liberty and
Debbie Provolt also spoke about freedom, and her belief that
revising the TPZ ordinance to include a special-permit or a
conditional-use permit process “will not help the timberlands
in this county.”
“You will have to prove your house is needed for the
management of the timber,” she said.
Russ said the interim ordinance was a first for him.
He formerly was on the county Planning Commission and has
served on the California Board of Forestry.
“I’ve never seen anything in my life that paralleled what
happened the other day,” he said.
He, like previous speakers, gave his opinion that the majority
ought to make itself heard and fight for what it believes.