Martin says finish NH 2020 by July |

Martin says finish NH 2020 by July

Let’s finish Natural Heritage 2020 by July, a Nevada County supervisor who is a leading proponent of the embattled resource protection program said Tuesday.

“I cannot commit additional taxpayer money to this program,” Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin wrote in an April 30 letter addressed to “Dear Friends and Neighbors.”

Martin wants the controversial program, which supervisors approved in May 2000, to be concluded in July.

“I want to stop, frankly,” Martin said Thursday morning from her Penn Valley home. “I think the community has had it.

“I don’t want to spend any more money on it, and I don’t want to tear the community in half any more,” she said. “I’m hoping by July 1, the last check is paid for Xeroxing the last report.

“These are tight budget times for the county, and we certainly can’t go to Sierra Business Council and demand more money from them,” she added.

SBC, the county’s nonprofit partner in the program, committed to pay two-thirds of the cost of developing the program. The county has spent more than $200,000 on the program.

Leigh Fitzpatrick, communications director for the council, said, “We’re full-on ready to keep rolling. Until we get a decision from the board, we’re committed to this thing.”

The program’s Scientific Advisory Committee is working on a natural resources report, said Steve Enos, SBC’s project coordinator on NH 2020. The agricultural working group is slated to present its recommendations May 23. Reports from the forestry and recreation working groups have been completed.

Martin said she questioned committing more money to the program when some CAC members at their April 25 meeting objected to devoting even more time to the project.

“Some people valiantly argued that they signed up for the full hitch and would do the full hitch,” Martin said.

Chauncey Poston, chairman of CAC, said, “I can’t disagree with her assessment of timing.

“We’ve been way, way, way behind,” Poston said. “It’s foolish to think we’ll get it done before well into ’03.”

Sue Horne, the south county supervisor opposed to the program, said Martin’s request is “quite a shock” and “is quite a change of direction for her.”

Horne voiced concern that recommendations would not go before voters, as supervisors promised in October, and wondered what use would be made of maps and reports already developed.

Supervisor Peter Van Zant said a July end date is “an appropriate discussion if we’re behind schedule and over budget.”

Fitzpatrick noted that acrimony has dogged the NH 2020 process from the start.

“There were people from the get-go who questioned the people in charge,” he said.

The council facilitated successful programs similar to NH 2020 in Inyo and Placer counties in recent years.

Fitzpatrick lauded the work done by the dozens of volunteers on the CAC and the three working groups.

Supervisors plan to discuss the matter at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

NH 2020 timeline

May 2000: Nevada County supervisors approve starting a two-year program called 3Natural Heritage 2020: A Vision for Nevada County,² and sign a memorandum of understanding with the Sierra Business Council to develop the plan.

July 2000: Supervisors appoint 11 voting, six nonvoting and two alternate members to the Community Advisory Committee. Supervisor Elizabeth Martin is appointed as a nonvoting member.

October 2000: The CAC holds its first meeting.

March 2001: The SBC and county planners hold five public forums.

June 2001: The CAC votes to form three working groups: agriculture, timber and recreation.

October 2001: Two Sierra Pacific Industries foresters quit the timber working group, which was renamed the 3forestry² working group.

January 2002: The forestry and recreation working groups finish reports.

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