Santa Cruz County Planning Commission
The County Planning Commission acts as an advisory body to the County Board of Supervisors on matters concerning growth, development, housing and environmental conservation. The Commission has been established pursuant to the California Government Code and County Code Chapter 2.74.
The Planning Commission is composed of five members and five alternates; one of each from the five Supervisorial Districts. The Board of Supervisors appoints these commissioners and alternates for a period of four years. The current Planning Commissioners are:
- 1st District: Michael Guth (Chair), Steve Piercy (alternate)
- 2nd District: Melanie Shaffer Freitas, Albert Aramburu (alternate)
- 3rd District: Rachel Dann, Denise Holbert (alternate)
- 4th District: Judith Lazenby (Vice-Chair), Martin Garcia (alternate)
- 5th District: Renee Shepherd, Rick Jones (alternate)
The functions of the Planning Commission include the following:
- Develop and maintain a general plan;
- Develop such specific plans as may be necessary or desirable;
- Review the annual Planning Department work program and budget, and make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors;
- Periodically review the county capital improvement program for consistency with the general plan and related elements;
- Develop and maintain, with staff, a Commission policy manual;
- Communicate with other county advisory bodies concerned with planning matters;
- Exercise any other responsibilities which may be set forth in the Commission's bylaws approved by the Board of Supervisors.
In addition to these functions, the Planning Commission has been designated by the County Code as the Approving Body for a number of different types of Development Permits and Land Divisions. The Commission's permit approval authority includes:
- All land divisions less than 19 lots.
- All commercial/industrial/institutional developments of greater than 20,000 square feet in area
- All residential development, other than land divisions, of 5 to 19 units
- All County Park Master Plans
- All Mining Permits
- Large Grading Projects
- All appeals filed from actions of the Zoning Administrator
In addition, the Planning Commission makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on all projects that require final Board approval. These include all residential development of 20 units/lots or more, all proposals to rezone land or to amend the General Plan/Local Coastal Program, Planned Unit Developments, and Specific Plans.
All actions of the Planning Commission are appealable to the Board of Supervisors as described in Chapter 18.10 of the County Code.
For more information on Santa Cruz County Commissions, Committees, and Advisory Bodies, click here.