Santa Cruz Lumber Rules Santa Cruz County supervisors are clamping down hard on the logging industry, and have approved "in concept" new ordinances that limit logging near residences, helicopter harvesting, and logging near riparian corridors. The ordinances are expected to be presented to the state Board of Forestry next year as proposed rules that would impact only Santa Cruz County. The county is one of a handful of California coastal counties that have special authority to propose rules to the nine-member board. In recent years, as the price of timber has skyrocketed, the county's numerous small stands of redwood and douglas fir trees have been logged. Since many homes are located in mountains among the trees, residents have been upset by the increased activity. In November, the Board of Forestry approved 11 rule changes sought by the county. County Principal Planner Mark Deming called them "minor procedural changes." The new rules imposed more requirements on helicopter operations and notification of nearby residents, and also reduced the hours that chains saws could operate near residences. The county's Board of Supervisors is expected to return next year to the Board of Forestry with an additional 10 rule changes that the Forestry Board refused to enact at its November meeting. "We're hoping there's a different Board of Forestry," Deming said, since newly-elected Gov. Gray Davis appoints members of the board. The Board of Supervisors limited logging in the county to certain zoning areas in August 1998. After the Board of Forestry failed to enact 10 of its propsed rules in November, the Board of Supervisors also enacted "in concept" new ordinances that limit helicopter use, prohibit timber harvests within 300 feet of residences, and limit logging within riparian corridors. While the ordinances won't take effect until the spring, they will be sent during that interim to the Coastal Commission for review, Deming said. The Santa Cruz supervisors decided to impose stricter rules based on a 1995 appellate court decision, according to Mike Jani, Chief Forester for Big Creek Lumber. In 1995, the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled in Big Creek Lumber Inc. v. San Mateo County, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 159 (See CP&DR, February 1995), that state timber laws didn't preempt San Mateo County from enacting zoning laws to control the location of commercial timber harvesting. The amendments created buffer zones by prohibiting timber harvesting in certains areas located with 1,000 feet of a residence. Jani said that the proposed ordinances in Santa Cruz County are "much stricter" than those adopted by neighboring San Mateo County. He said the company is looking at the legality of the county's decision to adopt ordinances in concept and then sending them to the Coastal Commission. The new rules adopted by the Board of Forestry in November still need to be approved by the state's Office of Administrative Law. Contacts: Mike Jani, Big Creek Lumber Company, (831) 457-5026. Mark Deming, Principal Planner, Santa Cruz County, (831) 454-2580.