Perhaps Ralph Faust didn’t want to refight the General Plan Update battles he’s already spent three-plus years on. Or maybe he just didn’t want to do it on a commission that’s now stacked with allies and former members of the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights (HumCPR).
Whatever the reason, Faust, who was just reappointed to the Planning Commission’s Third District seat last year, chose to step down this week. Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace chose as his replacement Noah Levy, an Arcata resident and program director for the SoHum nonprofit Sanctuary Forest.
Levy is also on the board of the nonprofit Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), arch-nemesis of HumCPR. This ought to keep things heated as the Planning Commission continues to re-review the Conservation and Open Space Element of the county’s ludicrously overdue General Plan Update, which resumes tonight.
Here’s a press release from Lovelace:
Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace has announced that Planning Commissioner Ralph Faust has chosen to step down from the Humboldt County Planning Commission. Lovelace has appointed Arcata resident Noah Levy to serve the remainder of Faust’s term, which expires in 2017.
Levy came to Humboldt County from the Bay Area in 2002, and lived in Garberville until he and his family moved to Arcata in 2012. He has a B.A. from Columbia College in New York and studied law at U.C. Berkeley. Levy works as the Lands Program Director for Southern-Humboldt based Sanctuary Forest, which finds him back in the Mattole watershed on a weekly basis. He brings years of experience working with landowners to help them conserve and steward their working lands. Levy also serves on the board of directors for the Environmental Protection Information Center.
“I believe Noah will bring a new and unique perspective to the Planning Commission,” said Lovelace. “He’s smart, diplomatic and able to work with people with diverse viewpoints from across Humboldt County.”
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to join the Planning Commission,” said Levy. “My work with rural landowners and a wide range of resource agencies and conservation organizations in Humboldt County has convinced me that there is more potential for common ground when it comes to land-use decisions than the public dialogue would sometimes suggest. I hope to help shape fair, farsighted policies that ensure that the landscape and resources of this County are maintained and developed for the benefit of future generations.”
Lovelace also thanked Faust for his years of service. “I greatly appreciate Ralph’s many years of service. His unparalleled experience and professionalism truly elevated the level of discussion on many critical issues and helped guide the Commission through its 3-year review of the General Plan Update.”
Faust expressed his appreciation for having had the opportunity to serve on the Commission. “I’ve enjoyed serving with all of the other commissioners, and I’m proud of the work that we accomplished together” said Faust. “We were a politically diverse group and we spent more than three years reviewing the draft General Plan line-by-line and policy-by-policy to produce a document that comes as close to consensus as possible in our diverse county. With parts if not all of that plan now being sent back to the Commission to start over, it seemed like an appropriate time for me to step down. I’m happy and proud to have been given the opportunity to serve the County and I wish the other commissioners well in whatever may lie ahead for them.”