Authorities offer tips on homeowners insurance, wildfire protection

Roslyn Warriner and her husband, Albert, live off of Bean Creek Road in Scotts Valley. Their home insurance cost about $4,200 in 2023, more than double the cost from a previous insurer that did not renew their policy. (Michael Warren Mott — Santa Cruz Local file)

1 p.m. Tuesday, May 14 / Online and at 701 Ocean St., Room 525, Santa Cruz 

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is expected to speak to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors at their May 14 meeting about how homeowners can get insurance and homeowners’ rights if insurance policies are not renewed. 

Insurers like State Farm and Allstate have stopped writing new homeowners insurance policies in Santa Cruz County and have dropped thousands of policy holders. 

At the meeting, supervisors are also set to consider official support of SB 1060, a state bill that would require insurers to consider steps homeowners or communities take to reduce fire risk, like creating defensive space, in the risk models that determine the availability or cost of home insurance.

To participate: Join the Santa Cruz County Supervisors meeting on Zoom or call  669-900-6833 , meeting ID 817 3220 2363. To comment ahead of the meeting, email [email protected] by 5 p.m. Monday. The meeting will be streamed on Facebook.

6 p.m., Tuesday May 14 / 251 Kings Village Rd., Scotts Valley

At a separate meeting May 14, Scotts Valley Vice Mayor Derek Timm will moderate a panel about homeowners insurance with United Policyholders, Kassidy Insurance Brokers and the Realtors Association.

A wildfire preparedness workshop also will take place with presentations from Cal Fire, Firewise and Scotts Valley Fire. 

—Jesse Kathan

To participate: Attend at 251 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley.

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Council to consider library land lease

rendering of new Downtown Santa Cruz library

A draft rendering of the Cedar Street entrance of the planned Downtown Santa Cruz library shows housing above and behind a rooftop garden. (Jayson Architecture)

1 p.m. Tuesday, May 14 / Online and at 809 Center St., Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz City Council May 14 is set to consider a land lease to nonprofit developers for the future Downtown Library, parking and affordable housing project. The council chose the developers, Eden Housing and For the Future Housing, in 2021. 

The lease would cost developers $1 annually and allow them to apply for grants and tax credits to help close the project’s funding gap. The city would regain ownership of the library and parking garage once construction is complete. 

Dispensary decision, cannabis rules on tap

A cannabis dispensary is proposed at the former Emily’s Bakery at 1129 Mission St., Santa Cruz. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file)

The Santa Cruz City Council on May 14  is also set to issue a final ruling on a proposed cannabis dispensary on Mission Street following an appeal of the Santa Cruz Planning Commission’s approval in March. 

The Hook Outlet has secured a cannabis use permit, but needs city approval to open a new location at the former storefront of Emily’s Bakery at 1129 Mission St. The Hook would partner with WAMM pharmaceuticals to distribute free or low-cost cannabis to people with cancer or other serious illnesses. A city staff report outlines some arguments for and against allowing the dispensary

In an appeal letter, parents said the dispensary would encourage cannabis use in students. The site is about four blocks — but more than the city-required 600 feet — from Santa Cruz High School. As of Friday, nearly 90 people submitted letters in support of the dispensary, and about 10 people wrote in opposition.

Separately, the council will discuss possible changes to the city’s rules for cannabis dispensaries. The city’s rules include local cannabis taxes, limits on dispensary locations and mandated safety measures. No specific changes have been proposed. In April, the council voted down a moratorium on new dispensaries proposed by Santa Cruz Mayor Fred Keeley.

—Jesse Kathan

To participate: Join on Zoom or call  669-900-6833 , meeting ID 817 3220 2363. To comment ahead of the meeting, email [email protected] by 5 p.m. Monday. The meeting will be streamed on Facebook.


Affordable Housing Month events

A rendering of Pacific Station South

The Pacific Station South affordable housing project at 822 Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz is expected to open this year. Join a housing application list by emailing [email protected]. (For the Future Housing)

Housing Santa Cruz County and other groups are putting on several events in May as part of Affordable Housing Month. Check the group’s calendar for more events.

Affordable Housing Programs in Santa Cruz County

6 p.m. Monday, May 13 / On Zoom. Register here.

Planners from Santa Cruz County, the City of Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Capitola and Scotts Valley will outline affordable housing programs and discuss efforts to build more housing.

Getting to Know Our Housing Challenges and Solutions

5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16 / Barrios Unidos, 1807 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Register here.

Nane Alejandrez, executive director of the nonprofit Barrios Unidos, will moderate a forum about affordable housing. Panelists include:

  • Geoffrey Morgan, CEO of nonprofit affordable housing developer Chispa Housing.  
  • Miriam Greenberg, professor of sociology at UC Santa Cruz.
  • Julie Conway, Santa Cruz Planning Commission chair and former Santa Cruz County housing manager.
  • Matt Huerta, a director of affordable housing developer PATH Ventures and housing and community development director for the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership.

March to End Homelessness

10 a.m. Saturday, May 18 / Santa Cruz City Hall, 809 Center St., Santa Cruz. Register here.

A second annual March to End Homelessness and rally will include speakers with experience of homelessness, county leaders and homeless services providers. The march starts at Santa Cruz City Hall and ends there with a resource fair.

—Jesse Kathan

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Reporter / California Local News Fellow | + posts

Jesse Kathan is a staff reporter for Santa Cruz Local through the California Local News Fellowship. Kathan holds a master's degree in science communications from UC Santa Cruz.