Don’t let supervisors gut planning group role
Credit: By: Lael Montgomery, North County Times, www.nctimes.com 14 January 2012 ~~
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On Pearl Harbor Day, when most citizens were honoring democratic principles, San Diego County Supervisors Bill Horn and Ron Roberts were pushing Supervisors Cox, Jacob and Slater-Price for one more vote to silence the voices of backcountry constituents.
Breathtaking was their advocacy of a developer-led scheme to eliminate community planning groups AND a cluster of laws and policies that protect San Diego County’s environment and the character of rural communities —- without public notice, review or input.
This attack on the public trust comes in the name of “efficiency” and as “recommendations” from a developer-packed “Red Tape Reduction Task Force” which the board appointed last April. All would agree that cutting bureaucratic caca is a good thing; what stinks about this caper is the overreach to forever muzzle local input and the scheme to adopt a bundle of these one-sided propositions straightaway on Dec. 7 instead of to “accept the report and ask staff to review it,” as the Board of Supervisors agenda advertised.
For two supervisors to soft-pedal this as a low-profile agenda item crammed between holidays should tell voters that adopting the development lobby’s wish list as public policy is the wave of the present. Supervisors Cox, Jacob and Slater-Price were able to postpone a vote to eliminate planning groups. But the halls of county government are crawling right now with pressure peddlers whose mission is to turn just one vote.
A third vote at the board meeting Feb. 29 will successfully gut the local land use advisory system that has been in place for 40 years (since the first community plans were adopted for unincorporated communities).
Just one more vote will:
eliminate community planning groups
eliminate the process that informs residents of development projects being proposed for our neighborhoods
eliminate the public forum for project review and discussion
eliminate the County Resource Protection Ordinance
eliminate the new community character guidelines for clustered subdivisions
allow developer-paid consultants to certify the validity of their own studies
allow developers to decide what to include in Environmental Impact Reports
In short, just one more vote will deliver San Diego County to the ambitions of the new breed of real estate developers who aim to enrich themselves as they litter rural communities with their overbuilt General Plan Amendments.
The virulent new strain of developer-speculators who have seized prominence in San Diego County are all cut from the same cloth: all represented by the same slew of lobbyists, “technical consultants” and propaganda spinners who flood the media, community meetings, Department of Planning and Land Use staff offices and the halls of county government, yapping about a faux kind of “sustainability” and stroking the deciders for land use favors that yield mind-boggling profits. Right now, this herd is thundering to crush whatever might temper their plans —- including community input.
Call or write Supervisors Cox, Jacob, and Slater-Price today to oppose this undemocratic action.
Lael Montgomery is a former member of the Valley Center Planning Group.
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