Wednesday, April 23, 2014

900-pound gorilla

This morning, I read a letter about El Dorado County’s latest plan to build the animal shelter right on the border of a residential development.

It seems to me I’ve been reading about the county finding a site for the shelter forever. The members of People for Animal Welfare in El Dorado County (PAWED), who will operate the facility, have faced quite the challenge in finding a place that fits their requirements. They investigated up to 100 sites and had many stops before they arrived at 6425 Capitol Avenue in the Diamond Springs Business Park off Enterprise Drive. They are to be applauded for their persistence, determination and endurance, considering they were dragging a 900-pound gorilla (El Dorado County government) every step of the way.

I won’t go into detail about the shelter’s eight-year timeline and the county’s track record because by now you probably know about the wasted funds, errors in judgment, false starts and endless delays the county was party to, time and time again. Shinn Ranch was supposed to be perfect. Didn’t the county even pay — with our tax dollars — to construct a road on the property for the shelter’s use? Now they say there are too many oak trees and too many boulders at Shinn Ranch. I don’t have the skills to work in the El Dorado Planning Department, but think about it. Weren’t the boulders always there? Didn’t anyone notice the oak trees when the site was up for consideration? Isn’t it the purpose of the Planning Department to plan?

Placing an animal shelter, serving not only dogs and cats but livestock, barely more than 100 feet from neighboring homes appears to be additional evidence the Planning Department suffers from incurable short-sightedness — a case of terminal myopia. I’m sure, in a county of this size, a residential development can’t be the last resort. Really, guys, you can — no, you must — do better.


Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 8 comments

  • Jim SmithJune 24, 2013 - 3:25 pm

    Sue Baby Sue!

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  • Susie O.June 24, 2013 - 8:04 pm

    The Planning Department employees are merely the foot soldiers for the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. That is why there is always a Negative Declaration (Neg Dec) or rarely a mitigated neg dec environmental report for EVERY development project. There was a grand jury investigation about the whole road issue and not using that parcel - but if I remember, the parcel behind it belonged to a developer friend of one of the BOS - who merely got his hand slapped by the grand jury. Our county "leadership" is a mess.

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  • cjJuly 12, 2013 - 7:15 am

    Negative Declarations by the planning department and acceptance by the Planning Commission seems to be an ongoing reality by El Dorado County. The Planning Commission appears to NEVER go to the project site to look at the existing area. That appears to me to be a shirking of the duties of the Planning Commission in their unelected duties for the county. The commission seems to evaluate a project superficially. Depth does not seems to be in their vocabulary. Plus there is a certain level of rudeness by chairman Heflin. Maybe the Planning Commission should be elected or at least monitored by their Supervisor. Planning Commissioners can get too comfortable with their unelected authority and need to be replaced.

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  • Holy CowJuly 12, 2013 - 1:27 pm

    CJ: You say, "The Planning Commission appears to NEVER go to the project site to look at the existing area." How true. If they did, they'd see a 4.27 acre site that is drenched in sunshine from daybreak to sunset. There is no shade for the animals, even in 110 degree heat. They say they'll put the livestock in the barn before they leave at 5pm. That means they'll be locked in a barn in the hottest part of the day! That's what I call "compassion."

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  • cookie65July 12, 2013 - 7:42 am

    cj, the first, middle and last requirement of these thousands of government agencies is to max out their fair share of the public treasury. Anything we get that is even remotely job related is a bonus and merely coincidental.

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  • Melody LaneJuly 12, 2013 - 9:01 am

    Planning nearly always declares a negative EIR in order to push through special interests throughout the county. Just follow the $$$. Whatever happened to old fashioned HONESTY & COMMON SENSE? It went the way of the dinosaurs.

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  • Melody LaneJuly 12, 2013 - 8:22 pm

    The old RE axiom when buying a home: Location, location, location!!! A couple years ago a project was initiated to put a 120' cell tower 250' not from the EDGE of my property, but from my FRONT DOOR on historic Mt. Murphy. The Planning project coordinator called to inform me he was coming out to do a site inspection. In actuality he came out to inspect ME but he NEVER set foot on the cell tower site. While trying to make a move on me, he said "Don't get mad at me when I submit a negative EIR." His inappropriate comments and subsequent emails were made part of the public record when I submitted to the Planning Commission my own in-depth report challenging the negative EIR. Point of the matter is Planning skews the EIRs to fit a GOB predetermined agenda. Oh yeah--against all odds I WON the fight to preserve my property value & find a MORE SUITABLE cell tower site. Pray the BOS has the common decency to do the same for the Animal Shelter.

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  • Over InformedJuly 13, 2013 - 8:18 am

    According to the agendas, the Planning Commission has not heard the full project for an animal shelter at the latest PROPOSED location. May 23rd minutes documents a step in the process - general plan consistency - which was originally on the consent calendar, but pulled for expanded discussion. The specific topic related to whether an industrial land use designation is appropriate for an animal shelter. IF found consistent, THEN the preparation of the affiliated environmental documents would begin. The conclusion was it is consistent with the general plan but that there were concerns about "the details of this project on this particular parcel". Source: Planning Commission minutes from May 23. Conclusion: This was and continues to be a board decision with little input from any other resources...

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