Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Community plan gets chewed up

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From page A1 | February 19, 2014 | 12 Comments

Planners working on the Diamond Springs and El Dorado Area Mobility and Livable Community Plan must have thought they walked into a buzzsaw at Thursday’s El Dorado County Planning Commission meeting.

As they sat in stunned silence, Dan Bolster, the senior transportation planner with the El Dorado County Transportation Commission and Adrian Engel of Echelon Transportation Group, listened as one person after another got up to lambast the plan that had just been presented to the Planning Commission.

Designed to address transportation circulation and other transportation improvements in the El Dorado-Diamond Springs area, the plan was commissioned by EDCTC.

Echelon was the consulting firm hired to prepare the plan.

First to respond to the plan was Planning Commissioner Dave Pratt who commented that he had participated in the process as a member of one of the stakeholder groups. However, he suggested their input was less relevant and more should have been solicited from the local business community. Pratt went on to question some aspects of the plan, including taking out the turn lane in the middle of Missouri Flat Road or eliminating some on-street parking in the study area in order to widen or put in sidewalks and add bike lanes.

Bolster responded to Pratt’s comments by saying the lack of an organized business community in the area had been a challenge, adding that in order to get their input they had gone door to door, had coffee with business owners and sent out mailers. They tried to do the best they could, he said, because they knew many business owners could not be at the workshops because they had to tend to their businesses.

However, that comment set off a strong reaction from many of the business owners in the audience.

One of them was Ellen Day, a business owner with Pride Realty in Diamond Springs, who called the plan “poorly planned, poorly executed and not in the realm of reality.” Complaining that the parking spots they wanted to eliminate belonged to the property owners and not Caltrans, she added that Pride’s sidewalk arcs into Highway 49 because at one time it was a Pony Express stop. “That’s why historical value is important in Diamond Springs,” she said, adding that she doubted the planners went door to door contacting the business community.

George Turnboo, who owns a gas station at the intersection where a controversial roundabout is proposed, was livid at the claim that the area has no merchant’s association, saying they had just donated $1,500 raised during a bazaar for railroad restoration. Adamantly opposed to the roundabout, Turnboo said it would cost parking spaces and make it difficult for people with trucks or trailers to get through the intersection. “My cousin wondered how he’d be able to deliver cattle or bring hay to his property if the roundabout was installed,” he said. Drainage was also on Turnboo’s list of items not addressed by the plan.

Joining in Turnboo’s criticism was Rod Pimental, who said the county had done very little for the area. “Everything that we have done in El Dorado, we have done ourselves,” he claimed. Pimental went on to ask for better notification of meetings so more people could participate in them. “We aren’t notified in advance,” he said, adding that “these advisory committees are formed for one reason — to get what the people on the advisory committee want to get done. It’s not community involvement.”

Laurel Stroud, another local resident who spoke at the meeting, said she had “never seen a project run like this.” A participant in the preparation of the draft plan, she said the outcome was directed to a “predetermined result.” It was a complete waste of time and money, she claimed, with many comments and suggestions never recorded. Like the others before her, Stroud specifically objected to the roundabout and elimination of parking. Stroud also took the transportation planners to task for how the plan would change the area. “We asked on this project, we don’t want to look like El Dorado Hills, we don’t want to look like Folsom. We want to look like the semi-rural we have left. But we keep getting pictures of these cutsie little, cookie-cutter towns. That’s not what we were asking for. We were asking to maintain what we have. Again bike communities and walkable communities work for high-density areas. They don’t work here.”

Art Marinaccio, who lives in Shingle Springs, joined Stroud in calling the plan a big waste of money, although he thought the results of the process could help people understand the benefit of the update to the General Plan and of the economic advisory committee. He went on to urge more long-range planning be done in the county but that it be done by county staff rather than specific agencies like the Transportation Commission or hired consultants.

Closing out the discussion, Planning Commission Chairman Walter Mathews noted that many people felt left out of the process. Their comments need to be recorded and then “let the fruit fall where it may,” he said, noting that everyone’s opinions should be included.

Bolster said a draft of the plan will be released Feb. 18 and residents will have about five days to read and comment on it. The planners will then take the comments, make revisions and provide the final plan to EDCTC on March 6. That meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers.

People can view the plan and make comments at EDCTC’s Website at edctc.org/Projects.html.

In other actions, the commission approved a request for a time extension of four years for the Marble Valley Tentative Subdivision Map. The new expiration date is Feb. 10, 2018.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or dhodson@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 12 comments

  • Fran DuchampFebruary 19, 2014 - 9:41 am

    WOW

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 19, 2014 - 9:49 am

    I dont know many of these people...but I am very proud of them. More and more people are seeing these advosry groups for what they are...I have said many times up here in Pollock...people will wake up--and they will look to who brought the lies in. My coffee cup up in the air--to salute each of you. Business--without the consumer--you do not have a business for long (this includes the wineries.) Now which busineses are saying we canot petition in front of their buildings? The right to petition to ballot--1st admendment. This is an important year. New supes get to pick their own support system.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rebecca PimentalFebruary 19, 2014 - 10:04 am

    Don't forget about Union Mine High School bus drop off situation off Union Mine Road. Will this keep the flow from all directions to get students to school with the current bus schedule? We share buses with all the High Schools in El Dorado County. If the Buses change routes for better timing then Parents fees might go up!! Parents need to get their children to school on time as well and not be tied up! Why don't we just resurface the intersection, paint new lines and place a red flashing light hanging in the center. It would keep the flow going and look clean.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SHFebruary 19, 2014 - 11:17 am

    I'm proud of them too. I think Laurel Stroud said it best - that the outcome was directed to a “predetermined result.” They want little country version of EDH Town Center. Awful.

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  • local residentFebruary 19, 2014 - 12:42 pm

    George thanks for standing up for the people that live the area hope you run for county supervisor again you will get my vote

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  • Truth is RealFebruary 19, 2014 - 1:20 pm

    Sustainable development and roundabouts are called for under UN agenda 21. Their real plan is rural depopulation and one-world government. “Sustainable development” is the catch-phrase.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Patrice HockingFebruary 20, 2014 - 9:38 pm

    very true, Agenda 21 is behind all of it....shame on our local governments from jumping on board, hook, line and sinker.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • It's all about CaltransFebruary 21, 2014 - 6:10 am

    There is very little local government blame in this situation. It is all about Caltrans master plan, design engineers who submit plans and projects to Caltrans and consultants who are Caltrans approved. Urban applications to genuinely rural community situations seldom get favorable reviews from the local folks. Agencies along with state and federal elected types have integrated A21 concepts into policies and laws for several decades now. Too late to scream conspiracy, kids. Guvernator Arnold's signature legislation on the Environment is textbook application of A21 theories which includes AB32 and SB375 among others. It is far better to focus the discussion on avoidance maneuvers and tactics at this point. Did I mention that it is all about Caltrans?

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  • Compass2TruthFebruary 19, 2014 - 3:12 pm

    The BOS & CAO are adept at the Delphi Technique (predetermined outcomes) such as the Roundabout. That is a hallmark of Sustainable Development aka Agenda 21. Kudos to the courageous activists like Turnboo & Stroud who lead by example asserting their 1st Amendment rights on this important subject. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Martin Luther King ~

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 19, 2014 - 3:33 pm

    I am familiar with the Delphi Technique, and I am always amazed people fall for it. i also disagree with you--I dont think anyone that ive seen in this county--has a very good handle on it. When I walked into a town meetingup here...lololol...I was surprised how bad the performance was. Normally, you try to find people who actually live in the same place...lololol...and actually look into the basic history before you try to "work it." Manipulation of the public...is always wrong--it implies that you dont think your audience is "smart" enough to decide on their own. Ive caught both--unprepared.

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  • EvelynFebruary 19, 2014 - 4:15 pm

    Even when aware, unmasking the Delphi Technique is difficult. Facilitators are in charge of the meeting. THEY set the Agenda. THEY determine meeting format. Generally THEY bring to the meeting a contingent of supporters who are scattered throughout the room, appearing to be ordinary participants. One of the biggest difficulties in unmasking the technique is psychological: Facilitators, wearing pleasing demeanors, strenuously resist altering the process. Attempting to unmask what is happening makes one feeling exceedingly rude.

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  • EvelynFebruary 19, 2014 - 4:27 pm

    . . . makes one FEEL exceedingly rude.

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