Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Diamond, El Dorado plans adopted

From page A1 | March 19, 2014 |

The final draft of the Diamond and El Dorado Area Mobility and Sustainable Community Plan was adopted by the El Dorado County Transportation Commission at its March 6 meeting.

A report three years in the making, the plan is designed to address transportation circulation and other transportation improvements in the El Dorado-Diamond Springs area.

Dan Bolster, the senior transportation planner with the commission, reviewed the plan with an emphasis on all the opportunities available for public input during its preparation. There were 13 public meetings, consisting of 10 stakeholder meetings, two public open houses and a community visioning workshop that attracted over 100 people, said Bolster.

Noting that the plan includes a menu of items that the county can choose from, he said there are some big and small things that can be done to bring more business to communities like El Dorado and Diamond Springs such as signage, benches and other amenities.

Adding to what Bolster said was Gladys Cornell, the owner of Aim Consulting. Her firm was hired to do the public outreach part of the plan.

Highlighting her efforts, she said the outreach objective was to “get qualitative data from community members to help frame the study’s approach and shape recommendations.” As part of this process, she and her team identified 12 different community perspectives they wanted represented among the stakeholder groups. Among those perspectives were to preserve the rural character of the area, preserve its quality of life and fiscal responsibility.

“We had an advisory committee that represented 32 community based organizations,” she said. “We also compiled an e-mail list of over 75 business contacts in the area who were sent eight separate notifications of meetings as well as project updates.”

The Transportation Commission also heard from Adrian Engel of Echelon Transportation Group. Echelon was the consulting firm hired to prepare the plan.

Members of the public attending the meeting spoke appreciatively of the plan, although a few complaints were heard.

Linda Colombo of El Dorado said she and many others were never contacted about what was being planned. “Somehow the outreach didn’t reach out far enough,” she said, adding that the planned Diamond Parkway goes right through where a new subdivision is planned. “A lot of things were not addressed in the plan,” she said, but still concluded that the staff had done a fantastic job.

Resident Gail Hartwick thanked a long list of people who had put time into the project. Saying the new plan was like a menu, she said it was up to the residents and merchants as far as what they want to order off the menu. “In the last two years, we have lost seven businesses in historic El Dorado,” she said. “We need to work together or we’ll become another ghost town.”

Praise also came from Randy Pesses and Bob Smart, who lauded the plan and the quality of staff work.

With an unanimous vote to accept the report, Wendy Thomas, chair of the commission, went on to thank everyone for “being so engaged and passionate in this process. This plan is fluid and it’s now up to you to take it and create your own community. I hope this will be a great start for all of you.”

The Diamond and El Dorado Area Mobility and Sustainable Community Plan can be accessed on the Website of the El Dorado County Transportation Commission.

Sharon Scherzinger, executive director of the Transportation Commission, closed the discussion by saying they are now working on the next community planning grant which is for Cameron Park.

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



Dawn Hodson

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