Goodbye LUPPU, hello LRPU

By From page A1 | April 18, 2014

Just when everyone in the county had learned that LUPPU stands for Land Use Policy Programatic Update, they went and changed it to LRPU and then contracted that down to LRP.

Long-Range Planning Division Assistant Director Dave Defanti brought that news to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors’ April 15 meeting. Because LUPPU was specific to the county’s Targeted General Plan Amendment and Zoning Ordinance Update, and because long-range planning now is expanding its bailiwick to include a number of other areas of interest, LRP is shorthand for Long-Range Planning Update.

Defanti’s update included 11 items of interest in a hash of acronyms and abbreviations beginning with a reminder that the Draft Environmental Impact Report related to LUPPU has been completed and was let out for public comment March 24. Residents have until July 23 to post comments on LRP’s new Website or on paper in the privacy of their own home.

While the law requires a minimum of 75 days for public comment, Defanti noted that the county had opted instead for a 120-day comment period. Issues stirred up by the General Plan amendment process are tied to several initiatives competing for voter approval if they qualify for the November election ballot. They deal with traffic congestion, alleged intent to “make” the county less rural by means of vast residential development and generally subverting the stated goals of the General Plan.

The Sign Ordinance, initially made public last summer, has been revised to address several significant issues, Defanti said. Board agenda documents note that signs in rural areas will be treated differently than those in more urban neighborhoods and that “regulatory” questions will be taken up separately from “proprietary” issues. Property rights versus free speech dominates any discussion or decisions regarding signs, what County Counsel Ed Knapp described as “a ton of issues to deal with” on the way to an ordinance. Defanti indicated that the completed final draft ordinance should be available for board review by the end of June.

With respect to all things biological/environmental and the like, the documents provide a brief past, present and future of county planning and decision-making.

“The recent court decision overturning the Oak Woodland Management Plan has prompted the county to address, at a minimum, the implementation of certain oak tree policies in the General Plan. These policies are interrelated to several other biological policies. After reviewing options presented on Sept. 24, 2012, the board determined that all the related biological policies should be reviewed and considered for revisions to ensure that the goals and objectives of the General Plan can be achieved.”

With those marching orders, county staff negotiated a contract for specialized environmental and project work.

“On March 11, the board approved and authorized the chair to sign Agreement 425-S1411 with Dudek in the amount of $377,100 for a term of three years to proceed with a program to review and potentially amend several General Plan (elements) related to biological resources. Staff anticipates returning to the board in June with the initial task outline in the Scope of Work that includes a historical review of work completed to date on the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan and OWMP. In addition draft options for next steps will be presented for board review.”

CVIPs are in the pipeline, Defanti explained. Community Visioning and Implementation Plans are or will be devised by local committees of residents and specialists. The goal is to have public input as broad and deep as possible and collectively develop each community’s unique vision of its own future. How it is to be done is still under review with consultants, but the related documents suggest a late May rollout for a “draft framework” of the process.

The Meyers Area Plan Update makes terrific reading for engineers. Principle planner and South Lake Tahoe specialist Brendan Ferry described progress in the county’s war on pollutants carried by storm water and wastewater. The National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (more familiar as NPDES) requires jurisdictions such as counties and cities to meet certain standards relative to water they allow to flow into a lake or other body of water. Lake Tahoe is a major focus of local, regional and federal concern with respect to its clarity. Because the county has jurisdiction over a number of creeks, culverts, street sweeping and numerous other activities that ultimately cause runoff that finds its way into the lake, it is required to have a plan for meeting the system standards and a permit to continue to function. Ferry told the board that the Tahoe permit is in place and a similar process to deal with water pollution discharge on the western slope is on the way.

To review other long-range planning issues, go to the county’s Website.

Chris Daley

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