Monday, April 21, 2014

Planning jargon stumps supes

From page A1 | May 24, 2013 | 8 Comments

The search for a sense of “community” sent El Dorado County’s Board of Supervisors down into the weeds of planning and development issues at the BOS meeting May 14. Audience members likewise struggled to understand the difference between Community Identification and Community Design — both of which are deeply embedded in the county’s general plan amendment process.

Development Services Senior Planner Shawna Purvines presented an update on the Community Identification process and how it relates to the Targeted General Plan Amendment, the Zoning Ordinance Update and the role of the Community Economic Development Advisory Committee. A general definition of “community,” however is an elusive thing, not unlike a definition of beauty.

Within the context of the general plan, Purvines noted six prototypes for areas zoned Mixed Use Development. MUD, in planner speak, is a zone that allows for combinations of single and multi-family residential and a wide range of commercial uses. Towns or regions with a MUD designation are encouraged to develop a specific “sense of place” that recognizes its historical, cultural or environmental uniqueness, and she described the current process as a “tool chest for local design.”

Community ID generally begins with “form and function,” Purvines explained during a phone conversation recently. Her favorite example, she said, is the view east from the intersection of Placerville’s Main Street and Highway 49/Sacramento Street.

The buildings mostly conform in height and are built up to the sidewalk. In general, the height of the buildings is roughly the same width as the street. The “form” has been there for years, and the various uses came later. By contrast, the view down Main Street to the west shows a “use-based” development. For example, a restaurant was proposed and the guidelines for its form came later.

Processes dealing with Community ID include establishing standards and guidelines for the form and function of the area. Community Design takes into account zoning, roads and infrastructure, cultural and historical aspects to be maintained, preserved or protected.

Community ID is being approached from an interested residents perspective with establishment of advisory committees made up of local citizens. The form and structure of those committees is currently being considered, and tension already exists regarding how members will be selected, who will select them and will they join the process with a pre-formed agenda.

Michael Ranalli, a member of the county’s Community Economic Development Advisory Committee, cautioned the board on Tuesday that “the Community ID process is not a panacea and the county cannot afford to not engage before a project comes along.”

Economic development is at the peak of a pyramid of goals and processes built on the foundation of the general plan. It “begins in the community and creates the quality of life of the community,” Ranalli said.

Shingle Springs resident and land use consultant Art Marinaccio has been involved with the general plan and development issues since the late 1970s. In a wide-ranging discussion with the Mountain Democrat on May 16, Marinaccio reiterated what he had told the board on May 14. He explained that the general plan was initially devised as a way to manage development in the El Dorado Hills and west county areas and “to protect the Highway 50 viewshed.”

Deviation from those general goals are “ominous,” Marinaccio said. Projects fitting that profile, that is well off Highway 50, are not being approved or processed and other, available and “sewerable” locations are fairly limited. As a member of numerous committees and commissions over the years, Marinaccio frequently speaks at supervisors meetings and typically plugs information gaps with reviews of the history of “how we got here.” He said the current board “doesn’t get the point or the process of the general plan, something that was years in the making.”

Marinaccio also said he is “very frustrated” that the companion general plan goals, “jobs and moderate housing for the people who will do those jobs” have not been adequately addressed nor planned for. What relatively little housing that has been developed is probably far beyond the reach of the average county wage-earner, he said. People who live in Serrano, for example, “are employers, not people who work for employers.”

The effort toward regulating Community ID is not popular with everyone. Some, such as Maggie Barnes of Pollock Pines, told the board that she was “shocked” by a community visioning meeting held recently in Pollock Pines.

“We like Pollock Pines the way it is. People don’t want it to change or have an agenda forced on them,” Barnes said. “There’s a small group dictating to property owners (and the process) is creating more and more government layers. Normal people are not being heard — only select people.”

Kathleen Newell of Shingle Springs cautioned supervisors to make sure Community ID committees are subject to and organized in accordance with the state’s Ralph M. Brown Act, which provides citizen oversight of elected officials.

Evelyn Veerkamp said “regular people” were being left out of the processes, “feeling disenchanted that there has been no clear intention (by the county) to communicate with regular people. “What are the limitations of the powers of these community committees?” she asked.

Purvines wrapped up her update again explaining that the “Board of Supervisors holds the last word on any project or plan dealing with commercial and multi-family housing developments.”

Board Chairman Ron Briggs closed the discussion saying, “We have to do what’s good for the whole community, not just one or two people.”

Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or Follow @CDaleyMtDemo. 


Discussion | 8 comments

  • EvelynMay 23, 2013 - 12:02 pm

    Thank you, Chris, for reporting on this. Herewith, my 5/14/2013 BOS Public Comment: "Supervisor Santiago has underscored the importance of language. I think that when we’re not trying to obfuscate it’s actually fairly simple to communicate. I believe that one of the reasons – beyond the complexity of what we’ve seen this morning – that it’s so difficult for ordinary people like myself to understand what’s happening is because there is not a clear intention to communicate with us what is happening. It often seems that there are interests being represented that are not our interests, and those interests need to be protected. I have four very simple questions about this process we’re engaging in. (1) Is this process optional? I believe I understood that the process is optional. (2) The people who are going to serve on the various Community ID Committees: Will they be elected or selected? There is a huge difference between being elected and selected. (3) What powers will these groups have? What sanctions will they be able to bring upon their communities to make the communities do – or not do – the things that the committees decide should be done? (4) What will be the limitations on the powers of these committees?"

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  • Richard EngstrandMay 24, 2013 - 10:19 pm

    You residents coming out of meetings feeling slightly confused and mildly manipulated, need to wake up to Agenda 21 and the Delphi technique. Please look it up before its too late.

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  • Where's the leadership?May 25, 2013 - 5:15 am

    Any process that is opinion and perspective based, will have someone happy and someone unhappy with every outcome. Elections are like that when "my guy" does not win, but does that mean that people are being left out or that I am under represented? Small claims court decisions usually has two people entering court both believing that they are correct, but both will not win their argument. Election days are known for weeks in advance, information provided, mail in voting allowed, etc to encourage participation and yet there are times when 25% of the citizens determine a decision. Are the other 75% under represented or left behind just because they CHOSE not to participate? People testify in front of or write letters to the Board every week, both pro and con, on a range of subjects resulting in a range of outcomes. It is human nature to believe that "my view" of the world is correct and that many people agree with me so "I" must be correct. However, that does not necessarily mean that "my view" is in the majority. The linchpin that the Board has not directly addressed is building consensus for the PROCESS to establishing community identity and a timeline for completion. With CSDs in place at El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park there are establish, elected jurisdictions which means all the pieces are in place to complete a public input process. Other areas are far less structured but have citizen based entities in place such as the Camino Community Action Committee. The Board's indecision is the result of a lack of history, lack of vision and a mix of general inexperience and personal agenda. A little leadership and a definitive course of action is a necessary next step. It is all about the PROCESS in order to have an outcome that is respected even if "my view" is not the majority.

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  • Dale PierceMay 28, 2013 - 9:18 pm

    Evelyn raises some important issues and as a member of the Diamond Springs/El Dorado Community Advisory Committee I'd like to address some of them. Our Committee is appointed, but has no powers that are regulatory or to bring sanctions. I think that, in fact, this committee is an attempt by the County to give average citizens improved communications about what is happening. Our work is to present recommendations back to the BOS and the planning commission, and to do that we invite public input at our Meetings. Our recommendations are only that, until either the BOS or Planning take action. Anyone interested in following the Community Advisory Committee can attend meetings and see our Agenda and Minutes at the County Planning Services website-

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMay 28, 2013 - 10:13 pm

    Less than 1% come to our meetings--many do not even know what CEDAPP does...although they know they cleaned up some trash. "Board Chairman Ron Briggs closed the discussion saying, “We have to do what’s good for the whole community, not just one or two people.”" Mr. Briggs--our community does not know--you are allowing a few to decide for a whole...this idea is being supported by a few that feel they now "rule" our area...on the latest newsblast from CEDAPP--it shows the cam in Pollock that was put up by Z-Group...I think it is creepy to say all is we like it...big someone watching? This is not about helping to "hear" people in a community--this is about allowing one woman and her followers to decide for all of us...and it is so wrong.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netJune 06, 2013 - 10:35 pm

    I have put up link after link--to get people to just reading about these advisory boards...this is agenda 21--the new is documented across the nation ...Harper brought it into our place through CEDAPP. Do not fall for the smart--read.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netJune 07, 2013 - 10:08 am

    Subject: PLanning Jargon Stumps Supes Sent: Monday, June 03, 2013 11:00 PM Request to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors The April 24 Mt Democrat front page article "Planning Jargon Stumps Supes" ,in good part prompted this Letter to the Editor sent earlier today. The text follows and a Word Document copy is attached. I hope this letter will alert you to the interest our community has in providing input on how you reconcile this so called "Planning Jargon" issue. Accordingly, I request that, in addition to the standard meeting notification procedure, I be contacted directly about the date and time the Board will consider this "Community Identity" aspect of the County's General Plan's implementation. This information also will clearly influence the date and time of our Pollock Pines' community meeting on the same subject. Thank you in advance for your consideration. I would be happy to talk to you or your staff. Tom Schulz YEP gather and coordinate for the town meeting--where we get to hear the community speak (wink)Fran

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netJune 07, 2013 - 10:16 am

    "...alert you to the interest our community has in providing input..." Right--our community. Shingle Springs my thanks and respect to your community for stepping up and doing the right thing--fighting back. Tom --people will remember who brought this into our community--they will remember the manipulation...they still remember the people who tried to put the homeless behind the old school--people remember. My input is that all of you that are working to tear apart Pollock--need to move else where. Total manipulation--every time I go to the BOS--I recognize someone else from that "100" people from our community meeting...they dont live here--they live within the walls of the BOS--maybe Santiago missed this....

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