Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
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Second initiative takes aim at growth

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From page A1 | February 05, 2014 | 10 Comments

One week after Rural Communities United filed the county ballot initiative ”Fix Highway 50 Traffic First/Keep Us Rural,” residents behind the Shingle Springs Community Alliance (resident opposition to the proposed San Stino and Tilden Park development projects) filed “Protect Rural Communities/Fix Community Region Line Flaws,” which RCU spokesman and Measure Y co-creator Bill Center said might confuse voters — or worse, detract from the two groups’ common goal.

The Community Region Lines initiative filed Jan. 23 asks for an amendment to the 2004 El Dorado County General Plan, “to change the community region designations for the communities of Pollock Pines, Camino, Cedar Grove, Shingle Springs and the Green Valley Road corridor of El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park.” Further, the proposed initiative states, “These communities have established rural commercial, residential, agricultural and recreational character that are not compatible with new ‘high-intensity urban and suburban type development’ projects.”

“The Green Valley Alliance has been working to amend the Community Region lines as well, and our understanding is that it will be addressed in the Environmental Impact Review due out late in February,” said Green Valley Alliance spokeswoman and proponent of the RCU initiative Ellen Van Dyke. “Multiple initiatives can definitely be confusing, and a lot of effort, and the Community Region issue is supposed to be handled by the board this year. Obviously their group did not feel confident this would happen and are taking matters into their own hands. The supervisors could help by making the change in a timely manner.”

Reached by e-mail, Lori Parlin, Shingle Springs resident and District 4 supervisorial candidate and one author of the Shingle Springs Community Alliance Initiative, said, “Community Regions are an ill-conceived and poorly understood aspect of the General Plan that could create a wall of sprawl of high-density residential development along the Highway 50 corridor throughout the county. It would obliterate the unique character of individual communities in the county regardless of the wishes of current residents to keep their communities rural.

“Four years ago the Board of Supervisors promised to eliminate the Community Region designation for Camino, Cedar Grove and Pollock Pines and they still haven’t done it,” she said. “Recently the county planning staff distorted the original community-based proposal to instead change the entire Camino-Pollock Pines CRL to one giant Rural Center. This violates the General Plan policy excluding low- and medium-density residential land-use areas from Rural Centers. In the General Plan, Rural Centers are smaller commercial and multi-family and small lot residential areas intended to serve the surrounding rural area. This was a clear signal to the Shingle Springs community that the Board of Supervisors cannot be trusted to do what the community asks. Instead voters will have to take direct action through the initiative.”

“We’re baffled and more than concerned about the filing of the Community Region Line Initiative,” said Center. “Our initiative will stop San Stino and Dixon Ranch. We don’t see the need for another and are concerned because they filed it so soon after. It could confuse the public. The whole county isn’t affected by it, but they’ll have to collect signatures from all over the county. Our initiative is for everyone. By 2018 Measure Y will have run its course and we want to take care of Highway 50 and protect jobs.”

RCU filed its initiative even though supporters gained momentum in recent months. Partner Green Valley Alliance sent an e-mail to subscribers in early January stating, “We believe our supervisors are now listening.”

Even so, Center said they filed the ballot initiative because, “We feel like we’ve been in trench warfare with staff trying to get them to acknowledge that Highway 50 is at LOS F,” he said. “And the board has voted more than once not to consider early denials of projects that have already applied.

“With a potential 17,000 additional single-family home lots that could be approved in addition to the 16,000 that have already been approved, we felt it was time for the public to be able to weigh in on this issue which is clearly of countywide importance,” Center said. “We’ve written an initiative that is simple and clear. It will force the county to keep the promise that was made to fix traffic and control growth.”

RCU has begun collecting 7,200 signatures needed by July to place the initiative on the November ballot.

Proponents of Measure Y have long argued more rooftops won’t bring more jobs, but instead a focus should be on tourism and lower traffic mitigation fees to attract more businesses to the county. “We don’t think a small grocery store owner in Georgetown should have to pay $10 per square foot in TIM fees for commercial expansion,” said Center. “It’s not about money.”

At the crux of the issue is still traffic and various interpretations of how bad it is. In a Jan. 8 letter to the Mountain Democrat, Center wrote, “Staff’s refusal to accept Caltrans’ determination that Highway 50 is currently at Level of Service F (gridlock), and that even with all planned improvements Highway 50 traffic will only get worse over the next 20 years, is inexplicable. It does the board and the public no favors when staff is not presenting the truth in a clear and unvarnished fashion.”

Center argued, it’s pointless for the county to continue collecting millions in Highway 50 TIM fees.

“Caltrans said there are no plans to improve the capacity of Highway 50 in the next 20 years,” said Center, referring to a Caltrans letter submitted to the board. “We’re frustrated with county staff saying that it can be fixed and they keep collecting more money for TIM fees.”

Significant road improvements like construction of the Silva Valley interchange still won’t fix the big problem — Highway 50, Center said. “While any interchange that’s built or improved upon will make it easier for cars to get on and off the freeway, it’s not going to make Highway 50 less congested,” he asserted. “Ninety-five percent of the county roads are in great shape, so we don’t need to collect $50 million to fix them. And why collect money for Highway 50 when Caltrans said they can’t add more capacity lanes?”

Meanwhile developers remain quiet. Kirk Bone of Parker Development said they’ll comment after EIRs for proposed projects — including Marble Valley and Gallo’s Lime Rock — are complete in early spring.

Parlin said she believes the two initiatives may work together for the common good.

“While the RCU initiative and the Shingle Springs Community Alliance CRL initiative were filed separately, we believe they share a common purpose — to bring the 2004 General Plan more in line with its espoused intent, to keep El Dorado County rural,” she said. “We share a vision of balanced growth in keeping with available resources. We share the goal of heading off large-scale, massively imbalanced residential development projects that will gridlock our roads and kill locally based businesses, industries and agricultural and recreation jobs that are the keys to El Dorado County’s current and future economy. We hope that together they will create a strong and unified message that will bring county voters to the polls in November 2014 to protect and preserve the quality of life and economic security of El Dorado County.”

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 10 comments

  • Fran DuchampFebruary 05, 2014 - 7:45 am

    "Meanwhile developers remain quiet. Kirk Bone of Parker Development said they’ll comment after EIRs for proposed projects — including Marble Valley and Gallo’s Lime Rock — are complete in early spring." <---Parker backs the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce "PAC"...so how does taking out a huge ad--saying dont vote on these petitions reflect them being quiet? Once again: "The PAC’s Board of Directors consists of representatives of businesses small and large from various industries who are appointed by the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Its members are Chairman Kirk Bone, Secretary Mark Luster, Treasurer Gordon Helm, Mike Kobus, Kimberly Beal, Brian Jensen, and Laurel Brent-Bumb."

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  • Phil VeerkampFebruary 05, 2014 - 7:54 am

    Fran, it almost seems as though you begrudge the business/development community a voice. The Chamber of Commerce is that voice. Are you suggesting that because "big business" is BIG that BIG is sufficient and therefor it ought to shut up?

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 05, 2014 - 8:20 am

    Not at all Phil...I support business (as long as they support the consumer.) I think trying to stop anything from going to ballot--is wrong. Once it is on the ballot...then everyone can advertise to not vote on it...or yes vote on it. But to not allow an issue from being on the ballot...come on. It is suggested in the ad--that it doesnt deserve to be looked at by the people. when people--such as the candidates want to get on ballot--I sign for the right. doesnt mean im going to vote for them..I would not deny their right to petition.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 05, 2014 - 8:31 am

    I have never seen where a group tells people not to even look a the possibility of a petition. In advertising "Dont" is a very strong word (same as Do Not.). When I vote...I read about the issue--both pro and con. I listen to peoples opinions around me. I watch their actions as well. Their ad is manipulating a "right" given to us by the constitution. Heavy sigh, many people do not even know what that means. these little groups of people...and you can track some of the same names...feel they know best for the "whole." Im part of that "whole"--and they are doing nothing as far as I can see...except making money for themselves. Dont be taken in by Advertising. Look at the positioning of the pen vs the words...the amount of space around the main focus. It is like a parent saying "Dont do that." after trying to get the child to stop an action. You are enforcing a fear of punishment. In this case...if you do this the State will get you <---making it sound like the boogeyman. all of this is my opinion.

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  • James E.February 05, 2014 - 8:46 am

    The Chamber of Commerce has their voice -- the ad in the paper. The question should be: Why is the Chamber and business afraid of the ability of the people to get things on the ballot. Could it be they don't like the people meddling in their affairs? Affairs that might need some sunshine?

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  • WhattheheckFebruary 05, 2014 - 9:03 am

    I support the people's right to sign a petition and then get this ballot initiative on the ballot for all to see and vote for or against. This is the definition of a democracy. I have a real problem with the Chamber of Commerce who is funded with my tax dollars to always come out in favor of business and developers. Our county is only as good as the people who live in it and we will now have a fair chance in that determination. Thank you Lori Parlin for all your hard work to make this all happen.......in the end we will win because the people know what is happening in our county and we will keep it rural and not have it paved over with cement and asphalt in the name of progress.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 05, 2014 - 9:10 am

    Exactly James...unfortunately some of the people following them blindly...will heed their advice. Even the diagonal of the pen emotionally states the petition is unstable....this ad is pure visual manipulation. Look at the wording.."extreme anti-growth.." "strip our local control.." "instead of local planning....by our local elected leaders in concert with local citizens..." (<--this suggests harmony.) "Silencing our voices." <---interesting. Good vs Evil. They are afraid. Even the triangle of type leading to their logo mark...saying we are good- we are stable--we know best. (I would have made the type fit the triangle for extra punch--but whatever.) The last claim being in red...even if the picture doesnt capture you-- the color will--and it will bring people back into the ad to read again. Most will read,"Don't sign away local control--dont sign the petitions." This plays on the idea of people hating government intervention...they still trust local..not so much state or federal. Control from the bottom up. ,---you will hear this more and more from some of these "smart growth" people-" I believe in control from the bottom up."

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  • sunshineFebruary 05, 2014 - 9:46 am

    If the county Chamber of Commerce wants to control the 'wants and needs' of the residents, then the Chamber should STOP taking taxpayers money EVERY YEAR to fund the Chambers "wants and needs". it's simple " GET OFF THE DOLE". The Chamber touts itself as a good "conservative organization", then STOP asking for our money.

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  • HmmmFebruary 06, 2014 - 8:54 am

    Sounds like Mr. Bill does not like to share the spotlight and he is politically savvy enough to know that astute voters say NO when there is a shred of doubt or confusion. And then there are two more ballot initiatives coming including one that rewinds the deal that Mr. Bill cut with the 2008 BoS. A deal offered by Mr. Bill to relieve "unintended consequences" of Measure Y. Oh no Mr. Bill!! Next, why would anyone sign a petition with all of the bad press, in the general, concerning paid and political manipulation of this process? The ink has barely dried on these proposed initiatives much less have the time to evaluate the intended and unintended consequences. Blind allegiance or opposition because of affiliated names alone is fools play at this juncture when unbiased analysis is really the missing ingredient. That takes time and a little patience....

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 06, 2014 - 9:10 am

    Hmmm...depends on which measures one looks at...and how many people were behind it--before its birth. Again I dont know Mr. Bill...I am fighting for the right to petition. However-- I know already what will be on the ballot come November :). because I personally have seen some of the numbers saying what people want--because ive seen the people--and most are tired of these small groups--deciding for them. Even if people dont post--they are reading--listening--showing up at town meetings--rejecting community plans shoved at them. Many mistakes were made here in Pollock--people learned from them. The visitors to those meetings saw the manipulations and took them back down the hill. People are watching the vids...going to meetings outside of where they live--watching what happens in BOS meetings...watching what is in this newspaper. It will be an interesting year...with measures, and candidates. Have a great day. Dont worry about comparing me to a rock--that was yesterday--today im a falcon. (wink) Measure "y" was voted on twice by the people of El Dorado...they actually read here...they will look for changes..and vote for what they believe. I know when I go to some of these meetings--I am not represented--yet I am part of the community--where I was told ...no--this is what you wanted <--really?

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