From the 12.26.12 edition
By Daniel Mintz
Press Staff Writer
The General Plan Update’s future continues to be hazy and there’s doubt that a staff-recommended schedule that charts its completion in late spring will be followed.
The ever-changing update process was again revisited at a Dec. 17 Board of Supervisors hearing. A recently-formed ad hoc stakeholders group is being increasingly called upon to review the update but its members are still working on the update’s Circulation Element after several weeks and they’re unsure if they’ll continue with other sections.
Their work is now driving the update’s course and supervisors again held off on decision-making to allow them more time.
The group’s work on the Circulation Element mostly involves re-wording policies for clarity but the creation of a countywide transportation plan is also recommended.
Board Chairman Virginia Bass said her decision-making would be helped if the group continued its work. She asked Dan Ehresman of the Healthy Humboldt Coalition, one of the group’s members, if there are plans to review other sections of the update.
“We’ve talked about that quite a bit and we have concluded that we’re not going to make that decision until we are completely done with the Circulation Element,” he responded, adding that “this has been a monumental amount of work for all of us.”
“So that’s not a ‘no,’” said Bass.
“It’s not a yes,” said a member of the group from the audience.
Supervisors had originally asked for a so-called short list review focusing on the limited number of policies that drew split votes from the county’s Planning Commission. The stakeholders group has done a policy-by-policy re-wording of the Circulation Element, however, and outgoing Supervisor Clif Clendenen suggested a more focused approach “rather than retread what wasn’t contested at all in front of the Planning Commission.”
Doing that may “allow the county to have a General Plan by the summer,” he added.
So far, supervisors have spent as much time talking about the update’s process and its schedule as they have on its contents. After a staff presentation on the ad hoc group’s work, supervisors discussed scheduling but resolution was elusive due to the group’s uncertain status.
Saying he wants to be a “realist,” Supervisor Mark Lovelace commented on the numerous update completion schedules that have been unfulfilled. “I will be greatly surprised if we’re not still here this time next year,” he said.
“I want to see it get done also but I’m more concerned with getting it done right and having as many groups represented in the final plan,” said Supervisor Rex Bohn.
Supervisors agreed to discuss the update’s completion schedule further at their regular meeting on Jan. 8. The next update hearing is set for Jan. 14.