GPU: Ad Hoc Group Unlikely to Keep Pace

From the 1.16.13 issue

By Daniel Mintz

Press Reporter

With the future of an ad hoc stakeholders group in doubt, the Board of Supervisors is going ahead with an every other week General Plan Update hearing schedule.

Supervisors discussed how to proceed with the update at its Jan. 8 meeting and decided to stick with a schedule that has hearings held bi-weekly until May 20, the target completion date. A once every three week schedule was up for consideration but supervisors chose not to pursue it after Community Development Director Kevin Hamblin gave an update on the ad hoc group’s latest meeting.

The group had met the day before, Hamblin said, adding that he heard its members were “very anxious about getting through” the Circulation Element, which it has been working on since late November.

But the group wasn’t able to finish it, as seven of its members were absent, Hamblin continued. “They themselves are unsure how they’re going to continue into the future or if they’re going to continue into the future,” he said.

Supervisors have held off on reviewing the Circulation Element to allow the ad hoc group time to make recommendations on it. The three-week hearing schedule was geared to giving the group enough time to review elements and make recommendations on them.

The group’s emergence last November changed the update’s course, as supervisors supported the idea of having the multi-interest group work out a mutually agreeable version of the update.

But as its progress lurches, the group is increasingly being talked about as a mechanism for social interaction among members of ideologically divided special interest groups rather than outside review. At her first meeting, Supervisor Estelle Fennell said the group’s work has value but the General Plan Update process shouldn’t be built around it.

“I’m concerned about the fact that we’re being hung up on whether or not the ad hoc committee can do its job,” she said.

She added that even if the group’s members end up representing their own groups’ interests, “I think they’ve learned to work together more and that’s my vision for the future – that we do respect each other, we trust each other and have an adult conversation about how to move out general plan forward.”

Supervisor Mark Lovelace said he has no preference about the update schedule, as long as it’s realistic and will be followed. He noted that on several occasions, various update elements have been listed on agendas without being taken up. It has happened repeatedly, he continued, disappointing people who had come to hearings expecting listed elements to be discussed.

“I couldn’t agree more – I’ve been thinking about that for a while,” said Fennell.

Other supervisors also concurred. The next update hearing was set for Jan. 14, after the Press went to the printer.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “GPU: Ad Hoc Group Unlikely to Keep Pace

  1. Ben

    It is unfortunate that this report does not reflect the actions of the Board meeting on Monday, for it would be vastly different.

  2. jackdurham

    This is an article from the Wednesday, Jan. 16 edition. Each edition requires various deadlines that occur before the actual paper comes out. This article was submitted by reporter Daniel Mintz prior to the Saturday deadline. The pages were assembled, then sent to the printer Monday afternoon. It was too late to report on that hearing. An article on Monday’s hearing will appear in next week’s paper.

    Given that this process seems to be taking a decade or so, and given that we’ve reported on most of the meetings, I’m not too worried about a week-long delay. We’ve got play-by-play coverage – more coverage than any other media outlet on the planet. In a perfect world, I’d have up-to-date, minute-by-minute coverage, but that’s expensive and requires lots of advertising support.

    If anyone wants to provide their own report on the happenings, please post it here. It would be appreciated.

  3. Anonymous

    I don’t get it. Daniel Mintz usually does a pretty good job reporting but he sure has an agenda with this General Plan group. Article after article all with a negative spin. Everyone else is so positive, whats up?

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