Measure Y concerns aired at Board of Supervisor's Meeting
BOARD HEARS MEASURE Y COMMITTEE PRESENTATION
The Board of Supervisors (BOS) held a public hearing on the Land Use Policy Programmatic Update (LUPPU) process last June 27th that resulted in members of the Measure Y Committee voicing concerns about growth and its impacts. (Ref: Business Alliance…Update August 1, 2013 issue). Based on Measure Y Committee claims that Highway 50 is already at Level of Service (LOS) F, and that LUPPU/CEDAC is ignoring Measure Y, the BOS scheduled a Measure Y public presentation to the BOS, which took place on August 26, 2013.
Many attendees were surprised to hear Measure Y Committees’ specific claim that Hwy 50 is already at LOS F. Readers will recall the battles over Measure Y and numerous public discussions and debates about how the initiative would impact local businesses, residents and economic development. Measure Y passed by a handy margin as it was to be a solution for funding road improvements, and would be paid for by new residential developers. Measure Y was subsequently included in the 2004 General Plan (GP) as “TC-X” policies.
On August 26th the BOS heard from Measure Y Committee members Bill Center and Jim Moore, who stated that the CEDAC LUPPU information the BOS discussed in June 2013 was “unexpected” and “surprised” the Committee. They expressed concerns that Measure Y is being ignored in the LUPPU process, and further claimed facts were being withheld by staff and/or the Community and Economic Development Advisory Committee [CEDAC] members regarding unmitigated impacts on local roads. However Measure Y activists have attended a few CEDAC meetings and LUPPU workshops during the past few years where the foundation was laid as LUPPU systematically moved forward.
NOTE: The LUPPU Power Point presentation slides for each BOS meeting are discussed and widely reviewed at publicly noticed regular Friday morning CEDAC meetings, to which the public is invited and encouraged to attend. Additionally the Measure Y Committee has met with numerous individuals involved with CEDAC as well as with the prior Regulatory Reform attendees as the LUPPU process has evolved over the last 3 years.
BOS GIVES DIRECTION ON MEASURE Y AND LUPPU ISSUES
Thus the latest local growth battles are fueled as BOS members and the public try to digest transportation data, facts and principals and the Measure Y Committee promises yet another anti-growth voter initiative. Those seeking the facts have met with the EDC Department of Transportation as well as contacted CalTrans for clarification of Hwy 50 traffic counts and the State Agency’s accurate interpretation of the data. The BOS has also set a Special Board Meeting on September 30, 2013, to address the following pending “to do” items:
1. Staff was directed to meet with Rural Communities United (groups of local area activists’ groups and Measure Y) and report back in late October or November of 2013.
2. Staff was directed to review and determine if there was a need to analyze alternatives other than the 1.03% growth projections now set (eg: a proposed “no new subdivisions” alternative). The 1.03% growth projection is based on a historical trend analysis, which staff was previously directed to use as the “preferred growth rate” for the comprehensive Capital Improvement Program (for traffic funding) update. The BOS sought info whether there’s a need to revise current direction based on the Measure Y Committee presentation.
3. On July 30, 2013, BOS directed staff to move forward with a Green Valley corridor analysis and return with an identified funding source, draft scope of work and schedule for the analysis project.
4. On June 27, 2013, the BOS directed staff to return in approximately 120 days with a process and policy for the early evaluation of General Plan Amendment (GPA) applications (eg: such as Marble Valley, the San Stino Project, etc). Staff is returning on September 30th to update the BOS on comments received during the public review and comment period on the GPA process, and will be requesting additional BOS direction.
5. On June 27, 2013 staff was directed to return in approximately 60 days with a work plan pertaining to costs and next steps for consideration of amending current General Plan Community Region Boundary lines.
On August 6, 2013 staff was directed to return in approximate 5 weeks with modifications based upon input by the BOS and public and to expand criteria for Project Noticing Requirements.
RESPONSE TO MEASURE Y COMMITTEE FEARS AND CLAIMS
One of the most challenging aspects of the Land Use Policy Programmatic Update (LUPPU) process is that it truly is “programmatic” and not single-issue focused. When the Regulatory Reform volunteers first delved into the reasons for dysfunctions within the EDC regulatory land use realm, it was discovered (and reported in early issues of this newsletter) how one process under one department was intricately connected to the action of another department and another program with its own set of issues. Readers will recall that all weren’t local issues and processes only, but some involved state or federal laws and regulations as well. This is why the BOS, in their wisdom, approached Reg Reform recommendations from a programmatic approach that has always included transportation issues on their own track.
Early in 2012 Reg Reform openly acknowledged that traffic issues were at the center of numerous projections/planning efforts involved in LUPPU and reported that local county software technology was sorely in need of upgrades. Reg Reform volunteers sought BOS support for improvements to EDC’s system with upgrades, so staff could more accurately manage transportation data and growth projections.
Regulatory Reform (now CEDAC’s) goal has always been implementation of the entire General Plan. Both the adopted GP and LUPPU include Measure Y policies, as approved by the voters. LUPPU’s environmental review processes include a traffic study based on an updated traffic model. LUPPU does not include land use changes for the proposed development projects, and to move forward, those projects would need to prepare project-specific traffic studies.
The Measure Y Committee should not fear that Measure Y is not being implemented as part of LUPPU – it is!
LUPPU MISCONCEPTIONS BEING TOUTED
For the record the following are misconceptions that exist about the LUPPU process:
LUPPU Does Not Include General Plan Land Use Designation Changes: It is being said by some that the Land Use Policy Programmatic Update (LUPPU) process, and its supporters, are promoting significant land use designation changes. As reported in this newsletter numerous times LUPPU is merely a process that originated from a group of volunteers that recognized that land use planning and development involves many different departments, documents and issues. The foundational guideline for land use goals and policies in El Dorado County is the adopted General Plan (GP). The Zoning Ordinance for any jurisdiction must be consistent with the area’s GP, which local volunteers quickly recognized to be a problem. The LUPPU process now includes an updated Zoning Ordinance that meets state law and is included in the LUPPU environmental review process, saving taxpayers money to do a separate environmental review.
Several years ago when the LUPPU process took off with BOS and widespread community support, early analysis confirmed that large scale changes in land use designations were not necessary for implementation of the GP. Thus LUPPU has moved forward under that precept.
LUPPU Does Not Include Major Residential Development Projects at the Densities Proposed in Recent Project Applications: Following BOS decisions/actions that moved the LUPPU process forward, several developers submitted applications for large residential developments that require General Plan Amendments (GPA) to accommodate higher density than density projections contained in the GP. These actions caused significant controversy in communities where the projects are located. These projects are not included in LUPPU as they are not part of the existing GP being implemented, but are moving forward on a separate tract from the LUPPU process. This means those projectswill address the projects’ environmental impacts separate from the LUPPU process.
LUPPU Does NOT Propose Tens of Thousands of New Homes To Be Built in El Dorado County: LUPPU is an implementation process for the current GP. It does not propose more homes than GP projections; nor do its supporters. These supporters also do not propose wholesale land use changes. Comments to the contrary are misleading the public into fearing the LUPPU process, which implements the existing General Plan with only minor modifications to policies.