SECOND STOP-GROWTH INITIATIVE SUBMITTED
Local Village Life newspaper reported the following late last week: “One week after Rural Communities United (RCU) filed the county ballot initiative ‘Fix Highway 50 Traffic First/Keep Us Rural’, residents behind the Shingle Springs Community Alliance (opposition to proposed San Stino and Tilden Park projects) filed ‘Protect Rural Communities/Fix Community Region Line Flaws,’ which RCU spokesman and Measure Y co-creator Bill Center said (the second initiative) might confuse voters — or worse, detract from the two groups’ common goal.”
OK: Let’s take a breather here and make sure we understand exactly what is going on. From the above one might fairly assume that Shingle Springs activists and Measure Y advocate Bill Center are at odds as to how to best stop growth locally thus two separate initiatives. But there’s more:
Before we finished writing this newsletter yet a third initiative was filed and there are rumors that there will be at least five total on the next ballot. That changes things dramatically. Local activists who live in areas with existing infrastructure predominantly along Highway 50 are trying to push the growth away from their own property and back out into the rural lands. We understand they would say “no”, that they want to just stop it altogether, but that’s just not possible based on state court cases and laws. The current General Plan simply plans for new growth to be accommodated along developed areas (at least 75% of the growth) with the remaining 25% expected to go to more rural areas.
This is based on historical data. Since the Land Use Policy Programmatic Update (LUPPU) process is the process that empowers implementation of the GP – it is under attack by all the activists who prefer not to enact ANY plan for growth. LUPPU is the process that implements the existing GP and that makes it, and the staff assigned to work on it, an enemy to those who oppose all.
The first initiative attacks Measure Y - the traffic solution sold to the public to have new growth fund local road improvements via Measure Y. In the last newsletter we cited reasons why Center and Jim Moore may be trying to eliminate Measure Y, in light of its proven success as created: Measure Y is responsible for bringing almost half billion dollars to El Dorado County (EDC) to fix local roads (and primarily State Highway 50). And, another almost half billion dollars is slated to come from new development to further improve roads via Measure Y/Traffic Impact Mitigation fees during the life of this GP, all to be paid by NEW projects/buyers of new homes.
The second initiative had a different focus from the first: The second initiative is aimed specifically at undermining the existing General Plan (GP) by removing key Community Region boundaries. This initiative attacks the cornerstone, the very foundation of the existing GP which is the Community Regions (CRs). CRs are primarily those areas where commercial and denser residential growth (residential density considered too low to even be considered in other jurisdictions) has existed for decades and is set to continue to accommodate growth known to come, such as Shingle Springs, Camino/Pollock Pines, Diamond Springs, Cameron Park and El Dorado Hills. These areas are slated to accommodate new business and denser residential growth (much of which is mandated by the State) because CRs already have access to public water, sewer and transportation. If not there now, the GP requires new development to provide the infrastructure.
The initiatives do little to enlighten the public as to the effects of their passage, but suffice to say when claims are made – ask for facts! Many opinions being offered are by politicos and activists with political and usually personal agendas. Many with personal agendas can only be explained as “not in my backyard” (eg: not in El Dorado County along the freeway!) The process that produced this Plan when the people voted for it in 2005 and folks chose to direct development to go along the Highway 50 corridor, did so in order to retain the bulk of the county as rural. In fact, the fundamental land use maps still used today goes back many decades.
Looking at the initiative leaders’ backgrounds indicates that one lives just off of Highway 50 north – the “view shed” for her home. She’s opposed to a project on the south side of Highway 50 but also opposes a project called Tilden Park, a mixed-use project proposed for single family lots and a small hotel, which would be located between the activists’ property and Highway 50. It becomes personal.
Another woman speaks for the Green Valley Alliance (GVA) and joins the group attacking the Land Use Policy Programmatic Update (LUPPU) process, as well attacking current county staff. Yet this woman was a member of county planning staff in recent years. The current planning and transportation staff are widely known and accepted as professional, honest, forthcoming and knowledgeable individuals who make themselves widely available to questions or challenges posed by the public. They make recommendations to the BOS based on studies and analysis and openly discuss all issues. Again, with politics it becomes personal.
These initiatives will, like Measure Y before them, have far reaching consequences to everyone. Let’s bring full disclosure of all facts and biases out when the public is being asked to endorse measures that will impact every area of our community, well after the election: It will govern if traffic solutions are implemented; how those traffic solutions are funded; where future generations are encouraged to invest and whether they are even able to live in this area; how and if schools will be built; how business opportunity will grow; what services are available from public transit to technology to medical care; and, importantly, how interpersonal relationships will thrive. When individuals make themselves public representatives by running for office or running countywide voter initiatives, we must examine all aspects that drive them.