Diamond Springs and El Dorado Community Plan Gets Community Input and it is Heated!
A seeming universal complaints was the accusation that the community was not effectively informed and could not have even given effective community input. Many accused the presenters with using the community meetings as a pretense to presenting a pre-determined idea from the consultant. Adrian Engel of Echelon was the consulting firm hired to prepare the plan.
Planning Commission members responded first and Planning Commissioner Dave Pratt said that he had participated in the process as a member of one of the stakeholder groups. Regardless, he suggested their input was less relevant and more should have been solicited from the local business community.
Dan Bolster, the senior transportation planner with the El Dorado County Transportation Commission responded to Pratt’s comments by saying the lack of an organized business community in the area had been a challenge, adding that in order to get their input they had gone door to door, had coffee with business owners and sent out mailers. That response was not liked by the public and they told Bolster and Adrian Engel of Echelon Transportation Group exactly what they thought of the "outreach" efforts.
“Everything that we have done in El Dorado, we have done ourselves,” said Rod Pimental. “We aren’t notified in advance,” he said, adding that “these advisory committees are formed for one reason — to get what the people on the advisory committee want to get done. It’s not community involvement.”
“Poorly planned, poorly executed and not in the realm of reality,” Ellen Day, a business owner with Pride Realty in Diamond Springs. She expressed that she did not believe they had gone door-to-door as claimed and said, "the parking spots they wanted to eliminate belonged to the property owners and not Caltrans."
“My cousin wondered how he’d be able to deliver cattle or bring hay to his property if the roundabout was installed,” said George Turnboo, who owns a gas station at the intersection where a controversial roundabout is proposed.
“We asked on this project, we don’t want to look like El Dorado Hills, we don’t want to look like Folsom. We want to look like the semi-rural we have left. But we keep getting pictures of these cutsie little, cookie-cutter towns. That’s not what we were asking for. We were asking to maintain what we have. Again bike communities and walkable communities work for high-density areas. They don’t work here.” Were some comments made by Laurel Stroud. A participant in the preparation of the draft plan, she said the outcome was directed to a “predetermined result.”
Wrapping up the meeting Planning Commission Chairman Walter Mathews noted that many people felt left out of the process. Their comments need to be recorded and then “let the fruit fall where it may,” he said.
Bolster said a draft of the plan will be released Feb. 18 and residents will have about five days to read and comment on it. The planners will then take the comments, make revisions and provide the final plan to EDCTC on March 6. That meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers.
the public can view the plan and make comments at EDCTC’s Website at www.edctc.org/Projects.html