David Dodd 2:33 a.m., May 19
County Supervisors Discuss Limiting Role of Community Planning Groups
County Supervisors received recommendations to streamline the land-use permitting process from the Red Tape Reduction Task Force on Wednesday. The task force spent months drafting the recommendations after interviews with county employees, and poring over county documents.
Among the recommendations, one received the most attention. That recommendation focused on community planning groups. The task force found that community planning groups often delay projects and hold too much power and influence over projects. To solve that issue, the task force recommended that the board limit the scope of their responsibilities, and limit the number of years volunteers can serve.
Members of the public criticized the recommendation.
"Planning groups are not red tape but rather a necessary element in our government of, by and for all of the citizens of San Diego County," said Oliver Smith, chair of the Valley Center planning group.
Residents of Pine Valley, and Lakeside also objected to the plan.
"Public notice on this was totally inadequate. Planning groups were not notified," said Lakeside resident Janis Shackelford. "What you are doing is muzzling community participation in the land-use process."
Some board members weren't opposed to limiting the role of community planning groups. "There is a big issue," said Supervisor Bill Horn, a pro-development politician. "We are spending money on their elections, on staffing them. It is not cheap. We have to do something about this issue."
Supervisor Dianne Jacob expressed the need for community volunteer groups. "For the most part [community planning groups] have been extremely valuable, not only to me and my office but to county staff."
After some discussion, Supervisors accepted many of the task force recommendations. The board, however, tabled the community planning group recommendation until February 29, to allow staff time to review the issue.