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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.

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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.

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Comments
1

If this were really about cutting red tape, making it faster and cheaper to get projects approved, thus jump starting the local economy, I'd be OK with it. But it isn't that. The five supes have worked within this system for their entire terms, and had no objections to voice until now. No, they just want to be the big cheeses in the county in all matters. It takes a layer out of the system and puts them in control of the details, and in that way are more accessible to the public for good and for ill. In other words, if you want to call in a favor or generate one, you know whom to get it from. Your district supervisor, of course. And if it comes to greasing palms, well you know whose palm to grease.

What they want to do is recreate the imperial capital/court as it once existed in Vienna. And several others, going all the way back to ancient Rome. All good things will flow from the chambers in the county administration center. Central planning, thy name is San Diego County.

Dec. 8, 2011

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