Board Refuses To Make The Tough Choices
Lou Calcagno, Chair
[Sent By FAX and Email: 831-755-5888]
Monterey County Board of Supervisors
240 Church Street
Salinas, CA 93901
RE: General Plan Update Process May 25, 2004 Agenda (Item #S-18)
Chairperson Calcagno and Board Members:
Last week, the Board asked for alternatives" to the current General Plan Update (GPU) process. This week, your Board is going to decide in a final and official" way whether to complete the current process, or whether, instead, to launch into some new and different" process to amend the Countys 1982 General Plan. Here are some thoughts, which I hope the Board will consider:
current process, which has cost about $5 million dollars so far,
and which has taken almost five years to this point, can be completed
order to complete the current process, the Board will need to
take the following actions:
the Planning Commission recommendation for public hearings
before the Board.
that the Final EIR on the current draft be presented
to the Board, so it can be considered in connection
with the Boards decision.
hold public hearings on the Planning Commission recommendation.
- Make the tough decisions" about what the new GPU should say.
- Set the Planning Commission recommendation for public hearings before the Board.
is a simple process, and can be completed promptly. The Board
retains full discretion to make whatever decisions they want to,
with respect to any of the policy issues covered by the General
the Board follows this process, there will not be any public consensus,"
and the Board will have to decide what it thinks is right, based
on the public testimony received, the Final EIR, and the Boards
own knowledge of the issues.
- The process just described above is what the Board is paid to do!
Instead of following this process, which is the only process that keeps faith with the public, and that will realize the benefits of the incredibly large public expenditures that have been made on the GPU process so far, the Board is now considering several so-called alternatives." Here are my comments on the alternatives" presented to the Board by the County Counsel in his May 25, 2004 Board report:
estimated costs of Alternatives 1-4 are vastly understated. Staffing
costs reported at $40,000 per month last week are now, mysteriously,
quoted at $25,000 per month. The consultant" cost of
$150,000 is way below what consultants have been charging the
County in connection with the current effort. The County has hired
lots of consultants" in running up its current $5 million
bill for the GPU. The cost of consultants going forward will not
be any less! The cost to prepare a draft and final EIR (a brand
new EIR, it appears) will dwarf the $150,000 total cost cited.
Just as a point of reference, the cost of the East Garrison EIR
is about $500,000; the Pebble Beach EIR is about $600,000. Today,
on the Consent Agenda, the Board approved the transfer of an additional
$175,000 to pay for more work on the Rancho San Juan EIR. The
costs cited with respect to the so-called alternatives"
#3 suggests a new" consultant to complete the final
EIR process (including drafting responses to comments on the DEIR).
In fact, your staff has already completed its responses to comments
on the current EIR. Alternative #3 is completely unnecessary and
simply adds costs, with no public benefit.
matter who prepares the draft GPU document, and no matter who
does the draft and final EIR, the policy choices are the same!
There are different views of what the future of Monterey County
should be. There are legitimate arguments on all sides. There
will never be consensus" on what should happen. Ultimately,
your Board has to make the call. The so-called alternatives"
presented will not eliminate that requirement. All the so-called
alternatives" do is to give you an excuse further to
delay the tough decisions, costing the taxpayers more money, and
increasing public disillusionment.
- Alternative #1 would apparently discard the Twelve Guiding Objectives that are the foundation of the current GPU effort. These Guiding Objectives reflect what the public has told the Board that it wants, and they were adopted by the Board of Supervisors themselves. If one of the hidden agendas" that may be driving the recent consideration of alternatives" is the idea that it will be possible to eliminate those Twelve Guiding Objectives, please note that this agenda is not really hidden" at all.
LandWatch urges the Board to proceed with the current GPU process.
cc: CAO; County Counsel; GPU Staff; Planning Director; Planning Commission; Other Interested Persons