Thursday, February 12, 2009

this sucks

Hey guys-this is important. Unfortunately, I can't go, cuz I'm going to the Chinese New Year dinner event thingy downtown. But hopefully at least one of you can? Bill Burg posted this on sacrag:

Keep in mind, in all this, that the “strong mayor” initiative is predicated around the idea that the current concil is not pro-development enough.
And the way things are headed, the public will have even fewer possibilities for input:
On Thursday the Sacramento Planning Commission will have a public hearing on a proposal (http://www.cityofsacramento.org/dsd/meetings/commissions/planning/2008/documents/DOC_letter.PDF) by the Development Oversight Commission (DOC), a City-appointed group comprised almost entirely of real estate developers, architects, and business consultants, to eliminate the City’s Design Review Commission and change the development approval process in the City so that City staff will make most planning and design decisions administratively, leaving no opportunity for public input.
The reasons you should come to the hearing at City Hall on Thursday February 12th at 5:30pm to testify against this proposal:
1. This attempt to reduce citizen and citizen-commission input and oversight of development in our community has undergone no public vetting from community groups that will be affected by such a fundamental shift in our City’s development.
The proposal was developed and sent directly to the Mayor with no input from the Planning or Design Review Commissions. More importantly, the proposed ordinance was not brought to any neighborhood association or other community-based organization that normally comments on development in their communities.
This is not the kind of transparency and open government practices that should be an essential part of such a fundamental change in our community’s development approval process.
2. The proposal will greatly reduce opportunities for Community input
The proposal will eliminate the City’s Design Review Commission and fold its responsibilities into the Planning Commission and shift “…the majority of decisions to the staff level..”. The movement of “…the majority of decisions to staff level…” will likely reduce community involvement from the development review process. Communities have a right to be able to comment on projects that will be built in their neighborhood.
Even after moving most decisions to the staff level, by eliminating the Design Review Commission the public loses one of the two opportunities they have left to comment on development projects proposed in their neighborhood. The recommendation would squeeze all public input on a project into one meeting where every issue with design or planning will have to be settled. This will almost certainly create the types of extremely long meetings that discourage public involvement and will force complex decisions that have long-term impacts on communities into unreasonably short decision-making time frames.
Reducing opportunities for citizens to be involved in projects in their neighborhoods decreases transparency, will cause more projects to be appealed to the City Council and will increase the likelihood of lawsuits to block projects. This will decrease the effectiveness of the development review process. Please come to the Planning Commission hearing and comment on this item and let the City know that you think the public should have a role in development decisions in our City. Please distribute this email to other residents who would come to testify in support of preserving the role of the citizen in our city’s development.
The meeting is at the New City Hall, 915 I Street, 1st Floor- Council Chambers, February 12, 2009 at 5:30 P.M.

6 comments:

Sharper said...

I love how this was scheduled for thirty minutes before a neighborhood association meeting for Alkali and Mansion Flats to be attended by some police and city attorney types.

Mussolini would never have had a problem with overlapping civic organization meeting schedules, dammit.

wburg said...

The city has a knack for scheduling multiple meetings that community activists might want to attend for the same time.

The meeting was very interesting. It was an informational item, not something being decided. It looks basically like DOC wanted to do an end-run around the public and city commissions, and when they got caught they started backpedaling claiming that this was the beginning of the process, not a done deal. But the language of the letter, and the instructions to the city clerk asking them to draft an ordinance based on DOC's recommendations, say different.

It's kind of like catching someone with their hand in your pocket grabbing your wallet, and they claim they thought your wallet was about to fall out and they were just putting it back in.

Anonymous said...

That is a very apt analogy.

-skpr

beckler said...

apt!

hi guys, it's me. don't expect much in the way of posts for a while. i'm going to be busy smoking weed in the woods until next week. or something like that.

Anonymous said...

Well its good to keep busy.

Natalie.

beckler said...

That was a lie. We're going to Mendo. Are there woods there? Should I say I will be smoking weed in a clothing optional hot tub? Smoking weed with golden elk, real or imaginary? Smoking weed at Mendo burger?