BOS has plate full of issues

By Chris Daley, Mountain Democrat, July 1, 2013

From page A1 | 4 Comments

Thursday’s El Dorado County Board of Supervisors special meeting workshop was more a tutorial on county policies and planning directions that included Economic Development, General Plan discussion and Land Use Policy Programmatic Update (LUPPU). More than 100 people nearly filled the board chambers and included residents with concerns specific to their neighborhoods, policy wonks, representatives of the Real Estate and construction industries and “at least 20 developers,” according to one speaker’s estimate.

Jim Brunello, spokesman for the El Dorado County Community and Economic Development Advisory Committee (CEDAC), presented a summary of the 2004 General Plan data regarding residential development. Under the plan, the county projected an increase of 32,491 housing units by the year 2025. Of that total, he explained that about 12,000 have already been built, and 75 percent of that number were built in one of the county’s five Community Regions that has “sewer service.” Brunello clarified that most of his statistics were limited to areas with that designation.

He further noted that the general plan requires that the majority of new residential units be constructed within the identified Community Regions — defined by the existence or availability of infrastructure such as water and sewer — and roadways that can accommodate increased traffic demands. He also described several categories of residential development that must be considered. The state mandates that each county allocate a portion of its available land to meet the needs for “affordable” housing which can include multi-family dwellings such as apartments and also detached, single family homes.

The Regional Housing Needs Assessment is demanded by the state and the actual numbers are established by SACOG, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. The basis for RHNA is state law under Assembly Bill 32 and Senate Bill 375 which set standards for air and water quality, “sustainable” communities and for addressing housing and transportation needs of families with very low to moderate income levels.

The county is obligated to identify enough parcels that could be developed for those classifications, although it is not required to assure that they be built, Brunello said. Currently, he stated that there is “very little vacant land” zoned for commercial and Multi-Family development within the existing Community Development Boundary Lines. Brunello said up to approximately 13,000 parcels for all categories of homes in those regions with sewer are needed, but only about 2,000 such parcels are available under present guidelines.

“General Plan policies determine the percentage of where the 12,000 units have been built,” and policies will drive the next set of numbers, he suggested. “But whatever you look at, we need more parcels.”

Brunello also advised that the county can “project where the mandated units will go without splitting much land in rural regions.” The critical issues for the future are integrating traffic demand which includes determining the “realistic capacity and the impact of that capacity.”

One of Brunello’s last slides showed a shadow of the “elephant in the room” the iconic notion that something very important is present but is not being acknowledged nor addressed. He described the elephant in the county’s room as “major land use changes that have been proposed and how do you deal with them?”

Those proposals include the San Stino Residential and the Tilden Park projects in Shingle Springs that are the subjects of intense opposition from several groups that have combined to form the Shingle Springs Community Alliance. Marble Valley and Lime Rock are other proposed developments that would need General Plan amendments in order to increase housing density.

Some in the audience expressed dismay at the swirl of numbers, regulations and laws being discussed, while others were more focused on their own neighborhoods, particularly the Shingle Springs Alliance contingent hoping to foil San Stino and Tilden Park by having their Community Region Boundary Lines, redrawn or removed altogether.

Brunello repeated his opening statement that, according to the 2011 Five-year General Plan update, there are to be “no land use changes” before the next Five-year Review. The meaning of that caveat may not be clear, however.

Sue Taylor, representing Save Our County suggested to the Mountain Democrat after the morning session that there are ways of creating changes in how land is used by means of zoning changes, for example. She also delivered an impassioned description of the county’s present and future needs for water and the real potential for water shortages in years to come.

Brian Veerkamp, District 3 Supervisor followed District 5′s Norma Santiago’s concern about the semantics of the issues. “You say no land use changes, but the problem is that these projects are requiring changes.”

“But the projects that came forward followed the process,” Brunello clarified. “You may need to change the process.”

The board eventually directed county staff to continue its work on the LUPPU process and to return in 60 days with a detailed discussion and set of options regarding Community Region Boundary lines.

Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or Follow @CDaleyMtDemo.

Chris DaleyChris Daley Chris has written a weekly column for the Democrat for more than 20 years and has Master’s Degrees in Russian History, Psychology and Career Counseling. He has been a staff writer for a number of years and enjoys it because he "learns so much about so many things." View all my stories Email Me CDaleyMtDemo

4 thoughts on “BOS has full plate of issues”

Evelyn says:

June 30, 2013 at 11:44 am

Jim Brunello and CEDAC should be thrilled with this report. And they weren’t even the group that ASKED for the special meeting.


Fran DuChamp says:

June 30, 2013 at 12:07 pm

It was a very long meeting…really long. what I do not understand is that these reports are based on imaginary numbers–projections…assumptions of what may happen. Some of the numbers come from people off the street giving their opinions at workshops…I dont get it. One thing is for sure–there will not be enough water….ummmmm I was glad to see so many passionate people–they did number the most…but CEDAC won…it wasnt about communities…majority didnt matter. When you have a spokes person –representing reality people speak up …you know right away the people that said no to development must be on to something. Realtor s make their money selling property, homes…whatever. Really long meeting….I admire the courage and passion of shingle Springs. and the developers were very well dressed. I worry that the red line around Pollock –doesnt have green in it–what about the farms? They kept saying sewer only–yet one supervisor said sewers were easy…We have three supervisors in Pollock…Pollocks name came up a few times…it was interesting…just not for the “people.” The draft of the last item was the most interesting–it would be a check off process for building applications–and if the applications dont fit the general plan–they will be put to the side–so that the application that does fit–can be looked at to move forward.


Fran DuChamp says:

June 30, 2013 at 4:15 pm

luppu now…ludes–1999 Land projects for El Doradocounty–apple hill–human footprints….


Sue Taylor says:

July 1, 2013 at 2:19 am

Bottom line of meeting… Keep moving with the General Plan Overhaul to increase densities in the land uses and put the public off for another 60 days and see if they will go away.