My take on the General Plan Update (GPAC) Meeting Aug 6 the, 2014

Key Issues Memo

This meeting was held at the council chambers room and was well attended. Unlike the first meeting  they had little name tags on each in front of each seat, so I couldn’t sit at the round table like I did in the first meeting.  Also they kept comments until the end.  The first meeting was more like first a presentation and then a discussion with anyone in the room.  But this still was a good informative meeting.

The crowd was very respectful and the planning commissioners and other members of the GPAC task force asked great questions. The questions came in response to one of 44 issues (see link) that were identified going through the1996 General Plan.  Examples, an idea for future get rid of old telephone poles, building charging stations, better bike paths etc.

There was an interesting discussion of us purchasing all the light polls and replacing the lights with led’s.  Another great discussion was on taking over PCH and Beach Blvd. from Caltrans. I didn’t know we didn’t control those streets so that was enlightening. Along those lines someone remarked that we would also take over liability, whatever that would entail.

I thought Erik Peterson, Dan Kalmick, Mark Bixby and Jessica? asked the best questions and were the most engaged.  There were also many good questions from other members of the GPAC task force.

The best part for me came with public comments.  I’d say of all the comments over 60% were about the density and how bad it will get on Beach Blvd.  Michael Hoskinson brought up  that the owner of PCM, the consulting firm with $2 Million contract, wrote a book on Global warming.  He felt that the firm should be disqualified because of a conflict of interest (my paraphrasing) since she was biased toward “Sustainable Development”.   Another person brought up that point that we are just being brought to an already agreed upon conclusion, and likened it to the “Delphi Method”.

The head of the planning department was not there as she retired last week and has not been replaced. There was a facilitator who moved the meeting along.  That seems like another task that the city outsources that probably could be done by staff.  Erik Peterson asked again for the planning department to tell us the usefulness of the optional Elements and the penalties.  But he got little response from the GPAC project manager.

There were a couple speakers who warned of the demise of HB should these high density developments continue. The reason I think this continues is because the planning department is has a build in reason to approve any development that comes along. Without development there would be less need for planning staff.

I think the Council needs to modify the Beach Edinger corridor specific plan NOW to being the density down to the previous levels of 30 units per acre not the 100 units per acre.

Link to HB Cities General Plan website http://www.HBthenextwave.org next meeting Sept 10, 2014 (as far as I know)

Clem Dominguez

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