Editor's note: This issue is slated to be addressed by Supervisors on Wed. Feb. 9.
“The County Board of Supervisors should know that 23 of the 26 Community Planning and Sponsor Groups have voted to support the proposed General Plan Update. They should also know that S.O.R.E's late-stage attempt to block adoption of proposed General Plan is not based on any new information. “ – Donna Tisdale
By Donna Tisdale
February 8, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) -- The current controversy, ginned-up by Save Our Rural Economy (S.O.R.E.), an apparently well funded coalition of builders, developers, Realtors, some farmers, and in our area--absentee land owners, is based on rehashed old news that has been repeatedly analyzed and responded to by County staff at various stages of this long-drawn out update process.
Rural property values -- where most of S.O.R.E.'s energy and expensive misinformation campaign is focused -- are based on much more than just the speculative development potential of how many lots rural lands can be subdivided into.
Premium views and open space, quiet neighborhoods, sustainable water supplies, lack of traffic jams, and overall quality of life issues do add real dollar value to rural property. Conversely, over development of those same quiet rural neighborhoods, at the higher densities being pushed by S.O.R.E., will place finite and irreplaceable groundwater resources at risk, degrade premium views, and the quality of life along with the real dollar values that go with them.
For well over a decade, unpaid planning and Sponsor Group leaders have diligently participated in the General Plan Steering Committee meetings with County staff, consultants, and the public, and then taken all issues back to our own groups for consideration and action at our noticed public meetings.
On a parallel track, the General Plan Interest Group, comprised of developers, real estate professionals, environmental, and other groups, held their own meetings.
The Planning and Sponsor Groups are required to file annual conflict of interest statements. However, the Interest Group members are not required to file conflict of interest statements to disclose their financial interests despite multiple requests by the Steering Committee that they be required to do so.
This update has been a painstaking process, with the Steering Committee and individual planning groups sometimes going through the update and proposed changes page by page to gain consensus.I remember who the players are and how things have played out, especially the very few and sporadic times that the S.O.R.E. types actually showed up at local group meetings with their misinformation campaigns. Now they are back, with the same discredited arguments.
As a result of all the hard work and invested time, the General Plan Update is supported by 23 of the 26 Community Planning and Sponsor Groups--the majority of whom are elected during general elections, just like the County Supervisors, to represent the constituents living in their planning area / district . Boulevard Planning Group members, including myself, have consistently been elected, in 2006, 2008 and 2010, with a stated goal to support slow managed growth, larger lot sizes for new subdivisions, and to prevent the industrialization of our scenic area with massive wind turbines, related infrastructure, and other inappropriate and disruptive projects.
S.O.R.E and their followers do not seem fazed that their solicited support from the Board of Supervisors, to adopt even one of the two dozen or so major property specific changes to the current draft plan, can result in another gruelling 3-4 year review process with a additional multi-million dollar price tag.
As someone who has volunteered untold hours and participated diligently in the entire General Plan process since 1997, and with the unanimous support of our elected planning group, I strongly encourage the Board to reject johnny-come-lately appeal, led by S.O.R.E, along with all all project specific requests, and to support the much vetted , long overdue, and very expensive, staff recommended General Plan Update.
Donna Tisdale is Chair of the Boulevard Planning Group. The views in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.