Community Meeting held to Review City Zoning Ordinance

On Saturday, September 29, 2012, The City had a community meeting for the new Zoning ordinance. The City did not Video Record the Meeting. An audio recording of the meeting is provided below. Most of the speakers did not have a microphone. If you turn up the volume you can hear most of it.

ZONING_MEETING_092912.mp3

The Zoning meeting seemed to be more of a formality. Very few issues were discussed and most people who attended did not learn anything new. There was some sharp criticisms, and a few praises. We believe the entire process did more to alienate property owners than to accomplish the kind of cooperation necessary to implement the vision of the General Plan. The plan creates false expectations for many residents who are later upset when the Plan cannot be adhered to.

The process is a failure when you don’t include the property owners who are impacted by these decisions. Inviting property owners to five years of meetings, isn’t the answer. For the amount of money spent on this process, it could have included a personal visit, or at least some contact with every parcel owner./ Neighborhood meetings should have been held in specific areas in the city to bring both residents and property owners in the same room. The majority of property owners being regulated don’t understand what is expected, and may not agree. How is the General Plan going to be carried out? Will we force property owners to comply?

It won’t be until each individual owner wants to improve or sell their land, then they will learn what’s expected. That takes a very long time. Their first reaction is usually shock, and resentment. Is it up to the City to make sure they understand, (I say Yes) The General Plan was adopted when the redevelopment Agency existed. Major anticipated development, factored into the plan with Redevelopment money, is not going to happen. A supplemental report should be prepared with modified financial projections to see what the anticipated loss in revenue will be.

The ability for economic development becomes more limited. Many of the requirements for property owners are not only a surprise, they are often unattainable. The City wide design guidelines have real cost implications for all property owners. The cost of implementing those guideline were not part of the consideration. It is a Staff driven document with broad cost implications. The city is not only telling property owners what they can do. Now, they have designs for every property as well. The Staff hired consultants, and provided the direction to accomplish the Design Guidelines. At the public hearing when they were adopted, not one property owner was present. The City Council members are largely unaware of the impact of their decisions, since they have limited contact with property and business owners.

If the city council were to establish an economic development committee of property and business owners these concerns could be raised in a public forum. We believe the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance is too restrictive, and fails to take into account any real feedback from affected property owners. The General Plan fails to consider the loss of the Redevelopment Agency, and resulting loss of anticipated revenue.

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