What is the County General Plan 2020 “Interest Group Committee”

    The County General Plan 2020 “Interest Group Committee” was created by action of the Board of Supervisors when it flatly rejected the “Alternative 3” (growth distribution) that was prepared by the General Plan 2020 Steering Group.

    The Steering Group is made up of one member of each of the 26 planning and sponsor groups and was authorized to supervise the direction of the plan update for the entire unincorporated area. There was, at the same time, an “Interest Group” that also had input. However, that group was not formally appointed and was more of an outreach to affected parties such as builders, environmentalists, landowners, real estate industry representatives, chamber of commerce, etc. Members were not appointed, but the county contacted various organizations, such as the Farm Bureau, Sierra Club, BIA, etc. to send representatives. The problem with this approach was that this interest group was “subordinate” to the Steering Committee. The fact that the Steering Committee could veto any of the old “Interest Group” recommendations caused Interest Group members to lose interest.

    The Board decided to create a “new” Interest Group that would be at the same level as the Steering Committee. This new group has been given the charge to come up with 3 new plan approaches in the next 6 to 9 months.

    I am very flattered and excited to be on the committee. There are 7 members who are involved with environmental organizations, including Dan Silver, Phil Pryde and Eric Bowby. There are 7 members representing landowner and developer interests, including myself, Al Stehly, Jim Whalen and Matt Adams. There are also 3 professional slots on the committee representing the American Planning Association, American Institute of Architects and Americal Landscape Architects Association.

    My push at the first meeting, which everyone agreed with, was to request that the County provide models of successful Smart Growth programs throughout the United States. The American Planning Association considers 6 States to be the leaders in Smart Growth Concepts: Maryland, Texas, Washington, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Pennsylvania