Finally, county general plan up for hearing
Board schedules Aug. 28 meeting
Tulare County officials are making a last call for comments from the public on the subject of the county’s General Plan 2030. The public hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Board of Supervisors Chamber, 2800 W. Burrel Ave., Visalia.
Staff will open the meeting with a 1-2 hour report on the General Plan, with a public comment period to follow. A break is planned for 5 p.m. and the hearing will reconvene at 7 p.m. The board may take final action on the plan after closing the public hearing.
Along with the update, the board will consider, for adoption, the final Environmental Impact Report and Climate Action Plan, as well as consider Tulare County Planning Commission’s recommendations regarding the General Plan and Climate Action plan.
According to a detailed press release, the public hearing culminates a draft process began in 2003 by the county’s Resource Management Agency. Since that time, a number of workshops, public meetings, technical advisory committee meetings and 25 public outreach meetings have been held to come up with a plan for the future development of the county.
It has been a controversial document and its development has strained relations between the county and the incorporated cities in the county. The cities have threatened to sue over the document, as well as have other groups, including Tulare County Citizens for Responsible Growth.
The release describes the plan as a “comprehensive, long-term plan for the future land use and physical development of the County though the year 2030. The Plan promotes healthy sustainable growth while protecting agricultural lands by directing growth to urban areas. The General Plan Update consists of development policies that set forth objectives, principles and standards that guide future land use decisions within the County.”
An updated draft of the General Plan was released in March 2010, along with a revised draft of the Environmental Impact Report, for review. Forty-four letters were received, amounting to 2,300 comments, which staff and consultants have been working to respond to since that time. Among these comments was an extensive letter written on behalf of the City of Porterville and five other cities in the Council of Cities, based around a few main themes.
Those are that the General Plan is not city centered, that it does not set up a system which would allow for effective planning coordination between cities and the county, and that the General Plan violates state laws on “sound land use.”
The document also stated that because of planned housing developments, one of the county’s staple industries, agriculture, would be threatened.
Supervisor Mike Ennis and County Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau appeared before the Porterville City Council Aug. 9 to explain and seek approval on a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the county that would, in part, end the conflict between Porterville, the other dissenting Council of Cities members and the county by, amongst other stipulations, setting up a mutual agreement between a given city and the county to discontinue seeking legal challenges to each other’s proposed development plans. This would mean that any of the incorporated cities, whether the particular city belongs to the Council of Cities or not, would no longer challenge the General Plan Update.
The review of the additional documents that the staff compiled did not require additional environmental studies.
To view the General Plan as it currently stands, visit generalplan.co.tulare.ca.us. For more information on the project, contact Project Planner David Bryant at 624-7000.