City, County need to settle differences
The lawsuit filed by the city of Porterville against Tulare County over its General Plan Update is no surprise, but unfortunate in that it further demonstrates the widening creditability gap between the two governments that should be working together, not at each other’s throats.
The city filed its lawsuit on the last day possible to legally challenge the general plan that has not been easy for cities to accept. We are certain Porterville thought it would not be alone in its challenge, but it was. Only the Sierra Club filed a legal challenge to the document that is designed to direct growth in the county over the next 20 years, but contains many other provisions, including countywide developer fees.
The city’s main contention is not just the developer fees, but with scores of neighborhoods surrounding the city that are not connected to city services — namely sewer and water — that is not addressed in the general plan. That is a concern for the city as it begins to swallow up those areas. Who will pay the millions of dollars to extend city services to residential areas that today are on individual septic systems and many on individual water wells.
The county appears puzzled by the legal challenge. It felt many issues — especially those over development fees — had been resolved and officials did not appear to be aware of the concerns regarding county residential islands that were not built to city standards.
There are other issues as well, smaller in scope, but nonetheless disagreements where the air needs to be cleared.
We would much rather see the county and city working together on a laundry list of projects — including the proposed county jail — rather than what seems to be at odds over everything.
There is no right side or wrong side here. Both need to get together and iron out their differences and the best first step would be a serious sit-down meeting where all issues can be clearly defined. We feel both sides are willing to iron out their differences.