This letter was sent to Supervisor Dennis Rodoni on 2/1/23, to bolster the letter and petition he had received from concerned citizens, including myself, to explain the need to revisit Community Plans, and ensure their relevance. Legal opinions on this issue are included in the petition. We want to see this issue on the next available Board agenda. The petition has since gone online and can be accessed here:
Dear Supervisor Rodoni,
Thanks for taking the time for our phone call on Friday. By now you’ve had time to review the Community Plan Petition delivered Monday. Riley Hurd has recently further explained that the Housing Element wouldn’t need revision. It would be sufficient to reverse amendments in the county ordinances. If you do not already have this information please let me know.
The public has strong feelings about Community Plans, and this is emblematic of our greater sense of loss of local control, now that our zoning and growth policies are dictated top down, from Sacramento.
The Planning Commission’s concerns on this and other issues that informed their refusal to approve the Housing Element and CWP language were valid, and those of us who follow these issues were stunned that there was no real discussion of them at the Board meeting when the Housing Element and Plan amendments were approved.
After my many hours attending housing related meetings, I have become keenly aware of the bias of staff, and I feel their activism has clouded their ability to best serve the needs of the whole county. This was not the first time there has been an effort to eliminate Design Review Boards, and I’m sure it felt like a convenient time for another try.
I do not doubt the CDA’s commitment to housing concerns, which are real (at all levels besides “above-moderate”), but my confidence ends there. Trust has been lost that the changes proposed were the minimum required by law. Giving away anything more than that, especially at this point, simply weakens the county’s hand in the future.
The Board of Supervisors is our closest link to actual democracy. Your constituents would like to have their concerns acknowledged. The Planning Commission shared these concerns, but in the end they were not addressed by our elected representatives.
The first time you and I met, we talked about local control. We discussed the unfortunate perceptions of Mill Valley as exclusionary, and the role that both history and the Tam Plan played in its development. I remember that you preferred not to describe Mill Valley as special, but unique.
Marin has managed to remain unique, partially due to the existence of our Community Plans. I sincerely hope, especially as a member of the TDRB, that the petition’s message is heard loud and clear.
Citizen participation and CEQA have been severely limited by state laws. Without the vigilance of our Supervisors, all that is unique will be gone.
Sincerely, and with gratitude for your service,
Note: I will be sending, separately, recently received CDA update letters, with a more detailed critique of the communications between the public and the CDA staff.