5:11 p.m.: 5-0 vote. Meeting over.
5:11 p.m.: Bohn thanked Sundberg for slowing things down. A lot of people had come up to him to applaud this move. Sundberg clarifies: “I didn’t intend to slow things down…”
5:10 p.m.: We’re in the homily and platitude stage. Bohn thanks everyone.
5:08 p.m.: “This has been a painful week,” says Bass. “A lot of, I don’t want to say ‘disinformation…’”
5:07 p.m.: Lovelace leaps in with a clarification. We’re at the stage of the proceedings where things could be sewn up in 30 seconds or else take a crazy 45-minute detour. What will happen?
5:06 p.m.: Wait a sec. Clendenen makes a motion to move forward with the report-one, report-two schedule, with the timing of the phasing of the report-system too small-potatoes to convey.
5:02 p.m.: This is petering out into minutiae. I’m bailing out. Long story short: They’re going with the staff report, so everyone will get the report-one and report-twos (see below) on straw policy votes in the future. Lovelace expresses hope that they won’t get so bogged down in process discussion from now on — there have been three meetings running where agendized policy discussions have been bumped.
5:00 p.m.: This question of Bohn’s is causing a great deal of confusion. does Bohn want to backtrack on the work already done? Does he only want to see retroactive “report ones” on votes already taken?
4:56 p.m.: Bohn notes that they’re already a third or a half of the land use element, but asks: Maybe we should go back and do those again with the new reports?
4:53 p.m.: County CAO Philip Smith-Hanes tries to nail down a timeline. The “report one” reports can start at the next special GPU meeting on Oct. 1, but it might take a while to go back and produce all the “report twos” for straw votes that have already been taken.
4:51 p.m.: Lovelace asks Spencer if she can provide also provide historical reasoning on “optional” elements or policies that past boards and the planning commission have elected to pursue. Spencer says that yes, that is baked in. She shows him the spot on the proposed pre-straw vote report.
4:49 p.m.: Sundberg asks Spencer for clairification. The “first report” she mentioned — that’s what they’d get before the meeting? Yes, she says. “I think that’s great.”
4:47 p.m.: Goddamn it, I missed Bass’s comments again! She was looking for some kind of documentation that would address her concerns, expressed last week, about the unintended consequences of policies.
4:44 p.m.: Sundberg; The second report, after the straw vote poll had been taken. Agreed.
4:43 p.m.: Spencer: Yes, we can do that. Which of those reports do you want it in, among the reports I introduced earlier — report one or report two?
4:42 p.m.: Sundberg: “My confusion was trying to compare and contrast the old plan to the new plan.” Wants the information presented in chart or table form, if possible. Four columns in his draft of this concept: Framework plan, draft plan, changes, and estimated costs of implementation on each policy. Would that be possible?
4:41 p.m.: Supervisor Bohn says that a lot of builders who spoke dropped out of the process in the past because they saw that their advice had not been taken.
4:41 p.m.: Supervisor Bass wants home builders to know that if they feel like they haven’t been heard, then she would like to see how to get them involved in the process.
4:39 p.m.: Missed Bass’s comments a moment ago (apologies). Lovelace addresses those who would have the board choose the framework plan people across the board. It’s possible, he says, and the board has talked about taking certain policies back to the framework or “Plan D” option. But it’s not one or the other, he says — the point is to take the best possible option among each individual plans. You don’t have to take all Option A or Option D.
4:35 p.m.: Clendenen compliments Sundberg for bringing all this up. It’ll be helpful for the Supes and helpful for the public. Some people said they didn’t like the straw vote process, which the board is currently going through. But the straw votes are very helpful — they allow us to view policies bit by bit, and in detail.
4:31 p.m.: Clendenen summons Dennis Mayo to the podium so that he may express additional thoughts. Where did the telecommunications element come from? Mayo wonders. Out of the blue. However, it is a great element. He hopes the board continues forward wherever they want the process to lead.
4:28 p.m.: Reconvened. As always, a five-minute Supes break is anything but.
4:23 p.m.: So while we’re waiting … this whole meeting is one of those all-purpose spleen-venting exercises, right? I was somewhat suspicious of the scenario I outlined last Friday — that Sundberg would accept staff’s simplification proposal and things would move forward — but that, it appears, is exactly what we’ll happen.
4:16 p.m.: Five-minute break.
4:15 p.m.: “Jim” tells the board that the implications of the general plan update are that no one will be able to do anything with their land at all. People don’t like the plan. We’ll see people pay big development fees to pay for new staff to enforce the plan.
4:13 p.m.: Jen Kalt of Baykeeper. “What I hear is a lot of fear. Of course the US constitution applies.” It applies very well. There have been many reasons to postpone the process over the years, and now people are giving you many more. Why have Kramer Properties projects been shut down? Why have other developments been shut down? Because the general plan, as it stands, is not compatible with current state law.
4:08 p.m.: “Dan” of Healthy Humboldt, speaking on behalf of himself and not Healthy Humboldt. There has been a lot of controversy around this plan, particularly the land use element. The draft before the board is the result of years and years of work. Tina Christensen was right — you can revise and delete aspects of the plan. But please move forward.
4:05 p.m.: Tina Christensen turns in a petition taken in the last 20 minutes. “You can read what it says,” she tells the board. The GPU was originally “a smorgasbord.” It’s still a smorgasboard! The board can bring back anything it likes, including a revision down to the original framework plan. “If Rex wants to change something on it, he can change it … don’t stick with just the planning commissioners wanted. Go out, talk to the people in your area.”
4:03 p.m.: A man from Rio Dell who runs an excavating business wonders why there is not a copy of the Constitution sitting at the staff table. “Who represents the Constitution?” Things would be much better and more simple if the board represented Constitutional protections of property rights.
4:00 p.m.: Just missed most of Bill Bertain, who urged the board to go back to 1985. Coming in halfway through a fellow [Jeff] saying that “this is going to be your general plan.” All that came before is just information for them to use in making a decision.
3:52 p.m.: [Sorry — once again, back in a moment.]
3:50 p.m.: Debbie Provolt of Humboldt Land Title Company urges the board to scale the plan back to the current framework (1985) plan. Criticizes a policy that would require people to seek a conditional use permit before building homes on land zoned for timber production.
3:48 p.m.: A Green Diamond representative says that the company supports simplified, streamlined process.
3:45 p.m.: Representative from Kramer Properties, local developer, says that they’ve had many jobs shut down in the past. Let’s take another look at the GPU in deference to “all those who are out there working hard.”
3:42 p.m.: Estelle Fennell, Second District Supervisor-Elect. Congratulates Bass, Bohn, Sundberg for their “courage” in asking for simplification of plan update. Charges that staff has been reluctant to provide such simplified documentation in the past. Perhaps now they will take it seriously. “Final analysis: The truth is in the middle of all this.” Hopes that we will now find that truth and move forward.
3:39 p.m.: A man who works for Sanctuary Forest supports Dennis Mayo’s suggestion of an amnesty program for historical, unpermitted “Class K” construction. Otherwise, calls calls to resent GPU process a “recipe for disaster,” given the amount of uncertainty in the current plan. [The guy’s first name was Noah.]
3:36 p.m.: Monty Provolt. “This plan was bought and paid for from out of the area by a big environmental organization.” Slams Supervisor Lovelace for allegedly spending hours in the planning office drafting Option A. Lovelace interrupts. “That is false. That is absolutely false.” He begs Bass for permission to continue, is granted it.
3:34 p.m.: Ben Shepherd of the McK Community Services District. Applauds the board for requiring information in the form it needs to understand the decisions it will make.
3:31 p.m.: Scott Greacen of Friends of the Eel urges the board to move forward for everyone’s sake.
3:29 p.m.: Was that planning commissioner Mel Kreb upbraiding the board for complaining that the document he passed through the planning commission was “difficult”? If so: Did he say that they get paid and he doesn’t?
3:23 p.m.: [Again … back in a moment… ]
3:23 p.m.: Bill Barnum. “I too want to add my voice to those who thank supervisor Ryan Sundberg for pointing out the complexity of this process.” He’s been a real estate lawyer for a long time, and hbe finds it hard to understand too. The county hasn’t grown much. Back when the process started there was a great fear of sprawl. It hasn’t happened. “There are three of you who are new to the board since the original direction of the Humboldt County Plan was laid out.” They should be responsible to their voters, he says. “We need less general plan, and I think your electorate have asked you to do that.”
3:20 p.m.: Sacramento lobbyist Kay Backer of Humboldt Economic Land Plan (HELP), the other champion of the “UN Takeover of General Plan” theory. Urges board to take things back to framework plan.
3:17 p.m.: Beth Werner, former director of Humboldt Baykeeper, thanks Lovelace and Sundberg for their clarifications earlier. The General Plan is complicated by nature, she says. She looks to the board as being competent people who can handle such complexity. To start over, to rewrite the thing because it is long, does not make sense. “If I can figure it out, anyone can figure it out.”
3:14 p.m.: Eureka City Councilmember Mike Newman thanks the board for looking at the GPU process again, hopefully with the idea of “simplification” in mind. GPU policies on rural develop equate to “death by red tape.” it requires you to take into account stream health, public safety, transportation, etc. Urges the board to go back to the framework plan.
3:10 p.m.: The whole process has been flawed, says a Eureka-area man, because “it hasn’t taken into consideration the people who actually do the work in this county.”
3:03 p.m.: [I’ll be right back…]
3:02 p.m.: SoHum’s Bonnie Blackberry. The process has been very flawed. The framework plan (the current one) is much easier to understand than the update. She has a great number of complaints, but they all seem to boil down to the idea that public input into the GPU to date has been flawed and difficult.
2:58 p.m.: Alan Bongio, a “third-generation Humboldt County resident and a second-generation Humboldt County builder.” The plan used to be about checking sprawl, and it kept growing and growing. But there is no sprawl in Humboldt County. We have to take it back to the 1985 plan. Start over, he says.
2:55 p.m.: A man congratulates Sundberg and Bohn for advocating, last week, scaling the plan back to the current (1985) general plan. (Which Sundberg, at the beginning of this meeting, said he did not wish to do.) [That was Dan Taranto, I think.]
2:54 p.m.: Charley Custer of SoHum. “Ditto to Dennis Mayo! A commonsense search for truth is what we need right now!’
2:52 p.m.: A man from Redway — Tom — is hella beefed that his property is being taken out of the timber production zone. “I live on that property! I take care of my timber!” he says. “A resource land, by definition, is any land that can grow trees.” He’s also freaked out, like many, about the distinction between a “general plan update” as opposed to a “rewrite”! “
This isn’t an update! It’s a rewrite!”
2:50 p.m.: A woman — “Beverly” urges the board to support the current general plan. She’s especially interested in the telecommunications element of the plan, as she hopes it will regulate electromagnetic radiation more closely.
2:48 p.m.: Bob Higgons of the Humboldt Association of Realtors. He says — contra Sundberg? — that his group was very excited when it learned that the board was considering taking a completely different direction on the GPU. He urges the board, in its subsequent work, to stick to policies that mirror the current general plan.
2:45 p.m.: A speaker shows the board a petition that’s been circulating among local farmers expressing support for the current GPU plan of work, and especially as regards agricultural resources. [It was Dave Feral.]
2:42 p.m.: Karen Brooks, Tea Party leader, former candidate for supervisor and state assembly and one of the two principal promoters of the “United Nations is Taking Over the General Plan Update” theory. She notes that today is Constitution Day. The Constitution is shorter than the GPU, she notes. “I look at this GPU as something that inflicts on our property rights and the rights of others, and I hope you five can do better.
2:38 p.m.: Dennis Mayo of the McK CSD (and former planning commissioner): “I came to this process with three glaring biases” — property rights, water resources, public safety. He advocates an amnesty program for “Class K” buildings in the hills. Talks about unfairness on the planning commission and, because of Bass’s hard three-minute time limit, his mic is cut off in the middle of a sentence.
2:35 p.m.: Julie Williams of the Association of Homebuilders echoes Ciancio’s line, earlier: Remove all references to state or federal law from the general plan update. State and federal agencies handle state and federal law, so they should not be referenced in county documentation.
2:32 p.m.: Dale Maples of Maple Service and the Northern California Association of Homebuilders urges the board to 86 the general plan update today and go back to the previous plan. “This is not a plan we can support.”
2:30 p.m.: A Garberville man, reading from a letter he now sheepishly admits is a bit out of date, given the apologies, urges the board to stay the course
2:24 p.m.: Public comment time. Chuck Ciancio opines that the general plan updates should not include state or federal regulations, as it carries the implication that the county is going to expand its bureaucracy. [Of course, it’s been the intention of the plan to reduce regulatory confusion, and so collect everything in one place. — Ed.]
2:19 p.m.: A representative from the McKinleyville Community Services District expresses that district’s support of the new plan of action, and hopes that the “strike-through” information in the coming reports will be extended to the McK Area Plan.
2:18 p.m.: If this board wants new types of materials, Lovelace says, that’s perfectly within the board’s right and he has no issue with it.
2:17 p.m.: Lovelace wants it on-the-record that everything that the board has before them was provided to them by staff, at the board’s request. “I just want to make sure it is understood that the content of the plan, with these optional elements, that was at board and planning commission direction. And what we have in front of us is at board’s direction.” (As far as the review materials they currently have.)
2:12 p.m.: But actually, it seems that she has little more to say on the subject. Sundberg clarifies that he didn’t want to scrap these things entirely, but rather was simply wondering about the possibility of leaving them to one side for a time while the state-mandated parts of the plan were passed. He said that he wasn’t sure if CEQA would permit such a thing; that’s why he asked.
2:10 p.m.: Spencer begins addressing the possibility of striking, for now, the “optional” elements of the general plan update as a way of simplifying the process. These include chapters of the GPU on energy, water resources, economic development and others.
2:08 p.m. The second report will include a “strikethrough” version of the changes made, as well as a narrative description of these changes. The point of this, Spencer says, is to provide supervisors with a clear description of what they will eventually vote for when they vote to approve the plan in toto.
2:06 p.m.: Spencer gives an example of the first of these reports, using public lands policy as an example. What legal authority allows or encourages or mandates these policies? What goals are we trying to achieve with these policies? What does the current (1985) plan say about the subject? How does this compare with the draft general plan update as approved by the planning commission? What was the reason for the changes? The first report, handed out every week, will answer these questions.
2:01 p.m.: Acting Planning Department head Martha Spencer begins her report. She proposes to provide the board with “narrative” staff reports before and after each future “straw vote” meeting. The first report will include legal and historical information on the plan section before the supes, including comparison between the 1985 plan and the general plan update draft.
The report after each straw vote will go back and explain in clear language the specific changes the board has decided to make.
1:56 p.m.: Bass notes the strange fact that Lovelace and Sundberg are wearing the same shirt.
1:56 p.m.: Supervisor Mark Lovelace says that last week’s meeting was “not this board’s high point.” People can misunderstand one another, he says. He had meetings with Sundberg and Martha Spencer last week, and is confident that Sundberg is committed to seeing the plan through.
1:55 p.m.: Supervisor Ryan Sundberg apologizes for emotions expressed in last week’s meeting. He reassures everyone that he does not wish to scrap the general plan, or start over. He believes he and staff have worked out a solution, which will be presented shortly. “I have no intention whatsoever of restarting the general plan,” he says.
1:51 p.m.: Bass lays down the law to th public speakers. Three minutes only.
1:50 p.m.: Chair Bass tells the folks that there may be some “inadvertently incorrect” material to the effect that the GPU could be torpedoed today. She says that the board will take no action today.
1:42 p.m.: Started. They’re taking public comment at the moment. All matters unrelated to the subject at hand.
1:35 p.m.: They’re crowding into the chambers, apparently. Board Chair Virginia Bass just said that the meeting is starting a little late because they’re waiting for people to get through the security screening.
1:27 p.m.: In just a few minutes, the Board of Supervisors will begin the follow-up hearing on the question of whether or not to dramatically reboot the general plan update. I’ll be live-blogging the meeting, which you can view here. Join me in the comments, below — I’ll keep an eye on them — and, if you like, catch some of the background to this important hearing here.
Please note — my left-hand shift key is broken, so I’m live-retraining myself to go full righty with the capital letters. This is going to be exciting.