Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Community Planning at the WRSC

joe Lacava headshot
Joe LaCava
Consultant, Land Use and Public Policy
City of San Diego Community Planners Committee

Joe has been a civil engineer, development manager, community advocate, and public policy practitioner over his 30 year career. He has successfully participated in complex land development projects in California, the western United States and internationally. Joe now focuses his practice in San Diego and southern California providing community relations and personalized management of land development opportunities. Recognized as a community leader Joe chairs community and city-wide committees; formed and managed non-profit community organizations; and serves on a variety of stakeholder groups.

Community Planners Committee and 42 Community Planning Groups #CPGsWork
The conundrum ... 
CPGs - 'We have no authority" Need feedback, self-reflection, outreach.
Developer - "CPGs have too much power" Power derives from credibility and degree City Council respects citizens in the CPG. Ease of filing appeals does give an edge. 
Activist - "how come they CBG doesn't reflect my values/issue." Group reflects voters who showed up at election time. Only through investment of time by all stakeholders will a planning group reflect the diversity of its community. Patience and persistence will help drive acceptance of your values. 

There are 42 CPGs in City of San Diego. 

General Plan - City of Villages - city vision and values - foundation for ALL land use decisions - foundation for all policy decisions - used by City Hall, Policy Makers, and regional governments and consultants. The community plan is a local implementation of the general plan.

Topics - Land Use, Mobility, Urban Design, Public Facilities and Services, Natural and cultural resources, Economic Development.

The Challenge: The city representatives can't fully appreciate how their actions translate to your community, neighborhood, street. Private development, infrastructure improvements, new zoning, all need input. 

San Diego first recognized Community Planning Groups in 1966 as a formal mechanism for community input on land use and decision making. Advisory and recommendations, in compliance with the Brown Act. (i.e. these are Quazi-Governmental PUBLIC organizations).

Community/Planning/Group = People. There are about 600 Community Organizations in San Diego. 

Key Difference between CPG vs. Community Organizations : 
CPGs: Discuss -- Deliberate -- VOTE
Other Orgs. Discuss -- Decide -- ACT

CPGs Scope:
Review and make recommendations on: 
  • Private development proposals
  • City initiatives
  • Infrastructure
  • Community issues - can be proactive or reactive
  • City Hall
  • Community Plan Update (every 20 yrs. or so) 

Monthly meetings, typically in evening, agenda posted 72 hrs in advance, with sub-committees. Resident, renter, merchant, or property owners. 12-20 elected members. Open for 1/3 to 1/4 of seats are open every year. Should be 1/3 detailed knowledge, 1/3 institutional knowledge, 1/3 fresh voices/energy. 

Attend: find out about your neighborhood, voice opinion, community-minded, eligibility to run for a seat. Indemnification from law-suits if you become a member of a CPG. 

CPGs - open to everyone, voluntary, democratic, structured, recommendations go to City Hall. Special languages of acronyms, strong personalities, no financial support, minimal technical support from city, no second language services.

The Community Planning Committee = Umbrella Organization over the CPGs.
The CPC has 1 appointee (usually the chair) from each CPG in SD.
Meets monthly - 24-30 attend
City-wide policy
City-wide ordinances
City-wide initiatives (master plans)
Liaison with City Hall

CPC - Do not review private development projects, community specific issues, or private initiatives. 

CPC and CPG roles are expanding...
-infrastructure priorities: 2012 City invited CPC/CPGs to provide neighborhood input on Infrastructure Priorities, 2013 Process formalized in City Council Policy, these are important steps in authentic Public Participation in City Budgeting. 

2012 Results: 29 Communities recommended 225 new projects in addition to prioritizing current CIP projects. 

Code for America 
http://infrastructure.opensandiego.org/ text 760.239.7578 

We need more people involved in community organizations. Front page organizations. 

Other community organizations ...
Recreation Councils ( City recognized; park and rec. centers)
Merchant Associations ( aka Main Street, BID) 
Parking Districts
Town Council
Neighborhood Councils
Advocacy Groups ( WalkSD, BikeSD, MoveSD, etc)

CPGs provide for civic engagement, best venu for direct input to City Hall decisions, stronger when more people participate #CPGsWork 
Questions? Joe LaCava, Chair, Community Planners Committee 858.488.0160 joe@avetterra.com @joe_lacava

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