Saturday, 03 June 2023

Paris: A suggestion for development decisions

I have a suggestion regarding adoption of new development in Lake County – that the Board of Supervisors rule that a four-out-of-five vote be required any time a change or waiver is requested of the General Plan (or regional plans).

A great deal of thought and effort goes into these plans, and the decision to make exceptions should be stringent because of the magnitude of potential consequences. Development issues decide what can be done (in terms of building or land use) and where this can take place. Resources are sometimes exploited or diverted, and decisions affect both the economy and culture of the county forevermore.

Advantages of this proposal are several. Usually, those people seeking the change have a lot to gain and great resources (in the form of paid research, lobbyists, and legal staff) with which to make their point. The general population (whose numbers are greater, but who may have little to gain from new development) is unfairly burdened when such requests are made. The community must rely on volunteers who work without funding to represent the interests of both the people and the natural environment. Requiring close to unanimous agreement from officials would decrease the chance that a decision be made too easily or too quickly, and decisions taken in this manner would be less prone to unforeseen negative consequences.

Supervisors would experience less pressure to cast a sole deciding vote, which happens if a board member is absent from meeting. This solution would also be less expensive and easier to put into effect than systems like Napa’s where I understand rezoning decisions require a vote of the people.

Janis Paris lives in Spring Valley.


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