Community-driven committee created to review general plan

By Wehtahnah Tucker

ENCINITAS — In an effort to garner even more public input, City Council agreed with a subcommittee recommendation Dec. 14 to create a panel to comb through the draft general plan.

The Element Review Advisory Committee is slated to go over each part of the extensive blueprint for the city’s future growth during a series of meetings. The massive document was released to the public in early September for comment.

Several residents have complained to the council that the document calls for a majority of future residential growth to take place in New Encinitas. Speakers at the meeting urged the council to take a “timeout” and reconsider other areas of the city for expanded residential development.

Beginning in January 2010, a general plan advisory committee, along with city staff and a consulting firm, began the first phase of updating the general plan. Over the next six months, the group facilitated five community-specific workshops and a citywide workshop May 1. Additional public workshops have been heavily advertised and well-attended.

The 23-member group will be comprised of volunteers that will meet on Saturdays and weekday evenings beginning in February. Depending on the rate of progress, meeting dates could run through July according to a planning department document.

The committee will analyze each element of the policy document over the course of several months including land use, housing, traffic circulation, parks, recreation and public facilities, resource management, public safety and health and noise.

“If you look at what’s being asked of the committee members, it’s a tremendous amount of work,” said Councilwoman Teresa Barth, who served with Deputy Mayor Kristin Gaspar on the subcommittee that recommended the creation of the panel.

The committee will be comprised of members representing a diverse cross section of residents, commercial property owners and others in the community. Members will be appointed by City Council. Current members of city commissions, committees and the general plan advisory committee are not eligible to apply.

The application reflects the desire to create a diverse committee by asking the applicant to identify their area of residence, whether they own a business and what type, and if they are an advocate of a particular area of focus.

Applications are due by Jan. 9, 2012, and are available at the City Clerk’s office or online at encinitas2035.info.

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