Observer's comments follow........... Interesting to note Don Blubaugh's [RECENTLY RETIRED WALNUT CREEK CITY MANAGER, NOW "PROJECT MANAGER" OF SOF] comments after the meeting regarding questions about "underutilized" property designations. The taped minutes of the meeting indicate that Don Blubaugh has also stated that the "Tool Kit" will go on and on and that he wants to get back to workshops and "out of the purview of the Mayor's Conference", that re the Tool Kit implementation: "this tool kit is never going to end and you can add to it at any time".....
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Subject: Tuesday, Dec. 3 SOF Meeting at Concord Police Station
[START OBSERVER'S COMMENTS]
There were only 3 observers there tonight and 15 members of this committee. [PERSON X] was one of the observers and I'm sure that they can tell you, better than I, how important or unimportant the meeting was. They also recorded it. From my point of view it was a useless and unproductive use of time, but there were a few things that I managed to pick up. I need to get your opinion on these items. Apparently, the upshot of this whole meeting was a vote taken at the end to shelve the idea of getting cities to sign a compact and substitute, as Blubaugh put it, a "tool kit" of objects to which they hoped to get the cities to agree since there was too much resistance to something so formal as a compact.
THE TOOL KIT FOR IMPLEMENTATION WILL ACCOMPLISH THE VERY SAME THING THAT A COMPACT WOULD, BELIEVE ME.
[AN OBSERVER] commented that they were right back where they started. This "tool kit" is basically a set of tactics to gain the objective of stretching out the dialogue so much making it very fluid and confusing it all with a lot of words, that people will get worn down and sign anything just to relieve the pain and monotony.
THAT TOO, BUT AS [PERSON X] READ THE TOOL KIT, OR IMPLEMENTATION TOOLS TO ME, IT WAS A MATTER OF CHECKING GENERAL PLANS TO BE SURE THEY COMPLY; SETTING UP THE DATA BASE AND DETERMINING STANDARDIZED LAND USES, ETC. THE BEGINNINGS OF THE KIND OF COERCION SETTING UP THAT EVERYONE HAD BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT BUT UNDER A DIFFERENT NAME. DON [BLUBAUGH] SAID THAT THERE COULD BE WRITTEN IN CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL AND THAT CITIES COULD OPT OUT. THAT COULD BE HELPFUL. BUT OF COURSE, SINCE THE PHRASEOLOGY EXISTS ON THE LAST PAGE OF THE PRINCIPLES THAT ANYTHING CAN BE CHANGED AS NEEDED, THAT TOO, COULD CHANGE.
1. No wonder this Julie Pierce of Clayton is so supportive of the SOF, she is the chairman of this Policy committee.[!]
SHE IS THE ONE WHO SAID AT THE SUNNE [MCPEAK] MTG WITH CALTHORPE TEN YEARS AGO, HOW CAN WE SELL THIS TO CCC? HAS A TENDENCY TO PULL THE STRINGS BEHIND THE SCENES . HARDLY HARMLESS.
Every body talked at once and Blubaugh seemed to be the one doing most of the talking.
2. Helen Allen [CONCORD CITY COUNCIL] did immediately start off the Q and A by attempting to draw [PERSON X] into the conversation right away by asking her what it was that Lafayette and, to the Brentwood committee member, they were so concerned about? Doesn't she know that already? The Brentwood woman answered by saying "loss of control," and definitions of vacant land and underutilized land are too vague (that was both Byrne and this woman's comments). She also brought up the question of what is an "Urban Limit Line." The vagueness of both those words concerned me as well. The answer was just as vague since it seemed that these concepts could vary depending upon the definitions provided by the charter of each city.
HARD TO KNOW WHERE THAT WOULD BE HEADING. DEPENDS UPON STANDARDIZED DEVELOPED DEFINITION OF VACANT AND UNDERUTILIZED.
After the meeting I went up to Blubaugh and asked him to explain to me what underutilization meant. He said that, basically, loosely translating, if there is a 3 story building on a particular site, and it is determined that a 5 story bldg would better utilize the site, then there is underutilization of two stories.
I kept asking him, by who's definition is this underutilized? Does the definition always have to have a utilitarian value? What if it was private property? He said well of course they couldn't do anything about it unless they could buy out the property and/or have it condemned.
NOT TRUE. HE IS DELIBERATELY LEAVING OUT THE ALTERNATIVE OF UPZONING, A COMMONLY USED TECHNIQUE. A CITY CAN UPZONE THE LAND. GRADUALLY THE USE CHANGES. IN NEIGHBORHOODS, ONCE A MULTIPLE [UNIT] IS BUILT, OFTEN, IF THE USE HAS CHANGED RECENTLY AND NOT A LONGTIME PREEXISTING CONDITION, PEOPLE MOVE OUT, SINCE THE NEIGHBORHOOD ISN'T WHAT IT ONCE WAS. ACCORDING TO THE TAX DEPT AT CCC. A CITY CAN ALSO TELL THE PROPERTY OWNER THAT THE NEW BUYER WILL HAVE TO BUILD TO WHAT THE NEW ZONING IS, EVEN IF THE OWNER IS THE SAME AND HIS HOME BURNS DOWN. IT HAPPENED IN PORTLAND. HOME BURNED DOWN AND THE FAMILY HAD TO REBUILD....AS HIGH DENSITY APTS. IN A RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD. SOMETHING LIKE THAT HAPPENS WITH THE FIRST TO SELL, THEN THE REST SELL SLOWLY OR QUICKLY BECUASE THE NEIGHBORHOOD THEN ISN'T WHAT IT WAS.
3. Mark DeSaulnier brought up a question of something called an Urban Reserve which he claimed was successfully accomplished in Oregon.
4. Gwen Regalia asked a question about requiring a countywide EIR report or could they merge into some report the EIRS already in place by the cities?
THAT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO LOCK A CITY'S RESIDENTS OUT OF TESTIFYING TO THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES RE AN EIR THAT AFFECTS THEIR AREA; SOME COUNTYWIDE GROUP COULD REVIEW THE EIR. MAYBE THE POLICY COMMITTEE? AND THE RESIDENTS TESTIFYING WOULD THEN HAVE TO MAKE THEIR CASES FROM ALL CITIES TO THEM. PROTESTORS WOULD HAVE NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER.
That didn't seem to produce any conclusion. She also suggested that this group tour around to various areas that have "successfully" implemented certain aspects of density housing. etc.
5. Blubaugh passed out his "tool Kit of strategies" (set of 10 tactics) in which was mentioned some Housing Trust Fund for CC Co. He alluded to bringing in groups of local housing advocates.
AS IN YOUR BROCHURES FROM THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ADVOCACY LINKAGE WITH THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS. WHERE DID HE THINK HE WOULD BRING IN THE GROUPS OF LOCAL HOUSING ADVOCATES? AT WHAT TIME AND WHERE AND FOR WHAT PURPOSE?
6. Carol Federighi [LAFAYETTE MAYOR] brought up some film she had seen at a Pedestrian and Bikeways Meeting on "Livable Communities" showing various communities around the country that have successfully implemented programs. And, finally, though the evening's agenda listed public comments, there never was an opportunity for public comment.
THERE NEVER IS. USUALLY THEY ARE PUTTING ON THEIR JACKETS AND WALKING OUT THE DOOR BEFORE THEY SAY, OH! [PERSON X] ! DID YOU WANT TO SAY ANYTHING? WHILE THE OTHERS ARE LEAVING.
[JULIE] Pierce [OF CLAYTON] closed the meeting. [PERSON X] said that it was, actually, talked about and brought up in discussion, but I said, well, it was not formally mentioned like...Was there anyone there wishing to make comments?
[END COMMENTARY ON SOF 12/3 CONCORD MEETING]