DanvilleSanRamon.com

Perspective - August 24, 2007

Keep local planning voice

The San Ramon Valley Regional Planning Commission should not only be kept in existence, its decisions should be given respect and backed up.

This planning commission was established in 1977 along with the East County Regional Planning Commission. The idea was for the seven members in each body to deal with planning issues in the area where they live. They review everything from subdivision maps to rezoning to general plan amendments. The members also handle basic concerns such as home occupation permits, simple lot splits and minor subdivisions.

The Contra Costa County Planning Commission, on the other hand, is responsible for projects that are viewed as having regional significance, as well as dealing with issues in unincorporated Central County.

Now the County Planning Commission is recommending to the Board of Supervisors that the San Ramon Valley Regional Planning Commission be allowed to dissolve after its Oct. 7 renewal date, saying that much of its jurisdiction has been incorporated or developed. Supervisors said at their July 24 meeting that they wanted community input plus more research before making a decision on whether to allow the group to dissolve.

True, the San Ramon Valley Regional Planning Commission had more land to deal with before Danville and San Ramon were incorporated, in 1972 and 1983, respectively. But the reason for a local planning commission is still valid: It is the only body with all of its members residing in the San Ramon Valley. The County Planning Commission has seven members, one appointed by each of the five supervisors and the other two chosen by the group as a whole.

Important decisions will be made in the San Ramon Valley in the years to come. This region also covers Alamo, Diablo, Blackhawk and the unincorporated area just east of Danville. While consolidation may seem to make sense because the County Planning Commission could handle the additional workload, this is not the point. The residents of the San Ramon Valley must have representatives to give input on local planning.

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