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Residents express misgivings over Alamo MAC

Original post made on Jul 14, 2009

In the ongoing discussions between District 3 County Supervisor Mary Piepho's office and the residents of Alamo regarding the likely formation of a Municipal Advisory Council (MAC), concerns are beginning to grow over the limited abilities of the advisory council and the possibility of the MAC replacing the San Ramon Valley Regional Planning Commission.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 14, 2009, 10:29 AM

Comments (8)

Posted by Triogenes, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 14, 2009 at 8:52 pm

What's the big deal with keeping the San Ramon Valley Regional Planning Commission? They are only advisory and if a person doesn't like their decision, they can appeal to the County Board of Supervisors.

This happened with the Alamo YMCA. The SRVRPC voted not to approve construction of the Y and their decision was overruled by the Board of Supes.

However, there is a way to ensure that planning decisions will have absolute local control. It's called "INCORPORATION" but I guess that has already been tried...

Note well that whenever you vote against something, you are also voting for something else. In this case, when you voted AGAINST incorporation you also voted FOR continued Contra Costa County governance of Alamo. This includes planning.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 14, 2009 at 9:19 pm

A planning commission, including the San Ramon Valley Planning Commission is advisory in a few cases, but it isn't any more accurate to call the planning commission advisory than to call the Zoning Administrator advisory. In fact, a planning commission RECEIVES the advisory recommendations of the AIA, MACs, etc.

Any planning commission in CC County is a decision body on most matters it sees and advisory on some. It has authority to make decisions on major subdivisions and on any matter that was initially decided by the Zoning Administrator (i.e. tree permits, development plans, variances, small lot reviews, minor subdivisions and land use permits). Years ago, the planning commissions were the initial deciding body on minor subdivisions and land use permits, but the County has been giving more initial authority to the staff over time.

A decision of a planning commission is binding unless appealed to the Board of Supervisors.

The applicable planning commission (whether be the countywide commission or a regional commission) makes a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on rezoning and amendment of the general plan. The important distinction is that it is a formal, staff supported and legally required recommendation that is the result of legally noticed hearings. When the Board considers a rezoning or general plan amendment, it is acting on the recommendation of the planning commission. The Board is not obligated to receive the recommendation of any other body, whether it be AIA, a MAC, etc. Aside from the legal aspects, a planning commission process and recommendation on a rezoning or general plan amendment is more diligent and competent and carries much more weight than an advisory committee like a MAC.

I agree that incorporation would have been better for Alamo than remaining with the County. That doesn't mean we should cut off our nose to spite our face and ask to have even less say over our future than we have now.


Posted by Dick, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 15, 2009 at 9:24 am

Why waste time and energy - without incorporation, whatever the County wants to do will be done. Whether we call it an advisory board or a MAC, it really doesn't matter.


Posted by Sue, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:19 am

The good people on the Board can be replaced.


Posted by David Brower, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 15, 2009 at 11:53 pm

The good people on the Board of Supervisors cannot be replaced by the votes of the people of Alamo, who are a small fraction of the voters in one Supervisor's district.

-dB


Posted by Triogenes, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 16, 2009 at 8:05 am

How many times did the proponents of incorporation stress the importance for local control and local decisions during the election campaign?

Well, you turned down incorporation which would have given Alamo residents direct and immediate access to the town council and for the decisions which would affect Alamo. You now think you can replace members of the Board when Alamo has 16,000 population and the rest of the district has over 180,000?

WE TOLD YOU SO!!!


Posted by Mike, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 16, 2009 at 11:06 am

Nobody has to tell me that Alamo made a bad decision in voting not to incorporate and Alamo's influence over its own matters is decreasing under the County. But when choosing between bad and worse, bad is still better. If you think that losing the SRVRPC won't make a difference, wake up.

But for institutions like the SRVRPC, AIA, Association for the Preservation of Danville Boulevard, Right of Way Trail Advocates, etc. and a host of residents who were willing to get out there and push back over the last several decades, you wouldn't have have half-acre zoning in Alamo now, the neighborhoods around the downtown, maybe even most of the west side, would be dead or decaying and Danville Boulevard would look more like San Ramon Valley Boulevard in San Ramon.


Posted by jakefarsh, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 17, 2009 at 10:31 pm

One person's beaucracy is another's checks and balances. Every one of the advisory/commissions is another step in ensuring that the decisions by the government has benfitted from the input from the communities affected and the process is transparent. I have witnessed so many of the proposals/application modified for the better as the result of the community involvement. In addition, unlike the County's most proceedings these forums meet in the evening where people can participate. While fewer steps in a process may seem efficient, one must balance efficiency with the effectiveness resulting from community participation. The argument of cost savings resulting from eliminating SRVRPC is nothing but a subterfuge by those who have a disdain for the people they are supposed to serve! As they say: this would be a good business if there no customers! Yes folks, the people that have guided the County into a financial disaster think that you should have no say as to what else they might do to your community.


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