County supervisors ponder demise of SRV Planning Commission
Research, input will be considered before decision is made
What some consider Alamo, Diablo and Blackhawk's strongest local planning voice is on the chopping block. But before Contra Costa County Supervisors decide whether to swing the hatchet, they will need more community input and research, supervisors said this week.
Despite the county planning commission's recommendation to let the San Ramon Valley Regional Planning Commission die, supervisors said they will need to see more historical background, records of staff time and projected growth before voting on the issue.
The regional planning commission is set to "sunset" on Oct. 7, which many residents of the unincorporated areas feel would take away their local voice.
"I am concerned how the sunset will affect unincorporated areas like Alamo," said District 3 Supervisor Mary N. Piepho.
The regional commission was informed two weeks ago that supervisors would be deciding whether to allow the sunset. But on Tuesday, supervisors noted the short time frame wasn't enough time for an adequate deliberation.
"Full disclosure and opportunity for community input is important," Piepho said.
Even with short notice, several Alamo and Diablo residents made their way to Martinez Tuesday to offer the board an explanation on the importance the planning body. County planning will not have the time, interest or resources to tackle the small scale issues that pop up in south county's unincorporated areas, Alamo residents said.
"The issue here is representation," said Mike Gibson, an Alamo resident who serves on the San Ramon Valley Regional Planning Commission.
Other residents noted the wealthy bedroom community makes up for the commission's cost and staff time with their high property taxes.
"Hopefully (representation is) earned with the tax base we contribute," said Brad Waite, President of Alamo Improvement Association.
Supervisors said two important factors they would look at are the populations of unincorporated areas and how much more development is expected in those areas in coming years.
But residents insisted that this is an issue for Danville, San Ramon and Dougherty Valley, too.
"This will affect the whole San Ramon Valley - a big area - not just somebody's block," said Maryann Cella, who serves on the Diablo Municipal Advisory Council.
In Alamo, the "sunset" could play a key role in some residents' stance on incorporation - at least amongst those who are educated on the issue, Gibson said.
For many wavering on their opinion on incorporation, disbanding the San Ramon Valley Planning Commission may force residents to push harder toward becoming an entity that can call its own shots.
The date for the next hearing has not yet been scheduled. The Board of Supervisors meeting agendas, however, are updated every week and are available at www.co.contra or by calling the county administration offices at 335-1080.
Contact Natalie OíNeill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 837-8300.