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Council, commission set goals

Barbara Diamond

The City Council made it clear Saturday at a joint meeting with

the Planning Commission that they should all be on the same page when

it comes to policies and priorities.

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“We thought the Planning Commission established the special

projects’ priority list: they said they thought the staff did --

who’s in charge here?” said Mayor Wayne Baglin.

Baglin has no doubts. The council is.

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“We moved up about six projects, including the view preservation

ordinance,” Baglin said. “It appeared to have fallen into limbo. The

Planning Commission had not captured the urgency felt by the City

Council to put teeth into the ordinance.”

Baglin set an end-of-September deadline for a preliminary report.

A review of the city’s land use element also got a boost.

“That is worth celebrating,” said Commissioner Norm Grossman. “It

is a way to plan the development of the entire city, rather than

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piece by piece.”

Staff will rearrange the priority list, based on Saturday’s

meeting. The joint meeting was the second time the council and

commission met in recent months.

“Revisions to the Downtown Specific Plan were not assigned a

priority,” Grossman said. “It was our number one priority.”

The meeting, held from 10 a.m. to noon, adjourned without

discussing such commission concerns as Community Development

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Department staffing levels, legal advice for advisory boards and the

new administrative approval process, begun in response to council

criticisms of staff decisions.

Some complaints have been received about the changed

administrative approval process, which requires a noticed hearing for

what applicants deem minor changes. City Manager Ken Franks said the

revision has substantially increased the staff’s workload. The

workload would further be increased if the commission and the review

board had its way about staff reports on all projects before the

board, which was also on the commission’s agenda.

But the commission maintains that the reports would lead to better

discussions and ultimately better projects.

“I think ideally the council should meet with the Planning

Commission and the Design Review Board at least twice a year” Baglin

said.

No further joint meetings have been scheduled at this time.

The new A list:

Review of the city’s land use element, formerly 22 on the list;

review of the specific plan of Laguna Canyon annexation area, which

will be expanded to include the whole canyon and moved up on the

priority list from 15; inclusion of the ACT V parking lot in the

Civic Arts District; view preservation, moves up from 11 on the list;

and the noise element of the city’s general plan.


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