San Luis Obispo County, CA November 7, 2000 Election
Smart Voter

Participation of residents sought in General Plan Update

By Colby Crotzer

Candidate for Mayor; City of Morro Bay

This information is provided by the candidate
The people of Morro Bay have spoken about what they value highest in their community, and now is the time to make sure that our most important planning documents represent that.
You may not have noticed, but history is currently being made in Morro Bay.

Since people feel strongly about the quality of life in Morro Bay, our primary planning documents should reflect the conviction of residents that above all it should be protected and enhanced.

But they don't.

The process of updating Morro Bay's General Plan and Land Use Plan that is presently under way hopefully will correct that omission, and for the first time in the city's 35-year history, we will have plans based on the priorities and long-range goals of residents--as they should.

As a result of the open hearings and public comment that is part of the process, it has become clear that the twin priorities of residents are the preservation of (1) our scenic and natural resources and (2) the small-town, slow-growth character of the community.

That's not really surprising, given the numerous groups and activities focused on maintaining these essential elements of our quality of life. But for the first time, these are stated priorities of residents which can be made the basis for all the policies contained in the plans to
guide future growth in Morro Bay.

This is of utmost importance because these plans--as required by state law--are designed to guide the physical development of the community as well as authorize the types, location and intensity of land use, resource protection, development policies and actions needed for implementation. Everything Morro Bay will become depends on the language in
these key documents.

But the Land Use Plan says virtually nothing about what residents want for their community, although the General Plan talks vaguely about people living here because of the quality of life.

How could such an essential element of a planning document--the stated desires of its people--be missing?

Mike Multari, one of the consultants drafting the update who was Morro Bay's community development director when the Land Use Plan was approved in 1982, said the city was rushing to adopt a plan and send it to the Coastal Commission so the city could regain authority over building
permits and other development policies. "Sometimes you look at the document and say, 'How could they write something like that?'" he told the city Planning Commission at a public hearing last month.

Paul Crawford, another consultant, agreed at the hearing with resident Bob Tefft that the plan, as Crawford put it, "really doesn't focus on protection of natural resources and community character to an adequate extent."

Thus, these plans don't really express the sentiments of our people because they were simply thrown together with language from the Coastal Act to get the task done. Now, 17 years later, with a review of the plan long over due, we have clear evidence that the people of Morro Bay are highly
interested and involved as never before in creating a new version that does reflect their desires.

This interest is just a continuation of their involvement in the Waterfront Master Plan, the Destination 2000 goals, their resistance to the scenic loop traffic plan, their public demonstration of opposition to the proposed boat launch ramp at Target Rock and their organized effort to stop
the carving up of the Caratan bluff.

The people of Morro Bay have spoken about what they value highest in their community, and now is the time to make sure that our most important planning documents represent

We need to remember that the Coastal Commission must approve the Land Use Plan that the city adopts. That plan must embody the protections contained in the Coastal Act, but the plan approved by the City Council also should reflect community priorities as long as they are consistent with the Act--and what Morro Bay residents have said they want for their city is a perfect fit.

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