Bob Brown of Streamline Planning Consultants has been invited to join the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) ‘Rural Issues Focus Group’. He will be participating in a new statewide group focusing on issues that pertain to rural areas.
“This is going to be an exciting process; one of the first tasks we have been asked to evaluate are the draft General Plan Guidelines. These are the State’s guidelines that convey the minimum requirements that cities and counties need to follow when updating their general plans.”
A public review draft is expected to be circulated this fall.
“As a group we will be reviewing these Guidelines and providing input how they may be revised to better address rural areas such as Humboldt County.”
The focus group will also be providing comments on updates of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the 2003 Governor’s Environmental Goals and Policy Report.
“When I applied for the position I stressed how we need changes to State policies that address rural issues that businesses up here in the North Coast face. These issues include being able to have sufficient land ready for commercial and industrial development.”
This is easier said than done since much of the available space locally is former mill sites surrounded by residential housing, with inadequate utilities, past contamination, wetlands or restrictive coastal act policies. Getting over the hurdles of not only local requirements but also state requirements is often redundant, conflicting, expensive and time delaying.
“A lot of local money funds these state programs; this money leaves the County but adds little additional protection to the local agency’s approval.”
Getting the entitlements to build or expand is often a discouraging process.
“We have a lot of great businesses here on the redwood coast that are kept from beginning or reaching their full potential because of these restrictions.”
Bob has been a long time advocate for local businesses here on the north coast, helping a number of them, such as Cypress Grove and Humboldt Biodiesel get the necessary permits and CEQA approvals that so often keep local businesses from expanding or relocating.
Bob is hoping in the near future to help host a local forum to collect input on other planning issues facing the rural north coast so that he can promote solutions at the State level.
Until then you can reach Bob at email@example.com
Streamline Planning Consultants is a local permitting and environmental firm specializing in complex permit applications and time sensitive projects.