Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Goleta Council "Streamlines" Environmental Process

The Goleta Valley Voice reports that the Goleta City Council has chosen to "streamline" the environmental review process.

The proposal will remove public hearings on draft environmental documents for development projects from the Planning Commission and City Council and place them before a “staff-level Environmental Hearing Officer.”

The staff level hearing officer then decides whether or not the documents are adequate before sending them to Planning Commission or City Council. Outgoing council member Jonny Wallis pointed out: “I think this is another request to push the public away from their representatives,” and voted against the move along with council member Roger Aceves. I assume she is referring to the rather Bacarra-esque General Plan amendments that received little discussion at Council.

Less public input? Not good.

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Anonymous Follow the Money said...

A SHO, Staff Hearing Officer, makes sense if the Planning Commission is overwhelmed with too much other stuff to review. Is that the case in Goleta. Is the Planning Commission too busy or do the majority of City council members just not want their election challenger Ed Easton to be able to speak about a project during a public meeting?

It is just more meetings for the interested public to track and monitor. For instance, will the Goleta SHO be recorded for their government cable TV channel?

Instead of having independent Planning Commissioners review a project from the start, the paid staff will do it and may instead be thinking about his employment at the pleasure of three of the City council members.

8/24/2008 11:59 AM  

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