We have sent an Open Letter to the City Council that we want to share with you.
After decades of inaction and indecisiveness the City Council is attempting to rush the completion of the General Plan Update at the expense of public input.
The decisions being made now truly will impact our city for decades to come. The new plan calls for massive density increases, housing development near the Carquinez Straits that is predicted to be flooded due to climate change, and much more.
We are asking the City to extend the process so all of us can understand the impacts and make sensible choices. At this point there is no easy way to see what will change with the new plan.
We are asking for your help to reinforce this message and let them know that haste not only makes waste, but also makes for a less livable city.
Please take a moment to let the City Council know that you support all of us having a true voice in our future.
The Thousand Friends of Martinez is heartened to see that the General Plan Update is coming to fruition, but we have some strong concerns about details and deficits of the plan, the lack of opportunities for real public engagement and the apparent haste in which the approval process is moving.
One of the many things that Thousand Friends of Martinez is dedicated to is advocacy for open and transparent government in our city. We are concerned about the current General Plan Update process which we believe lacks both transparency and openness and is being rushed.
Because this plan should serve as the road map for our future growth and development, and ultimately determine the success or failure of our city, we call on the City Council to direct the City to take two actions to give the public and public officials themselves a true opportunity to understand the General Plan Update and have meaningful public input.
The current process is failing. We need transparency of this General Plan Update that will control the growth and development of our City for the next 15+ years.
Action 1. Stop these Workshop sessions which are being conducted during the holiday season and require a huge amount of effort to understand, thereby severely limiting public engagement. To be up to speed on this complex Plan, one needs to read and digest this 290 page General Plan Update plus several associated documents, including the Downtown Specific Plan, the Housing Element and the Alhambra Hills Specific Plan.
Restart the Workshop sessions after the New Year and start from the beginning. And have many more than just three Public Workshop sessions to explain and receive comment on this complex document.
The first Workshop on December 1 covered just three of eleven Elements, and both the review and comments were completely inadequate, even though the Workshop went an hour over schedule. The December 15 and January 12, 2022 Workshops are supposed to cover the remaining Elements. The Workshop on January 12 is the last Workshop scheduled according to the City consultant’s statement at the end of the December 1 Workshop.
Action 2. Prepare for the public a comparison between our current General Plan and this new General Plan Update to give transparency to this critical new Plan.
The comparison needs to cover not just the housing and commercial density changes, but issues including: ·low-income housing requirements, · environmental justice requirements, · park and open space plans---including map of proposed trails and connections, ·economic impact on City finances, ·job creation and economic development, ·housing on the waterfront, ·marina expansion, ·control of flooding on the waterfront and creeks, ·ridge top ordinance, ·wildfire protection plan, · climate change plan, ·viewscapes policy, ·and more.
That comparison will bring transparency to this new General Plan Update and give the public an opportunity to determine what they like and dislike. We’ve asked for this comparison repeatedly for years. And we even prepared a stopgap comparison of housing densities to alert the public to concerns about this new Plan (showed 43% to 500% density increases).
But we should not and do not want to be the author of the comparisons. That transparency needs to be a City responsibility.
There are some positive components to this General Plan Update and some we do not support. But we all need to understand it better, and that is what we are urging you to allow through the steps above.
Please do the right thing. There are people who want to rush this process, but we ask you to stand up for us citizens and give us all an opportunity to be a significant part of this General Plan Update process.
Thousand Friends of Martinez
More about Thousand Friends of Martinez
The Mission of Thousand Friends of Martinez is to provide a stable organization which will work with residents to elect informed, conscientious representatives; promote open government; enhance our quality of life by creating a livable city; defend our parks and open spaces, and; conserve natural areas and historic elements in the greater Martinez region.
Our Objectives are to:
Endorse, support and fund responsible and environmentally supportive leaders
Promote transparent government
Promote better land use planning and the development of policies for the public benefit
Defend parks, creeks, wetlands, open space and historic elements
Support budgeting, ballot measures and funding for these purposes
Educate the public about these objectives and strategies
HELP THE CAUSE
Help Martinez strive for more transparent government, enlightened land use concepts and to defend parks, creeks, wetlands, open space and historic elements