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Planning Commissioners Say - "We Don't Plan!" (Part 2)

Dr. Jim Gardner
Dr. Jim Gardner

Yesterday we noted that since being reconstituted the Planning Commission (PC) has cancelled more than 20% of their meetings because they thought they had nothing to do. We noted further than Commissioners Fuentes and Hamilton had missed more meetings that the other members, and that both of them recently offered the thought that they could do nothing unless specifically instructed to do so by the staff or the Council. That launched a search of the City and State codes governing what a PC can do, to see whether or not there was any foundation to the remarks made by Fuentes and Hamilton. Here are the results -


From the City Website

“The City of Lake Forest Planning Commission is a decision-making body tasked with reviewing matters related to planning and development in the City….The Planning Commission is also responsible for making recommendations to the City Council as to whether a project or action would be consistent with the General Plan.”

Nothing to support Fuentes or Hamilton here! In fact, if anything, it contradicts their assertions.

From the City Municipal Code

“The Planning Commission shall act as custodian of the visual character of the City and shall also have the following general functions:

          A. Planning for the physical development of the City;

          D. Making recommendations to the City Council for the establishment of appropriate zoning boundaries;

          E. Reviewing the General Plan and making a report thereon annually to the City Council;

          F. Periodically reviewing the zoning map and the text of the Zoning Code and making recommendation to the City Council for change;

          G. Periodically reviewing the Subdivision Code and making recommendations to the City Council for amendments or additions;

          H. Rendering disinterested and diligent service to the public in the interpretation of public needs and necessities in the development of the City and its environs.”

Once again, nothing to support Fuentes or Hamilton. And once again, if anything, paragraphs A and H seems to completely contradict their excuse for why they do no planning.


From the State Code

“65103.  Each planning agency shall perform all of the following
functions...
   (d) Endeavor to promote public interest in, comment on, and
understanding of the general plan, and regulations relating to it.
   (e) Consult and advise with public officials and agencies, public
utility companies, civic, educational, professional, and other
organizations, and citizens generally concerning implementation of
the general plan.
   (f) Promote the coordination of local plans and programs with the
plans and programs of other public agencies.
   (g) Perform other functions as the legislative body provides,
including conducting studies and preparing plans other than those
required or authorized by this title...."

Hmmm

Once again it seems pretty clear that Fuentes and Hamilton’s claims that they could do no planning are not only baseless, but contradicted by City and State codes, not to mention what I must assume are the wishes of the people.

Fuentes and Hamilton’s reluctance to do any planning seems strange for people who wanted to be on a Planning Council. It’s even stranger, since the Quarterly Attendance Records kept by the City Clerk reveal that Fuentes and Hamilton had more absences than all the other Commissioners on both Commissions combined. So here we have a pair of Commissioners who sit on a Commission than cancels more than 20% of their meetings because they think they have nothing to do, proclaim against all the evidence that they shouldn’t do any planning unless specifically instructed to do so by the Council, and lead the charge in missing meetings.

Can anyone explain this?

 

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Merijoe Axe January 23, 2014 at 11:24 AM
Planning commission doesn't physically put items on the agenda, however planning should be asking that things that are concerning enough to taxpaying citizens that they had the balls to speak to them at the podium, be placed there by the whoever is in charge of putting things on agendas for planning and stop saying "we dont do windows". This passing of the buck by the new PC shows their ineptness and cluelessness for planning and that they are wild horses allowed to do and say what they want without fear of any oversight...I got news for planning - you will be accountable for your actions and, don't think for one frigging minute that all you need to worry about is city council or GOP.
Homer January 23, 2014 at 05:11 PM
Pretty clear that certain members do not want to get involved in the public position they sought to fill. If they do not have any directive from the CC, then get to work familiarizing yourself with current projects and their status. At the very least, crack open a copy of the city general plan or zoning code(s) and get reading.
Tom Cagley January 23, 2014 at 05:21 PM
In my years of experience with planning, any general plan was a constant 'work in progress.' Complete one goal, and add another so that there is always something to be done. I'm not certain what the tie-in to the GOP is about. Off the top of my head, I think the PC should be looking at Musick expansion plans, future of water availability, the ever-present concern about traffic, the project near and dear to some members of the community, the dog park. As Homer said, get reading, conceptualize where things might go...don't just sit there!
Jim Gardner January 23, 2014 at 08:16 PM
It's hard to believe that a Planning Commission can be cancelling meetings when there are so many problems facing us.
Homer January 24, 2014 at 04:57 PM
Monday was a federal holiday, so maybe the PC felt there wasn't enough time left in the week to 'plan' for their meeting.
Annie G. January 24, 2014 at 06:40 PM
plans--we don't need no stinkin plans!!!!!! hey don't run down my home town, lake forest rocks....even without plans.
Tom Cagley January 25, 2014 at 12:56 AM
Annie: No one is running down Lake Forest, just trying to help it reach its potential! Have a wonderful weekend, no 'holiday', so maybe they can get back to work.
Jim Gardner January 25, 2014 at 12:02 PM
Annie, I agree with Tom. Constructive criticism is always helpful in making a person, a corporation, or a city better. We can enjoy life in Lake Forest and still want things to be better, and to offer our time and thoughts and energy to help make it a better place.
Annie G. January 25, 2014 at 02:52 PM
Joking, guys. Love you are on this, hard work to watch these peeps, keep em on their toes, doing the right thing. and you do it without insults and crazytown talk, you would be surprised some of the other places around here, doing that. You'll succeed, them---do not think so.
Lionel M. January 27, 2014 at 03:07 PM
Both Hamilton and Fuentes have eyes on the Council seat. That's why they're on the Planning Commission yet skip meetings and say they can't do anything. They are waiting to run for the Council and will claim they did so much good for the city on the Planning Commission. Hamilton already tried last year. Neither one has any interest in the Planning Commission. They are simply using it as a stepping stone.
Tom Cagley January 27, 2014 at 03:30 PM
See, they do have a plan! Step up to the next level!

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