General plan backers make pitch for West Slope growth
About 30 people made the journey out to the Lake Tahoe Airport on Thursday night and heard one message: Come March, you should vote to support a 20-year plan for growth approved by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors.
The meeting was organized by backers of the general plan who want to drum up support in light of two ballot measures filed against it. They will be voted on by residents in the March 8 special election.
The county has been floundering for 16 years without a general plan. Supporters say the plan approved by supervisors last July provides adequate protection of the environment, assures adequate water supply for new growth, and collects money from developers to pay for roads the growth will require.
“There are so many constraints on development on this plan,” said Supervisor Jack Sweeney, who traveled from Placerville to attend the meeting and answer questions about the plan. “The checklist (for developers) is 17 pages long. Just think about it, the entire 1969 general plan was 29 pages.”
Kathi Lishman, a founding member of the No Gridlock Committee, helped get one of the two initiatives that challenge the plan, Measure D, on the ballot.
“This general plan allows way too much growth,” said Lishman after the meeting ended. “We need more controlled growth and good planning. This would allow everybody to subdivide their property the way they want, and that’s not good planning.
“And traffic is an issue. Highway 50 can’t handle the growth that’s already been approved, let alone traffic for triple the population.”
Sweeney disputed that the plan would triple the population of the county.
Supervisor Dave Solaro, who also attended the meeting and voted to support the plan, reminded people that the portion of the county within the Lake Tahoe Basin would not be greatly affected by the plan. Growth in the Tahoe portion of the county, he said, is regulated by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
“We really tried to do what we thought was a balance,” Solaro said. “The fact that nobody is happy with (the plan) probably means it’s a good thing. Without a plan nothing happens.”