Novasel unable to participate in Meyers Area Plan process; Conflict of interest cited
MEYERS, CALIF. — A concerned group of Meyers residents are reaching out to county leaders with a variety of requests after discovering their recently elected area representative, Supervisor Sue Novasel, doesn’t have a say in the widely debated community plan.
Earlier this month, the county’s legal counsel determined that Novasel’s 11.5 percent share of property within the commercial core in Meyers was enough to declare a conflict of interest with the plan’s development.
This is because Novasel’s share in the property could be affected by zoning changes suggested in the area plan, according to a statement from the supervisor.
The decision prevents her from participating in discussions or decisions regarding the Meyers Area Plan. Subsequently, some community residents have turned to the county for help finding representation for the project.
“Not only does this create concerns regarding the same process issues which have thus far, failed to support a true, transparent community or area plan update process,” according to an email sent from the group to the Board of Supervisors on Monday, “but it also leaves our community without an elected representative who will work on our behalf, first and foremost, regarding planning for the future of the Meyers area.”
The residents requested an item be put on the Board of Supervisors meeting agenda to address those concerns, and that the area plan update process be delayed until Meyers has elected representation for the plan.
Novasel said she was “disappointed that a conflict of interest will prevent” her from participating in the area plan project, but that she also wanted to abide by the law.
“I want to make sure the Meyers community understands that I’m very, very involved with the rest of Meyers — it’s just this one part of the plan, the end process,” she said Wednesday. “It will go to CEQA after this. The community will still have plenty ability to have input in the process once it goes to CEQA and TRPA. The entire process is still very active for community involvement as far as that.”
Novasel worked on the original community plan about 25 years ago and has been active in a variety of area projects over the years. She said she has contacted the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission to get an official ruling on the conflict of interest issue and is waiting a response.
The current Meyers Area Plan is being designed as a comprehensive land use road map, of sorts, that lays out the community’s goals, zoning and design standards, desired environmental improvement projects and more.