Talks continue on Meyers Area Plan
A community meeting about the third draft of a Meyers Area Plan on Thursday might be the last before the document undergoes an environmental review and is taken before El Dorado County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for possible adoption this autumn.
Or it might not be. It was the latest in a series of meetings to build consensus about a plan that has at least some outspoken detractors. “This hopefully will be our last meeting on this process until we move into the adoption phases,” said Brendan Ferry, a principal planner with El Dorado County. But he later added that he will have to consult with District 5 Supervisor Norma Santiago, who did not attend the meeting because of an illness.
That adoption process would entail at least five more public hearings, including meetings with the El Dorado County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors and meetings with two TRPA committees and the Governing Board.
“We’re getting close to the end. The plan is almost final,” said Stephanie McCorkle, a county spokeswoman who helped run Thursday’s meeting. “It’s not set in stone, but we think we have a good framework and we’d like to move it to the finish line, though there are more stops along the way to incorporate public comment,” McCorkle said.
County officials mailed 3,800 postcards to area residents to inform people about the meeting. Only about 50 people showed up, and of them, fewer than 10 said they had not been to prior meetings.
The third draft of the Meyers Area Plan includes a number of changes made in response to public comments. The document is available on the county website in a strikethrough and underline format for people to see changes. It’s a comprehensive land use document that lays out zoning and design standards and community goals such as an improved bike path network and U.S. 50 corridor. It also identifies targeted community and environmental improvement projects and attempts to streamline regulations and permitting.
Some residents of the unincorporated community continue to voice concerns about the plan and want it put on hold. Among the concerns raised by a couple dozen people Thursday were traffic concerns; zoning and density concerns; concerns about the future of vacant lots the California Tahoe Conservancy owns in Meyers; concerns about how Meyers will be represented; and concerns about the openness and inclusiveness of a planning process going on for two years.
Others said that while public comment should continue to be accepted and incorporated into the plan, the process should move forward and not grind to a halt because of what they described as a vocal minority.
The plan would turn the informal Meyers Advisory Council that has been helping craft the plan into a formal advisory role to review projects and initiate future area plan reviews, with members either elected or appointed by county supervisors. Recent talks have touched on whether the community should consider forming a Community Services District or Municipal Advisory Council to give it greater oversight and control of its future — a question that ultimately would be up to the community to decide, McCorkle said.
Sue Novasel and Kenny Curtzwiler, the two candidates for El Dorado County District 5 Supervisor, both of whom live in Meyers, attended Thursday’s meeting.
Novasel, who worked on the 1993 community plan and later served on the community roundtable, said the Meyers Area Plan has some things that still need to be vetted in the community, though she would be the last person to say the process must stop. “I want to see this conversation continue in the community until we’re at a point where we’re comfortable and it’s been vetted. We’re not quite there yet,” Novasel said.
Curtzwiler said county officials have taken about 90 percent of what has been put forward by the community and made changes to the area plan. His biggest sticking point is the Meyers Advisory Council. Its members should be either elected by the Meyers community or at least not appointed until a new county supervisor is elected and takes office.
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