Measure Y proceeding civilly
Discussion over the implementation of Measure Y is proceeding smoothly in El Dorado County, and that has to be considered a bit of a surprise.
Supporters of Measure Y -the Control Traffic Congestion Initiative – predicted enormous traffic gridlock if developers were not required to fully account for road improvements connected with their projects. Voters agreed, passing Y by more than 60 percent in November.
But opponents of Measure Y had also predicted gridlock – in the courts. If Y passed, they said, important development projects would never get off the ground due to endless lawsuits filed by limited-growth factions in the county.
But so far, there isn’t a lawsuit in sight.
On Monday, the Control Traffic Congestion Committee made a formal presentation to the Board of Supervisors, outlining their vision on how Measure Y should be implemented.
“The entire process seemed real civil. I feel good about the direction we are going,” said Bill Center, a former El Dorado County supervisor who was a driving force behind Measure Y. “Right now we need some data to see exactly where we are (in terms of road capacity),” he said. “So the county is getting to work on that.”
All of this sounds too good to be true in a county where such debate had often degenerated into a contentious war of words. Pro-growth and limited-growth factions in El Dorado County have generally been at odds for decades. And when Measure Y passed in November, many thought it would just add gasoline to the fire.
But there seems to be a new era of harmony in county government following the November elections, when two new board members joined the fold. Penny Humphreys, who defeated Walt Shultz for the Fourth District seat, made the spirit of compromise a main theme in her campaign. And new Fifth District Supervisor Dave Solaro, who recently retired as South Lake Tahoe’s Chief of Police, also seems interested in a civil form of debate.
“The meeting was very positive, and we’re making a lot of headway,” said First District Supervisor Sam Bradley, who helped draft Measure Y. “Right now we’re dealing with the high points of the initiative, making sure we’re all on the same page.”
In their final act in December before the new board took office, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Missouri Flat Area Master Circulation and Funding Plan – a series of commercial and residential development projects in the U.S. Highway 50/Missouri Flat Road area of Placerville.
The board approved the development projects even though the high points of Measure Y had yet to be defined. Exactly how would developers pay for road improvements connected to their projects? Would any county tax dollars be used? Exactly how would these projects impact the traffic infrastructure?
These are the issues that were outlined by the Control Traffic Congestion Committee on Monday.
“First, new development is one hundred percent responsible for mitigating its road impacts,” Center said. “Existing residents are no longer going to give up existing road capacity without compensation.”
Among other goals and objectives outlined by the Control Traffic Congestion Committee was: establish a baseline for traffic levels by preparing a list of highways, roads and intersections with current peak traffic levels; and to ensure that the county not add any segments of U.S. Highway 50, or any other roads, to the list of existing Level of Service F (gridlock), without first getting voter approval.
“This is something to which we’re paying very close attention,” said Second District Supervisor Ray Nutting. “The voters have spoken, and we’re listening.”
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