Aug 01, 2019

For close to two years, Ventura County staff have steadily worked through the process of seeking input to update the County’s General Plan, the region’s high-level policy guide that will implement the community’s vision. This long-range planning document will guide regulations and policymaking for the region through 2040, making it one of the most important documents considered by the County Board of Supervisors.

Yet, an arbitrary and rushed deadline now threatens to cut off public input on the General Plan. Ventura County citizens, businesses, organized labor, the agriculture sector, and other community leaders have been given less than 10 days to review, consider, and provide comment on 119 different recommendations for the Plan compiled by the Planning Commission ahead of a final vote on August 6.

Given its importance, why are the Supervisors rushing to finalize the General Plan at an unreasonable pace – essentially silencing the public on the region’s policy guide for the next 20 years?

The Board of Supervisors’ unrealistic deadline to finish its General Plan does not provide a reasonable opportunity for public input. This timeline is a clear outlier in comparison to the public review processes utilized by other counties.

  • In Sacramento County, staff participated in 212 public meetings, 109 workshops, and 216 sub-committee meeting over a period of several years. They also engaged in a tribal outreach strategy, coordinated through the Native American Heritage Commission – something that appears to be lacking in the Ventura County General Plan Update process.
  • In Kern County, after a 6-month Planning Commission Workshop process, the final draft General Plan was then circulated to the Public for over six months, prior to the Board of Supervisors vote and the EIR process, to allow for full public engagement.  
  • In Humboldt County, the Board of Supervisors engaged in a series of three 8-hour public hearings over a 2-month period, in order to receive, review and deliberate over public and expert comments and recommendations.
  • In Fresno County, Planning Staff released the draft General Plan in December 2017 – and collected public comments throughout the entirety of 2018 – prior to the Board of Supervisors vote and the EIR process.

The General Plan will guide regulations and policies related to land use, water resources, economic growth and stability, resource protection, climate action and overall development. These are important policy areas that could have severe impacts on the regional economy if key perspectives are not thoughtfully considered.

It is imperative that the Board move its arbitrary and poorly chosen deadline to finalize Ventura County’s General Plan to allow for adequate public review and engagement on the region’s future.