On Tuesday January 6th, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors held their regular Planning Committee meeting. One item on the agenda was a recap by Albert Lopez, Director of the Alameda County Planning Department on the status of the major initiatives of the Planning Department.
A large part of his recap included the status of updates on the many specific and area plans which cover the Unincorporated Areas. Lopez reported that the Ashland/Cherryland Business District Specific Plan will be completed by November of 2015, and the Fairview Area Plan should be complete in 2016.
He also stated that the long awaited update to the 22 year old Castro Valley Downtown Specific Plan was not in the budget for the current fiscal year (which ends in July,) but work would begin before the end of 2015. Lopez said that
“…there is a strong desire from the community, particularly the Castro Valley MAC members to get that plan updated.”
Supervisor Nate Miley also agreed, saying
“…it’s important to get that handled, because we’ve had conflicts there (about the specific plan) as well in the last few years and we want to make sure we cue that up for this next 2015 fiscal year. …It will probably take two or more years to finish. …All these plans have to be sequenced in, because we don’t have unlimited resources. …The Downtown Specific Plan for Castro Valley is extremely important.”
Public comment included four Castro Valley residents all advocating for heightening the importance and urgency of revising the Downtown Specific plan due to its age and the remarkable changes in the Castro Valley population and overall planning strategies. Chris Bazar, Director of the Alameda County Community Development Agency responded to the comments:
“I’m delighted that we really clearly have a new generation of Castro Valley residents who are very active and involved in this, and as a planner I couldn’t agree more with many of the things you’ve expressed. …This specific plan is on this list because it is absolutely on our triage list of things to get to. …We have to spread our resources throughout the unincorporated county so we very much have an exercise that we go through with very limited resources … where we really have to be fair to five or six distinct communities and we try to marshal our resources fairly to all of them.”
Supervisor Miley echoed that sentiment with some lively comments of his own. Speaking about the fairness of planning resource distribution within the unincorporated area, he had this to say:
“Incorporate and control your destiny, but if you’re unincorporated than you’re competing with everybody else -and we can’t take away from the others…”