Twenty-Five Theses on the Elk Grove General Plan Schema - Part I

By Michael Monasky | March 20, 2016 | Of Michael Baker International | Most folks will not read through this entire article; hey, mo...


By Michael Monasky | March 20, 2016 |

Of Michael Baker International |

Most folks will not read through this entire article; hey, most of the city council and planning commission admitted to not having read the 68 page city staff update on the General Plan

But imagine a list that embraces the notion that Martin Luther had: nail complaints about fiscal corruption, the sale of indulgences and political influence by the Roman Catholic Church and Holy Roman Empire, as theses to the door of the cathedral and someone will take note. City Hall has glass doors, so I'll have to use scotch tape to notify city officials of my disdain for having sold out to a private planning agency.

My story is that the city of Elk Grove does the bidding of Michael Baker International (MBI). Assistant to the city manager Christopher Jordan's recent staff report on the city's progress in creating an update to the 2003 General Plan, follows what Mr. Jeff Henderson wanted for Pacific Municipal Consultants (PMC), MBI's subsidiary planning agency. The General Plan Update staff report does no service to the city or its citizens; it only itemizes the wish list of developers associated with PMC since the city's incorporation in 2000.


The General Plan Update is supposed to be an environmental document which addresses community concerns in basic elements, such as transportation, water, sewage and other infrastructure needs. Instead, the update report is a builders' manifesto. “Study Area” is a euphemism by land speculator PMC to designate land, outside the city limits, it has long desired to develop, since before it organized and funded Elk Grove's campaign for cityhood in 2000. Elk Grove was conceived of as a company town by PMC, of which it remains in control as the exclusively contracted planning agency. 

            
PMC's recent acquisition by Michael Baker International reveals a fourteen member board of directors, of which ten are deeply connected with the military intelligence community. Michael Baker International's investment in PMC embodies the growth wish-list of Region Builders, the Building Industry Association, the construction trade unions, real estate speculators, and the political contributors to the sitting elected city council. MBI's missionstatement could easily read, “Hegemony is our most important product.” 

The city's public outreach workshops fail to address important, pending issues such as water supply, flood control, and infrastructure development and maintenance. The city and PMC have failed to provide all its planning documents to the public in a timely manner.

"Land use alternative analysis” is PMC's planning code for pushing through its growth scheme. It's probably an unethical, if not illegal, use of the General Plan update process to plan to develop areas which are beyond the city's boundary and legal control.

PMC falsely differentiates agricultural land in the Sheldon rural area from the “study areas.” “Direct new development to specific locations within urbanized portions of the city (i.e., not into the Rural Area.)” According to PMC and the city, the “study areas” outside the Urban Services Boundary (USB) are NOT “Rural Areas.”

The city proposes to “[a]nnex additional land into the City as appropriate where a market demand has been established and where the proposed project implements the community vision and regional growth objectives.” The city has presented no empirical evidence of “market demand” for annexing additional land to the city.

The city proposes to “[e]stablish clear development parameters for annexations.” That is exactly what the USB does, while the city ignores the limits imposed by the Urban Services Boundary.

The city ignores its infrastructure and public service guidelines and has severely reduced such fees to developers; meanwhile, our roads are quickly deteriorating.

The city and PMC bad-mouth conversions for agricultural lands while touting more rooftops. Rooftops are far worse habitat for Swainson's hawks than a carefully tended, organic vineyard that accommodates fauna.

The city states that it wants “a community that offers a variety of housing options for all income levels.” The city has refused to look at a plan for mixed uses so that folks of different income levels can live and work together.



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