Amador County – Amador County Board of Supervisors in their late June meeting unanimously denied a design review process and regulations with a preference to establish voluntary design guidelines.
The board also moved to revisit the county’s draft General Plan to go through its design element guidelines one by one to see which guidelines they want to keep. Supervisor John Plasse said in making the motion that a workshop format could help reach a compromise on design guidelines so they can pick and choose design standards and find those that they feel are conducive to be recommended on a voluntary basis.
The board agreed on voluntary design standards, though Supervisor Vice Chairman Richard Forster said if a “use permit is involved at all,” it will matter whether the guidelines are followed. Forster said even if it is voluntary, developments will have public participation at the Planning Commission, which if it hears enough public input will vote the way of the people’s preference.
County Planning Department Director Susan Grijalva said design guidelines in El Dorado County and Placerville do use the word “should,” not “shall,” but they remain as regulations. She said due to reduced staff and development numbers, she recommended supervisors consider impacts on staff from having mandatory guidelines.
County Administrative Officer Chuck Iley said this would be low-priority because it is completely supported by the General Fund.
Plasse said supervisors should give developers a little bit of guidance to give them a sense of the style we would prefer to see in different areas of the county. He said requirements of signs and lighting for security cost more.
Supervisor Chairman Louis Boitano said down the road I think it would be good to eventually have an architectural review process, but “now is not the time.” He also wanted to see, down the road, how much compliance they get from voluntary guidelines.
Supervisor Ted Novelli noted 2008 comments about ag zoning exemptions, saying ag users still don’t want this to pertain to them. Supervisor Brian Oneto said he was not in favor of mandated guidelines, and supported only voluntary ones. Grijalva said they could put it off until they did a full review of the design element.
Plasse noted success in San Luis Obispo where uses vary from historic to ag and business. He said they should try to give guidance from a diverse standpoint with a list of expectations from the county so the developer can see what they would like them to propose, but not require it.
Novelli said a local phone company closed June 25 and four people lost their jobs. He said he did not want to hurt businesses.