General plan should be scrutinized, but why not earlier?
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The recent outcry over wording in the Plumas County General Plan has garnered a lot of attention the past few weeks.
It came to a head Jan. 17 when a group of concerned citizens from Indian Valley voiced opposition to the plan during a planning commission meeting in Quincy. The Indian Valley Citizens for Private Property Rights argued that the county’s new general plan — which has been years in the making — could lead to a loss of private property rights. They called the plan “Agenda 21 in disguise.”
Agenda 21 is a document adopted by the United Nations in 1992. It is designed to be a blueprint of how jurisdictions worldwide should move toward sustainable economic growth that simultaneously protects and renews environmental resources.
Some have labeled Agenda 21 a conspiracy to take away individual property rights and force people living in rural areas to move to the city.
The local group says a lot of the wording in our new general plan reads like Agenda 21. The group highlighted words like “sustainability,” “open space,” “mixed-use housing” and “sustainable development.”
The Plumas County General Plan is an important document. It is the blueprint for what our county might look like for future generations. The most minute details deserve to be scrutinized by the public. The plan needs to be right and it needs to be ours.
Whether our plan contains the seeds of a growing conspiracy will continue to be debated for the foreseeable future. But that debate raises the obvious question: Why are we just now hearing about Agenda 21?
The Plumas County planners have been holding open public comment sessions for years. There have been no fewer than 86 meetings during which the public was invited to provide input. The planners even manned a booth at the county fair. Not once during those meetings was “Agenda 21” mentioned.
Now, the public comment period has passed and the supervisors are just weeks away from approving the updated plan. A lot of time and money has been invested during the process.
The planning department has documented every piece of public input and tried to address those concerns in the new plan. The county hired consultants to help shepherd us through the process. And it’s the consultants who are being blamed for including the objectionable wording.
But where was the Indian Valley Citizens for Private Property Rights group last year? The county planners even took their general plan show on the road to make it easier for residents in outlying towns to voice their concerns in person. During one of the scheduled meetings in Greenville, nobody showed up.
Now the group wants the county to scrap years of work and start over, ridding the new general plan of any Agenda 21-type of verbiage.
They have a very good point: Our general plan should be our own, and not a template for a global master plan. But they had dozens of opportunities to make that point over the past few years. Why now?