Sunday, 01 August 2021

Community, board discuss Rivieras Plan

LAKEPORT – In a meeting that stretched across four hours Tuesday night, the Lake County Board of Supervisors heard testimony about the Rivieras Plan from community residents and planning staff.


The Rivieras Plan is separate from the county's General Plan, said Community Development Director Rick Coel. The General Plan also is undergoing an update.


“The General Plan is kind of the umbrella document, and the area plans are ways to add local refinement to the General Plan process because it looks at the specific issues in that planning area, where the General Plan is looking at the entire county in more general terms,” Coel explained.


Lake County has eight planning areas, he said, including Middletown, Cobb, Kelseyville, Lakeport and Upper Lake/Nice.


It's the first such planning document for the Rivieras area, said Coel. Another brand new plan for the Shoreline Communities Area, which covers “everything from north of Clearlake Park around and up to Lucerne,” is next.


“We're also updating the Middletown Area Plan, Coel added.


The board on Tuesday heard about four hours of public testimony on the Riviera Plan draft, said Coel. He noted that the meeting was scheduled for the evening so that more people could attend.


“It was a really good meeting,” he said. “The board covered a lot of territory with the area plan.”


He added that, in areas where changes are proposed and have raised concerns, that the board has been careful to hear “both sides of every story.”


Supervisor Rob Brown, in whose district the Rivieras area is located, said planning staff and the plan's committee have done an “exceptional job” in preparing the document.”


“I'm really happy that it's to the point that it is as quick as it is,” he said.


For Brown, the board has an obligation to make sure the plan is done right. “All the bases have to be covered,” he said, especially when down-zoning property parcels to other usages, which this plan does in some areas.


Brown said down-zoning raises a red flag for him. For some owners, that property is all they have, he said, and it's important that they don't take away land value in the planning process.


“This is, in my opinion, probably the biggest land use decision that I'll ever make,” said Brown. “It effects literally thousands of parcels in those areas.”


Areas of “some controversy” in the area that he identified are the Clearlake Riviera marina, the Riviera Golf Course and Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, with Konocti Harbor's owners in talks to sell the property.


In fact, attorney Peter Windrem, who represents UA Local Convalescent Trust Fund, which owns Konocti Harbor, spoke on the organization's behalf Tuesday night about zoning for the resort and its surrounding properties. (See related story, “Windrem discusses Konocti Harbor Sale status.”)


No decision was made Tuesday, Coel said. The board is considering the testimony at the meeting, along with previous testimony at Planning Commission meetings, and advisory committee recommendations. “They're looking at the big picture.”


Brown said he felt that newly elected District 3 Supervisor needed to be seated and allowed to take part in the discussion before a final decision was reached. “Denise has to be allowed every opportunity for input,” he said, explaining that she'll have to answer for the decision in years to come.


Coel said there's a “decent possibility” that at another evening meeting on the plan, scheduled for Jan. 9, the board will give the plan its final approval and formally adopt it. That's if no substantial changes are requested, he added.


Coel, recently named CDD director, said these larger, more complex projects were given a boost last year when the Board of Supervisors approved an additional senior planner position – devoted to advanced planning -- in his department.


Senior Planner Emily Minton fills that spot, he said.


“That's made a huge difference,” he said, making it possible for his department to build momentum and put more effort into the planning work.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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