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09.19.07

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By Patricia Lynn Henley


Planning Ahead

Thick bureaucratic documents that will shape the North Bay for years are being crafted in ongoing but separate processes in Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties. Each is revising its general plan, a state-mandated document which is the basis for all land-use decisions. Sonoma is also creating a separate strategic plan to set priorities on a wider range of issues affecting the overall delivery of county services.

While the dry nature of these documents might be daunting and the meetings may have the potential for trivia and tedium, the overall impact of these final guidelines will be significant.

Municipalities periodically update portions of their general plan, but only occasionally review and revise the entire document. It's just a coincidence that Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties are pursuing this process simultaneously, says Kristin Drumm of Marin County. "We all have different issues," she explains. Marin began its general plan update process in 2000. The planning commission recommended a draft version

_in July, and the board of supervisors will discuss final details Sept. 25 and Oct. 16, with an eye to approving the new _general plan on Oct. 23. For details, visit www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/cd/main/fm/index.cfm.

Napa County adopted its current general plan in 1983, and a new version is expected to be approved some time next year. The plan-update steering committee meets Sept. 26 and Oct. 10 and 31, followed by a series of public hearings before the planning commission and the supervisors. The comment period has ended for the plan's environmental impact report, but the public can comment on the revised general plan up until its final approval. Documents and calendars are at _www.napacountygeneralplan.com.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors holds its next general plan update hearing on Sept. 26. Written comments on the proposed revisions must be submitted to the county by Sept. 28. The county's current plan was adopted in 1989. The revision process started in 2001, and the new version is expected to be OK'd by the end of this year or early next year. Details are at www.sonoma-county.org/prmd/gp2020/index.html.

In a separate move, Sonoma County is also creating a strategic plan (www.sonoma-county.org) to shape future spending on programs and services. This document is not required by the state, but will give the county a blueprint to follow on a wide range of issues. Community meetings on this strategic plan are set for Sept. 20 in Sebastopol, Sept. 25 in Sonoma and Sept. 27 in Petaluma.


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