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County Board Leaves Future of Community Planning Groups For 'Further Discussions'

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to implement part of its "Red Tape Reduction Task Force," which is purposed to streamline the review process for development permits.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to implement some recommendations of its Red Tape Reduction Task Force, but a controversial proposal to limit community planning groups was returned to staff for further review.

The panel was formed last year to streamline the process for review and approving development permits. The objectives were a reduction in the time required to process discretionary land use permits; lowering of costs associated with the process; and eliminating unwritten rules and procedures.

"We have changed virtually everything about county government. Here it's more effective, more efficient, we can do more services at less cost, virtually across the board in almost any department, save one, and that's the planning area," said board Chairman Ron Roberts.

Among the suggestions the board approved were making customer service a top priority, looking for ways to give performance incentives for staff, and reviewing stormwater requirements.

The recommendations include either eliminating community planning groups from the county "umbrella," or maintaining them and limiting their membership to seven people, who would serve no more than two two-year terms in a 10-year period. The groups review projects proposed for their areas and make recommendations on them to the county.

County staff will have until March 28 to evaluate the options, which have been criticized by planning group members.

"I know there's a great fear that somehow bringing this forward there's a great plot of doing away with planning groups or something else. These decisions haven't been made – we'll have further discussions, " Roberts said.

Supervisor Pam Slater-Price said her intention in supporting the task force was not to do away with the panels or make other "wholesale changes."

–City News Service

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