Community involvement is crucial | SierraSun.com

Community involvement is crucial

Guest Column by Stefanie Olivieri, Mountain Area Preservation Foundation

The Mountain Area Preservation Foundation (MAPF) agrees wholeheartedly with the editorial comment last week in the Sierra Sun: Now is the time for citizens to get involved in planning the future of our community.

Truckee residents have a tremendous opportunity for involvement in the general plan update. Planning works best when it is inclusive, reflects a local vision and respects the outcome of community decisions.

It is possible to encourage good jobs and new homes, improve access to affordable housing and transportation, provide for services and products we need and protect open space and the environment at the same time.

What it takes is a community committed to adopting a shared vision and working hard to implement the vision.

That’s why MAPF has been involved in the planning of the Old Greenwood site from the beginning.

We were involved in the first general plan, when the community determined that the best use for the property would be 90 percent open space and 10 percent development.

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We were involved when previous owners planned projects on the site, meeting with them and working to respect the outcome of our general plan.

MAPF met with the current owners of Old Greenwood (East-West Partners) twice to review site plans and discuss alternatives that would uphold the shared community vision in the general plan.

But projects can’t just be ‘negotiated’ with a few interested people; projects must be reviewed by the public, the authors of the community vision.

California law has a process for reviewing projects for their consistency with the community vision. It is called the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

CEQA establishes specific times for people to comment on projects.

The Town of Truckee released its extensive analysis of Old Greenwood a mere three working days before scheduled Truckee Planning Commission meetings to approve the project. Still, MAPF was there to make suggestions for alternatives that would respect our general plan; 90 percent open space and 10 percent development.

When left with no other recourse, after involvement and comment and providing productive alternatives, MAPF’s choice was to stand up for the open space called for in the general plan.

Yes, everyone has learned a valuable lesson from the experience. The lesson is that the general plan matters. Its vision is the voice of the community.

We think the lesson has been learned. It is time to get down to the real work of planning for our future, including citizens in the process and respecting the outcomes of a shared community vision.

We encourage everyone to get involved in planning our future. Planning works when people are involved. Help shape a vibrant community with good jobs and access to open space for everyone.

Get involved in the general plan update.

Stefanie Olivieri is president of the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation.