La Habra Heights City Council Sidelines Planning Commission

Update: December 21, 2010 - The December Planning Commission meeting has been cancelled making 2010 an unprecendented low for Planning oversight. Meetings were held only six months of the year, with 3 of those for a Wireless Telecommunications Ordinance. If a meeting is held in January, that would leave unapproved meeting minutes lingering for 4 months.

The Planning Commission is the residents' oversight for planning and building in the City.

The Commission not only deliberates on planning matters, but by virtue of its monthly meetings, brings that information to the public.

The Monthly meetings are so important that they are required by City Code.

Municipal Code 2.4.20F says, "Regular meetings of the Planning Commission shall be held on the fourth Tuesday of each calendar month."

However, since the 2007 Council Election, the Commission has been sidelined and relegated to a role of weakening codes at Council command to allow virutally all building and development to be approved over the counter by staff, with no review or oversight by the Commission.

Since 2007, the Commission has not had regular meetings for 1/3 - 1/2 of the year, leaving residents out of touch.

Redevelopment Advances Behind the Scenes

By structuring the Codes to allow over the counter approvals, and relegating the Planning Commission to the sidelines, in violation of City Codes, the City Council is able to implement their redevelopment agenda behind the scenes, with residents not noticing until an urban estate, or other inappropriate development, is already underway; too late to do anything.

The Council has eliminated all resident oversight committees, except for the Planning Commission, which is required. Several Council members tried to eliminate the Planning Commission alternate position but were thwarted by the position being required by a voter initiative.

By eliminating many monthly meetings, the Council has diminished the Planning Commission too.

The Table below shows each year's total number of Planning Commission meetings.


Annual Planning Commission Meetings
Year
Number of Meetings
2010
6
2009
9
2008
7
2007*
7
2006
15
2005
22
2004
16
2003
25
2002
21
2001
15
2000
11
1999
13
1998
11
1997
10
1996
12
* Baroldi & Vipperman Elected to City Council