09/09/2008: "Open Letter To Council"
On behalf of the San Juan Builders Association I am writing to express our concern about the proposal on the agenda of September 9th, to allow changes to the UDC to be introduced for adoption solely at the prerogative of the Director of the Permitting and Planning Department rather than as an annual scheduled update.
By way of background, the UDC is a set of interconnected regulations designed to implement the Comprehensive Plan. They were developed through the extensive work of a citizen committee and adopted after lengthy public hearings. Past Directors have seemed to make the UDC work as intended. It is a bit of a puzzle as to why the current Director is having so much difficulty.
It is hard for citizens to keep track of changes to the rules even when the changes are made once a year. It is also difficult and time consuming for citizens to participate in hearings, especially those from other islands. At least with an annual docket there is enough publicity and opportunity for citizens to be heard. There is also enough time to get the new rules distributed to the libraries and on the web so a person who has a development or proposal can know what is required. Changes made here and there, no matter how worthwhile, will add great confusion to say the least. If I understand the proposed ordinance, new rules would take affect 10 days after passage by the Council. How in the world will citizens know what the changes are?
This is a case where the needs and expectations of the citizens of our county for clear predictable rules should outweigh the Directors apparent need to change rules to fit his particular situation. If, in fact, the department is so befuddled and behind in its work product it would appear that the current staffing level should be more than adequate to get caught up.
San Juan Builders Association