Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tierra Bello CDRC Vote Today

Dear Neighbors,

            Attached is the agenda for today's County Development Review Committee (CDRC) meeting, during which a vote will be taken on the Tierra Bello subdivision. Sorry for the late notice, but I've been out of town all week and just returned last night.

            As some of you may recall, the vote last month by the CDRC resulted in a 3-3 split vote. The tie-breaking 7th member did not attend the meeting, so the vote was postponed until this month when presumably the 7th member will be present.

            In response to my inquiry, Ms. Vicki Lucero, the County's Building and Development Services Manager, replied:

" The CDRC closed the public hearing at their last meeting, so they will not be taking any more public comment.  The one committee member who was not present at the last meeting has received a copy of the meeting minutes so that he is aware of the discussion that has already taken place.  Upon review of the minutes he will be able to vote on the project." (Note that the schedule has changed slightly so that Tierra Bello is now first on the agenda.)

            I replied to Ms. Lucero by protesting the CDRC chairperson's decision to close the meeting to public discussion: " I think members of the community are going to be pretty unhappy with no opportunity for further public comment. As everybody is aware, reading minutes of meetings is not an adequate substitute for hearing the actual discussion. Perhaps CDRC minutes are different, but usually minutes of meetings merely list the topics that were discussed, with at most a sentence or two of elaboration. Given the strong community feelings about this proposal, if a committee member who missed the discussion casts the deciding vote without being fully informed, it will seriously undermine the reputation for fairness of the CDRC in the eyes of the public."

            Please keep in mind that the CDRC does not have the final say on the Tierra Bello proposal. The CDRC, which has appointed members. advises the Board of County Comissioners, which has ultimate authority. The BCC recently tabled indefinitely the Spirit Wind Ranch development, another development by Mr. Joe Miller.

            While there probably will not be any public comment allowed on the Tierra Bello proposal, I  nevertheless believe it would be a good idea to have community members present for the vote, just to remind the CDRC of the broad community interest in this proposal. 


Jim Garland



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