[NLC] Closer look at CRG "subgroups" and EE decisions
pconte at picante-soft.com
Fri Jan 7 22:20:19 PST 2011
For those of you who are not on the CRG e-mail list, I've copied
below an e-mail from the Planning Director to the four CRG
"subgroups" that Bob Chadwick created.
THE SHORT STORY
These four small groups have been given roles that may wield enormous
influence in how much (as is likely under the current EE process) the
UGB will be expanded and how neighborhoods will be impacted by future
strategies to increase density.
* Are these appropriate roles for these groups?
* Are the right people making these decisions?
* Is there a reasonable amount of time and a rational process for
these subgroups to make their decisions?
* Does the decision process provide a reasonable way for
neighborhood associations to be effectively engaged in the decisions?
The City Manager and Planning Director seem to believe the answer to
the first three questions is "Yes." It's hard to know what they would
say to the fourth question.
You'll have to look more closely to decide what you think.
What follows is fairly lengthy, but I think it will get the patient
reader closer to the truth about what's going to happen with the CRG
and EE process than anything that can be gleaned from the City's
promotional material on EE.
The CM intends that City Council will make decisions on all the
"major deal points" on February 28. No one I know actually
understands for certain what these decisions will be. In an e -mail
to the CRG on October 6, the CM wrote:
Council's February action would include identification of a new
proposed Eugene-only UGB, and strategies for how we manage growth in
our community pending completion of the legally required formal
adoption process; more specifically, the February action likely will
include approval of the following:
[X] The likely amount of residential, commercial and industrial
growth that can be accommodated within the current UGB, and
strategies for achieving this growth.
[X] A proposed UGB location identifying the amount of area that
would be needed for UGB expansion (if needed), and where that
expansion should occur.
[X] A process to periodically review the plan assumptions and
The CM and Planning Director have also previously promised the City
Council "lines on a map" as part of their February 28 decisions.
However, according to the article in the December 26 Register-Guard:
"... the major questions of how much land will be needed outside the
urban growth boundary and where the expansion might take place won't
be answered until after the council selects the strategies it wants
to pursue, Ruiz said."
In any case, State law requires Eugene to follow these major steps in
deciding on a new UGB:
* First, determine the need for residential, commercial and
industrial land for the next twenty years
* Second, determine how much of this need could be satisfied with
land inside the current UGB
* Finally, if necessary, determine how much land, and its
location, needs to be added to the area within the UGB to provide
enough land for the projected need.
All of these are quantitative decisions that must be supported by
solid evidence and analysis.
This is a key point: It doesn't matter one whit if the CRG or any
other group reaches "consensus" on these decisions. A single person
or organization can successfully challenge the decisions if the
evidence or analysis are flawed or insufficient.
So far, staff has not presented any proposed answer to these
decisions. For example, there is not yet any staff proposal for what
Eugene's twenty year needs are or how much of that need can be
satisfied within the current UGB.
Wait a minute? What about the Eugene Comprehensive Lands Assessment
(ECLA) -- didn't that provide proposed assessments of need, capacity
and the requirement for additional land outside the UGB? Emphatically
"NO!" ECLA essentially was a limited exercise that used the
unrealistic assumption that future development trends and rates would
be the same as in the recent past, which means none of the
conclusions are valid for State purposes. (Well why did the City
spend a year and a half producing a useless analysis? The simple
answer is to provide a "fig leaf" to satisfy a State legislature
requirement that Eugene do a residential lands assessment by the end of 2009.)
So .. in the next seven weeks and three days remaining until the
Council decisions, at least some of this analytic work needs to be
done and the public needs to have a chance to weigh in.
WHAT ARE THE FOUR CRG SUBGROUPS AND WHAT ARE THEIR ROLES?
At the November 16 CRG meeting Bob Chadwick, the facilitator, created
four "subgroups". Chadwick designated the facilitators and he issued
the subgroups their assignments. It's important to note that neither
the topic areas of the subgroups nor their facilitators nor their
assignments were decided or endorsed by the CRG members themselves.
Only after Chadwick had set up the subgroups, could CRG members then
chose which subgroup they wanted to participate in.
The four groups and their focus (in my words) are:
* The "data subgroup", which identified members of a "Technical
Resource Group" (TRG) to "verify data" used in EE.
* The "housing type mix subgroup", which was supposed to propose
the twenty-year assumption for the proportion of single-family and
multi-family housing types. (This is one of the most important
factors in determining residential land need.)
* The "economic development subgroup" which was supposed to
propose the twenty-year assumption for the proportion of different
types of commercial and industrial growth and therefore land needs.
* The "mixed-use (re)development (MUD) subgroup" which was
supposed to propose a "theme" (i.e., strategy statement) for
At the December 13-14 CRG meeting, these groups presented their work:
* The data subgroup recommended a list of TRG members and a scope of work.
* The housing type mix subgroup, by a 7-2 vote, recommend a
housing mix of 62.5% SF and 37.5% MF.
* The economic development subgroup didn't propose the
proportions of different economic enterprises. Instead they presented
some "desirable" and "undesirable" characteristics of desirable companies.
* The MUD subgroup, which Carolyn Jacobs and I facilitated,
presented a theme statement that was supported 10-1 by the MUD
members, with the one dissenting vote being a developer who objected
to one section related to protecting neighborhood livability.
The TRG proposal went smoothly and the TRG will have their first full
meeting on January 19, twelve days before the CM presents his "draft
recommendations." Yes, that's right, the "Technical Resource Group"
will not have reviewed anything or presented any conclusions until
less than two weeks before a recommendation is presented.
Several CRG members (in addition to the two dissenting votes on the
subgroup) were very vocal in their criticism of the housing type mix
subgroup's recommendation, so essentially Chadwick sent them back to
do it over with additional members added. (The PD's directions below
essentially reiterate Chadwick's instructions There were also
small-group discussions on the first day (December 13) of the two-day
CRG meeting, and this produced a laundry list of comments with no
attempt by the CRG as a whole to resolve conflicting opinions. In
some mysterious way, this subgroup is expected to redo their work in
a way that will make everyone willing to let go of their prior
opinions -- we'll see.
On this first round, the economic development subgroup essentially
produced nothing useful for determining land need or capacity. I'll
come back to their new instructions from the PD in a moment.
Chadwick had assured the MUD subgroup that all its members would have
a chance to speak, but he didn't abide by this commitment. Instead,
he called on a few selected CRG individuals and the MUD members had
to endure rants from some CRG members unhappy with the group's
rewrite of an initial draft "theme" and then sit through a "pile on"
of developers opposed to the section on protecting neighborhood
livability (which had been supported 10-1 by the MUD subgroup). There
was no reasonable process for clarification or feedback. Chadwick
then sent the MUD subgroup a completely inane set of directions, and
he designated two other CRG members that the MUD subgroup was
supposed to work with to reach agreement on a new version of the
theme. Carolyn and I declined to facilitate any further work until we
had a chance for a reasonable discussion among the CRG and could get
direction from the entire group, not just the select few that
Chadwick had called on. Jerry Finigan, a MUD subgroup member,
expressed his support for our position. Other MUD subgroup members
have not commented. As you can see, the PD has appointed Larry Banks
in my place. I believe the PD is mistaken in her assumption that
Carolyn will be a facilitator under the current plan. It's unclear
how many of the other MUD members will participate in further work.
As you can see, Chadwick's brilliant idea of these subgroups hasn't
yet led to the CRG resolving any of the difficult UGB issues. In
addition, and the reason I refuse to participate any longer in
activities that are controlled by Chadwick, the process continues to
be undemocratic, chaotic and unproductive. Contrary to all the
glowing claims of the Mayor and City Manager, the CRG is one of the
worst approaches I've ever seen to working out a satisfactory
agreement among folks with differing positions. The rules of
deliberation are unknown and ever-changing, participation is not
equally apportioned and decisions have no stability if one or more of
the favored CRG members are vocal in their opposition.
"SHOW TIME" -- WHAT HAPPENS IN THE NEXT SEVEN WEEKS?
First, let me restate some key dates (some of these are from the PD
January 7 -- Today
January 19 -- First meeting of the CRG Technical Resource Group
January 20 -- Housing type mix subgroup is supposed to present a new
recommendation on SF/MF proportions for the next twenty years
-- Economic development subgroup is supposed to
present recommendations on:
* commercial land need and how and where it will be met.
* industrial land need and how and where it will be met.
* strategies to attract/support companies that meet our values.
January 25 -- MUD subgroup is supposed to present recommendations on:
* high-level tools or programs to protect livability of the
neighborhoods while we facilitate successful commercial and
* obstacles (financial, regulatory, and others) to mplementing
mixed use and redevelopment projects in commercial areas and along corridors.
January 31 -- City Manager presents draft recommendations for "major
February 3 -- First public "workshop" on EE
February 28 -- Council decisions on all the "major deal points" for EE
A few observations:
* There are 12 days left until the CRG is supposed to hear the
recommendations of the housing type mix and economic development
subgroups. This is a ridiculously short time for even very
up-to-speed folks to deal with these major issues.
* Obviously the TRG will not be able to provide any assistance to the
housing type mix and economic development subgroups before these two
subgroups recommendations are due. Given the current schedule, it's
hard to see what useful role the TRG will actually play -- other than
to provide a "fig leaf" to cover the lack of adequate analysis.
* The housing type mix subgroup cannot possibly arrive at any
legitimate, "optimistic" assumption about the MF proportion of
housing (e.g., 60% as has been proposed) until there's a realistic
strategy for where and how to produce that many market-rate MF
dwellings and attract buyers for them. This problem is essentially
what the MUD subgroup should be dealing with, but Chadwick -- who
understands almost nothing about these issues -- neglected to assign
this essential task to the MUD subgroup (or any other group).
* Much of this work requires significant "in the trenches" work by
professional staff or consultants. These aren't appropriate
assignments for ad hoc groups like the four CRG subgroups. Staff
should have been coordinating this work and bringing successive
refinements to the CRG, Planning Commission, Sustainability
Commission, NLC, and the public for review and comment over the past
seven months. I worked on the ECLA Community Advisory Committee and
am quite familiar with the nature of all three of the major areas
being addressed. This is not stuff you have a few meetings on to
develop some "feels-right" consensus. It's also the kind of work
that needs a lot of vetting and typically several iterations to get
right. The CRG could serve a useful purpose by doing some of this
vetting, but it's also important that other groups, such as
neighborhood associations, have adequate time to review and comment, as well.
* The CM intends to present draft recommendations 11 days after the
CRG deals with housing type mix and economic development and 6 days
after the CRG deals with the MUD topics. Even if the CRG itself were
to reach agreement on all these issues, there's no plan to let the
public add comments to whatever position the CRG takes before the CM
decides what goes in his initial recommendations. As anyone who has
been through these types of processes knows, you have much more
influence if you're at the table before the first staff proposal is
presented. As I'd warned, now you can see how the CRG has been given
the real power in the public process, the rest is mostly window dressing.
WHAT CHANCE DO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD MEMBERS HAVE OF MAKING A DIFFERENCE?
I've shared my views on this issue previously, but as neighborhood
leaders, we should each ask ourselves this question.
I imagine wading through the material above and the PD's memo will
leave most people still very confused about how the EE process is
actually going about determining what are really the essential factors:
* What is our need and how much land, if any, do we need to add
to our current UGB area?
* How are we going to manage development so it produces a livable
community, not just more residential and commercial "capacity"?
Do you think the City Manager's plan for the next seven weeks is
going to make things clearer for you and your NA members and that
you'll be able to have much affect on the outcome?
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE NEED TO DO RIGHT NOW?
My answer to that question is very simple: Take more time and use it
In my opinion, it foolish for staff to act like they can produce a
high-quality, publicly-supported proposal in the next seven weeks
when the CRG hasn't reached an agreement on a single issue after over
seven months of endless meetings, and the staff has yet to provide a
single map showing estimates of current capacity, the potential for
"efficiency measures" or the capacity of different areas that might
be added to the UGB.
The only reason now that the City Manager is rushing to present
Council with a recommendation on February 28 -- and thereby cutting
out effective participation by neighborhood associations -- is to
avoid the embarrassment of not meeting another schedule commitment he
made to City Council.
It's time for the CM to acknowledge reality and not short-change the
greater public's opportunity to be part of the decision process.
And, as it becomes more obvious with each passing week -- the City
Manager needs to get sound professional help to run this planning
process and quit pretending Chadwick's folksy approach is going to
produce what the community really needs.
>From: GARDNER Lisa A <Lisa.A.Gardner at ci.eugene.or.us>
>To: *Eugene CRG Master List <CRGMasterList at ci.eugene.or.us>
>Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2011 17:47:55 -0800
>Subject: small group imformation and meeting location correction
>Hope you all had a wonderful Holiday break. I wanted to follow up
>to Jon's earlier email with some additional information about the
>small group tasks and scheduling.
>But first, I need to correct the location information for upcoming
>CRG meetings. Our January 13th and January 20th meetings will be
>held in the Vista Ballroom of the Eugene Hilton, that's the ballroom
>on the top floor, looking north. We are still confirming locations
>for January 25th and February 1st.
>I'm aware that several of the groups are off and running with the
>direction provided by Bob (with some modifications). I'm going to
>summarize the tasks of each of the groups here so we all are
>operating on the same information. This isn't meant to limit your
>discussions, but to provide clarity and direction.
>Housing Mix Group (Nancy Ellen Locke/ Randy Hledik)
>You're primary task is to identify a housing mix (generally a
>single-family: multi-family split) moving forward. The closer you
>can get to an actual ratio the better, but just trying to narrow
>your range down to the greatest extent possible will be helpful.
>You have feedback from your report to the CRG on December 13th and I
>know Heather is working with you to provide ideas and technical
>support. You should plan on making your presentation on January 20th.
>Economic Development Group (Jenny Ulum/ Bill Aspegren)
>There's a lot to this one, but there's also lots of resources to
>help out. The three primary tasks include:
>1) Define the commercial land need and how and where it will be met.
>2) Define the industrial land need and how and where it will be met.
>3) Define the strategies needed to reach the vision that we
>defined in our previous meetings to attract/support companies that
>meet our values.
>You have feedback from your report to the CRG on December 14th and I
>know Jason is working closely with you. You should plan on making
>your presentation on January 20th.
>Technical Resource Group (Sue Prichard/ Shawn Boles)
>This is a slightly different animal than the other three. You have
>been meeting and have a strategy for moving forward. Please provide
>an update on your present and future activities on January 25th.
>Mixed Use Redevelopment Group (Carolyn Jacobs/ Larry Banks)
>I'd like to modify your charge from the recent direction you
>received from Bob. I believe that there are two outstanding issues
>that your group could help us find agreement on.
>1) Think about the edge transition between the commercial
>corridors and the neighborhoods. What high-level tools or programs
>can we put in place to protect livability of the neighborhoods while
>we facilitate successful commercial and multi-family development?
>2) What are the obstacles (financial, regulatory, and others)
>to successfully implementing mixed use and redevelopment projects in
>commercial areas and along corridors.
>Given this new charge, we'd like to invite others that are
>interested and feel they can contribute to join the Mixed Use
>Redevelopment Group. If you'd like to join the group, please send
>an email to
>Carolyn.j.weiss at ci.eugeneor.us<mailto:Carolyn.j.weiss at ci.eugene.or.us>.
>Staff will be working with this group to brainstorm and provide
>resources and insights. This group should plan on making their
>presentation on January 25th.
>You are all doing great work, and I look forward to seeing everyone
>on the 13th. Please don't hesitate to contact myself or your
>group's staff contact if you have questions.
>Lisa Gardner | Planning Director
>City of Eugene | Planning & Development
>99 West 10th Avenue | Eugene Oregon 97401
>Phone 541.682.5208 | Fax 541.682.5572
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