Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Petaluma in trouble

  1. #1
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Remote command post at local bar
    Posts
    5,523

    Petaluma in trouble

    There are some articles our about Petaluma, CA losing it's whole department.
    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...cles/904129918
    Also on planetizen
    I just hope no one at my city gets any ideas.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Gone to a better place (in my mind)
    Posts
    407
    I wonder if this is a case of "developer's revenge." It would be pretty easy to hide the dismantling of an activist planning department behind the neutral facade of budget cuts, when the real goal is to reverse land use controls and allow for a developer free-for-all.

    Or maybe I just spent too much time planning in Florida.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Posts
    7,408

    Ha ha ha....

    Quote Originally posted by JimPlans View post
    I wonder if this is a case of "developer's revenge." It would be pretty easy to hide the dismantling of an activist planning department behind the neutral facade of budget cuts, when the real goal is to reverse land use controls and allow for a developer free-for-all.

    Or maybe I just spent too much time planning in Florida.
    Post of the day for sure!

    I'm fairly sure the services provided by the department are required by California law. Let me guess, they'll just let maintenance worker I's start fielding those tough planning questions and staff the BOA,P&Z and about five other committees previously in place to deal with development issues

    Isn't someone going to open a thread titled "Why Petaluma is Going to Hell?"
    Last edited by The One; 23 Apr 2009 at 6:16 PM. Reason: RJ hasn't drank enough wine yet!
    Skilled Adoxographer
    I have two emotions....Silence and Rage

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    As far south of SoCal as I Will Go
    Posts
    5,322
    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    Post of the day for sure!

    I'm fairly sure the services provided by the department are required by California law. Let me guess, they'll just let maintenance worker I's start fielding those tough planning questions and staff the BOA,P&Z and about five other committees previously in place to deal with development issues

    Isn't someone going to open a thread titled "Why Petaluma is Going to Hell?"

    I the council will hire a consultant to do all the planning work. But let's face it, they had a lot of standards and a tight growth control ordinance in place, so during the boom you still couldn't develop there very easily, which always added to the costs of projects. And now, well, nothing is coming in so, good luck petamula, i am sure someone is available to implement your form base code.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  5. #5
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Posts
    7,408

    Doh!

    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    I the council will hire a consultant to do all the planning work. But let's face it, they had a lot of standards and a tight growth control ordinance in place, so during the boom you still couldn't develop there very easily, which always added to the costs of projects. And now, well, nothing is coming in so, good luck petamula, i am sure someone is available to implement your form base code.
    Sounds like they regulated themselves out of a job Or at least went too far in one direction, resulting in an attitude adjustment by annihilation
    Skilled Adoxographer
    I have two emotions....Silence and Rage

  6. #6
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Remote command post at local bar
    Posts
    5,523
    Reading some of the resident comments on the articles, it looks like the people want some growth in the face of the strict growth boundary. Maybe we can trade residents. Mine all want no growth at all now that they live here. There were also some comments about local developers being very upset with the no growth policies and the inability of the council to approve anything. But these are resident comments so I can only trust them so far.

  7. #7
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,768
    Sad. As a senior at SSU, I served my internship for the city of Petaluma. I'm sure all the people I worked for are long gone. Or if not, they soon will be.

    Is this the climax of irony or what? The city has such a storied past in land use regulation. Cutting edge, or bleeding edge as the case my be.

  8. #8
    Member P645N's avatar
    Registered
    May 2008
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    6

    It's a mess

    My understanding is that Petaluma is one of the only, if not the only, municipality in California whose planning department is funded almost exclusively by developer fees. In the current economy, developer fees are WAY down. Besides the message it sends having developer fees fund the department budget, it makes them very susceptible to economic swings. The whole thing is made even more problematic by a town manager who has to justify his 200k+ salary by recommending cuts. The town manager of neighboring Santa Rosa was just trying to can the Director of Advanced Planning, but he seems to have escaped with his job intact for the time being. The irony of a city who was really on the forefront of planning issues (went before the Supreme Court for the growth control ordinance, etc) now axing the entire department is just a bit much to handle. Sad, for the dedicated employees of the department and for the community.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    194

    Can't Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

    For about two decades -- since the passage of Proposition 13 years ago -- most California communities funded their development services department(s) -- planning, building, engineering -- solely on the collection of fees. The fees are so high in California to get the myriad of approvals necessary -- planning, environmental, plan check, field inspection--, that it was a fairly "profitable" business and would often raise more fees than the running of the department would require in good times. In a substantial downturn in the housing and development economy like now, there is no income at all. My guess is that there is very little work for anyone on staff to do right now.

    This is typical municipal short sightedness. If you live by the fees, you "die" by the fees as well. Maybe they should apply to the Feds for a bailout.

  10. #10
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,627
    Blog entries
    3
    This is somewhat related, but at the place where I used to work, a suburban county government in Northeast Ohio, the planning commission was expected to be a revenue-generating agency that would cover most of its costs from subdivision fees and contracted planning services to other communities. It doesn't seem unique to Petaluma.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  11. #11
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,768
    Quote Originally posted by smccutchan1 View post
    .... The fees are so high in California to get the myriad of approvals necessary -- planning, environmental, plan check, field inspection--, that it was a fairly "profitable" business and would often raise more fees than the running of the department would require in good times......
    Unless things have changed since I left, under California law, this is prohibited. The jurisdiction can't profit from their services.

    CJC, Raf, you want to chime in?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    In a 480 square foot ex baseball nacho stand
    Posts
    7,598
    Well here's an intervieew with the Petaluma Director:

    http://www.planetizen.com/node/38581

    He says they moved the department funding to an enterpirse fund and that's what sunk them.

    Our diirector always bragged about our county building and planning department being self-funding. That was fine until this year, now we only are producing about half. Tread carefully on this notion of self-funding.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  13. #13
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,689
    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Unless things have changed since I left, under California law, this is prohibited. The jurisdiction can't profit from their services.

    CJC, Raf, you want to chime in?
    That's true that the jurisdiction can't profit. However, a specific department within the jurisdiction can certainly bring in more revenue than that specific department pays out - the money just has to be allocated somewhere. Your planning department is bringing in too much? Well, looks like 15% of development fees are now going towards street cleaning (an "enterprise fund" or "rainy day fund" is a typical place too, as the article posted by Planit mentions).

    I'll agree with smccutchin1 that prop 13 certainly set the stage for stuff like this to happen, though I disagree that it's municipal short sightedness on the part of Petaluma (perhaps if that phrase was referring to all of California) - cities have to find funding any way that they can, and prop 13 makes that exceptionally hard for non-super high income areas.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Flash mob trouble
    Make No Small Plans
    Replies: 19
    Last post: 30 Jul 2013, 12:35 PM
  2. Petaluma CA
    Cities and Places
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 26 Nov 2012, 4:50 PM
  3. Trouble Posting
    Cyburbia Issues and Help
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 10 May 2008, 3:39 PM
  4. Trouble getting interviews
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 8
    Last post: 14 Jul 2007, 12:26 PM
  5. Trouble, like you expeceted it.
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 1
    Last post: 09 Nov 2004, 12:41 AM