Ron Roberts Votes To Oppose Merriam Mountains Project - March 24, 2010

Lack of compliance with new general plan and greenhouse gas laws

After careful consideration and a day of public testimony and discussion, Ron Roberts joined with a majority of his colleagues today in turning down the Merriam Mountains Master Planned Community on a 3-2 vote. Supervisor Roberts did so after living up to his promise that the project would get a hearing before a full board and conclude with a definitive vote. 

In the end, the lack of completion of a general plan update, and unfinished work incorporating into the plan Senate Bill 375 which will guide the county’s compliance with the greenhouse gas emission reductions of Assembly Bill 32, left the supervisor unable to support the project. 

“We are in a unique situation where we really don’t have a general plan,” said Supervisor Roberts. “The draft general plan talks about shifts in density, and the state regulations seek specifics in addressing greenhouse gasses, but with this project we have no framework for determining how those actions will be carried out. Unfortunately, I was unable today to get satisfactory assurances on how these concerns would be addressed.” 

While some had labeled the project a 21st century housing development, Roberts said it seemed to incorporate 20th century planning. 

“Housing development will become much more urban, providing amenities the communities want and ask for, and transit connections that do more than just a token job of offering people transportation alternatives besides the automobile,” said Roberts. “Just as much care must go into evaluating those needs as we put now into water and sewer.” 

Roberts noted that the board had made a definitive decision on the project. 

“Today we took the time to come to a real decision rather than letting the project pass us by and fade away with only the technical ‘no’ decision that was delivered by the 2-2 vote in December,” he said. “This is the type of deliberation the public deserves.”