Supes to Take One Last Look at Guiding Principles

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On Monday evening, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will revisit the highly contentious issue of guiding principles in the (on and on and) ongoing general plan update.

Back on June 6, as you may recall, the board voted 4-1 to swap out the existing list of 12 guiding principles, which had been developed through a long and robust public process, with a new set of 11 principles that had been written behind closed doors.

The new versions were put forth by 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell, who worked for almost three years as executive director of the private property rights group HumCPR before being elected.

Her reworded principles featured weaker language about planned growth and environmental protections while suggesting the county should "honor landowners' right" to live where they please and "incentivize" production on resource lands.

The board majority — Fennell and 1st District Supervisor Rex Bohn in particular — argued that the original principles seemed to have been written by a staff that had an agenda, but 3rd District Supervisor Mark Lovelace urged both his fellow supervisors and the public to review the documented public input and key findings developed through a series of 27 public meetings held all over the county. ( Here's a big pdf file of a 2004 staff report, if you'd care to do just that.)

Following public outcry over the sudden and dramatic switch, the board agreed to hold one more meeting before finalizing the principles. That meeting will happen Monday from 6 - 9 p.m. in the supervisors' chambers at the Humboldt County Courthouse. 

If you're looking for more background information or want to submit a comment, the county has a website devoted to the general plan update. And if you'd like to contact your supervisor, click here

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