PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

Released May, 2000

 

INTRODUCTION/OBJECTIVES

 

Ratcheting up the effectiveness and customer friendliness of the Planning and Development Department (P&D) has been described as requiring a Herculean effort, and therefore it was gratifying for this Grand Jury to find that sweeping reform is actually underway. The effort is being made.

When this investigation began in November 1999, frustration ran high because the Departmentís problems seem to have remained the same for more than a decade despite the best rehabilitation efforts of past Grand Juries and others. It was disturbing to have to start over again, but there seemed to be no responsible alternative.

Three letters were received early in the Juryís tenure from citizens describing what seemed like egregious violations by P&D of anyoneís idea of fairness or good business practices. Other letters followed. Applicants detailed spending thousands of dollars in frustrating or failed attempts to get projects through the P&D process.

The first objective of this Grand Jury was to find out why the Department has never been able to streamline the permitting process, causing frustration as well as financial and emotional distress to applicants who simply want to remodel or build on their property.

Secondly the Jury sought to find out if this seemingly stubborn refusal to entertain general reform was because of sloth or indifference on the part of personnel, or the lack of staff education, training and experience, or management incompetence, or all of the above, some of the above, or something else.††

Respondents to this report by the 1999-2000 Grand Jury include the Planning and Development Department (P&D), The Planning Commission (PC), The County Administrator (CA) and the Board of Supervisors (BOS).

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Grand Jury Finding 1:The permitting process is still cumbersome and confusing.

P&D Response to Finding 1:Agree; however significant progress has been made.

BOS Response to Finding 1:The Board adopts Planning & Developmentís (P&D) response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree; however significant progress has been made).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1a:P&D should accelerate plans for the one-stop Zoning-Building permit for simple ministerial projects.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1a:This recommendation will be implemented within six months. The department has started combining the current land-use permit and building permit into a single departmental permit.The components involve flow charting the process, developing permit forms, training guides and brochures for the public. The proposed permit process also requires adequate staffing at the counter, refinements to the computer tracking system and County ordinance changes.This process is well underway and is expected to be on-line by December 1, 2000.Ultimately the department is proposing to relocate the public counter to a new permit center proposed to be constructed between the Administration Building and the Engineering Building.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1a:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within six months).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1b:P&D should provide active assistance in helping applicants get approval on their first 30-day complete/incomplete letters.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1b:The recommendation will be implemented; however, the rate of implementation will depend on planner caseloads.As time permits, planners are available to assist applicants in achieving a complete application within the first 30 days of a submittal.Additionally, once a planner is assigned, applicants or their agents can request a meeting at any time during the process.Under current caseload conditions, if a planner can determine that only minor submittal information is missing from an application, a courtesy phone call is routinely made to alert the applicant to this fact so that the needed information can be supplied prior to the 30-day deadline, avoiding the need to issue an incompleteness determination.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1b:The recommendation has been implemented.P&D does provide active assistance in helping applicants get approval on their first 30-day complete/incomplete letters.As noted by P&D, planners are available as time permits to assist applicants in achieving a complete application within the first 30 days of a submittal, and are available to meet with applicants upon request.Additionally, if the planner determines that only minor submittal information is missing from an application, a courtesy phone call is routinely made to alert the applicant to this fact so that the needed information can be supplied prior to the 30-day deadline.Sometimes, individual planner caseloads hinder their ability to meet the 30-day deadline; however every attempt is made, and active assistance is provided.

Grand Jury Recommendation 1c:There should be a reception/sign-in area at the second floor Zoning and Building counters.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1c:The recommendation has been implemented; improved service will be provided when a new permit center is built.Currently the zoning information counter contains a sign in sheet and a small table for applicants to wait for the next available counter staff person. Planning and Development acknowledges the value of a having a specific staff person, and a better designed waiting area available at the public counter.However, the current space available makes this infeasible.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1c:The recommendation has been implemented.Currently, the zoning information counter has a sign in sheet and a small table for applicants to wait for the next available counter staff person.Once a new permit center is built (see CAís response to Recommendation 3b), improved service and space will be provided.

Grand Jury Recommendation 1d:The ministerial permit routing system chart should be placed in plain view of applicants.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1d:The recommendation will be implemented within 60 days.A flow chart describing the ministerial permit process will be posted at the zoning and building information counters.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1d:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within 60 days).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1e:A simple explanation about the difference between a ministerial and discretionary permit should be posted in view of applicants.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1e:The recommendation will be implemented in 30 days.Concise definitions of ministerial and discretionary permits will be posted at the zoning information counters.These descriptions will be designed for applicants and property owners unfamiliar with the planning process or the intricacies of planning law.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1e:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within 30 days).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1f:All brochures and other information given to the public should be reviewed for clarity and updated to reflect the improvements in P&D service.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1f:The recommendation will be implemented within six months. The Planning Process Analyst has been assigned to review brochures and other public information for clarity and make appropriate updates.We are in the process of revising some application forms to clarify requirements.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1f:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within six months).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1g:All instruction manuals and other written aids planners use should be updated.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1g:The recommendation will be implemented in six months. Instruction manuals and written aids will be updated as needed for clarity and to reflect any changes in law or process.We are in the process of completing a procedures manual for discretionary permit processing and centralizing procedures memos so they will be readily accessible to all staff.The procedures manual will be completed within twelve months.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1g:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within six months).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1h:The reasons a pre-application conference or planner consultation is required or advised should be explained thoroughly to customers.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1h:The recommendation has been implemented. Staff assigned to the public information and permit counter routinely advise that an applicant pursue a pre-application conference or planner consultation when the scope of the questioning goes beyond what can reasonably be answered at the counter without office research.Staff explains the purpose of the pre-application conference or planner consultation and what the applicant may expect to derive from such a meeting. The department has prepared a brochure titled Guide to the Pre-Application Review Process that explains the pre-application conference, the submittal requirements, and the process and resulting work products.This brochure also contains information on planner consultations. This brochure is routinely given to potential applicants, and is available at http://www.silcom.com/~sbcplan/preapguide.html.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1h:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1i:Customer service training should be mandatory for all counter advisors to project the real concern staff has for clients.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1i:The recommendation will be implemented within six months.Customer service training has been identified in the departmental training program as a requirement for staff that interact with the public.We will send staff to the customer service course to be offered by the Employeesí University during Fall 2000, or sooner if available.

CA Response to Recommendation 1i:According to the P&D Director, the recommendation will be implemented within six months. Customer service training has been identified in P&Dís training program as a requirement for staff that interact with the public.These employees will attend the customer service course being offered by the Employeesí University in the Fall, 2000 semester.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1i:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within six months).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1j:To avoid future misunderstandings with discretionary project customers, Development Review planners should thoroughly explain the process to applicants, agents or other representatives, even those who may think they understand it.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1j:The recommendation has been implemented.Meetings are available for applicants when information is resubmitted in response to an incompleteness determination, or at any time during the process.Development Review planners ensure that applicants or owners, as well as their agents, are apprised of the permit process at these meetings, whether the parties think they understand the process or not.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1j:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1k:Deadlines must be set and strictly observed to get necessary information about a project to the case manager in writing before New Case Review (for P&D divisions) and before Subdivision Committee meetings (other County departments).

P&D and CA Response to Recommendation 1k:The recommendation will not be implemented as written because it is not warranted. Interaction between planners from different divisions occurs prior to the New Case Review meeting.The project manager brings this information to the New Case Review Committee for discussion.Discussion with Subdivision Committee members occurs at the Subdivision Committee meetings.The information is not transmitted in writing prior to these meetings because it is tentative and may change at the meeting given applicant input.However, notes or minutes are prepared after the meetings occur and are provided to the case manager and applicants.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1k: The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will not be implemented as written because it is not warranted).The information is not transmitted in writing prior to these meetings because it is tentative and may change at the meeting given applicant input.However, notes or minutes are prepared after the meetings occur and are provided to the case manager and applicants.

Grand Jury Recommendation 1l:Applicants should be invited to Subdivision Committee meetings to promote their sense of inclusion in the planning process.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1l:The recommendation has been implemented.Applicants and their agents are sent copies of the Subdivision Committee agenda the week prior to the meeting and are invited to attend.In fact, the item will likely be continued if the applicant or agent is not present.This has been standard practice for many years.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1l:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1m:Within a week after New Case Review and Subdivision Committee meetings, a revised time and comprehensive cost estimate, including assessments, should be generated for the customer.

P&D and CA Response to Recommendation 1m:The recommendation will not be implemented as written because it is not reasonable.The initial estimate and timeline is prepared when the application is determined to be complete.However, the planner needs to make an Initial Study determination pursuant to CEQA before a revised estimate can be prepared.When the Initial Study is finalized, we know what type of environmental document is required.There can be a large difference in time and cost depending on the outcome of the Initial Study (e.g., the difference between a Negative Declaration and an Environmental Impact Report).Additionally, the applicants will be provided with revised estimates if unforeseen circumstances arise and the initial deposit or timeline may be exceeded.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1m:The Board adopts County Administratorís (CA) response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will not be implemented as written because it is not reasonable).However, P&D has indicated that the planner will notify the customer of any revisions to cost and schedule estimate within one week of finalizing the Initial Study.Additionally, applicants will be provided with revised estimates if unforeseen circumstances arise and the initial deposit or timeline may be exceeded.

Grand Jury Recommendation 1n:The actual cost of the planning process should not exceed the revised cost estimate by more than 10 percent.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1n:The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not reasonable. The Department's goal is to give accurate estimates of time and cost. The department tracks projects, re-allocates resources if possible to maintain timelines, and will provide explanations for variances to applicants.There are reasons beyond the departmentís control for exceeding the revised cost estimate on some development applications, including applicant changes, a prolonged public hearing process, and discovery of substantial new issues late in the process, some as a result of public input.

CA Response to Recommendation 1n:Although we agree in concept with the recommendation, it will not be implemented because it is not reasonable.When the additional cost is caused by P&Dís failure to ascertain scope of work, the applicant should not be billed for P&Dís error.This should not apply to applicant changes and should only apply to the point in the process where the application is within County Staffís control.The larger, more complex and/or controversial projects require consideration by public bodies such as the Planning Commission, the Board of Architectural Review, and the Board of Supervisors.Lengthy public hearings, appeals, and legal disputes can occur.Under law, these are not in the control of County Staff.†† However, P&D has stated that its goal is to give accurate estimates of timelines, and will provide explanations for variances to applicants.P&D also tracks projects, re-allocates resources if possible to maintain timelines and provides explanations for variances to applicants.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1n:The Board adopts the CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (although we agree in concept with the recommendation, it will not be implemented because it is not reasonable).When the additional cost is caused by P&Dís failure to ascertain scope of work, the applicant should not be billed for P&Dís error.This should not apply to applicant changes and should only apply to the point in the process where the application is within County Staffís control.

Grand Jury Recommendation 1o:Should the cost exceed the revised cost estimate by more than 10 percent, the additional expense should be billed back to the P&D division(s) or County department(s) that caused the readjustment.It should not be billed to the customer.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1o:The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not reasonable.When there are legitimate reasons beyond the departmentís or other county departmentís control that result in exceeding the cost estimate, the applicant should bear the cost, rather than the taxpayers or other applicants.The department has a procedure for reviewing applicantsí concerns about billings, and reduces processing fees when circumstances the department could have addressed resulted in the billing exceedence. Where another county department caused a readjustment, P&D will attempt to apply the same principle.Variances are examined and used to develop changed procedures, identify unresolved policy issues and workload problems.

CA Response to Recommendation 1o:The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not reasonable.When there are legitimate reasons beyond P&Dís or the Countyís control that result in exceeding the cost estimate, the applicant should bear the cost, rather than the taxpayers or other applicants.The department has a procedure for reviewing applicantsí concerns about billings, and reduces processing fees when circumstances the department could have addressed resulted in the billing exceedence. Where another county department causes a readjustment, P&D will attempt to apply the same principle.Variances are examined and used to develop changed procedures, identify unresolved policy issues and workload problems.Only when the additional cost is clearly Countyís fault should the County pay the additional expense.In these cases, the source of funds would be the General Fund; therefore such a 10% bill-back policy would require Board of Supervisor other county departmentís control that result in exceeding the cost estimate, the applicant determination.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1o:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will not be implemented because it is not reasonable).When there are legitimate reasons beyond Countyís control that result in exceeding the cost estimate, the applicant should bear the cost, rather than the taxpayers or other applicants.P&D has a procedure for reviewing applicantsí concerns about billings, and reduces processing fees when circumstances the department (or other County departments)could have addressed resulted in the billing exceedence.When there are legitimate reasons beyond Countyís control that result in exceeding the cost estimate, the applicant should bear the cost, rather than the taxpayers or other applicants.

Grand Jury Recommendation 1p:Planners should keep accurate records of what was accomplished during each of their billable hours.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1p:Department billing information was increased in October 1999 in response to recommendation 7c in the 1999 Grand Jury report.Planning staff complete timesheets for each of the cases that they process, including time spent and the processing activities performed.Billing statements show the amount of time spent by each staff person on each step of the permit process.Over the next 6 months the department will track all billing inquiries to determine if additional information needs to be collected and provided to applicants.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1p:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1q:Information about work accomplished during billable hours should be available to the customer.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1q:The recommendations have been implemented.See response to Recommendation 1p for detail.

CA Response to Recommendation 1q:The recommendation has been implemented.P&D billing information was increased in October 1999 in response to Recommendation 7c in the 1998-1999 Grand Jury report.Planning staff complete timesheets for each of the cases that they process, including time spent and the processing activities performed.Billing statements show the amount of time spent by each staff person on each step of the permit process.According to the P&D Director, over the next 6 months P&D will track all billing inquiries to determine if additional information needs to be collected and provided to applicants.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1q:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1r:As the customer is the ultimate beneficiary of the new hire training and in service courses now being offered to P&D personnel, the programs should be systematized and continued.

P&D, CA, and BOS Response to Recommendation 1r:The recommendation has been implemented.The training program has been formalized in a document identifying training requirements for the various job descriptions within the department.Participation is tracked through a data base.Courses will continue to be offered on an annual or as-needed basis and video-taped sessions are available for staff review.

Grand Jury Recommendation 1s:A course on planning ethics should be required of every member of the staff in P&D.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1s:This recommendation will be implemented within six months.We have been reviewing options for an instructor and appropriate curriculum.

CA Response to Recommendation 1s:According to the P&D Director, this recommendation will be implemented within six months.P&D has been reviewing options for an instructor and appropriate curriculum.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1s:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within six months).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1t:Information about where an applicantís project is in the system should be available on the Internet.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1t:The recommendation will implemented within six months.We will post project status for active permits on the Departmentís web site. Additional Internet functionality is now built into recently upgraded permit system software.These features of the permit system software are new to the Department and will be used if they provide additional customer service.

CA Response to Recommendation 1t:According to the P&D Director, this recommendation will be implemented within six months.P&D will post project status for active permits on the Departmentís web site.Additional Internet functionality is now built into recently upgraded permit system software.These features of the permit system software are new to the Department and the Director indicates that they will be used if they provide additional customer service.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1t:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within six months).

Grand Jury Recommendation 1u:A brochure should be produced of exit interviews with first time applicants about their experience in getting through the planning process.Tips from actual customers, in their own words, could be of real value to new customers.

P&D Response to Recommendation 1u:The recommendation will be implemented within six months.The customer satisfaction survey has been revised to encourage more responses and elicitcomments on service that was not viewed as exemplary.Customer feedback is incorporated into our training program and will be reflected in updated publications and brochures available to all customers.

BOS Response to Recommendation 1u:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within six months).

Grand Jury Finding 2:P&D needs to have its systems and procedures updated and streamlined.

P&D, CA, and BOS Response to Finding 2:Agree; however significant progress has been made.

Grand Jury Recommendation 2a:The incoming Assistant Director (AD) should have extensive experience in the areas of operations and management in order to address this challenge.

P&D, CA, and BOS Response to Recommendation 2a:The recommendation has been implemented.The recruitment for the Assistant Director was extensive and drew applicants from across the country.In the end, the most qualified was Dianne Meester, previously the Department's Energy Division manager, who has extensive experience throughout department operations.The Director intends to focus the Assistant Director on improving the operations and management of the department.

Grand Jury Recommendation 2b:The incoming AD must have a mandate from the Department Director and BOS to streamline and update.

P&D and CA Response to Recommendation 2b:The recommendation has been implemented. The Assistant Director has a mandate from the Director and the Board to streamline and update departmental operations.This mandate includes responsibility and authority for overseeing all the divisions of the Department, guiding change, ensuring customer service standards are met, and resolving resource allocation issues promptly.

BOS Response to Recommendation 2b:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented), and adds the following clarifying comment.The Board of Supervisors approved a budget expansion request for a P&D Assistant Director position in FY00-01 specifically for the purpose of updating, streamlining, and improving processes.

Grand Jury Finding 3:The Department Director, Assistant Director and Division Deputies should be housed in one building.

P&D Response to Finding 3:Agree; however implementation will take time.

CA Response to Finding 3:Agree that housing the Departmentís Executive Team together would be optimal; however, there are cost and other office space issues to consider (see response to Recommendation 3b).This would have to be prioritized against other competing interests and requirements.

BOS Response to Finding 3:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (agree that housing the Departmentís Executive Team together would be optimal; however, there are cost and other office space issues to consider).

Grand Jury Recommendation 3a:Plans to house some P&D personnel over a coffee shop across the street from the Engineering Building should be abandoned immediately.

P&D Response to Recommendation 3a:The recommendation will be implemented when the space currently occupied by Risk Management is vacated.The assignment of this space was intended by the General Services Department to provide "swing" space since the relocation of Risk Management has been delayed.The move and relocation of P&D staff should be complete by December 2000.

CA Response to Recommendation 3a:The recommendation will not be implemented as it is not reasonable. P&D personnel have already re-located to the Coffee Cat, on an interim basis, until the space currently occupied by Risk Management is vacated.The move and relocation of P&D staff back to the Engineering Building should be complete by December 2000.

BOS Response to Recommendation 3a:The Board adopts CAEís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be not implemented because it is not reasonable).P&D personnel have already re-located to the Coffee Cat, on an interim basis, and are scheduled to move back to the Engineering Building by December 2000.

Grand Jury Recommendation 3b:Plans should be initiated to unite the Energy Division with the rest of the Department.

P&D Response to Recommendation 3b:The recommendation will be implemented as the County develops additional space in the downtown location.The Department has participated in a countywide space study conducted by the General Services Department in January 2000.The survey reflects current overcrowded conditions showing a P&D South County space deficit of 7,600 square feet, equal to 1/3 of our current office space. The County is currently pursuing a number of proposals for the creation of new office space at downtown facilities that would help P&D.These include:conversion of basement storage areas into office and conference room space, and construction of a two-story building including a permit center between the Engineering building and the Administration building.Timeframes for implementation are estimated to be six months for basement conversions and three years for the new construction project.

CA Response to Recommendation 3b:The recommendation has been implemented as plans have been initiated.The County is currently pursuing a number of proposals for the creation of new office space at downtown Santa Barbara facilities that would help P&D and could potentially result in the co-location of the Energy Division with the rest of the Department.These proposals include construction of a two-story building, and an ďin-fillĒ project that would provide office space and a permit center between the Engineering building and the Administration building.However, no projects are yet approved, and so the timeframe for constructing a new facility could be three years or more. Since downtown office space is at a premium, the highest priority needs of all departments will have to be evaluated at the time a construction project is completed.Co-locating the Energy Division with the rest of P&D may or may not end up being the highest priority overall.Additionally, the County continues to pursue lease options when downtown office space becomes available, and plans have been initiated to re-locate the Energy Division to a near-by leased facility to enable the Personnel Department to expand into the existing Energy space.This will alleviate a severe office space shortage in the Personnel Department.

BOS Response to Recommendation 3b:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented), as plans have been initiated for additional office space at downtown Santa Barbara facilities that would help P&D and could potentially result in the co-location of the Energy Division with the rest of the Department.

Grand Jury Recommendation 3c:The current Planning Commission hearing room should be converted to a new state-of-the-art Zoning-Building counter.

P&D Response to Recommendation 3c:The recommendation requires further analysis. As noted in response to Recommendation 3b, there is an alternative proposal that would provide an improved counter.If plans for constructing the new building at the westerly end of the Engineering Building proceed as planned, it will not be necessary to convert the Planning Commission hearing room, which is also used for a number of county and community events not related to P&D.

CA Response to Recommendation 3c:The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not reasonable.The Planning Commission hearing room is used regularly for hearings by the Planning Commission and other bodies such as the Zoning Administrator and the BAR; it is also used as a meeting and training room for large groups.There is currently no reasonable alternative location that has adequate availability to meet all these needs.Also, as noted in response to Recommendation 3b, there is an alternative proposal that would provide an improved counter.If plans for constructing the new building at the westerly end of the Engineering Building proceed as planned, it will provide the needed space for this new Zoning-Building Counter.

BOS Response to Recommendation 3c:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will not be implemented because it is not reasonable).The Planning Commission Hearing Room is used regularly for hearings by the Planning Commission and other bodies, and is used as a meeting room for large groups.Also, as noted in response to Recommendation 3b, there is an alternative proposal that would provide an improved counter.

Grand Jury Recommendation 3d:If space allows behind the proposed counter, a conference room should be created.

P&D Response to Recommendation 3d:The recommendation will be implemented. Conference rooms are very important to our operations and will be included in the permit center design.

County Administratorís Response to Recommendation 3d:According to the P&D Director, the recommendation will be implemented as part of the proposed construction project explained in the response to Recommendation 3b.Conference rooms are very important to P&D operations and the department indicates that it will be included in the permit center design.

BOS Response to Recommendation 3d:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented as part of the proposed construction project explained in the response to Recommendation 3b).

Grand Jury Finding 4:Many problems within the Department have been caused or exacerbated by staff vacancies.

P&D, CA and BOS Response to Finding 4:Agree.

Grand Jury Recommendation 4:The aggressive hiring campaign, currently underway, should continue and other effective ways of hiring outreach should be developed.

P&D Response to Recommendation 4:The recommendation has been implemented.Expanded recruitment efforts began in July of 1999.Outreach efforts included 1,000 pieces of direct mail, participation in three job fairs, two planning conferences and advertising on Internet job listings.The direct mail and Internet efforts have be focused primarily on planning positions.The extra effort has resulted in 23 appointments to planning positions.For Building Division positions continued participation in job fairs, conducting lectures in construction technology classes and direct mail will be used to increase visibility.The department will continue its recruitment efforts to fill positions quickly.

CA Response to Recommendation 4:The recommendation has been implemented.Expanded recruitment efforts began in July of 1999.Outreach efforts included 1,000 pieces of direct mail, participation in three job fairs, two planning conferences and advertising job listings on the Internet.The direct mail and Internet efforts have be focused primarily on planning positions.The extra effort has resulted in 23 appointments to planning positions.For Building Division positions, continued participation in job fairs, conducting lectures in construction technology classes and direct mail will be used to increase visibility.P&D will continue its recruitment efforts to fill positions quickly.Additionally, salary ranges were increased for a number of Planning and Development classifications as a result of a Salary Equity Study, and for the purpose of recruiting and retaining employees.This resulted in increased salary costs of $811,000 annually; approximately $300,000 of this increase is funded by the General Fund.

BOS Response to Recommendation 4:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented).

Grand Jury Finding 5:Many staff has not been evaluated for several years.

P&D Response to Finding 5:Agree.Of the 150 employees in the department, 15 employees (10%) have not had an evaluation in the past 3 years.

BOS Response to Finding 5:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree).

Grand Jury Recommendation 5:Performance reviews of all staff should be completed annually.

P&D Response to Recommendation 5:The recommendation will be implemented within the next six months.The Department continues to work toward timely completion of all performance evaluations.Continued employee turnover makes this task more challenging.Over the next six months the Assistant Director will ensure that past-due performance reviews are completed.

BOS Response to Recommendation 5:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within six months).

Grand Jury Finding 6:Exemplary work has gone unrecognized in the Department.

P&D and BOS Response to Finding 6:Agree.

Grand Jury Recommendation 6:Commendations should be awarded for exemplary work and entered into the employeeís file.

P&D Response to Recommendation 6:The recommendation has been implemented. Commendations from applicants and the public are noted with appreciation and entered into the employee personnel file.In addition, the Department has formalized an employee recognition program that includes special semi-annual departmental awards and more frequent recognition at the division level.

BOS Response to Recommendation 6:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented).

Grand Jury Finding 7:Senior planners are working hundreds of hours of uncompensated overtime.

P&D Response to Finding 7:Agree.Over the last year, six managers worked 960 hours of overtime, twelve Supervising Planners and Energy Specialists worked 1,565 hours of overtime, and twenty-one Planner IIIís worked 850 hours of overtime.None of these positions receive overtime compensation.In addition, junior staff eligible for overtime are compensated, but are frequently working an undesirable number of hours.In particular, the Planning Commission support staff has put in a large amount of overtime due to extended hearings.Staff turnover and the high volume of new permit applications the department has experienced over the last several years have heavily impacted planner caseload.Pressure to process these applications in a timely fashion compel staff to work overtime to meet deadlines.The Department appreciates the Grand Jury's recognition of extraordinary staff dedication.

BOS Response to Finding 7:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree).

Grand Jury Recommendation 7a:The Department should observe a 40-hour work week.

P&D Response to Recommendation 7a:The recommendation will be implemented; however, the rate of implementation will depend on caseloads.A new Supervising Planner position was added this July to address workload in the Zoning Administration Division.The Department strives to reduce turnover and to react quickly when vacancies occur.Ongoing recruitment and training efforts in the department will continue.The Grand Jury must recognize that, since P&D cannot control the rate of in-coming applications, this recommendation is in some conflict with recommendation 16 (to increase active assistance) and the objective of maintaining timeline goals.Nevertheless, the Department concurs that staff should have reasonable workloads and expend reasonable levels of effort without regular overtime.The Assistant Director will be looking for a combination of operational changes to help achieve this objective.

BOS Response to Recommendation 7a:As agreed to by the P&D Director, the recommendation will be implemented in concept, as a goal, within six months; however, all parties must recognize that there are peak workload times when some overtime is required.This is consistent with most other departments that have professional, exempt level employees.P&D, as well as the Board of Supervisors, concurs that staff should have reasonable workloads and expend reasonable levels of effort without regular overtime.However, vacancies, training, complexity of issues and pressure to meet deadlines further exacerbate the situation in P&D.†† The Assistant Director will be looking for a combination of operational changes to help mitigate this situation and structure the department such that reasonable workloads become the norm.

Grand Jury Recommendation 7b:If emergency overtime occurs, staff should be encouraged to take compensatory time.

P&D Response to Recommendation 7b:This recommendation has been implemented, with significant limitations.Staff are encouraged to take time off, but their own sense of professional obligation to customers frequently limits their desire and ability to take compensatory time.Again, the Grand Jury should acknowledge that staff are attempting to maintain estimated timelines, and that high caseloads require high levels of effort.

BOS Response to Recommendation 7b:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented, with significant limitations).Staff are encouraged to take compensatory time off, but their own sense of professional obligation to customers frequently limits their ability to do so.High caseloads and timeline commitments require high levels of effort.

Grand Jury Finding 8:There are many aspects of Department service about which the public is unaware or unaware of how to access.

P&D Response to Finding 8:Agree.The Department and the public will benefit from having more information about how land use planning works and what the Department does.An expanded public outreach program is one of the Department's goals.In the near term, it would compete for scarce staff resources, with keeping up on permit review, and updating the Comprehensive Plan.This outreach effort will be phased in as workload permits.

CA Response to Finding 8:Agree.P&D and the public will benefit from having more information about how land use planning works and what the Department does.An expanded public outreach program is one of the Department's goals.In the near term, however, it would compete for scarce staff resources, with keeping up on permit review and updating the Comprehensive Plan.According to the P&D Director, this outreach effort will be phased in as workload permits, starting with placing additional department information on the Web and on County Access TV (see response to Recommendation #8).

BOS Response to Finding 8:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree).

Grand Jury Recommendation 8:Information about the Departmentís services and procedures should be placed on County Access television as well as the Departmentís web site.

P&D Response to Recommendation 8:The recommendation will be implemented.P&D will use County Access television to advertise public meetings and forums.The Department has increased the use of the Internet for publication of Planning Commission agendas, special projects and informational brochures.New department publications are being designed to be posted on the Internet, including a major forthcoming newsletter on population and growth trends.

CA Response to Recommendation 8:The P&D Director has indicated that the recommendation will be implemented within 90 days.P&D will use County Access television to advertise public meetings and forums.The Department has increased the use of the Internet for publication of Planning Commission agendas, special projects and informational brochures.New department publications being designed will be posted on the Internet, including a major forthcoming newsletter on population and growth trends.

BOS Response to Recommendation 8:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within 90 days).

Grand Jury Finding 9:Other jurisdictions have a greeter to help newcomers to the Department get oriented, answer questions and help sort out problems.

P&D, CA, and BOS Response to Finding 9:Agree.

Grand Jury Recommendation 9:Consideration should be given to this way of projecting the Departmentís customer service orientation.

P&D Response to Recommendation 9:The recommendation will be implemented when a new permit center is built.P&D has been looking at similar jurisdictions and how they set up their permit counter.The most successful ones have an intake coordinator(or greeter) to direct applicants.

CA and BOS Response to Recommendation 9:The recommendation has been implemented as it is being considered as part of the planned new permit center (see response to Recommendation 3b).P&D has been looking at similar jurisdictions and how they set up their permit counters.However, having a greeter would require additional resources, and will have to be analyzed with all the other competing requests.Funding would be dependent on resources available and the highest priority needs at the time.

Grand Jury Finding 10:The Department does not have an ombudsman.

P&D, CA, and BOS Response to Finding 10: Agree.

Grand Jury Recommendation 10:Consideration might be given to this new position aimed at giving clients a person to consult about problems.It would underline the customer service element of the Department.

P&D Response to Recommendation 10:The recommendation will be implemented by considering adding an ombudsman position during the next budget cycle.The Department will survey similar jurisdictions to determine if they have an ombudsman and if so, how the position has affected their customer service and how the ombudsman functions in relation to the responsibility and authority of assigned case managers.During this fiscal year, the department is committed to planners providing crisp, clear decisions to clients.

CA Response to Recommendation 10:The recommendation has been implemented as P&D has indicated that it will consider requesting an ombudsman position for review by the Board of Supervisors during the next budget cycle.However, this would require additional resources, and will have to be analyzed with all the other competing requests.Funding would be dependent upon resources available and the highest priority needs at the time.

BOS Response to Recommendation 10:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented as P&D has indicated that it will consider requesting an ombudsman position for review by the Board of Supervisors during the next budget cycle).Funding would be dependent upon resources available and the highest priority needs at the time.

Grand Jury Finding 11:The Department currently partners a Comprehensive Planning planner to the Development Review case manager.

P&D, CA and BOS Response to Finding 11:Agree, for a subset of discretionary cases.

Grand Jury Recommendation 11:This practice should stop.Comprehensive Planning should, however, have a planner at New Case Review to give all necessary information to the Development Review case manager.

P&D Response to Recommendation 11:This recommendation will not be implemented as it is not warranted.On major cases, the Comprehensive Planning Division team player is assigned to provide assistance and input to the case project manager regarding emerging or cumulative issues and policy consistency analysis for major or unusual policy determinations.Such input is important to assist in the planning of high quality development, the protection of key resources and to aid in the consistent interpretation and implementation of the adopted goals, objectives and policies of the Comprehensive Plan. P&D has adopted procedures (attached Procedures Guidelines for Interdivisional Coordination on Major Discretionary Projects) to ensure that the role of the planners from both the case processing and comprehensive planing divisions is clearly defined for the permit process.This includes clear authority for the project manager and procedures for the early resolution of any internal disagreements.The Assistant Director is tracking the implementation of these coordination procedures and will perform an evaluation in six months to see if the new procedures have succeeded in creating an effective and efficient review system, if refinements and modifications are necessary, or if the role of Comprehensive Planning staff in development review should be changed.

CA Response to Recommendation 11:This recommendation will be implemented in part but will not be implemented in all cases because it is not warranted.On major cases, the Comprehensive Planning Division team player is assigned to provide assistance and input to the case project manager regarding emerging or cumulative issues and policy consistency analysis for major or unusual policy determinations.Such input is important to assist in the planning of high quality development, the protection of key resources and to aid in the consistent interpretation and implementation of the adopted goals, objectives and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.

According to the P&D Director, the Department has adopted procedures to ensure that the role of the planners from both the Case Processing and Comprehensive Planning Divisions is clearly defined for the permit process.This includes clear authority for the Project Manager and procedures for the early resolution of any internal disagreements. The Assistant Director is tracking the implementation of these coordination procedures and will perform an evaluation in six months to see if the new procedures have succeeded in creating an effective and efficient review system, if refinements and modifications are necessary, or if the role of Comprehensive Planning staff in development review should be changed.

BOS Response to Recommendation 11:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented in part but will not be implemented in all cases because it is not warranted).On major cases, the Comprehensive Planning Division team player is assigned to provide assistance and input to the case project manager regarding emerging or cumulative issues and policy consistency analysis for major or unusual policy determinations.

Grand Jury Finding 12:Comprehensive Planning has the important task of keeping to the timetable outlined in its Five Year Plan for updating the Comprehensive Plan.

P&D, CA, and BOS Response to Finding 12:Agree.

Grand Jury Recommendation 12:This is the divisionís mission. It should not get bogged down in case work or other extraneous work.

P&D Response to Recommendation 12:The recommendation will be implemented in part and not in part.The Comprehensive Planning Division's primary mission includes timely completion of the projects identified in the Five Year Work Program.However, both that work program and P&D's adopted budget recognize that the Division's mission also involves implementation of existing plans.Part of this implementation involves carefully focused participation in the case-processing functions discussed in the response to Finding 11.Other Comprehensive Plan implementation roles for the Division include carrying out special studies, limited instances of assisting in or overseeing capital improvements, administering the Redevelopment Agency, and interagency coordination and regional planning.

CA Response to Recommendation 12:The recommendation has been implemented, but by its nature requires continuous priority setting.We agree that the Comprehensive Planning Division's primary mission includes timely completion of the projects identified in the Five Year Work Program.However, both that work program and P&D's adopted budget recognize that the Division's mission also involves implementation of existing plans.Part of this implementation involves carefully focused participation in the case-processing functions discussed in the response to Finding 11.Other Comprehensive Plan implementation roles for the Division include carrying out special studies, administering the Redevelopment Agency, interagency coordination and regional planning.

BOS Response to Recommendation 12:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented, but by its nature requires continuous priority setting).

Grand Jury Finding 13:The Permit Tracking System has never lived up to Department expectations.

P&D Response to Finding 13:Partially disagree.Many components of the system have worked well for the building division and for zoning enforcement operations since 1998.Unresolved performance and function issues have not allowed full implementation, therefore,evaluation of overall system performance is premature.

CA Response to Finding 13:Agree.However, according to the P&D Director, some components of the system have worked well for the Building Division and for Zoning Enforcement operations since 1998.

BOS Response to Finding 13:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree).

Grand Jury Recommendation 13:It should be fixed or replaced immediately.

P&D Response to Recommendation 13:The recommendation will be implemented within the next 90 days.The software vendor has addressed unresolved performance and function issues by rewriting and upgrading all system components.This software includes functionality that will allow for Internet inquiry and submittal of simple building permit applications.The new software was tested and installed in June.Onsite user training was conducted for building and planning staff in June.Use of the new software began in July with building permit processing and zoning enforcement.Department-wide implementation will proceed in August and September.

CA Response to Recommendation 13:According to the P&D Director, the recommendation will be implemented within the next 90 days.P&D reports that the software vendor has addressed unresolved performance and function issues by rewriting and upgrading all system components.This software includes functionality that will allow for Internet inquiry and submittal of simple building permit applications.The new software was tested and installed in June.Onsite user training was conducted for building and planning staff in June.Use of the new software began in July with building permit processing and zoning enforcement.Department-wide implementation will proceed in August and September.The County Administrator will review the system in October.

BOS Response to Recommendation 13:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within 90 days).

Grand Jury Finding 14:Building inspectors may have to travel through rush-hour traffic to get to their County vehicles as well as pick up their work assignments and return phone calls.

P&D, CA and BOS Response to Finding 14:Agree.

Grand Jury Recommendation 14:The Department should investigate locating a satellite office in or near Goleta to alleviate this problem.

P&D Response to Recommendation 14:The recommendation has been implemented.The Department has investigated this issue and concluded not to locate a satellite office in Goleta at this time for the following reasons.The recommendation assumes that most building inspectors live in or north of Goleta and also have work assignments in Goleta, therefore eliminating the need to drive to the Santa Barbara office.In fact, seventy-five percent of the inspection staff drive from Carpinteria, Ventura or in the Santa Barbara area, which means that reporting to a Goleta satellite office would involve considerably more rush-hour time.Additionally, many inspections occur east of Santa Barbara.

Secondly, establishing a satellite office for inspectors disconnects them from the public counter, the permit process and supporting plan check staff.This will reduce accountability.

CA Response to Recommendation 14:P&D has investigated this issue and concluded not to locate a satellite office in Goleta at this time for the following reasons:

First, the recommendation assumes that most building inspectors live in or north of Goleta and also have work assignments in Goleta, therefore eliminating the need to drive to the Santa Barbara office.In fact, seventy-five percent of the inspection staff drive from Carpinteria, Ventura or the Santa Barbara area, and many inspections occur east of Santa Barbara.

Second, establishing a satellite office for inspectors disconnects them from the public counter, the permit process and supporting plan check staff.This would reduce accountability.In addition, such a satellite office would require additional funding.

Finally, there are proposals for Goleta to become a city or be annexed by Santa Barbara City.If either one occurs, then this issue becomes moot.

BOS Response to Recommendation 14:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented).P&D has investigated this issue and concluded not to locate a satellite office in Goleta at this time.

Grand Jury Finding 15:Building and Safety Division has suffered from personnel losses which has impacted morale and the work product.

P&D and BOS Response to Finding 15:Agree. The division suffered from retirements and several senior staff leaving for higher pay with local cities.The combination of below normal staffing with a surge in building permit activity created above-normal workloads.

Grand Jury Recommendation 15:This Division needs to maintain a full staff as well as providing support for, and acknowledgement of, the work effort.

P&D Response to Recommendation 15:The recommendation is being implemented.The department bas been actively recruiting for all vacant positions and has completed recruiting on ten positions, including adding a supervisor for South Coast field operations.Recently the Board of Supervisors authorized a pay increase for the inspector and planning series based on an "equity" survey.Currently there are ten open positions, three resulting from positions added in July 2000 aimed at reducing workload.Additionally, the department has added additional positions in key areas to reduce the workload on staff.The department plans to continue using contract employees for seasonal or special project work.

BOS Response to Recommendation 15: The recommendation has been implemented, in that P&D has expanded their recruitment efforts over the past year.For Building Division positions, continued participation in job fairs, conducting lectures in construction technology classes and direct mail is being used to increase visibility.There were two new hires in August; active recruitments are on-going for other positions.P&D is using contract labor and extra help to lesson the impact of vacancies.Recently, the Board of Supervisors authorized pay increases for Inspector and Planning classifications based upon an Equity Study.Formal training, internal promotional opportunities, and an employee recognition program are some of the ways the Division has provided support for, and acknowledgement of, work effort of these employees.

Grand Jury Finding 16:Because of projected growth in North County south of Santa Maria, a full service P&D office is needed in Buellton.

P&D Response to Finding 16:Disagree.Substantial growth is not expected in the unincorporated area of the central county.The growth projected to occur in the North County south of Orcutt is primarily residential development on existing lots located in the Lompoc and Santa Ynez Valleys and to a lesser degree some commercial development in the towns of Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Ballard and Santa Ynez.Applicants from the Lompoc area have to travel approximately the same distance to either the Santa Maria or Buellton location.

CA Response to Finding 16:Disagree.Substantial growth is not expected in the unincorporated area of the central county.A Building Permit and Inspection Counter currently exists in Buellton which is adequate to meet the needs of the type of development projected for this area.However, according to the P&D Director, P&D consistently assesses customer requirements, and if there is substantial growth in this area, such that expanding the Buellton office would provide greater efficiency and customer service, P&D would consider requesting expansion of its offices appropriately.

BOS Response to Finding 16:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Disagree).Substantial growth is not expected in the unincorporated area of the central county.

Grand Jury Recommendation 16:Plans should be made to enlarge the staff and include planners.

P&D Response to Recommendation 16:The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted.Implementation of the single permit by December 1, 2000 (see Recommendation 1a), as well as improved methods for transferring plans and other application materials between the Buellton and Santa Maria office, will alleviate the need for an applicant to visit both offices.While P&D provides building permit and inspection services under contract to the cities of Buellton and Solvang, these cities issue their own land use permits.

CA Response to Recommendation 16:The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted.According to the P&D Director, implementation of the single permit by December 1, 2000, as well as improved methods for transferring plans and other application materials between the Buellton and Santa Maria office, will alleviate the need for an applicant to visit both offices.While P&D provides building permit and inspection services under contract to the cities of Buellton and Solvang, these cities issue their own land use permits.Moreover, enlarging the staff would require additional funding.

BOS Response to Recommendation 16:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted).Implementation of the single permit by December 1, 2000, as well as improved methods for transferring plans and other application materials between the Buellton and Santa Maria office, will alleviate the need for an applicant to visit both offices.

Grand Jury Finding 17:The position of Deputy Director of Development Review Division has become overly burdensome for one person.

P&D, CA, and BOS Response to Finding 17:Agree.

Grand Jury Recommendation 17:With the vacancy in the Deputy position in this division, two Deputies should be appointed, one for North County and one for South County.

P&D Response to Recommendation 17:The recommendation will be implemented within the next four months.To avoid increasing the total number of managers, the Department is refining a reorganization plan for the current-planning function to concentrate accountability for discretionary permits along geographic lines, create a full-time on-site manager in the North County, and consolidate management of the counter and zoning enforcement functions with building plan check and inspection on the South Coast.This will result in reconfiguring the responsibility of several managers and supervisors.Like any reorganization, this will pose new challenges to achieve consistent results.

CA Response to Recommendation 17:According to the P&D Director, the basis of this recommendation will be implemented within the next four months.To avoid increasing the total number of managers, the Department is refining a reorganization plan for the current planning function to concentrate accountability for discretionary permits along geographic lines, create a full-time on-site manager in the North County, and consolidate management of the counter and zoning enforcement functions with building plan check and inspection on the South Coast.So, although an additional Deputy position will not be added, job responsibilities of several managers and supervisors will be adjusted to more equitably and efficiency manage the workload.This re-organization plan is part of the approved FY00-01 budget.

BOS Response to Recommendation 17:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the basis of the recommendation will be implemented within the next four months).To avoid increasing the total number of managers, P&D is refining a reorganization plan for the current planning function to concentrate accountability for discretionary permits along geographic lines, create a full-time, on-site manager in the North County, and consolidate management of the counter and zoning enforcement functions with building plan check and inspection on the South Coast.So, although an additional Deputy position will not be added, job responsibilities of several managers and supervisors will be adjusted to more equitably and efficiently manage the workload.This re-organization plan is part of the approved FY00-01 budget.

Grand Jury Finding 18:The relationship between the Planning Commission and planners is occasionally confrontational and less than professional.

P&D Response to Finding 18:Agree; however the situation has greatly improved.

PC response to Finding 18:The Planning Commission disagrees with the finding that the relationship between the Planning Commission and staff is less than respectful, but agrees that several years ago it was occasionally confrontational.The Planning Commission believes that confrontations between the Commission and staff have been extremely rare in the past year but feels confrontations can be further reduced or eliminated through better communication between the Commission and planning staff; the Commission will work in the coming year to do so.

BOS Response to Finding 18:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree).Although confrontation occasionally occurs, the situation has greatly improved.

Grand Jury Recommendation 18:The Countyís planners are professionals and should be treated with respect.

P&D Response to Recommendation 18:The recommendation has been implemented. This issue has been discussed with the Planning Commission, and the Commissioners have expressed their intent to treat staff as professionals at all times.

PC Response to Recommendation 18:The Planning Commission wholeheartedly endorses the recommendation to treat staff with respect. The recommendation has been implemented by this Commission.This Commission holds the planning staff in great respect and will continue to treat them in a manner which demonstrates that respect.

BOS Response to Recommendation 18:The Board adopts P&Dís & Planning Commissionís responses as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented).

Grand Jury Finding 19:The current chair of the Planning Commission is attempting to move the Commission meetings along expeditiously.

P&D Response to Finding 19:Agree.

PC Response to Finding 19:The Planning Commission concurs with the finding that the current chair has worked diligently to improve the efficiency of Commission hearings.

BOS Response to Finding 19:The Board adopts Planning Commissionís responses as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree).

Grand Jury Recommendation 19:The current chair of the Planning Commission should be encouraged in this endeavor by the Board of Supervisors.

P&D Response to Recommendation 19:The recommendation is that the Board of Supervisors should take an action. P&D supports the recommendation and will continue to support the Chair in her meeting management approach.

PC Response to Recommendation 19:Although the recommendation is directed at the Board of Supervisors, it is also being implemented by the Commission; members of the Commission also encourage the chair in her efforts to run meetings efficiently.The Commission recognizes, however, that there is a difficult balance to be struck between efficiency and a fair public process; the Commission believes that community members who take the time to come to the hearings should be afforded a meaningful opportunity to participate.The Commission will continue to work to have efficient meetings which are informative and which serve the needs of both the public and applicants.

BOS Response to Recommendation 19:This recommendation has been implemented.ThePlanning Commission is appointed by the Board.Board members meet at their discretion with their appointed Planning Commissioners, and as such, provide guidance on these types of issues.The Planning Commission, in their response to the Grand Jury, have stated that they do, in fact, encourage the chair in her efforts to run the meetings efficiently.As members of the Planning Commission encourage the chair to effectively manage the meetings, and work with her to be both time-efficient and fair in providing opportunity for public input, they are, in effect, fulfilling the desires of the Board of Supervisors.The Board of Supervisors trusts the judgment of the Planning Commissioners to manage their duties and responsibilities in an effective manner.

Grand Jury Finding 20:Members of the Planning Commission are dedicated volunteers with no required experience in land use issues.

P&D Response to Finding 20:Agree.

PC Response to Finding 20:The Planning Commission agrees with this finding, although it notes that most of its members had experience in land use matters before joining the Commission.

BOS Response to Finding 20:The Board adopts Planning Commissionís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree).

Grand Jury Recommendation 20:P&D should develop a required training program for incoming commissioners as well as providing ongoing training.

P&D Response to Recommendation 20:The recommendation will be implemented within six months.New planning commissioners are provided with detailed informational packets and focused training.A list of the materials provided to new commissioners is attached.P&D will work with the Commission and County Counsel to revise the Commission's procedures manual and to offer a series of informal workshops to be worked into the Commission's heavy schedule.The Department will also inform the Planning Commissioners of the availability of pertinent departmental, county, and community training opportunities.

PC Response to Recommendation 20:The Planning Commission concurs with this recommendation, and will work with Planning & Development and County Counsel staff during the next year to prepare written materials to help incoming Commissioners understand the numerous rules and regulations the Commission uses to analyze projects.In addition, Planning & Development staff will work with incoming Commissioners to provide training opportunities if desired.In addition, the Commission intends to update its own procedures manual.The Planning Commission will also strive to hold training workshops as new planning issues arise.

BOS Response to Recommendation 20:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will be implemented within six months).

Grand Jury Finding 21:The commissioners have copious amounts of paperwork to deal with yet are not provided with office space or clerical assistance.

P&D Response to Finding 21:Agree in part.Office space (desk space) for Planning Commissioners was available until December 1998, when it was reallocated to permanent staff.A conference room was allocated to Commissioner use on planning commission meeting days until this past December, when the only other department conference room in the building was converted to office space.We disagree that no clerical assistance is provided.Clerical assistance is available during meetings and in preparing materials for meetings.Clerical staff also respond to Commissioner's requests for additional information and materials between meetings.

PC Response to Finding 21:The Commission disagrees with this finding; while the Commissioners do have large amounts of paperwork, the Planning Commission is very satisfied with the level of clerical assistance provided by the hearing support staff division of the Planning & Development Department.

CA Response to Finding 21:Agree in part.Certainly, the Commissioners deal with large amounts of paperwork.However, we disagree that no clerical assistance is provided.Clerical assistance is available during meetings and in preparing materials for meetings.Clerical staff also respond to Commissionersí requests for additional information and materials between meetings.

We agree that office space (desk space) is no longer provided for Planning Commissioners.Office space was available until December 1998, when it was reallocated to permanent staff.A conference room was allocated to Commissioner use on planning commission meeting days until this past December, when the only other department conference room in the building was converted to office space.The Planning Commission states in its response to the Grand Jury Report that it is ďvery satisfiedĒ with its clerical assistance and that P&D and the Planning Commission are working together to meet their space needs.

BOS Response to Finding 21:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree in part).We agree that the commissioners have a significant amount of paperwork, and that office space is no longer provided to Planning Commissioners; however we disagree that no clerical support is provided.

Grand Jury Recommendation21:Office space and clerical assistance should be provided.

P&D Response to Recommendation 21:The recommendation to provide office space will be implemented as additional space is made available (see response to recommendation 3b.)The Planning Commissioners are satisfied with the existing level of clerical support.Voice mail and meeting room space will be provided at the request of Commissioners.

PC Response to Recommendation 21:The Planning Commission has no authority over the allocation of space or staff so this recommendation cannot be implemented by the Commission.Further, the Planning Commission does not believe, given the Countyís space restrictions, that Commission offices would be an efficient use of space.The Commission will work with Planning & Development to have county voice mail available to all Commissioners who request it, to have a telephone available for their use on hearing days and to have a meeting room available by reservation for Commissioners to meet with community members and applicants.

CA Response to Recommendation 21:The recommendation to provide office space will be implemented as additional space is made available (see response to Recommendation 3b.)The Planning Commissioners are satisfied with the existing level of clerical support.According to the P&D Director, voice mail and meeting room space will be provided at the request of Commissioners.

BOS Response to Recommendation 21:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation to provide office space will be implemented as additional space is made available).The Planning Commissioners are satisfied with existing level of clerical support.Voice mail and meeting room space will be provided at the request of Commissioners.

Grand Jury Finding 22:Both the BOS and PC have hearing rooms.

P&D Response to Finding 22:Agree.

PC Response to Finding 22:It is undisputed that the Board and Planning Commission both have meeting rooms.

CA Response to Finding 22:Agree.

BOS Response to Finding 22:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree).

Grand Jury Recommendation 22:The current Planning Commission hearing room should be converted to a state-of-the-art Zoning-Building counter space and the Planning Commission should hold its meetings in the BOS hearing room.

P&D Response to Recommendation 22:The recommendation requires further analysis. If plans proceed for an alternate permit center, the Planning Commission hearing room will be retained.See response to recommendation 3b above.

PC Response to Recommendation 22:The Planning Commission agrees there is need for a better Zoning-Building permit counter; however, the Commission has no authority over the allocation of County office space so this recommendation cannot be implemented by the Commission.In addition, the Commission questions the efficiency of converting the Commission hearing room for this purpose.The Commission hearing room is used for hearings by bodies such as LAFCO; APCD, of County employees, by the public and the Tax Assessment Appeals Board.It may not be possible to schedule all of the county functions requiring a large space in one room.If the Planning Commission hearing room is converted to a different use, scheduling conflicts may make it more difficult to schedule projects for hearing in a timely fashion.The Commission believes it may be easier to find a space for a new permitting center than for all of the functions which currently use the Commissionís hearing room.The Commission also believes that the public and staff benefitfrom the accessible location of its current hearing room.

CA Response to Recommendation 22:The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not reasonable.The Planning Commission Hearing Room is used regularly for hearings by the Planning Commission and other bodies such as the Zoning Administrator and BAR; it is also used as a meeting and training room for large groups.The Board of Supervisorsí hearing room is also used regularly by the Board and by other bodies such as LAFCO, APCD, County employees, and numerous other groups.It may not be possible to schedule all of the County functions requiring a large space in one hearing room.Scheduling conflicts would be numerous, thus creating inefficiencies, time delays for hearing projects, and frustration.Also, there are alternative proposals to provide a state-of-the-art Zoning-Building Counter Space (see response to Recommendations 3b and 3c).

BOS Response to Recommendation 22:The Board adopts CAís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will not be implemented because it is not reasonable).The Planning Commission Hearing Room is used regularly for hearings by the Planning Commission and other bodies, as well as for large meetings.The Board of Supervisors Hearing Room is also used regularly by the Board and by other bodies, and numerous other groups.Also, there are alternative proposals to provide a state-of-the-art Zoning-Building Counter Space (see response to Recommendation 3b and 3c).

Grand Jury Finding 23:There is often disagreement between the planning staff and PC over the estimated length of items on the Commission agenda.

P&D Response to Finding23:Partially Disagree.There is no active disagreement. The Planning Commission observed during consideration of its response to last year's Grand Jury report that the actual length of hearings frequently exceeded the staff estimate, and urged the Planning Commission Secretary (the manager of Development Review) to be more realistic.At the same time, the staff and the Grand Jury are urging the Commission to move hearing items along at a reasonable pace in order to complete scheduled items and avoid a choice between long queues for hearing time or many extra hearings. Hence, the time estimates may tend toward the optimistic.That said, staff has pledged to make more thorough attempts to appraise likely amounts of public testimony, the Commission has pledged to try to keep to adopted schedules for hearings, and both recognize that, in the end, the amount of interest in some public hearings is unpredictable.

PC Response to Finding 23:The Planning Commission disagrees with this finding; the Planning Commission and staff have been working together to create realistic time estimates for all hearings and do not frequently disagree over the estimated lengths. However, it is often difficult to anticipate the level of public concern over a project, projects that initially appear uncontroversial may have significant opposition, while some larger projects generate limited comment.

BOS Response to Finding 23:The Board adopts P&Dís and the Planning Commissionís responses as the Board of Supervisorsí response in that both have stated they disagree with the finding.†† The Planning Commission and staff have been working together to create realistic time estimates for all hearings and do not frequently disagree over the estimated lengths.

Grand Jury Recommendation23:The Development Review scheduler and PC chair should create the schedule together and the Commission should abide by it.

P&D Response to Recommendation 23:The recommendation will be implemented by the Planning Commission Secretary meeting with the PC chair on a regular basis to discuss the agenda and estimated timeframes for hearing items.The Commission will review the advance agendas at each meeting so that commissioners who may have insight into the levels of public interest in future hearing items can advise the Chair and Secretary.However, it must be acknowledged that new issues can be raised during a hearing or significant numbers of public speakers may participate in a hearing, extending the length of time an item will occupy on the agenda.Therefore, the commission must at times make decisions about whether to stick to the estimated time or to continue an item to a future hearing date when more time may be available.

PC Response to Recommendation 23:The Planning Commission does not believe that this recommendation can or should be implemented as written; as stated above, neither Development Review nor the chair can guarantee in advance how an item will, or should, take.The Planning Commission will, however, continue to work to refine its schedule to make the meetings run more efficiently.The Commission intends to review the projection reports provided by hearing support staff carefully to identify potential scheduling problems early in the process and to refine the time estimates for projects, so that hearings do not contain an unrealistic number of items.

BOS Response to Recommendation 23:The Board adopts Planning Commissionísresponse as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will not be implemented as written because it is not reasonable).Neither Development Review nor the Chair can guarantee in advance how long an item will, or should, take.The Planning Commission will, however, continue to work to refine its schedule to make the meetings run more efficiently.

Grand Jury Finding 24:The Planning Commission often gets to a high degree of detail in its deliberations about projects.

P&D Response to Finding 24:Agree.

PC Response to Recommendation 24:The Planning Commission agrees with this finding; detailed review is frequently required for the Commission to determine whether it can make the findings required to approve or deny a project.When applicable, the Commission considers factors such as street widths, roof types, landscaping and building colors and materials to determine whether a project is consistent with the governing regulations and is compatible with the neighborhood

BOS Response to Finding 24:The Board adopts P&Dís and Planning Commissionís responses as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree).

Grand Jury Recommendation 24:The PC should attend to environmental and planning issues, focusing its review of site design to community compatibility and size and scale issues.

P&D Response to Recommendation 24:P&D will implement additional training on the role of BAR and site design issues and evaluate the need for revisions to the Planning Commission Procedures to clarify this distinction.In combination with the changes the Board of Supervisors has directed in BAR appointments and compensation, the increased level of staff support P&D will provide to the BAR, and more explicit Planning Commission direction to BAR on landscape screening and neighborhood compatibility issues, we expect the roles of the respective bodies to be clearer, and for the Planning Commission to feel more comfortable delegating design review to the BAR.However, site design is a planning issue and often will require the Commissionís attention.

PC Response to Recommendation 24:Recommendation 24 is currently implemented by the Commission; the Commission focuses on environmental and planning issues and defers, when appropriate, to the BAR on design issues.However, as stated above, frequently the design details of the project such as color and landscaping determine whether the Planning Commission can make the findings it is legally required to make. The Commission recognizes the need for efficiency and strives to consider all important, relevant factors while not spending valuable time on minutiae.Attached for your review is the Commissionís May 15, 2000 ďResponse to Advisory Group RecommendationsĒ(Attachment A, ďbulletĒ number 11) which discusses the Commissionís ongoing commitment to focusing on relevant issues.

BOS Response to Recommendation 24:As indicated in P&Dís and Planning Commissionís responses, the basis of this recommendation has been implemented.In combination with the changes the Board of Supervisors has directed in BAR appointments and compensation, the increased level of staff support P&D will provide to the BAR, and more explicit Planning Commission direction to BAR on landscape screening and neighborhood compatibility issues, we expect the roles of the respective bodies to be clearer, and for the Planning Commission to feel more comfortable delegating design review to the BAR.Also, according to P&D Director, P&D has agreed to implement additional training on the role of BAR and site design issues and evaluate the need for revisions to the Planning Commission Procedures to clarify this distinction.However, site design is a planning issue and often will require the Commissionís attention.

Grand Jury Finding 25:Planners have come to believe that they work for the Planning Commission which results in an imbalance of authority.

P&D Response to Finding 25:Partially disagree.P&D staff have many allegiances. Planners are trained to regard the public interest as their principal client.This means a number of things.State law and policies and regulations adopted by the Board of Supervisors guide staff analysis of development proposals.Staff work for the Director and managers of P&D in doing assigned work.The sense in which staff work for the Planning Commission is that staff must give the Commission information and analyses which allows the Commission to make informed judgments about projects.Staff endeavors to provide the kind and amount of information they believe the Commission needs to make findings in support of the actions.There are times when Commissioners have requested additional information and analyses.When in the professional judgement of the supervising planner or manager present at the hearing, requests go beyond what is required for informed Commission decision-making, the Commission will be so informed.If, nevertheless, the Commission wants more information, staff will provide it. In that sense, they do work for the Commission.

PC Response to Finding 25:The Planning Commission disagrees with the finding.†† The Commission is hesitant to speculate as to the beliefs of individual planners; however, in the Commissionís experience most, if not all, planners appear well aware of their independent role in the planning process.The Commission notes that a few Planning and Development employees, notably the hearing support staff and the deputy director who serves as secretary to the Commission, have roles that require them to work more closely with the Commission.

BOS Response to Finding 25:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (partially disagree), with clarifying comments.Staff must give the Commission information and analyses which allows the Commission to make informed judgments about projects.There are times when Commissioners have requested additional information and analyses that go beyond what the planner believes is required for informed decision-making.In these instances, the planner will so inform the Commission.If, however, the Commission still requests the information, staff attempts to provide it.Legally and ethically, the planning staff works for and is accountable to the Director of Planning and Development.While the Planning Commission has a policy role with respect to land use and related matters, it does not have line authority over administration.This authority is reserved to the Board of Supervisors.

Grand Jury Recommendation 25a:The P&D Director should make it clear to planners their responsibility is to the public.

P&D Response to Recommendation 25a:This recommendation has been implemented and will continue to be implemented as new planners are hired.The Department's mission statements take care to identify the several kinds of client relationships staff has, and the duties which attach to each.

BOS Response to Recommendation 25a:The Board adopts P&Dís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation has been implemented), with clarifying comments.Planners report through the supervisory and managerial ďchain of command,Ē and ultimately to the Director of Planning and Development.As stated by the P&D Director, the P&D Departmentís mission statements take care to identify the several kinds of client relationships staff has, and the duties which attach to each.

Grand Jury Recommendation25b:The BOS should ensure that the Commission is equally focused on serving the public.

PC Response to Recommendation 25b:This recommendation is directed toward the Board of Supervisors; however, the Commission would like to state that the Commission believes that, like the planning staff, the Commission has been, and will remain, focussed on serving the public.Commissioners are responsibleto the residents of the district they represent, applicants appearing before them, the people of the county, and to the Supervisor who appointed them.

BOS Response to Recommendation 25b:This recommendation has been implemented.The Planning Commission is appointed by the Board.Board members meet at their discretion with their appointed Planning Commissioners, and as such, provide guidance on these types of issues.The Board is very focused on serving the public.This is our first priority as elected officials, and this message is consistently conveyed to the Planning Commission.As indicated in Planning Commissionís response, the Commission has and will remain focused on serving the public.

Grand Jury Finding 26:The applicant and planner never know what the PC will require for a project before it comes to the first, and in some cases, second and third Planning Commission hearings which is a waste of applicant, planner and PC agenda time.

P&D Response to Finding 26:Partially Disagree.The Planning Commission does raise issues about some projects that could not be predicted by staff before the hearing.Some of the issues could be raised informally to the planner by Commissioners prior to the hearing to ensure the planner could provide an adequate response.Other issues arise during the course of public hearing process and cannot be anticipated in advance.

PC Response to Finding 26:The Planning Commission partially agrees and partially disagrees with this finding.To the extent permissible by law, the Commissioners work with staff, applicants, and the public to make their preliminary questions and concerns known prior to the public hearing.However, Planning Commissioners cannot legally reach any conclusions about a project or decide what conditions should be imposed, until all environmental review is complete, a public hearing has been held, and public deliberations have occurred.

BOS Response to Finding 26:The Board adopts P&Dís and Planning Commissionís responses as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Partially disagree).Some issues are raised informally to the planner by Commissioners prior to the hearing to ensure the planner can provide an adequate response.Other issues arise during the course of public hearing process and cannot be anticipated in advance.

Grand Jury Recommendation 26a:The Commission should offer applicants the benefit of their initial thoughts during a preliminary conceptual review.

P&D Response to Recommendation 26a:The recommendation will not be implemented because the Planning Commission believes it is not warranted.The Commission considered and rejected the preliminary conceptual review process in its response to the 1998-1999 Grand Jury Report, and reaffirms this conclusion in response to the 1999-2000 report.

PC Response to Recommendation 26a:Recommendation 26a will not be implemented.Recommendation 26a was previously considered at great length by the Commission at a previous public hearing and the majority of the Commission rejected the idea.One member of the Commission remains strongly committed to the idea of conceptual review and believes it could result in substantial time savings.The Commission remains committed to improving its efficiency by all feasible means and may reconsider the idea of holding hearings for conceptual review at a later date.

BOS Response to Recommendation 26a:The Board adopts P&Dís and Planning Commissionís responses as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will not be implemented at this time because it is not warranted).The Commission considered this recommendation at great length at a previous public hearing and the majority of the Commission rejected the idea.

Grand Jury Recommendation26b:In the absence of preliminary review, commissioners should give the planners their thoughts about a project in writing before the hearing.In this way, those ideas could be addressed by the applicant and planner before they reach agenda.

P&D Response to Recommendation 26b:The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not reasonable.In order to preserve procedural due process and ensure open government, Commission deliberations and decisions must occur in a public hearing.Planning Commissioners are encouraged to ask the planners clarifying questions about projects and to indicate issues of concern prior to the public hearing to ensure the planner is prepared to address all relevant issues in giving the written or oral staff report.However, the Commission should not and does not provide direction or conclusions on a project outside the public hearing.

PC Response to Recommendation 26b:Recommendation 26b is already being implemented to the extent legally feasible; Commissioners convey routinely their questions and concerns to staff before the hearing so that they can be fully and efficiently addressed.For Commissioners to give planners written statements about a project before the project had a full public hearing could violate both the due process clause of the constitution and the Brown Act.

BOS Response to Recommendation 26b:The Board adopts Planning Commissionís response as the Board of Supervisorsí response (the recommendation will not be implemented at this time because it is not warranted).†† For Commissioners to give planners written statements about a project before that project had a full public hearing could violate both the due process clause of the Constitution and the Brown Act.

Grand Jury Finding 27:Some commissioners give their thoughts about a project to the planner before the project hearing but insist on going over the same process once the television cameras are on.

P&D Response to Finding 27:Agree.

PC Response to Finding 27:The Planning Commission agrees with the finding; but disagrees with the implication contained therein that television coverage affects the public hearing.As stated in response to Finding 26, the Commission must conduct its business during noticed public hearings.In addition, the Commission must articulate findings stating its reasons for approving or denying a project.Therefore, even if Commissioners have asked numerous questions before or during the hearings, they must still deliberate.Further, if Commissioners disagree with the proposed findings presented by staff, they must state the rationale for their different or augmented feelings.

BOS Response to Finding 27:The Board adopts P&Dís and Planning Commissionís responses as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree).The Commission must conduct its business during noticed public hearings, and must articulate findings stating its reasons for approving or denying a project.Therefore, even if Commissioners have asked numerous questions before or during the hearing, they must still deliberate.Further, if Commissioners disagree with the proposed findings presented by staff, they must state the rationale for their different, or augmented, findings.

Grand Jury Recommendation 27:If this continues to be a problem, the PC chair and BOS might consider not televising the hearings.

PC Response to Recommendation 27:Recommendation is not within the Planning Commissionís jurisdiction to implement; the Board decides which public hearings to televise.However, the Commission believes that televising the hearings serves an important public purpose by providing a larger number of citizens ready access to the Commissionís proceedings.The Commission does not believe that the presence of television cameras lengthens the Commissionís deliberations; the length of deliberations is governed by the complexity of the issues and by the rules governing the public planning process.However, as stated repeatedly above, the Commission is fully committed to making the hearings as efficient as possible, including making their deliberations as focused and concise as possible.

BOS Response to Recommendation 27:This recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted.Televised hearings serve an important public purpose by providing a larger number of citizens ready access to the Commissionís proceedings.The Board of Supervisors does not believe that the presence of television cameras lengthens or hinders the Commissionís deliberations; the length of deliberations is governed by the complexity of the issues and by the rules governing the public planning process.The Commission has re-iterated its commitment to making the hearings as efficient as possible, including making their deliberations as focused and concise as possible.

Grand Jury Finding28:The Planning Commission and Board of Architectural Review (BAR) seem to have overlapping areas of authority.

P&D Response to Finding 28:Agree.

PC Response to Finding 28:The Planning Commission agrees with this finding; however, the Commission does not believe that all of the overlap can, or should, be eliminated.The Commission holds the BAR in high regard and tries to defer to the professional expertise of the BAR when appropriate; however, the Planning Commission must be able to make the findings necessary to approve or deny a project.In addition, frequently the Planning Commission is more familiar with a project than the BAR, and has had the opportunity to visit the project site.

BOS Response to Finding 28:The Board adopts P&Dís and Planning Commissionís responses as the Board of Supervisorsí response (Agree).

Grand Jury Recommendation 28a:The boundaries should be articulated and codified by the Board of Supervisors.

P&D Response to Recommendation 28a:The recommendation has been implemented in part and will be fully implemented within the next six months.The Board of Supervisors has directed improvements to the County's design review process, discussed above in response to Recommendation 24.There will remain some overlap because of the nature of site planning review.P&D will attempt to focus the Planning Commission principally on issues of site grading, general design issues including height, bulk and scale, and neighborhood compatibility considerations.Generally speaking, more detailed design review on Planning Commission projects will be steered toward staff and the BAR.That said, the Grand Jury should recognize that most of the projects reviewed by the BAR do not originate with the Planning Commission.For those projects, the BAR and the staff are the only reviewers, and P&D will be encouraging the BAR to look at grading, screening and neighborhood compatibility as well as architecture.

PC Response to Recommendation 28a:The Board has been reviewing the role of the BAR and amending the ordinance which establishes the BAR functions.The Planning Commission previously made recommendations to the Board about the ways that communications and coordination between the BAR and the Planning Commission could be improved.The Commission remains committed to improving this important element of the County planning process.

BOS Response to Recommendation 28a:As indicated in P&Dís and Planning Commissionís responses, the recommendation has been implemented in part and will be fully implemented within six months.The Board of Supervisors recently adopted revisions to the BAR ordinance which deals with such elements as Board composition, appointments, compensation, length of term, and neighborhood compatibility issues.The Board of Supervisors will be reviewing and adopting revised by-laws within six months which deal with issues such as use of design guidelines, requirements for site visits, and other procedures.See response to Recommendation 24 for further clarification.There will remain some overlap because of the nature of site planning review.According to the P&D Director, P&D will attempt to focus the Planning Commission principally on issues of site grading, general design issues including height, bulk and scale, and neighborhood compatibility considerations.Generally speaking, more detailed design review on Planning Commission projects will be steered toward staff and the BAR.The Grand Jury should recognize that most of the projects reviewed by the BAR do not originate with the Planning Commission.For those projects, the BAR and the staff are the only reviewers, and P&D will be encouraging the BAR to look at grading, screening and neighborhood compatibility as well as architecture.

Grand Jury Recommendation28b:The BOS should provide oversight to ensure the Commission is functioning in an appropriate manner, being respectful of the time and cost concerns of applicants, being respectful of planners and staying focused on their areas of responsibility.

P&D Response to Recommendation 28b:The recommendation is that the BOS should provide oversight of the Planning Commission.P&D does not disagree with the recommendation, but is not in a position to be accountable for it.

BOS Response to Recommendation 28b:The recommendation has been implemented.ThePlanning Commission is appointed by the Board.Board members meet at their discretionwith their appointed Planning Commissioners, and as such, provide guidance on these types of issues. The Board of Supervisors trusts the judgment of the Planning Commissioners to manage their duties and responsibilities in an effective manner.The Board takes this opportunity to publicly acknowledge the tremendous amount of time and work effort expended by the Planning Commissioners.They willingly work the extra hours that are required to do the job right and consistently display a high level of dedication and attention to detail on projects being reviewed.The Board commends the Planning Commission for their strong work ethic, and willingness to make personal sacrifices to effectively serve the public and our community.

Grand Jury Finding 29:The BOS gives mixed messages to P&D, the PC and the general public on how the County should grow.Practice does not always follow policy.

P&D Response to Finding 29:Agree, with a caveat.There are two issues here.First, the political composition of the Board changes over time, and these changes may result in changing Board direction on land use policy.This is a legitimate feature of democratic government.The Department takes its policy direction from the Board, and if the Board wishes to exercise its legislative prerogative to change adopted land use policy, it is free to do so as long as procedural due process is followed.The second issue arises in the Board's exercise of its quasi-judicial decision making on permits.There is some room for discretion to be applied to similar facts in different ways on different occasions.The Board weighs neighborhood opposition to projects Ė a factor which is not part of P&D's role.This too is legitimate governmental behavior.(The Department has sometimes been subject to demands that adopted policy be interpreted in a way which, in the professional judgment of department staff, varies so substantially from past interpretation that a legislative change is required.)

The system for reviewing permit applications could be more predictable, consistent and efficient if these variabilities did not exist.Since land use policy is such a key component of County politics, and since there is so much variability of constituents' expectations and neighborhood standards throughout the County, the Department needs to be as efficient and predictable as possible while recognizing the role of the Planning Commission and Board in rendering political decisions.

BOS Response to Finding 29:Disagree.The political composition of the Board changes over time, and these changes may result in changing Board direction on land use policy.This is a legitimate feature of democratic government.If the Board wishes to exercise its legislative prerogative to change adopted land use policy, it is free to do so as long as proceduraldue process is followed.This, however, does not imply that mixed messages are being given, or that practice does not follow policy.It simply means that each case needs to be evaluated on its own merit, with its own unique circumstances.For example, the Board needs to listen to and respond to public input.It must weigh neighborhood comments to projects and seek alternative solutions if and when warranted.The Board strives for consistency in the midst of a multitude of variables.The Board re-iterates its disagreement with the Grand Juryís Finding that practice does not always follow policy.Policy provides the boundaries by which complex, multi-faceted issues can be resolved.

Grand Jury Recommendation29:The BOS should follow its stated policies on land use issues or change or amend the policies.

P&D Response to Recommendation 29:The recommendation is that the BOS should behave in a certain way.P&D does not disagree with the recommendation, but is not in a position to be accountable for it.

BOS Response to Recommendation 29:The recommendation has been implemented.Please refer to response to Finding 29.

Grand Jury Finding 30: The BOS often divides along philosophical lines with no apparent effort to work together to reach real accommodation fair to all points of view.

P&D Response to Finding 30:Agree with the first observation, and disagree with the second. The Board does divide along philosophical lines, and these lines are sometimes equivalent to geographic lines.The Board does attempt to reach accommodations that reflect all points of view, but some policy issues require decisions that result in winners and losers.

BOS Response to Finding 30:Agree in part, and disagree in part.The Board does divide along philosophical lines, but this is fundamental to the democratic process.The Board disagrees that there is no apparent effort to work together to reach real accommodation fair to all points of view.Each Supervisor has opportunity to voice his or her opinion and concerns about an issue before a decision is made.Communication and educational opportunities amongst the Supervisors is ongoing.Recently, the Second District Supervisor spent a day visiting the Fourth District and mutually discussing issues.Also, in July, the First District Supervisor, with representatives from the Second and Third District Offices attended The Central Coast Wine Growers Association ďVineyard Outreach TourĒ in Santa Maria.The purpose of this tour was to provide education to various agencies and organizations that have a direct influence on the wine industry.Topics such as pest control, resource protection and mitigation, oak tree regeneration, agriculture and the environment were discussed; all of which require Board members to work together to determine viable solutions and policies.These are just two examples of Supervisors conducting site visits throughout the County, to understand concerns and issues of constituents in other districts, to provide the Board with a Countywide perspective of issues.This has proven to be a positive process.

Grand Jury Recommendation 30:No matter what the philosophical split of the BOS, the predictable philosophical division, heavy with political overtones, should stop.BOS members must do a better job of listening to, and hearing, one another.Politics must be put aside if the County is to grow in a way that provides housing and work for its citizens, accommodates business, and preserves the natural beauty of Santa Barbara County, given to us all in trust for future generations.

P&D Response to Recommendation 30:The recommendation is that the BOS should behave in a certain way.P&D does not disagree with the recommendation, but is not in a position to be accountable for it.

BOS Response to Recommendation 30:The recommendation has been implemented as much as is practically possible.As stated in response to Finding 30, collaborative efforts and communication among the Supervisors has taken place.Again, in referring to Finding 30, philosophical differences is a legitimate feature of our democratic government.It provides the balance, the challenge, the opportunity to hear opposing views, and it is this ďpush-pullĒ aspect of politics that reinforces the checks and balances aspect upon which our government was created.

2000-2001 Grand Jury Comments

 

The 2000-2001 Grand Jury is encouraged by the responses that indicate that the Planning and Development Department is implementing many of the recommendations made in the1999-2000 Grand Jury report.It also commends the Department for the quarterly updates to the Grand Jury that delineate the progress of the Department in carrying out the recommendations.