Another View: Region Builders supports Blueprint

Published: Friday, Jul. 5, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 12A

Because there are always several sides to any story, especially when people are passionate about their commitments, truths can sometimes be distorted or misinterpreted. Thus, in response to The Bee's editorials ("Region should rally behind SACOG Blueprint," June 19 and "Region reaffirms its support for Blueprint," June 24), we wanted to provide an accurate representation of Region Builders' position on the Sacramento Area Council of Government's Blueprint and local control.

Region Builders' position on the SACOG Blueprint is crystal clear; we support the principles associated with the Blueprint. We exist to promote regional cooperation and regional best practices. We believe that all jurisdictions benefit from a voluntary guide to encourage regional cooperation and sensible planning between independent jurisdictions.

We value and respect staff at all levels of government; they are on the front lines of implementing the policies set by elected leaders. We have worked closely and effectively with staff in nearly every jurisdiction in the region. We meet with elected officials and their staff and listen to their issues, needs and goals. We share with them innovative ideas of other communities, some from our region and some from across the country.

We emphasize local community financial health, sustainable growth and an expanding job market to build our regional viability. But the final responsibility – and accountability – of decisions for land use and growth is left with local city council members or county supervisors.

Region Builders has worked hard to promote regional cooperation and consistency – not by dictating policies to cities and counties, but by supporting innovation, then working to share "best practices" across multiple jurisdictions. We are a diverse region of agricultural, rural, suburban and urban development, businesses and residents. Our members and this organization strongly support sensible, efficient planning that considers the future of the region and recognizes the needs of individual local communities and their residents.

Our efforts have supported plans that provide CEQA streamlining benefits, limited growth boundaries, advocated for infill development strategies and have developed incentives for green sustainable development. We believe the region can and should do that and still be able to avoid processes that pit jurisdictions against each other or that do not provide the flexibility to tailor the regional goals to fit local needs.

Our belief has always been that the SACOG board should have the opportunity to support individual projects within their elected jurisdictions as they see fit. Our position was never one against the Blueprint. We want to make that clear.

Mike Kimmel and Joshua Wood are the board president and executive director of Region Builders, a building industry advocacy coalition comprising local trade associations and member companies.

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