April 16, 2004

Commentary:

Planning for our future

By Ron Morrison

More than one year in the making, the draft Regional Comprehensive Plan for the San Diego region is now available for public review. The plan will serve as the foundation for connecting land uses, transportation systems, infrastructure needs, and public investment strategies for the San Diego region.

The Regional Comprehensive Plan (RCP) offers a long-term planning framework for the San Diego region. It defines a vision and lays a foundation to connect local and regional policy decisions that support our shared vision of the future. It balances population, housing, and employment growth with habitat preservation, agriculture, open space, and infrastructure needs. It moves us toward a more sustainable future – a future with more choices and opportunities for all residents of the region.

Residents, city and county elected officials, and regional infrastructure providers have been working together with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to prepare the draft RCP. One of its key components is the Integrated Regional Infrastructure Strategy (IRIS), an investment strategy that will help the region meet its collective infrastructure needs.

The RCP emphasizes the critical links between and among transportation and land use planning and local and regional planning, and demonstrates how these connections can be strengthened. It calls for focusing transportation and other infrastructure investments in our urban areas where jobs, homes, schools, recreation, and shopping are closer together. At the same time better transportation connections will help shorten commutes and will make transit, biking, and walking more convenient.

The RCP looks beyond our borders and takes into account the planning and growth underway in Imperial, Orange, and Riverside counties and Baja California, Mexico. It also looks at the equity in our planning processes: do all communities have access to the region’s resources and do all residents have an equal opportunity to participate in the process?

Most people agree that the San Diego region is a great place to call home. However, residents are telling us that schools, transportation water, energy, parks, and open space are important to maintaining our region’s quality of life. How we address our current infrastructure needs and finance our future needs are key components of the Regional Comprehensive Plan.

There are three opportunities coming up to contribute to the Regional Comprehensive Plan: Wednesday, April 21, 6 to 8 p.m., City Heights Center, 4305 University Ave, San Diego; Thursday, April 22, 6 to 8 p.m., Otay Recreation Center, 3554 Main St., Chula Vista; and Saturday, April 24, 9 to 11 a.m., Renette Center, 935 South Emerald Ave, El Cajon.

The “open house” format of the workshop will provide an informal setting where residents can meet with elected officials, as well as with SANDAG, city and county staff, and ask questions, discuss issues, and offer comments and feedback on the draft RCP and its draft Program Environmental Impact Report.

Now is your opportunity to review the plan and tell us what you think. What’s your vision for our future?

For more information on the RCP or to review and comment on the draft Plan, visit www.sandag.org/rcp, e-mail rcp@sandag.org, or call (619) 699-1900.

Hon. Ron Morrison is a National City Councilmember and chair of the SANDAG Board of Directors. He can be reached at (619) 336-4233.

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