March 21, 2003

Commentary

Helping to Shape North County’s Growth

By: Esther Sanchez, Mayor and
Jack Feller, Councilmember

Our North County communities are growing faster than most cities in the region. On the one hand, it’s exciting for our cities to “grow up,” on the other hand this growth brings with it formidable challenges. Affordable housing, efficient transportation, infrastructure deficits, and environmental preservation could hold back the North County as well as the entire San Diego region if we don’t face these issues head-on.

These dynamic and interrelated challenges need to be handled in a comprehensive, systematic, and equitable approach. It’s the only way to really make a positive and lasting difference to better our quality of life.

  During 2003, with the invaluable help of many private and public organizations and individuals, the San Diego Association of Governments is pulling together the general plans of each of our 18 cities and numerous communities to start the process to create a Regional Comprehensive Plan. The goal of this 30-year plan is to provide the focus as well as the vision to improve our lives.

How do we structure a regional plan designed to work 30 years or more into the future, to accommodate residents living in both urban and rural areas, and to reflect the shared values of nearly three million people? Ultimately, plans have to be put into action and take into account real-world trade-offs and often conflicting priorities.

A new vision for our region is emerging. Major public policy decisions will be made during the next 18 months that will affect our region’s land use, transportation, environment, housing, jobs and economy. Public participation is key to honing this vision, developing priorities, and implementing a plan that will sustain our North County communities and the region into the coming decades.

Please join us at a public workshop on Tuesday, March 25, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Oceanside Library. Participants from all over North County will have the opportunity to do problem solving exercises to help craft the regional vision. All information and discussion will be conducted in English and Spanish. The creative outcomes of this and additional public meetings will be used to formulate the Regional Comprehensive Plan. Please see www.sandag.org/rcp for more information.

  The future of the San Diego region as a great place to live, work, and play depends on all of us working together. Please join in this inspiring and creative endeavor.

Esther Sanchez is Deputy Mayor for the City of Oceanside and Jack Feller is an Oceanside City Councilmember

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