To the Inyo County Planning Commission:

Dear Members of the Inyo County Planning Commission,

I am unable to be in attendance for today’s Meeting. Item #6, General Plan Amendment 2013-2 is without a doubt the most important item that you might ever have on the Agenda. In this proposal before you is the request to amend the General Plan and create a zoning overlay to allow for a drastic change in land use and zoning designation in Inyo County. I and many others have concerns for the entire Inyo  County. The Owens Valley REDA however is the focus of this correspondence.

The Owens Valley REDA is an overlay of a current Court Ordered Mitigation Project ,The Lower Owens River Project ( LORP). The current  zone designations of Conservation and Agriculture are in agreement and compliance with the zone designations . Good Planning Practices would dictate that that zone designation and usage should be in agreement.  Poor Planning Practices would fail to recognize the existing zoning and usage. The establishment of a zone permitting Industrial Scale Development would need to have overwhelming issues and no alternative locations to justify a change. There is no overwhelming need to provide a REDA in the boundaries of the Lower Owens River Project and there are many alternatives to provide for renewable energy generation. You should know of the Queue List of existing Projects slated for Interconnection to the Owens-Rinaldi Transmission Line. I offer you the web site as your Planning Department has failed to do in over 300 plus pages of documents . The web site is  http://www.oatioasis.com/ldwp . The Queue List  of the 16 current projects that over flow the capacity of even the upcoming upgrade to the Line  include  two (2)  that are sited in this proposed Owens Valley REDA.  Also at the Interconnection Generation tab as is the LGIP (Large Generation Interconnection Procedure) which defines the LADWP process for a connection (interconnection) of an energy generating station to the Transmission Line and the Grid. There is much to learn and know about the complicated issues of Renewable Energy especially when it’s Industrial Scale. We should all clearly understand all elements of a proposal before making recommendations.

The Inyo County Planning Department is asking you to accept and recommend some “limited alternatives” that do not include the concerns and contributions of  Stakeholders nor any other contribution/concern  by individuals such as myself.  I and others have asked for some additional time of the 2 business days to provide input into the current proposal before you of the Planning Department. The Agenda Packet was made available on Feb 14, 2014 in the Afternoon with comments and corrections for consideration due Feb 19, 2014 .   With the Monday holiday that’s two business days. The Planning Department had from Feb 19 till Feb 26, 5 business Days to assess comments . Hardly fair, hardly a public input process that is equal to and addresses a vital and historic change to our General Plan.

These issues are presented to you now. They have been presented to Mr. Hart, Planning Director in an exchange of emails on Feb 19 and those emails should be part of the record as I had  requested . If not I have a record and will provide them to you upon request.

This General Plan Item before you is not just about the issue, pros and cons. It is also about the process. It is the responsibility of the Planning Commission for many aspects of this process and I hope that PUBLIC INPUT and PARTICIPATION is part of work and the responsibility that you provide.

The Landscapes and the Lands of the Owens Valley have been evolving here for millions and millions of years . They are still relatively empty here in 2014. Page 1-1 of the Inyo County General Plan      http://inyoplanning.org/general_plan/goals/ch1.pdf

- paragraph 2    “The Sierra Nevada Mountains ,with their steep granite peaks, provide a striking and consistent visual backdrop along the western edge of the County”

- paragraph 3    “The Owens Valley is filled with items of visual interest ,including creeks  and riparian areas ,lave flows  and cinder cones ,interesting and unique communities , broad grasslands ,and golden fall colors.”

Please recommend to the Board of Supervisors that we do not need to make any changes to the General Plan without an adequate Public Participation Process. Please recommend to the Board of Supervisors that we maintain our Inyo County for its Natural Settings and that there should be renewable energy development that coexists with the beauty, wonder and harmony that only Mother Nature has provided over the eons of time.  We have plenty of time to leave our next footprints in the Owens Valley, in Inyo County. Let’s do our up most to get it right.

Respectfully,   Philip Anaya

 

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