CALIFORNIA CITY — The City Council will discuss the possibility of eliminating the Planning Commission and shifting those responsibilities to the City Council, instead, during its regular meeting, on Tuesday.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 21000 Hacienda Blvd. Those interested may also participate via Zoom at https://us.06web.zoom.us/j/81842797391, meeting ID 818 4279 7391.
The issue of winding-down the Planning Commission was brought forward by Councilmember Kelly Kulikoff.
According to the report he prepared in the agenda packet, the Commission slows development “with added hoops to jump through or unnecessary advice that causes confusion.”
“Planning Commission responsibilities are simple problems that have constantly been given complex solutions leaving developers on the hook to try and swim through an ineffective ocean of misinformation,” Kulikoff wrote.
He also cites the fact that Commission meetings have been canceled a number of times due to a lack of staff to conduct the meeting.
Because the City Council must wait for a recommendation from the Planning Commission to move on various projects, not holding meetings results in delays in completing projects, Kulikoff wrote.
“California City is not a large city by any means. City Council can take over all the responsibilities of the Planning Commission and thereby further streamline the development process,” he wrote.
Kulikoff states in his report that “many cities in California don’t have a Planning Commission.”
All other cities in Kern County appear to have Planning Commissions, including Macfarland, which has a similar population to Cal City.
Kulikoff also states that, by moving the planning responsibilities to the Council, it will have more public input, as more people attend Council meetings than those of the Planning Commission.
In addition to the Planning Commission discussion, the Council will also consider a proposal to create an illegal dumping crew, funded through Kern County’s illegal dumping mitigation fund.
The city is scheduled to receive $337,000 annually, beginning in 2021-2022 for this purpose, according to the staff report.
Interim Public Works Director Amador Meza proposes using those funds to hire four full-time employees solely to clean up areas of the city where illegal dumping has occurred. This crew and the required equipment would be funded solely through the grant from Kern County.