Plans to build a new community of 7,500 homes a few miles between Orcutt and Los Alamos – North Hills – drew heavy fire at the Board of Supervisors on 6/5, as two former appointees of Supervisor Brooks Firestone condemned both the policy changes needed to bring the proposal to fruition and the process by which it’s come forward. Firestone’s former Planning Commissioner, Parker Montgomery, suggested the secrecy out of which the proposal has sprung violated the state’s open government law. “One or more of you have known about this project for a very, very long time and the CEO [Mike Brown] has known about it a long time. Why hasn’t the Planning Commission been told about it until now?”

Bob Field, Firestone’s appointee to the Santa Ynez Valley Policy Advisory Committee, said the plan violated well established county policies to curtail sprawl and leapfrog development. When he asked whether Firestone might have a conflict of interest because he owns land near the proposed development, Firestone took exception, saying, “We don’t name names here;” prompting Field to say he was only asking. The Planning Commission will tour the 4,000 acre site this Thursday, 6/7 and then decide next Tuesday whether the county should initiate the massive zoning changes needed to process the development application. The supervisors are scheduled to review the same question on 7/10.


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