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Update -- CPAC meeting results

This is an update to last Monday’s post about the Arden Arcade Community Planning Advisory Council meeting held on 9/27/2018. The all-appointee Council approved two land use projects at that meeting and an additional liquor license. Of the land use projects, one requested a use permit for a water supply pump station at the Goodwill Building at Ethan and Alta Arden. It’s an ugly building in an ugly location adjacent to another ugly building, which is to say it fits right in. No one spoke in favor or opposition.

The other project asked to be excused from complying with development standards (setbacks, footprint and height) in the Zoning Code. State law allows for that, but only under certain conditions — none of which exist at the project site. And state law requires certain procedures, which the Council did not follow. Perhaps one of the reasons the Council did not abide by state law is they were incorrectly told by County Staff that they had to find that the project “fits in with the neighborhood”. Only the applicant spoke in favor of the project. Two people asked that the project follow the same rules that everyone else has to follow. The Council approved the project anyway. The next step for the project is approval by the Zoning Administrator, an employee of the County Planning Department, which is one of the ways the County makes it look like citizen opinion matters when, in truth, it really doesn’t. So don’t bother to call Supervisor Susan Peters about this one — it has been positioned for approval no matter what.

The liquor license was blessed for a convenience store at Avalon and El Camino, which is very close to El Camino High School. As is well-known across the community, there is an over-concentration of off-sale (to-go) liquor licenses here. Several citizens and even a member of the CPAC said so at the meeting. The Sheriff’s representatives gave their usual assurance that conditions of sale were adequate to control any problems, even though the Sheriff’s people have consistently told the community for years that they cannot adequately enforce those conditions. Two nearby residents said that the convenience store owner is a nice guy. So, of course, the CPAC opted to approve the license. The license has to be approved by the Board of Supervisors at a meeting date yet to be established. Based on her past performances, this is one where calls to Supervisor Susan Peters will be acknowledged and then later disregarded. But it is your right to give her your opinion. Her email address is and her phone number is (916) 874-5471. Will the Supervisors EVER deny a request for a liquor license?

As an appointed body, the CPAC gets to hear what it wants to hear and do what it wants to do. About 1/3 of these bodies across California are elected instead of being appointed. That makes a difference even though the role is merely to advise the Supervisors. it is one thing when the advice is given by people beholden to the appointing power and another when the advice comes from a body directly responsible to “the public”.

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The Arden Arcade CPAC is supposed to gather citizen opinions about land use projects and liquor licenses. They do not record their deliberations or public comments. They are all appointees of Supervisor Susan Peters, so they generally do her bidding. And, if they don’t report what she wants to hear, their advice is ignored. It’s just advice, you see. This is what passes for “municipal government” in Arden Arcade.
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