Contributed by Marty Richman
The case for mandatory joint impact planning for developments in Hollister and the surrounding area of San Benito County does not have to be made; it’s so obvious it makes itself.
The city of Hollister can only develop within its environs. Years ago, San Benito County decided that its primary development area would be around Hollister and, in cases, right up against it. Given that each development has impacts — especially traffic impacts, in the close-by county area and inside the city — it’s only logical that they start looking at the big picture in a formal manner.
I am not proposing any kind of veto power; neither level of government would surrender their independence. What I am proposing is a codified level of information exchange and a documented back-and-forth showing that the impact of future plans were considered.
For example, the impacts on Fairview Road, Airline Highway, and Union Road from a plethora of projects are all going to add up and it makes no sense to evaluate them piecemeal. In and around the Hollister area where the overwhelming majority of the county residents reside, the road network services the same areas and provides the same access routes.
Will the proposed school at Santana Ranch, a county development, affect only county residents? Of course not, but how the impacts ripple out depends on what’s on the drawing board and what’s in the General Plan.
A formalized joint planning process at the staff level should be the easiest decision and implementation for both the county and Hollister. I’m surprised we did not do it long ago.
Marty Richman is a candidate for Hollister City Council District 4. All candidates running for office are welcome to submit contributions to San Benito Live by emailing Editor Kollin Kosmicki at firstname.lastname@example.org.