SBCBC Logo.png

In an effort to ensure that the San Benito County community is informed on local interest and engagement on issues surrounding “Funding for Projects and County General Plan EIR Jeopardized by Inconsistency in Population Growth Figures,” please see the following sentiments shared by San Benito County Business Council leadership to the San Benito County Council of Governments (COG) on March 19 and Association of Monterey Bay Governments on April 8 relating to the AMBAG Draft Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) and Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) Plan:


Thank you very much for AMBAG’s consideration of ensuring that local and regional planning organizations utilize the best available, realistic data, processes and community engagement efforts to ensure that all organizations adopt a better basis for planning that is both consistent with local directives as well as recognizes that we need to sustain and foster significant investment to be economically viable and sustainable as a community.


In your consideration of population growth, the AMBAG MTP and SCS must be consistent with other plans prepared by local, state and federal agencies and reflective of the dramatic economic recovery being experienced in neighboring regions, especially our immediate neighbor to the north, Santa Clara County. Since June 23, 2009 (nearly 5 years) all analyses of the County General Plan have been based on AMBAG’s 2008 population forecast of 94,731 by 2035 based on numerous factors explained below. AMBAG’s current growth forecasts of 81,000 population by 2035 for their MTP/SCS are too low and are inconsistent with County Board of Supervisors direction (June 23, 2009 and July 24, 2012) and growth factors available to AMBAG since 2009. For example, AMBAG has given insufficient consideration of the end of the Hollister sewer moratorium, elimination of growth control measures, a substantial uptick in the activity of private investment, current and active general plans in all jurisdictions especially in Hollister and San Benito County encouraging residential, commercial and industrial retention and expansion.


The San Benito County Business Council further asks AMBAG’s work be consistent with these growth projections and work with Caltrans and the Federal Department of Transportation’s Highway Administration to extend the timeline for consideration of a final EIR and adoption of the MTP and SCS that allows proper engagement with the San Benito County community and agencies and for full consideration of transportation funding. The overly aggressive timelines and current processes have simply not provided adequate time for our undercompensated elected officials and understaffed agencies to review and analyze the sheer volume of information contained in those plans as well as our own regional transportation plan.


Finally, as reflected in the low participation rate of San Benito County residents in AMBAG workshops, the public participation plan and process is inadequate and insufficient to reach our diverse and commute-reliant population. We would like to work with you on these efforts.


As reflected in our comments on the County General Plan update, our comments and suggestions on this matter are intended to strike a balance between the need to sustain and protect important resources, which we support, with the need to permit the County to thrive, expand and enhance the community job base, improve the economic climate, support a superior quality of life and actively contribute to the wellbeing of the communities of San Benito County.


Sincere regards,

Larry Barr, San Benito County Business Council President

Established in 2002, the Business Council is a 501 C 6 non-profit organization comprised of more than 45 businesses, municipal, non-profit and community agencies, representing more than 2,500 employees...