Government / Politics

Hollister Council appoints new member to General Plan Advisory Committee

Group will expand from five to seven members to include more citizens in the process of updating the city’s guiding document.

The Hollister City Council appointed Roxanne Stephens to the General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) on Feb. 16, and decided to increase the group from five to seven members.

GPAC is an ad hoc committee established by the City Council in 2017 to assist with the updates of the city’s General Plan. Originally, a five-member committee was to be made up of two planning commissioners, two city council members and one member of the public. There are currently only three members: Mayor Ignacio Velazquez, Councilman Rolan Resendiz, and Planning Commissioner David Huboi.

Stephens was originally nominated for the Planning Commission position on GPAC to replace Gabriel Torres, whose term ended December 2018. When she was ratified at the Feb. 16 meeting, it was also decided the committee should be expanded to include three citizens-at-large.

The purpose of the GPAC is to provide recommendations to city staff and to the consultant team PlaceWorks, Inc., headed by David Early, regarding the formation of city goals and policies related to various elements of the General Plan, including land use, housing, circulation, economic development, art, climate action, community services and facilities, open space and agriculture, natural resources and conservation, and health and safety.

During the council’s discussion about the makeup of GPAC, it was unanimously agreed not only to ratify Stephens, but to bring back the resolution by March 5 after the city had advertised for volunteers and received applications.

Velazquez wanted to make sure applicants were properly vetted to assure they were “citizens and not part of a development group.” He said if the applications were in by March 5, there would be time to select the three citizens in time for the first meeting on March 23.

City Clerk Christine Black said if the applications were in by that date, unless there is a need for a special meeting, those selected could be ratified at the March 16 regular meeting.

Early told the council that if the applicants were ratified by March 16, there would be plenty of time for them to participate in the March 23 meeting.

“This is a very important period, and it would be great to have those three public members in time for the March 23 meeting,” Early said, adding that he wanted the public to be aware of two upcoming virtual General Plan public workshops on March 9 at 9 a.m. and March 10 at 6 p.m.

“Staff will be making the formal announcement, but you can look for those and register on Zoom,” he said. “I’d like to see large numbers of the public to appear at those.”

 

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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]