OPINION: Measure U Redux: U is for Unsatisfactory

Hollister digs up the old, failed, Growth Management plan to become the new failed plan

By now everyone should know the futility of doing things the same old way and expecting the results to change. If so, why is Hollister considering resuscitating a version its Measure U Growth Management Program that did not work?

I want to change the way we do growth, but I’m interested in real improvement not just repeating the same old mistakes. That’s why I’m so disappointed in an interim growth management proposal that fails to address the essential issues and capture the real opportunities.  I’m also disappointed with the Mayor’s failure to clearly convey the City Council’s consensus to get moving on this issue – especially shortly after he complained, publicly and correctly, that so many things the city does administratively take much too long.

We’re not going to solve our problems with a point system that does little to encourage significant infrastructure improvements. If we want the builder to paint the fire hydrants pink, then that’s what our architectural and building standards should say; no extra points for that or anything else the should be our minimum standards.

The hangover from Measure U and the buildup of unused allocations is what put us exactly where we are today because it’s nothing but a numbers game. These types of simplistic non-solutions generate a lot of support from a frustrated public, but a decade later that same public is looking for the serial number of the locomotive that ran them over.

Where are the requirements to use development agreements to get more and improved public facilities such as road completions, educational facilities, and/or added recreational amenities in exchange for permission to develop?  A passing reference is inadequate.

Where are the requirements to closely coordinate growth with county developments that impact the city and the other way around? They are not taking inter-agency planning seriously.

We have to get both Hollister and San Benito County to stop looking at developments as individual impact areas and start looking at them as changes that affect our “micro-region.” Likewise, infrastructure improvements have to be micro-regional; improve the highway feeder roads or Hollister’s internal road net and both the county and city dwellers benefit.

Revising Measure U and also putting it on the slow boat is a surefire road to failure; it’s double-death and the lazy way for all concerned and of course it’s a political football. We’ll just stall out or get it going just when the next recession hits and permission to develop has no value.

Let’s get moving, get it fixed and quickly. With the right ideas we can reap the benefits during the period where permission to develop has so much value and use it to improve our infrastructure shortcomings, especially those related to recreation, education, and transportation.

Just once let’s put away the horse and buggy and get ahead of the well-known power curve.

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Marty Richman

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Marty (Martin G.) spent his teen years in northern New Jersey. He served more than 22 years on active military duty, mostly in Europe, and is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4, Nuclear Weapons Technical Officer. Marty then worked 25 years in various engineering and management positions in the electronics and energetic materials industries supporting the communications, computer, aerospace, defense and automotive sectors. He is a graduate, summa cum laude, from The College of Hard Knocks, among his numerous awards and accomplishments. He was a regular weekly Op/Ed columnist and feature writer for The Hollister Free Lance for seven years and a member of its editorial board for five years. Marty is a frequent commentator and contributor to BenitoLink on a wide variety of local, state, national and international subjects.   Marty was elected to represent the City of Hollister District 4 on the City Council in November, 2018. Marty and his wife, Joyce, have been residents of Hollister since 1996.