Sunday, April 04, 2004

Growth Management II: Yet another GM study commission

In the never-ending quest by the Legislature to either fix or gut growth management (depending on your view and the particular bill that's running in any given year), there's a bill to set up another growth management commission - Here's the text.

It's pretty much the same fare as past commissions - 15 members, 5 appointed by the Pres of Senate, Speaker of the House and the Governor. There's room for an executive director, travel money for members and committe members, and authorization for consultants. But only $300,000 budget.

I just wish that we'd get one of these commissions to focus on process rather than trying to "fix" the outcome. Here's my wish list:

1) A land use board of appeals like Oregons to speed up decisions and make them more consistent.
2) A single statute providing basic administrative procedures requirements for local governments and for effective judicial review of them (including something that gives the circuit court powers like the District Courts have in Chapter 120.68 proceedings). Include some basic evidence standards and a consistent way to address bias issues in local decisionmaking. Require written opinions of all staff processes, even when they only make recommendations to another decision maker.
3) Tie the consistency review into the above so there's one consistent form of review for rezonings, special exceptions, etc.

This kind of approach would address review standards and the gross levels of discretion that local government adminstrative actors enjoy today to the detriment of both the development community AND neighbors/environmentalists, etc.

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