Solvang Executives Struggle With Vision Statement, Lack Of Reference To Chumash And Spanish | Local News

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Committee meeting on August 23 – Joint session of the City Council and the Planning Commission


Solvang leaders dug a toe into the details of the city’s general plan on Monday at a joint meeting of the city council and planning commission, but discovered early dissent in the ranks after repeatedly ignoring the requests to include a reference to Chumash and the high Spanish predecessors in the vision document.

The Planning Commission voted 3-1 to approve the guiding principles of the plan, with the addition of a reference to the library and a change of verb, and asked staff to come back with a more succinct vision statement. Planning Commissioner Joannie Jamieson was a dissenter. Commissioner Scott Gold was absent.

“I think we’re sketching a whole story of what was here before Solvang. It’s not Danish, I know, but it’s definitely added to what some people come here for, ”said Jamieson, a seventh generation Californio.

The council upheld the committee’s decision with its own unanimous vote, although Mayor Pro Tem Clau Orona also repeatedly requested that the core document include specific reference to the Chumash and the Spaniards who preceded the Danish.

“There is nothing in the guiding principles that recognizes our relationship with the Santa Ynez Chumash Indian Band,” Orona said.

Jamieson has also repeatedly reminded the joint body that the Chumash culture in the valley is not a thing of the past, but a vibrant culture and community that continues to support the valley as a whole.

“If it weren’t for the tribe of this valley, there would be a world of financial suffering for people who need the extra money, and I’m not talking about gambling, I’m talking about the gifts they make. They make huge donations to all the schools in the Valley. We’re not just Danish, Mark, ”she said, referring to city councilor Mark Infanti.

“I give up. I agree,” replied Infanti.

Planning Commissioner Justin Rodriguez said retaining references specifically to Solvang’s Danish or to titles such as “Danish Capital of America” ​​did not exclude other cultures, and demanded that the common organ avoids “entering into semantics” and passes to “meat and potatoes”. »Of the general plan, which will guide urban planning decisions for the next 20 years.

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Ultimately, the plan will include in-depth dives into traffic and parking plans, city-wide fiscal impact modeling alternatives to existing land uses, and more. It will run alongside the City Housing Component Update, which will include an analysis of the site inventory and meet the housing requirements imposed by the State of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA ).

“Think of a vision as the foundation, therefore a vision fundamentally defines your path; that’s your goal, that’s what you envision, ”said Brent Gibbons of Mintier Harnich, who has contracted with Solvang to update the overall plan. “So a vision is supposed to be broad; it is supposed to be ambitious, comprehensive, long-term and visionary. A vision is not mandated by a general plan, but it is really useful because I like to think of the backbone of the plan itself. Everything else follows. “

The overall plan development process is now moving into its next steps, including a further revision of the vision statement and a public workshop on November 4 on alternative choices that will help inform the rest of the overall work. . Feedback from this workshop and further changes to the vision statement will be referred back to the board and commission for further guidance and final decisions.

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