Solvang executives wrestle over vision statement, lack of reference to Chumash and Spanish | Local News


August 23 Committee Meeting – Joint Session of City Council and Planning Commission

Solvang executives dipped a toe into the details of the city’s master plan Monday at a joint city council and planning commission meeting, but found early divisiveness in the ranks after repeatedly ignoring requests to include reference to Chumash and high Spanish predecessors in the vision document.

The Planning Commission voted 3 to 1 to approve the plan’s guiding principles, 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 dissented. Commissioner Scott Gold was absent.

“I think we go through the whole history of what existed 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 by its own unanimous vote, although Pro Tem Mayor Clau Orona also repeatedly requested that the base document include specific reference to Chumash and the Spaniards who preceded the Danes.

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

Jamieson also repeatedly reminded the joint body that the Chumash culture in the Valley is not a thing of the past, but a living culture and community that continues to sustain the Valley as a whole.

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

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

Planning Commissioner Justin Rodriguez said retaining specific references to Solvang’s Danish or titles such as “America’s Danish Capital” did not exclude other cultures, and asked that the common organ avoids “going into semantics” and moves on 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 analyzes of traffic and parking plans, modeling city-wide tax impact alternatives to existing land uses, and more. It will run concurrently with the city’s housing component update, which will include a site inventory analysis and address the state-mandated housing needs of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation ( RHNA).

“Think of a vision as the foundation, so a vision basically defines your path; that’s your goal, that’s what you’re looking for,” said Brent Gibbons of Mintier Harnich who contracted Solvang for the master plan update. “So a vision is supposed to be broad; it is meant to be ambitious, comprehensive, long-term and visionary. A vision is not mandated by an overall plan, but it really serves as the backbone of the plan itself I like to think of. Everything else follows from that.

The process of developing the master plan is now moving to the 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 work on the master plan. Feedback from this workshop and additional changes to the vision statement will be referred back to the board and commission for further guidance and final decisions.

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