Livermore Planning Commission Fine Tunes Vision Statement for 2045 – Livermore Independent

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Updated: November 27, 2021 @ 8:12 am
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Taking a turn to forge a vision statement for what Livermore should aspire to be in 2045, the city’s planning commission on Nov. 16 dissected a proposed 100-word paragraph for nearly two hours, suggesting the addition of phrases including “jobs,” “honor,” “biological diversity” and “breweries.”
The commission’s editing procedure followed community outreach, staff and consultant work, and discussions among a 19-member appointed committee to create a proposed vision statement and guiding principles that will inspire the city’s general plan rewrite for how the community will grow and develop through 2045. The current general plan written in 2004 expires in 2025, and state law requires a new one.
“‘Resiliency’ would be a great word to have in here somewhere,” Planning Commission Chair Jacob Anderson said during a discussion that focused on spicing up some proposed verbiage and shifted an emphasis from cliched buzzwords toward realism.
The process to write a new general plan began in March when the city council hired the consultant firm, PlaceWorks, and appointed residents to a General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) to start discussions and conduct community outreach. Consultants visited parks, libraries, farmers markets and other locations to survey residents, asking for their opinions on what they liked about Livermore and what they would like to see in its future.
Joanna Jansen, principal in charge of PlaceWorks Bay Area office — which works on general plans for numerous California cities — said Livermore residents pointed to plenty of positives about the city, offering up terms like “small town,” “family-friendly,” “safe,” “downtown,” “restaurants,” “schools,” “parks” and “open space.” Residents also identified negatives, such as traffic congestion, lack of affordable and diverse housing options, limited public transit, parking and homelessness.
Jansen described the vision statement as if “someone dropped you down into Livermore in 2045 and you were looking around. What would be the best vision of Livermore you would like to see?” She described guiding principles as values for “how we make decisions — how we work together to manifest that physical embodiment.”
Asked about their vision for the city in 2045, residents cited keeping a small-town feel with a vibrant downtown, a safe and healthy community, a strong economy, a variety of housing options, and open space, Jansen said.
The input resulted in a proposed vision statement that read:
“In 2045, Livermore is a safe and welcoming community, with a big heart, where diverse people share a connection to the city and each other. Residents and visitors enjoy a vibrant, active, clean downtown. Walking, biking and transit are pleasant and convenient. Livermore maintains a healthy local economy and families of all income levels find diverse housing choices close to well-maintained parks, shopping and exceptional schools. The community values its agricultural heritage and natural open spaces surrounding the city. Residents remember Livermore’s small-town roots as they plan for the future, fostering a close-knit place where civic life and opportunity prosper.”
Crediting the GPAC, Jansen and city staff for their work, the five-member planning commission’s job was then to critique the language of the proposed vision statement, offer suggestions for improvements, ask staff to redo it, and send a new version to the city council for another discussion in December.
Anderson went through the paragraphs line by line, saying the statement should reflect a vibrant city, not just the downtown, and focus on maintaining a healthy economy that attracts families of all income levels to diverse housing and jobs, excellent shopping, clean parks and top schools.
The proposed statement, he said, seemed passive. So, Anderson prepared his own 140-word version that he’d prepared in advance as a suggestion and read it aloud:
“In 2045, Livermore will continue to be a wonderful place like no other with a safe and welcoming community for all, where diverse people share a connection to the city and each other. Residents and visitors enjoy vibrant active clean commercial spaces, a place where walking, biking and transit are pleasant and convenient. Livermore will maintain a healthy local economy, resilient to a changing world. Individuals and families of all income levels find diverse housing choices, close to well-maintained arts, shopping, jobs and exceptional schools. The community values and works to preserve its agricultural heritage and natural open spaces surrounding the city. Livermore also carries on its commitment to science technology and wide genres of the arts. Residents honor Livermore’s small-town, big-hearted roots as they plan for the future, fostering a close-knit community where civic life and opportunity prosper.”
Anderson’s colleagues appeared to like it and offered some more suggestions, such as Commissioner John Stein’s emphasis on including phrases about biodiversity and climate change. Asked to sum up what the panel wanted in a revised statement, Senior Planner Andy Ross and Jansen quickly spelled it out: More aspiration with phrases like resiliency, economic sustainability, cultural amenities and even the word breweries to reflect more than the city’s wine industry.
The panel unanimously approved its critique and sent Ross and Jansen to rewrite a new version. That version will go next to the city council.
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Foothill Falcon Kenny Olson runs for a touchdown during last week’s quarterfinals of the North Coast Section CIF Division 2 playoffs. The Falcons hosted the San Leandro Pirates and won 39-13. Foothill faces Rancho Cotate at Rohnert Park on No…

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