Chair of Benicia Planning Commission to speak at March 15 City Council meeting

By Roger Straw, February 12, 2016

Commission votes to send a representative, will get 15 minutes

At its meeting on March 10, the Benicia Planning Commission was granted 15 minutes to present its case at the March 15 City Council meeting. Chair Don Dean will represent the Commission.

This would seem to be an adjustment in the agenda.

Previously, the public notice on the March 15 hearing stated that “Staff presentations and Valero presentations will take place on March 15, 2015.”  An email from the City confirmed that “The City and Valero will present at the Council’s March 15 meeting.”  The City’s website says “The City Council will open the hearing on the appeal on March 15, 2016 for Staff and Applicant presentations. ”

The appearance to the public was that staff, in full support of Valero’s proposal and in opposition to the Planning Commission’s denial of the project, was engineering a pro-Valero opening night at City Council, giving voice ONLY to itself and Valero.  This may not have been the case.

The Planning Commission had not taken formal action to name a representative to speak at the hearings until last night. So it may have been due to an abundance of procedural caution that the City failed to name the Commission as a presenter on the 15th.

At any rate, it is a welcome bit of news that Chair Dean will be allowed to speak on that first night of hearings.  It is only right that the Commission’s views get a hearing as Council members’ deliberate.