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Planning chair: Plenty to do
Kerri Warren was selected on Wednesday to chair the Willows Planning Commission.
Warren replaced Candis Woods on a 3-0 vote after Woods turned down the nomination to continue at the helm another year.
Woods will serve as the vice chair.
Although the economy has taken its toll on planning and building, Warren said she wants the Planning Commission to meet on a regular basis.
The Planning Commission met only six times in 2012.
"I think we need to meet once a month," she said.
City officials have planning consultant Karen Mantele reviewing outdated conditional use permits, and the Planning Commission is hoping a couple of projects will come forward in the next year.
The Commission on Wednesday held its General Plan year-end review for the period of April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, so that Mantel could send the annual progress report to the state.
Willows didn't meet its planned regional housing needs allocation that was outlined in the city's housing element, which was adopted in 2010, Mantele said.
The housing element prescribes how many housing units the city must plan for at varying levels of affordability between 2007 and 2014.
Mantele said the plan calls for 487 units.
"We are at 53," Mantele said. "But it's like that across the state. Most cities are having trouble meeting its numbers."
The new 49-unit senior housing project scheduled to begin in the fall will help bring the numbers up, she said.
Although it has been more than 30 years since the city adopted its General Plan, Mantele said the housing element is the city's only updated element.
The element is required every five years and allows the city to qualify for grant funding, she said.
Other elements include open space, conservation, circulation, safety, seismic, noise, and scenic highways.
Some have not been updated since the 1970s.
Mantele said the city has no immediate plan to update its General Plan, due to cost.
A complete General Plan update can run a city upwards to $1 million, Mantele said.
"The cost is unfathomable," she said.
The Planning Commission will hold a joint meeting with the City Council on April 9, to talk about zoning changes and possibly guideline for multiple family housing and conditions on home businesses.
Warren said for the most part, she would like the City Council to give the Planning Commission direction for the year.
"I would like feedback from the council," Warren said. "I want to know what they want us to focus on."