Residents and planners in 3-year-old Calabasas are nearing a milestone in the development of a general plan for their city, a document expected to strongly defend the environment and the city's autonomy over most matters within its boundaries.
After nine months of meetings with a 19-member citizens advisory panel, planning consultants for Calabasas in a few weeks will issue the first draft of a policy document, which will provide an outline for the general plan itself.
"This is the exciting part, because it's where you finally get down and decide what the vision for the city is going to be," Calabasas Planning Director Steve Harris said. "The general plan is going to be what tells the staff and the council and the community what needs to be done."
It's a process that involves a lot of soul-searching and a little higher math, as residents chart the direction the city will take in new development, transportation, public works and other projects in the community.
Calabasas incorporated in 1990 after a series of Los Angeles County planning decisions for the area angered residents, who said they felt left out of the decision-making process.
A "statement of community issues," published in January after several months of meetings by residents, reflects the three top motives of Calabasas residents who led the movement to incorporate: "environmental responsibility," "local management and control of Calabasas' future" and "community image."
Those issues also are expected to shape the policy statement, which will be developed by city staff members during the next few months. An extensive series of public hearings on how the general plan should look is expected to get under way this fall, Harris said.