On Thursday, April 12, 2007, I, Raymond Lutz (County resident), visited the San Diego County Department of Planning and Land Use. I requested the file on the Blackwater project (Project Designators: P06-069, R06-019, AP 06-004, Log No. 06-20-001) and talked with the newly assigned planner, Jarrett Ramaiya.
In review of the file, I noted that key documents were missing, such as the detailed plot plan, as well as technical submissions from Blackwater USA with regard to the project that had been described in the planning group meeting, and relied upon for their preliminary vote of approval, such as the noise computer model.
Ramaiya provided the document addressed to Catherine C. Engberg of Shute, Mihlay & Weinberger LLP, "Re: Public Records Act Request for Technical Studies Concerning Blackwater West Project (P06-09)" This letter stated (in summary) that the DPLU could withhold documents that were draft technical studies. I was told by Ramaiya that there were several boxes of material in the back that were not considered public material. I asked if they had that information but were unsure which parts were public and which were not, given that the detailed plot plan would certainly be considered public. He said he would not answer the question, but simply pointed to the letter and said that he would let the letter speak to the question. He said that he would try to sort through all the materials and segregate the "public" information from that information that they wished to deny public review, and that the file was not in order due to the recent turnover in planners at the department.
I left the office without being able to review the detailed plot plan or the computer model of the noise test. This is unfortunate, given that the public has a short time to process the material. In my view, it would be preferable to err on the side of disclosure, as the public has a limited time period to review the material. I would assert that due to this inability of the DPLU to provide the complete file, the time period for public comment should be extended accordingly.
-- Raymond Lutz
- 24 Apr 2007