The City Council is a little more than half way through a two-year process to update the city's general plan. The general plan is a guide for growth and land development for Beaumont, for both the current period and the long term. The plan addresses important community issues such as new growth, housing needs and environmental protection. Every county and city in California is required by state law to have a General Plan, and the plan is required to be up to date. Beaumont's last update is more than 10 years old.
We created a task force made up of community members and stakeholders. We've conducted community meetings, workshops, and online surveys. Last month we held a General Plan community meeting where two general concerns were repeatedly expressed during public comments. The first was about losing our small-town feel. The second was about balancing home development with adequate infrastructure. For most Beaumont citizens I’ve spoken to, these are two of the most common concerns.
I moved to Beaumont because I found a home that met my family’s needs and was more affordable than ones closer to my work. I was attracted by a small-town feel, recreational opportunities for my kids, and good schools. I knew, in the short term, I would be driving to Redlands or the desert for shopping, dining and entertainment but I believed the promise of more retail, restaurants and entertainment that the City of Beaumont’s website promised. The recession of 2008 followed a couple years after I moved here and economic development came to a halt.
In 2014, I was elected to the Council the worst of my fears were confirmed. We learned of our true financial condition and it became clear the infrastructure necessary to support future economic development would once again be put on hold. Now, three years later we are rebuilding our financial future and we are beginning to address our infrastructure needs. The WRCOG settlement has enabled the city to direct more resources towards infrastructure but there is still a long way to go.
We know our community wants to maintain the opens spaces and small-town feel that we all moved here for but we also realize our community needs more infrastructure just to catch up. Now we need to plan for investments into the infrastructure we need and at the same time we want to preserve the open spaces and small-town feel? The council members know the community wants to see more retail and entertainment businesses instead of more dollar stores and auto parts stores. How do we attract the businesses we now drive to Redlands and the Coachella Valley for? How do we bring businesses that will employ our residents and transform Beaumont from a bedroom community to a self-sustaining city?
After I was elected to the City Council, I reached out to Costco, Target, movie chains and dining establishments to find out what we need to do to attract their business. There is one common answer, more rooftops. The residents we have here now aren’t enough, they are more interested in the potential future market? They need to know what is Beaumont’s plan for growth?
A city's two primary sources of revenues for funding operations and providing the services our citizens need, are property and sales taxes. We will need to upgrade our infrastructure and grow our population to attract the businesses and home owners we need to grow our annual sales and property tax revenues.
We could design a general plan that discouraged home development but we wouldn't be able to fund our infrastructure needs. With insufficient infrastructure and no future growth potential, Beaumont will no longer be the place young families and retiring seniors will want to move. This will have a negative impact on home values, the most significant investment most of us have made in our family’s future.
The Council understands the importance of our decision and we take our responsibility seriously. We have authorized moving forward with an environmental impact report, EIR, that will provide us guidance towards responsible growth. We are seeking guidance from our community on what balanced growth they want for Beaumont’s future. There will be more public hearings and council meetings to voice your opinion. Please contact City staff or a council member to make sure you don’t miss your opportunities to voice your opinion and be a part of the planning process.