What Do You Think of the City of Mill Valley’s New Community Values?

Over the past several weeks, the city’s General Plan Advisory Committee has tweaked and expanded the values on which the last General Plan was based in 1989. Did they get it right?

With the city of Mill Valley in the early stages of an , the group of local residents charged with leading the way – the General Plan Advisory Committee – have dug into the “community values” on which the last updated was based.

The committee has come up with a working list that it intends to use to drive the process. We’ve pasted them below, with the 1989 “community values” list below that. For starters, you’ll notice that the number has expanded from seven to 11.

The next meeting of the GPAC is Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Two working groups, Community Vitality and the Natural Environment, meet July 18 and 19, respectively, at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Go here for more info on meetings andhere for more info on the General Plan update.

Here are the new values for 2012:

  1. A strong local economy that encourages entrepreneurs, and home-based businesses, and supports locally-owned and local-serving businesses. 
  2. Prudent municipal fiscal policies and practices, and operational excellence.
  3. The free flow of information, leveraging technology.
  4. Personal mobility by foot, bike, private vehicle and public transportation that is safe and convenient, reduces congestion, advances public health and promotes environmental sustainability.
  5. Our residential neighborhoods and their unique topography and natural features, architectural diversity and historic character.
  6. Housing choice for all income levels that provides for the local workforce, aging residents, young families and others to live in and contribute to our community.
  7. Open space and natural resource and habitat protection that define the physical character of our community, promote active, outdoor recreation and fulfill our responsibilities toward environmental stewardship and climate protection. 
  8. Protecting our community by planning and preparing for the impact of natural and man-made disasters, anticipating and adapting to potential threats to community facilities, systems and resources and promoting a community-wide level of readiness that will insure a timely and effective response. 
  9. The arts, our artistic community and its on-going and lasting contribution to our culture, heritage, history, character, economy and quality of life. 
  10. Community participation and volunteerism based on open communication, mutual respect, civil discourse, civic responsibility and building local and regional leadership.
  11. An excellent public education system and the contribution that an open, effective, mutually supportive relationship among the community, public schools and the city makes to our quality of life.

And here are the 1989 values:

  1. Preserving the quality and diversity of residential neighborhoods
  2. Maintaining healthy, attractive commercial areas serving local residents
  3. Maintaining the scenic quality of the bayfronts, ridgelines and hillsides
  4. Preserving and enhancing creeks, marshes and other natural areas
  5. Protecting people and buildings from natural hazards
  6. Minimizing traffic congestion and encouraging use of public transit
  7. Accommodating more low- and moderate-income households

What do you think of the changes?

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Rico July 18, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I think the changes are very good and much more realistic than the 1989 values. I especially like the promoting personal mobility by foot, bike, private vehicle and public transportation in that order. When one looks at the public transportation in Mill Valley, there are buses that run on about 2 miles of streets (Miller Ave and E. Blithedale) and there are around 120 miles of city surface streets in the City of Mill Valley. That has always been that way, so improving the streets, steps, lanes and paths, and bicycle use is much more important than public transportation in Mill Valley.
Alan Abrams July 18, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Whatever happened to "Preserve Mill Valley's Small Town Character"? That is the key value for this town under which all the others should fall.
Elizabeth Moody July 18, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I think Item 5 protects small town character which is a deceptive term better described here. Although we have little room for growth, it is important to plan for it, but the character of the town will always be maintained by establishing good design guidelines and planning oversight. 5.Our residential neighborhoods and their unique topography and natural features, architectural diversity and historic character.
Barbara Bauer July 19, 2012 at 05:33 AM
I like the 1989 list. Why not update but have the new list be short and clear? The suggested new list is too wordy and often vague. This creates an opportunity for endless and unproductive interpretation.
Anne Tique July 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Barbara, I agree. The new list may be well-intentioned, but verges on fitting the "word salad" definition. What does, "3. The free flow of information, leveraging technology," mean?
Rico July 19, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Anne, My interpretation is things like making all the city's codes and ordinances available online so anybody with a computer who has a question at any hour of any day can look it up online. Then they will know what is right as far as the city codes go, but whether they choose to follow the rules is up to them. Another example would be airing the City Council meetings on TV. That way, the citizens who don't have the time to go down to City Hall and attend the meetings can watch them on TV at home. Also, the Police Dept. has license plate cameras on 2 patrol cars. They can and do patrol every street, lane and alley and parking lots every night and are able to keep track of all vehicles parked outside of garages on the streets. I really don't know how many stolen cars and deadbeat dads who don't pay child support have been nabbed with these cameras, but it keeps the police busy who have to work on the graveyard shift-your tax dollars at work.
Roy Forest July 19, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I agree 100%!
Roy Forest July 19, 2012 at 07:12 PM
#9: The arts... M.V. has always been a magnet for creative artists, writers, musicians, etc. and it is a very important part of our history and attraction. Preserving and encouraging this benefits our economic, educational, social and spiritual growth.
Anne Tique July 19, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Ricardo, Is it ironic that the technologically leveraged free-flow of information value contains the most ambiguous description, and that value 11 concerning "an excellent public education system" is a meandering phrase? At least the 1989 list consistently employed verbs!
Anne Tique July 19, 2012 at 07:41 PM
#9." The arts, our artistic community and THEIR on-going and lasting contribution to our culture, heritage, history, character, economy and quality of life." The list could use some heavy editing.
Jim Welte July 19, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Thanks very much for the insightful comments so far. City officials have emphasized that this is a working list and I assume they'll be adding verbs to improve consistency between the 1989 and 2012 lists.
Anne Tique July 19, 2012 at 09:42 PM
With value 11 in mind, maybe someone in the MVMS Language Arts dept. can assist with a re-write.
Barbara Bauer July 20, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Anne, excellent suggestion!
Dave LaDuke July 25, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Elizabeth, you state that small town character is a deceptive term. Could you please explain what is deceptive about it?
Dave LaDuke July 25, 2012 at 03:56 PM
It's why I moved here - because Mill Valley is a small town, one of the Bay Area's last. I wonder if a lot of people move to Mill Valley because it values operational excellence?


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