Union Democrat staff

As everyone involved with a business, a government agency or even a family knows, setting goals is a lot easier than reaching them.

But if you set the wrong goals - be they unrealistic, impractical or unachievable - all that results is wasted effort.

To Tuolumne County's credit, it has set reachable, sensible 2011 goals tailored to today's struggling economy and to our thinly stretched government budgets.

Building out the ambitious Law and Justice Center off Old Wards Ferry Road is not on the list. Nor is purchase of a fleet of new sheriff's patrol cars or paving Italian Bar Road.

Instead, the board has voted to:

•Work with Internet providers to extend broadband service.

•Cooperate with garbage haulers in extending the county recycling program to Tuolumne and Groveland.

•Consider changing its zoning ordinance to allow larger big-box stores.

•Promote economic development in the county through a variety of means, including reduced mitigation fees.

•Continue the ongoing effort to strengthen the county's fire and first-responder system.

•Increase citizen access to county information by, among other

things, holding more townhall meetings and making board-meeting videos

available on line.

These were among goals set forth when supervisors set the 2011

agenda for their planning committee and then listed what the full board

hopes to accomplish in the year ahead.

The Planning Committee, whose policy recommendations go to the

board for action, will consider hiking the county's big-box limit above

the current 60,000 square feet - reportedly at the request of a


The committee, which includes Supervisors John Gray and Evan Royce

as well as representatives from the county's planning commissions, will

continue updating the General Plan's economic development element and

also consider easing rules on emergency shelters, residential hotels

and transitional housing, streamline regulations to promote economic

development and "eliminate discouragement for such development," and

allow more commercial development on farm land to "encourage


Among additional Board of Supervisors' goals: rewriting the

county's Biological Handbook to make it easier for developers to comply

with environmental rules, drafting a "blueprint" encouraging public and

private investment in county areas with superior roads, utilities and

other services and adopting "rolling five-year capital improvement


Also on the list is developing a legislative platform under which

the county would back bills that would "enhance the county's ability to

manage its programs" and streamline the planning process, and oppose

those that "could harm the county and its residents."

The county will also work with the city to adopt identical

ordinances regulating marijuana dispensaries allowed under state law.

Although there may be little public pressure for such an ordinance, the

state law providing for dispensaries has been on the books for 15 years

and there are already two providers in business - one in the city and

one in the county.

It is time consistent rules are adopted.

The 2011 goals have this in common: None of them have extravagant

prices and most of them address problems caused by the ongoing


More broadband, streamlined regulations, flexible housing rules and

more public information about all of it are good things.

Setting worthy goals, indeed, is an important first step. But now

comes the tough part for the Board of Supervisors and the county staff:

realizing them.