Accomplishments

From May 2007 through April 2019 (in chronological order)

Shasta VOICES has had eleven great years.  Our organization is now over 1,300 strong and growing!  We have accomplished many of the goals we established as we began the organization in 2007.  Our supporters have enabled us to have an impact on decisions being made by our local government officials.  During the past eleven years or so, we have:

  • Been pro-active and persistent in our approach to gaining information about issues that affect both our economic opportunity and items of community support and concern, and questioned that information often and our loud before it was too late to affect the outcome.
  • ​Attended most public meetings that were conducted including City Councils (Redding, Anderson, Shasta Lake), County Supervisors, Redding Redevelopment Agency, Planning Commissions, Administrative Review Committees, Transportation Planning, and Public Hearings, often giving pubic testimony to voice your support and/or concerns  or agendized items.
  • ​Created and maintained an informational website, www.shastavoices.com.
  • ​Produced a monthly newsletter, "The VOICE," both in print and online via our website, to keep you informed of the progress of issues that affect our economic opportunity.
  • ​Assisted taxpayers (and continue to assist) in having unreasonable building "conditions" removed and reduced on projects both large and small, including the "taking" of private property, excess fees, improving property owned by another, and making improvements that had nothing to do with particular projects, saving them anywhere from $4,500 to $265,000.
  • Resolved many unfair treatment issues at City Hall through special meetings, written requests, and challenging inconsistencies.
  • ​Created and published a "Matrix" of traffic impact and other building fees, existing and proposed, to demonstrate and heighten awareness of the cumulative effect such additional fees have on our community, and presented it in a multitude of public forums. We continue to monitor, maintain and update this "Matrix."
  • Delayed the "vote" of the proposed "Fix 5" impact fees and joint Shasta County/City of Redding Facilities Impact Fees, and mounted an official Challenge to the legality of such proposed fees.  Successfully removed "Fix 5" from consideration, causing government officials to create another proposed fee program called SCRIP (Shasta County Regional Improvement Program), which we also challenged (see updates further down this page).  Successfully removed some the the Shasta County Impact Fees from consideration; helped prevent "joint" fee structure.  In total, this effort will save millions of dollars for consumers in our community.
  • Slowed down the imposition of fees and/or higher sales taxes to pay for a new police facility in Redding, forcing other alternatives to the forefront.  Under consideration as of May 8, 2009 are potential existing retrofit building candidates to see if there would be enough money saved to actually provide suitable quarters for our public safety staff without placing an undue burden on local taxpayers.
  • ​Organized and provided public testimony on the "Lithia Deal," preventing the Redding Redevelopment Agency from using taxpayer funds to purchase private business property with no plans for its redevelopment.
  • ​Held our first "Annual Event" in July 2008 for our supporters and potential supporters, featuring well-known columnist Dan Walters (Sacramento Bee) as our keynote speaker.
  • ​Questioned the absence of necessary water quality capital improvements to serve over 8,000 residents in Southeast Redding in the current Capital Improvement Plan (CIP);  a public meeting on the subject is scheduled for May 13, 2009, prior to a proposed rate increase hearing on May 19, 2009.   Our goal to have much needed well head filtration improvements implemented through the CIP plan was met, albeit at a minimum level.
  • Produced a research paper (aka "White Paper") addressed to candidates for Redding City Council in the November 2008 elections, identifying issues for them to address based on input received from those who live and work in our community;  shortened version mailed to 27,000 households who voted in the last election.  Candidates responses to the questions we posed are posted on www.doyoucareaboutredding.com for all to review, and enabling voters to make an informed decision, while forcing discussion of these issues going forward.
  • We continue to support economically sound projects that will bring much-needed jobs to our community and stimulate our local economy, such as the Oasis Road Specific Plan.  We supported the reconstruction of the existing Oasis Road interchange as Redding's #1 priority for obtaining Federal Stimulus funding, writing to our elected officials and representatives, and giving testimony about the benefits to our local economy at every public meeting available to us. Redding successfully obtained some of the stimulus funds , $2.7 million for this project!
  • ​Successfully defeated the Fix 5/SCRIP (Shasta County Regional Improvement Fee) from being implemented in Anderson, Redding, and Shasta County.  We provided information, education, and legal counsel in all parts of Shasta County to clarify just what this proposal would do to our local community.  This disproportionate development impact fee not only would have been imposed unfairly on a select few (new homebuyers and new businesses) for the benefit of anyone who drives on I-5, but it is unlawful under the Mitigation Fee Act (among others).  We suggested that the maintenance and improvement of I-5, a federally owned highway, was the responsibility of our state and federal governments, who collect taxes and fees at the gas pump specifically for this purpose already.  Our local elected officials listened to all sides of this issue and voted to kill the program at public hearings held on April 21, 2009 and May 5, 2009.
  • ​Assisted in the promotion and support of a Commercial Construction Incentive Program in the City of Redding, which became effective 6-1-09.  This will allow those building commercial structures to spread the payment of certain impact fees out over a 3 year period, providing a financing alternative during these uncertain economic times.   The City also has agreed to standardly provide fee estimates to everyone who is building or remodeling a structure in the future at our request.
  • ​We conducted and prepared a research study entitled "Privatization of Public Services" which was officially released to the public on August 24, 2009.  This study, which is available on our website, is 33 pages.  It has served as a catalyst to our local government officials and elected officials to examine their methods of providing public services in the most efficient, effective, and fiscally responsible manner possible.
  • Shasta VOICES hosted (as our 2nd annual event) the first local "Public Pension Forum" on September 24, 2009, at the Holiday Inn in Redding.  The purpose was to foster a better understanding of public pension systems and provide an opportunity for open discussion. Panelists include:  Gene Bell (labor negotiator for Shasta County), Marcia Fritz (VP of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility), Ed Bond (private sector consultant and private pension expert), Steve Allen (Union Representative for UPEC and Redding Employee Unions), Kurt Starman (City Manager, City of Redding), Larry Lees (CAO, County of Shasta), and Brad Pacheco, Chief of Public Affairs, CalPERS Administration (Sacramento).  The event was a huge success, and has been serving as a model for similar events throughout the State.
  • ​Shasta VOICES became one of the ten "Radical 10 in 10" committee partners in December 2009.  Our purpose was to create and present 10 bold ideas to stimulate Redding's economy and create jobs in 2010.  Our ideas included: expanding the down payment assistance program for newly constructed homes; expanding the residential home rehab program to include moderate income residents; offer the first lot for free in the Stillwater Business Park; partner up with the City of Redding and private developers on surplus property sites; form a Redding California Conservation Corps (CCC) of 15 workers aged 18-24; increase sales tax by 1% for one year with proceeds used for infrastructure projects only; a city-owned medical marijuana dispensary and adding taxes on the product; create a volunteer citywide business incubator program that would offer free rent on existing vacant spaces for up to one year; create a local venture capital program; and expand the shop local campaign by creating a $10,000 prize through a drawing that anybody who purchased a new car or truck in Redding during a stipulated period of time would be eligible to win. Of the ten ideas, all but two were accepted by our Redding City Council, and are in process (no 1% sales tax, no down payment assistance program expansion, and no city-owned medical marijuana dispensary, but yes to the tax on the product). 
  • Shasta VOICES stepped up and became the catalyst of the "Get Google" broad based community engagement effort to support the City of Redding's RFI application as the lead agency to become a Google test city for its ultra-high speed broadband networks, making internet access better and faster for everyone.  The deadline for residents of our community to go online and nominate Redding was March 26, 2010.  With a tremendous marketing and public relations drive that included creating a YouTube video, we meet that deadline, and became one of 1,100 cities in the United States being considered as beneficiaries of this infrastructure investment to be made by Google.  Their decision was made later in the year, and we weren't chosen this time.  Perhaps next time, if given the opportunity?
  • ​On May 19, 2010, the California Transportation Commission approved a grant of $22.5 million for the South Redding Six-Lane project.  This will add an additional through-lane in each direction on I-5 from SR 44 to the Bonnyview Interchange.  Shasta VOICES assisted the Shasta County Regional Transportation Planning Agency (SCRTPA) in this process by sending letters to the State Transportation Commission demonstrating community support for this project.  We had opposed the Fix 5/SCRIP impact fee program (which was defeated in April and May of 2009) in favor of obtaining the needed funds from the state and federal governments, and couldn't be more pleased with the efforts of the SCRTPA in aggressively pursuing and obtaining these funds.  The Fix 5/SCRIP impact fee program wasn't needed after all. 
  • ​We advocated, supported and successfully obtained 5% local preference policy at the City of Redding.
  • ​We supported legislation to protect our local tax dollars from raids from the State.
  • ​Shasta VOICES successfully eliminated a 4.2% increase in Redding building and development impact fees that had been imposed in January, 2011, and scheduled increases for 2012, saving as much as $2,500 per single family home and many multiples of that figure for commercial structures.  Approval of our plan occurred in April, 2011, and we were successful in making this fee reduction retroactive to January, 2011, providing refunds to anyone who had already paid the increased fees.
  • Shasta VOICES was successful in convincing the Redding City Council that they need to re-evaluate the way building and development impact fees are applied to commercial structures, both for new construction and remodels.  That effort began in July, 2011.
  • From July, 2011 through December, 2011, Shasta VOICES assisted 3 new Redding businesses in reducing their imposed impact fees.  For 2 of them, those originally imposed fees were cut in half, saving over $70,000 between them, while having all of the fees for the third business eliminated.
  • Shasta VOICES again appeared before the Redding City Council in November, 2011 to advocate for an impact fee waiver program to provide further incentive for new construction of residential homes.  The Council agreed to create such a program, waiving $12,518 in traffic and sewer impact fees for single family dwellings.  The program was temporary, and was available to the first 100 building permits for single family dwellings that were issued prior to June 2012. The program proved to be highly successful:  the increased construction activity put up to 750 people back to work, generated an additional 400,000 hours of labor with up to $8 million in paid salaries, and total expenditures in the community on labor, materials, overhead and profit of up to $16 million.
  • Shasta VOICES again appeared before the Reddintg City Council several times in early 2012 to advocate for a continuation of the highly successful impact fee waiver program.  On June 19, 2012, the Council voted to continue the program by eliminating the original deadline for permits to be drawn until 100 permits had been issued.  In addition, the Council adopted a resolution adding 50 additional impact fee waivers for single-family dwellings and duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes, granting a 50 percent reduction in fee amounts, or $6,259 to the first 50 permits drawn between July 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012.  And, the Council also added another 50 impact fee waivers granting a 25 percent reduction, or $3,130 for permits drawn between January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013.
  • In April, 2012, Shasta VOICES was so concerned about Measures A and B on the June 15th Primary Election ballot that a personally addressed letter was sent to each and every property owner in the officially designated Churn Creek Bottom area.  The letter, which included the official Shasta County maps and copies of the actual "Measures" in their entirety, encouraged each affected property owner to study the materials and protect their private property rights.  Measure A asked voters to approve a project that is consistent with the General Plan and which was unanimously approved by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors.  Churn Creek Bottom homeowners did not want the project to move forward, and therefore put both measures on the ballot.  The project calls for a new 82 acre retail shopping center facility at Interstate 5 and Knighton Road that would include grocery, home improvement and outdoor sporting goods, as well as entertainment and services.  Unfortunately, Measure A did not pass and the project is now on hold.  Measure B said that until 2036, hundreds of private property owners in over 5,000 acres of Shasta County near Redding may not change the use of their very own property unless they win a countywide election or lawsuit.  The voters overwhelming said "NO" to Measure B.
  • The South Redding Six-lane Project was completed and the newly paved 6 lane section of I-5 through Redding opened in September, 2012.  The project was 100% funded with State grant  monies.  No local fees were needed (Shasta VOICES defeated proposed local Fix-5/SCRIP fees for this purpose).
  • Shasta VOICES is participating on the City of Redding Development Impact Fee/Utility Rate Study Advisory Group, which will be making a recommendation to Council sometime in late summer of 2013.
  • After participating in the City of Redding Development Impact Fee/Utiity Rate Study Advisory Group for most of 2013, Shasta VOICES influenced changes to reduce fees and simplify how they are applied to both residential and commercial structures.  The new program that was implemented and took effect as of January 2014 reduced overall impact fees by $3,282 per single family dwelling. This program also eliminated fees for most commercial remodel projects, and reduced overall fees for new commercial structures (amount varies by building).
  • ​Early in 2014, Shasta VOICES offered solutions that were implemented for the Redding Electric Utility (REU) who was falling behind and holding up local construction projects due to staffing shortages and unfilled vacancies.  These included:  1) hiring outside independent contractors as needed to perform electric design review; 2) partnering with educational facilities and helping military veterans prepare for these high demand jobs in the electric and utility industry; 3) hiring a retired EU annuitant par-time in the short-run until the other solutions could be implemented.
  • In mid-2014, Shasta VOICES provided detailed and accurate prevailing wage information during controversy surrounding the Turtle Bay Exploration Park land sale by the City to the McConnell Foundation for the purpose of building a 4-star Sheraton Hotel on the property for the future benefit of Turtle Bay Exploration Park. This timely research clarified misinformation as well as explaining how prevailing wage works in terms that an average person was able to understand.
  • Shasta VOICES supported two additional Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for North State projects in 2014:  1) Oasis Road/I-5 Interchange reconstruction/expansion and 2) replacement of the I-5 bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad north of the Deschutes Road Interchange in Anderson. We will continue to support such grant applications with letters and documentation demonstrating community support for these and other projects in the Shasta County area, hoping local jurisdictions will eventually be successful in obtaining these competitive grants.
  • Shasta VOICES provided election information for both the local June 2014 Primary Election, and the local November 2014 General Election.  This included:  1) 1/2 cent sales tax increase measure in Anderson; 2) Turtle Bay Land Sale ballot referendum Measure B; 3) City of Redding 1/4 cent sales tax increase Measure F; 4) Led an impartial City of Redding Council Candidate Forum.
  • Executive Director of Shasta VOICES, Mary Machado, received the "Communicator of the Year Award" from the City of Redding in December, 2014 for displaying exemplary communications skills in 2014.
  • Shasta VOICES participated on the citizens advisory group to Redding Electric Utility (REU) throughout 2015 as they were trying to change the electric utility rate structure.  Under the proposed new rate structure, the fixed monthly access charge for electricity would have gone up from $13 per month to $42 per month for 36,000 REU residential customers, with a much more complex structure for commercial and industrial customers.  We provided factual information, broken down into language the average person could understand.  After a public hearing and much discussion, City Council voted to unanimously reject REU's request and revisit it in 2017.
  • In the fall of 2015, Shasta VOICES, along with other local business partners, successfully advocated for the proposed $50 million Dignity Health Wellness Center on about 12.5 acres near the Cobblestone Center at Hartnell Avenue and Hemsted Drive in Redding, near the Henderson Open Space area. This project will allow the City and Dignity Health to partner in cleaning up the area and provide access to the open space area, along with shared parking.  The project would include 3 buildings to be build in phases, totaling up to 140,0000 square feet. When built, the project will create 120 to180 local high-paying jobs with $9 million to $14 million in annual salaries.
  • In 2015, Shasta VOICES successfully advocated for the complete repeal of the $3.1 million Churn Creek Road Traffic Impact Fee Zone.  This was put on the books in 2007, after Redding Redevelopment Agency completed the Realignment Project of Churn Creek Road (at Bonnyview Road and fronting the former Kenworth Truck Center).  Shasta VOICES accomplished this by doing thorough research on the subject and working with the City Attorney's office to clarify why such fees were still enforceable.  And, in January 2016, they agreed that our concerns were valid, and provided a legal brief to repeal the traffic zone, agreeing that the zone no longer was serving its stated purpose of facilitating development.  To the contrary, it was discouraging development.  City Council agreed, and unanimously voted to repeal the fees.
  • From March 2016 through September 2016, Executive Director Mary Machado was a participating member of the City of Redding's utility rate update Advisory Group, for the following:  water, wastewater, and solid waste utilities.  In the end, we were able to eliminate tiered water rates to reduce costs to all customers, provide solid waste options for smaller containers to reduce costs to all customers, and provide a reduction of 5.9% (or more) to commercial solid waste customers. 
  • On May 4, 2016, Shasta VOICES co-sponsored a highly successful non-partisan Shasta County Supervisor's General Election Candidates Forum for the general public's benefit.
  • On September 15, 2017, Shasta VOICES co-sponsored a highly successful non-partisan City of Redding City Council General Election Candidates Forum for the general public's benefit. 
  • In August, 2016, Shasta VOICES supported the Churn Creek MarketPlace project, a 149,410 square foot commercial retail center featuring eight retail pads and sit-down and drive-through restaurant pads. It received unanimous approval for a use permit.  As the center develops, it will utilize local businesses for engineering, architectural, and construction and create 300 permanent jobs when completed.  This project was able to move forward after Shasta VOICES successfully had $3.1 million in special traffic impact fees at this location repealed in January, 2016. 
  • On January 18, 2017, Shasta VOICES co-sponsored "Developing Our Economy Forum l," a client-focused approach to community building with officials from the City of Redding.  The forum provided an opportunity to talk about sensible ways to lower the barriers of entry for new business, including the reduction of costs, fees, and delays in the permitting process.  The public input from this forum spurred us to follow-up with "Developing Our Economy Forum II" which provided a community perspective on Redding Development Impact Fees and policies, and Forum II was held on March 29, 2017.   At this highly productive and successful forum, we identified 16 specific suggestions to improve our economic situation as it relates to impact fee programs, streamlining the permitting process to reduce costs and delays, and change policies to provide as much flexibility as possible to generate investment in our community and much-needed revenues to improve our public services.
  • On May 15, 2017, Shasta VOICES celebrated our 10 Year Anniversary!!
  • In June, 2017, Shasta VOICES asked for and received Redding City Council approval for the elimination of the July 1, 2017 annual inflationary increase (3.9%) to the Redding development impact fees.   
  • On August 9, 2017, Shasta VOICES co-sponsored "Developing Our Economy Forum lll: Shasta County - Making the Process Easier."   This community-led Forum was highly successful once again, and provided the opportunity for Shasta County officials to receive input and tackle opportunities to encourage building, promote economic growth and generate additional revenues for County Services in the unincorporated areas of Shasta County.  Process changes at the County are now in the works in response.  Seven specific suggestions generated at the forum are now being considered for future implementation.  Stay tuned as we monitor the progress of these efforts throughout 2017-2018!
  • Beginning in June, 2017, Executive Director Mary Machado is participating as an advisory group member to the City of Redding to update the development impact fee program.  She brought all 16 specific suggestions received at the  Forum II (held on March 29, 2017 as described above) to the table for consideration and potential implementation.  The update process will continue through October, 2017.  Stay tuned for the results of this effort!!
  • Most of the 16 specific suggestions that came out of the co-sponsored "Developing Our Economy" forums relating to the City of Redding were implemented during the update of the development impact fee program, which was unanimously approved by City Council on December 5, 2017.  This resulted (among other things)  in a reduction of $5,152 to the single-family dwelling fee, the addition of a new "plexes" category which further reduced fees for those types of construction by 30%, additional 15% traffic fee discounts for Downtown Redding, elimination of change in use fees in Downtown Redding, elimination of fees for outdoor dining areas in Downtown Redding, fee credits for demolished buildings in all areas of Redding, transfers of fees allowed (for demolished structures) for a different address, and an expansion of the 3 year fee deferral program for commercial construction. 
  • As a result of the co-sponsored "Developing Our Economy" forum relating to Shasta County, some County processes have changed.  These include (finally) the March, 2018 installation of an electronic permitting system called "Trakit" to speed up the permit process, retrieve information from most County databases, provide contractors and the general public to check permit status, track workflow, see notes posted by reviewers, submit corrections and attachments, deliver electronic inspections and many other enhancements electronically.  An improved policy for unpermitted structures has been implemented, eliminating the requirement of the County to bring something built prior to the 1990's up to current code, and a new process for solar roof and ground mounts has been implemented to limit aerial imagery searches only to the structure involved in the solar mount.  Much more work needs to be done as we continue to bring issues that negatively affect economic opportunity for those trying to do business in the County to the table for discussion and resolution. 
  • A long-awaited update to the City of Redding's Parks, Trails and Open Space Master Plan was not approved by the Planning Commission in November, 2017 for a variety of reasons.  At the request of the Planning Commission, Shasta VOICES coordinated a local citizens volunteer Parks Plan Study Group, who agreed to come back to them with more community input, alternative funding sources, address public safety in the park system, and revisit the lofty level of service goals in the document.  This group went through the 188 page draft Plan page by page, line by line,  and presented their findings through a summary report in February, 2018, which found its way to the City Manager.  Now, there is an effort underway by another advisory group to further study the Plan as it related to the development impact fees for all things "parks" in the City.  Stay tuned for the results of all this, perhaps by the end of summer, 2018!  
  • On August 21, 2018, the City's updated version of the Parks, Trails and Open Space Master Plan, which included 44 of 52 changes suggested by the Shasta VOICES local citizens volunteer Parks Plan Study Group, was approved by City Council.  The Plan still did not include any plan to address public safety issues in the City's parks and open space areas, as suggested by the study group.  And, the Plan stopped short of including some way to maintain the City's open space areas that are covered with brush and other fire fuels that burn hot and fast, as evidenced by the July 2018 Carr Fire disaster that devastated our City. It was one of the worst fires in California history, destroying 260 homes in Redding and 817 homes in the County of Shasta.  That devastation caused a lawsuit taking legal steps asking the City to reduce fire hazards and create more defensible space for greenway property under the City's jurisdiction.  On October 16, 2018, the City Council rescinded the updated Parks, Trails and Open Space Master Plan.  It will need to be updated once again, and we will be at the table again when that happens. 
  • In May, 2018, Shasta VOICES asked Shasta County Supervisors to provide the public an opportunity to voice comments, complaints, suggestions and potential solutions for improvement for those who do business with the Resource Management Department.  They were gracious enough to conduct a town hall meeting.  Mary Machado from Shasta VOICES spoke up on behalf of our 1,300 supporters, and submitted a 5-page suggested solution document to the Supervisors prior to the meeting.  The Supervisors directed staff to utilize that document to draft recommendations for improvements for consideration at a future meeting.  On June 19, 2018, staff responded to each and every suggestion and implemented almost all of those suggestions.  And, in August 2018, a new Director of Resource Management was hired as the existing Director elected to retire.  Customer service has greatly improved, and by December 2018, complaints were at an all time low!
  • After the Carr Fire on July 23, 2018, Shasta VOICES partnered with the Shasta Builders Exchange in asking City and County officials to make the rebuilding process easier.  We offered a plan to discount permit fees, expedite the plan review process, and relax building standards for certain rural dwellings.  These suggestions were approved.  After the debris clean-up process was completed, the first permits were issued in December 2018, and are continuing through early 2019. 
  • Throughout 2018 and early 2019, Shasta VOICES is providing support  to Redding single-family neighborhood residents with major concerns about the growing number of short-term rentals popping up in their neighborhoods in violation of the City's short-term rental ordinance that became effective in 2016.  Given the proper tools and information, these residents have been successful in bringing compliance with the rules forward, disallowing those who will not comply, and having the ordinance strengthened to protect their neighborhoods.   
  • Shasta VOICES continued to advocate for park impact fee reductions in February 2019, although a newly seated City Council voted otherwise in February 2019.  The split vote was 3-2 in favor of increasing these fees and implementing a new controversial park fee on commercial and industrial buildings.  We will continue to advocate for elimination of the new fee in 2019.
  • Shasta VOICES, together with the Shasta Builders Exchange, Shasta Association of Realtors, and the Redding Chamber of Commerce, is actively advocating against proposed increases to all building and planning fees that would become effective in the summer of 2019.  The purpose of such a drastic (and flawed) plan is to create more revenues for the City's General Fund to try and pay for more police and fire personnel, a move which is supposed to somehow improve quality of life public safety issues in the area.  The funding shortfalls are the direct result of grossly increased CalPERS pension costs for current and retired City employees.  Raising building fees has historically reduced revenues, not raised them.  We will continue our efforts to stop this plan...stay tuned!