A commission that advises the Sacramento City Council on development issues has updated a controversial proposal to unite the city’s planning and design commissions into one body.

Brian Holloway, a member of the Development Oversight Commission (DOC), said Tuesday that the DOC is proposing a combined planning and design commission with nine members.

Of that nine-member group, four or five members would be design professionals, Holloway said. Representatives of the public would serve in the remaining positions on the commission.

He pointed out that the proposal would join the two commissions, saying the design commission would not be dismantled.

Asked why the commission wants to unite the two commissions, Holloway said: “First of all, there would be significant cost savings in doing that.”

Combining the two commissions would also streamline the current process for the public, according to Holloway. Right now, members of the public ask the design commission to look at land use, which is the planning commission’s role, he said. And residents also ask the planning commission to look at design issues.

Both commissions thought that creating a unified planning and design commission would be a good idea, Holloway said.

The DOC is meeting Wednesday, April 15, at 300 Richards Boulevard in the second floor training room. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m.

Holloway said the DOC created its current proposal after listening to public input.

The DOC will probably decide at its April 15 meeting to suggest its current proposal to the city, according to Holloway.

At the April 15 meeting, the DOC will also weigh in on a city development process known as the “early notification process.” In that process, the public is informed in advance of development projects that have been proposed to the city, Holloway explained.

But community members are telling the DOC that the early notification process isn’t working, he said. The DOC is likely going to suggest that the city improve the process, he noted.

The DOC earlier proposed a united design and planning commission with seven members, Holloway said. In that previous plan, two or three people on the commission would have been design professionals, according to Holloway.

The earlier plan had come under fire from the Midtown Neighborhood Association (MNA), which was formerly called the Winn Park/Capitol Avenue Neighborhood Association.

Local historian and MNA member William Burg had claimed in a March 25 post on The Sacramento Press that the DOC had suggested that five members from the development industry sit on a seven-member board. Burg has been raising concerns about the public’s ability to participate in a joined planning and design commission.

The DOC is not comprised of city staffers. It consists of members from the development industry and the general public. The City Council receives suggestions from the DOC.

The public can make suggestions to the DOC by e-mailing DOC@cityofsacramento.org or calling 916-808-5908.

Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.