ALAMEDA COUNTY -- Residents of the unincorporated Eden area will get a chance Saturday to vote on what they want their communities to be like in five years.

The balloting is the culmination of months of meetings where more than 90 community members came up with proposed goals to make the area more livable. Those voting at Saturday's gathering will narrow down the list to issues that they want their county government representatives, supervisors Nate Miley and Wilma Chan, to focus on.

"We're asking people to come and vote on what they think is most important," said Claudia Albano, who works in Miley's office. Staff members from both supervisors' offices have been helping guide the meetings.

"It's a grass-roots effort that's pretty unique, where people will get to vote and choose what supervisors Miley and Chan will be working on, along with the community, for the next five years," Albano said.

The unincorporated Eden area includes San Lorenzo, Cherryland, Ashland, Castro Valley and Fairview. With more than 140,000 residents, it is the fourth most populous area in Alameda County, Albano said.

The goals fall into five areas: agriculture and environment, economic development, education, governance and public safety. Those at the community meeting, or charrette, will be able to choose one goal for each topic.

Under public safety, suggestions include establishing guidelines for group homes and halfway houses, ensuring pedestrian safety and making skate parks more family-friendly.

The Eden Area Livability Initiative Phase II, as the project is formally known, is a follow-up to an earlier joint resident-government group Miley launched in 2004. That effort led to about 20 accomplishments, including the Ashland Youth Center and street improvements, Albano said. About 300 turned out in 2008 to vote in the earlier charrette.

Voting will be limited to residents, business owners and property owners age 16 and older in San Lorenzo, Cherryland, Ashland, Castro Valley and Fairview.

Along with proposed goals are some possible projects, though residents will just be voting on the goals. The projects are examples and could change, she said.

One of the economic development group's proposals is to improve the look and feel of the area. Some suggested ways to make that happen are increased code enforcement and funding for facade improvements for private commercial property.

Saturday's meeting will mark the beginning of the next phase of the livability initiative. After the votes are tallied, staff members from the two supervisors' offices will start to work on how to implement the selected goals, again working with the community, Albano said.

"We know people are busy, but this is a community meeting where people can give their opinion and then vote. It's a pretty cool thing," Albano said.

Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473, or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.

Community Charrette
Eden Area Livability Initiative Phase II
When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Eden United Church of Christ, 21455 Birch St., Hayward