Posts Tagged ‘County General Plan’
The county is moving forward with a proposal to reduce its Traffic Impact Fee by 40% to 50% in the coming weeks. The fees are paid into a county fund by construction projects and are used for future roadway improvements. The reduction is a by-product of the new General Plan which will lower projected roadway costs from $900 million to $535 million due to future development being located near existing towns and infrastructure.
County staff will hold a workshop on March 19th to provide more detail to three alternative financing plans that range from $420 million to $535 million. Additional workshops are scheduled for March 22nd in Ramona and March 27th in Jamul.
It is expected to go to the County Planning Commission on April 13th followed by a hearing before County Supervisors in May.
The County Board of Supervisors voted to streamline its general plan amendment process that project applicants have long complained was duplicative and overly bureaucratic. The process – known as Policy I-63 – required applicants to seek county staff approval before being allowed to submit their plans for consideration. Concerns were that the process was tantamount to an ‘application for an application,’ which added unnecessary time and costs. Policy I-63 is set to expire in December and will be replaced with a more streamlined approach.
The Supervisors decided to replace I-63 with a BIA supported preliminary review process that would allow staff to identify major issues the applicant would have to address but staff will no longer have the authority to deny projects for consideration. The Supervisors agreed that property owners had a right to have their projects considered and should be allowed to proceed with the full knowledge that there was no guarantee that their general plan amendment request would be approved. The Supervisors will vote on the final ordinance in early December.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors took a major step forward toward the final passage of its general plan update. Land owners, the business community and property rights advocates have been dueling with County staff for 13 years over the plan that would direct future growth closer to existing towns and infrastructure and leave vast portions of the back country downzoned.
The day-long hearing had the Supervisors reviewing zoning on a parcel by parcel basis as well as a laundry list of policies that will guide the implementation of the new general plan. The BIA successfully pursued significant policy changes needed to prevent regulatory conflicts throughout to plan, however, backcounty property owners berated the Supervisors for agreeing to downzones as low as one unit on 80 acres. The Farm Bureau challenged the county’s financial plan to provide compensation for farmers who say they will lose property value as a consequence of the downzoning.
At the end of the day, the Supervisors directed staff to continue to speak with landowners who dispute the zoning designations being placed on their land and to return on August 3rd with the necessary documents for final consideration of the general plan update.
Declaring there is no way to make everyone happy, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to push on with the update of its General Plan. The board directed county staff to meet with the nearly 200 property owners who have opposed zoning changes to their land in an effort to reach a compromise – but only if it will not result in the recirculation of the Environmental Impact Report. Most of the disputed lands are broken down into Minor, Moderate and Major categories and the board wants staff to do what it can to move Moderate and Major lands into the Minor category. If necessary the board will take up each property at a future hearing to bring the update to conclusion. The vote was a blow to back country landowners and businesses who have strongly opposed the severe downzoning of property to as little as one home on 80 acres. They say it will destroy land values and negatively impact economic growth of back county towns.
The board will next review a list of 27 policy issues that staff says could be adopted with little impact to the overall General Plan. The BIA has testified at numerous hearings that the policy changes are essential to the successful implementation of the General Plan update. That hearing is scheduled for April 13th.
After two day-long hearings on the proposed update of the County’s General Plan, the Board of Supervisors announced that a final decision will not come before late January or early February. The General Plan update, now into it’s 13th year, is designed to focus future development closer to existing towns and infrastructure but the concept has brought the wrath of backcounty property owners who object to the downzoning of over 400,000 acres as a means to push future growth inward.
Opposition to the plan swelled as nearly 200 people testified against the plan for a host of reasons with many saying the county government was going to far and others saying they weren’t going far enough. The parade of opponents left many Supervisors concerned with the plan and they want county staff to explain many of the issues that were brought up during the testimony before they make a final decision.
The BIA continued its opposition because of multiple conflicts within the plan that would impede the vision the county wants from actually being built. Foremost is the ability of community plans to impose restrictions or ban clustered projects despite the fact that clustering is a main objective of the new general plan.
The BIA is also opposed to the tight restrictions placed on future amendments to the General Plan after it is adopted. The industry considers the restrictions punitive with the intent of making GPAs financially infeasible resulting in a de facto moratorium.
The requirement that property owners set aside nearly 90% of their land as open space as mandatory condition of project approval also met with stiff opposition. Property owners would also be required to pay for the maintenance of the dedicated open space in perpetuity. Such requirements would make most projects financially infeasible.
The BIA continues to work with a broad coalition of property owners and business groups to seeks changes to the General Plan update before it is adopted.
Testimony continues on December 8th.