Update to county land use plan postponed again

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A decision on a long-awaited update to San Diego County's land-use policy was postponed again Wednesday to give people more of a chance to voice their opinions before the Board of Supervisors considers signing off on the plan.

Department of Planning and Land Use staffers will have a presentation at the board's Feb. 9 meeting in advance of a vote, Supervisor Pam Slater-Price said.

In October, the board began hearing public comments on the county's vintage-1978 general plan for unincorporated areas. The process to modernize land use policies began 12 years ago.

One major effect of the proposed update would be to shift population growth from the East County toward existing communities to the west.

The supervisors are considering four development maps in unincorporated areas, including the “Draft Land Use Map,” which includes the input of local planning groups, and the “Referral Map,” which was created with contributions from developers.

Seventy-six people were signed up to speak at today's postponed meeting, along with more than 10 groups who presented their arguments either against or in favor of the plan, Slater-Price said.

Eric Gibson, the county's director of Department of Planning and Land Use, said the general plan will still allow growth in areas designated for density reductions.

“The real concern will be working with local service providers like schools and fire districts to scale up their ability to serve this growth,” Gibson said.

Shane Draper, a Valley Center resident, said he is opposed to the plan because it “puts all the new homes in downtown Valley Center.”

“It does not make sense to put the majority of new homes 10 miles away from Interstate 15,” he said. “Traffic jams on Valley Center Road will go on forever.”

Wade Ennis, a Lakeside property owner, said the plan's designation of his property as agricultural does not make sense.

“We will have to get minor or major use permits if we're designated as agricultural,” he said. “The general plan could put my entire life's work in jeopardy.”

Slater-Price told Ennis county staff would look into his complaint.

“The one thing we want to avoid is putting residential areas next to industrial areas,” she said.

Janet Wull said she supported the General Plan because of its emphasis on “smart growth,” which means new development focused in existing communities to avoid sprawl, keep homes out of wildfire areas and minimize infrastructure needs.

“The plan more than accommodates forecasted growth and reduces land consumption,” Wull said. “For many rural properties, the General Plan Update actually improves the potential for growth.”

Victoria Clottier also said she supports the update and said residents' complaints were unreasonable.

“Staff have bent over backward to honor every private property request that can possibly be justified,” she said. “If the county makes any modifications to the proposed plan, it should support more conservation, not more development.”

Categories: KUSI