County Planning Commission recommends general plan cleanup amendments

Courtesy Photo.

When the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved an update to the county’s general plan in August 2011, the county supervisors directed county staff to develop a “clean-up” in the form of a general plan amendment every two years.

The county’s Planning Commission heard the proposed 2019 clean-up amendments on Oct. 11 and proposed zoning, land use designation and other changes including the redesignation of parcels in Lakeside, Spring Valley, Jamul and Crest.

The Board of Supervisors must approve any general plan amendment or rezone. The county’s Department of Planning and Development Services (PDS) has targeted a Dec. 11 Board of Supervisors hearing date.

The initial general plan update was a multi-year process with much of the analysis occurring on a macro sale, so it was expected that oversights requiring correction would be found and the county supervisors directed county staff to develop proposed “clean-up” amendments every two years.

The update direction also anticipated the need to clarify or revise policies or definition in the general plan or community plans and to provide a process to handle changes in circumstances including changes in state law or ownership changes from private to public. The updates also accommodate minor community planning group or community sponsor group requests.  PDS periodically reviews the county’s general plan to correct errors or facilitate updates which reflect new circumstances.

The 2019 clean-up round includes 38 items for consideration.

The Planning Commission considered recommendations on 28 land use map and zoning changes consisting of 17 ownership changes, 10 mapping errors, and one inconsistency.  Five proposed revisions address text and tables in the general plan, four potential changes are to the mobility element, and one change would correct an incorrect reference in the Ramona Community Plan.

The Planning Commission voted 5-0, with David Pallinger and Bryan Woods absent, to recommend approval of 34 of the items. Michael Beck is the executive officer of the Endangered Habitats Conservancy and recused himself on the three zoning and land use designation changes reflecting the transfer of Alpine, Crest, and Jamul ownership to EHC; when Michael Edwards abstained, the recommendations did not receive the necessary four votes for a positive recommendation although the explanation of the 3-0 vote will be included in the information for the county supervisors.

The other item involves a property in unincorporated Escondido near Interstate 15; the Planning Commission voted 5-0 to send the item back to staff for additional analysis after neighbors objected to changing the Rural Residential zoning to match the land use designation given in 2011.

Two Lakeside parcels adjacent to State Route 67 on the east side and northwest of the San Vicente Reservoir were acquired by the county for the Goodan Ranch/Sycamore Canyon County Preserve.

The parcels total 87.72 acres, and they would be rezoned from A70 (Limited Agriculture) to S80 (Open Space) while the land use designation would be changed from RL-40 (Rural Lands – one dwelling unit per 40 acres) to OS-C (Open Space Conservation).

S80 zoning is intended for recreation areas or areas with severe environmental constraints.  Structures such as restrooms, storage buildings, and pavilions are allowed on land with S80 zoning if a site plan addresses the impacts of the structures.  County-owned parks are exempt from the Zoning Ordinance, so the Department of Parks and Recreation will not need Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors approval for a site plan.