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S.D. County Attempts To Balance Sustainable Planning With Proterty Rights

Audio

Aired 11/20/09

San Diego County’s Planning Commission is working to reach a compromise on where to allow growth in the unincorporated areas.

San Diego County’s Planning Commission is working to reach a compromise on where to allow growth in the unincorporated areas. The General Plan Update restricts growth further inland where there are fewer resources, and allows more development in the communities within the boundaries of the County Water Authority. Public hearings continue today.

One backcountry resident testified yesterday that ground water wells in his district used to be 300 feet deep, now, he said, residents sometimes to have to drill 2,000 feet to reach water.

Shrinking ground water is one reason to restrict development farther east.

But Planning Commissioner Adam Day, appointed by Supervisor Bill Horn, refused to support a plan that would have rezoned a Pine Valley property from permitting 70 subdivisions to just one.

“I get the water situation,” Day said, “ but to go from 70 to one is essentially a takings. I don’t think it’s fair, and I wont support the motion.”

The Commission voted to make an exception to the county’s general planning guidelines in order to protect this property owner’s rights.

At the other end of the spectrum, Bryan Woods, chair of the Planning Commission, said rural communities closer to city limits will need to find ways to accept more growth, and smaller lot sizes.

“A community like Ramona which is a semi rural community, doesn’t want 100,000 people,” Woods said. “They want 52,000, and this is a tool to achieve that with reasonably zoning and density that supports their community character.”

Woods says the Commission will consider each community’s planning issues before reaching an overall recommendation to present to county supervisors next fall.

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