Friday, April 16, 2010
SAN DIEGO A sweeping planning document that will guide future development in San Diego's unincorporated areas has taken a step forward. San Diego County's Planning Commission held final hearings today on a General Plan update. They will refer the plan update to the Board or Supervisors.
The County's General Plan has not been updated since the 1972. Crafting the new plan has involved years of community input. The update reduces the number of homes that can be built in the unincorporated areas.
Michael Beck, chair of the Planning Commission, says the plan preserves more open space and consolidates development closer to San Diego's urban fringe. "I think it's an attempt to implement smart growth principles in the county which were not even discussed in the 1970s," Beck says, "so I think it is coming into the 21st century with land use."
The General Plan Update makes significant changes to the principles guiding growth and development outside city boundaries in San Diego. It allows for more than 200,000 new homes to be built in the unincorporated areas.
However, in order to protect natural resources and maintain the rural character of backcountry communities, the plan reduces the housing capacity in the unincorporated areas by 15 percent from the current plan.
Victor Esparza, who owns 120 acres near Jamul, says that means he can't subdivide his land for development. "Already the loss of value has started on our property," Esparza says, "so I think people really need to look at this. It's a form of eminent domain as far as I'm concerned."
The plan update shifts growth from the more rural eastern backcountry to communities closer to the edge of San Diego's urban areas.
Supervisors will consider how to balance the needs of private property owners when they review the plan in the fall.