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Planning Begins For 1 Million More People In San Diego County

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Video published October 15, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: Next week San Diego County Supervisors will begin planning for growth in the county over the next 40 years. KPBS reporter Alison St John reports on how growth may affect the county's unincorporated areas and the people who live there.

Next week San Diego County Supervisors will begin planning for growth in the county over the next 40 years. KPBS reporter Alison St John reports on how growth may affect the county's unincorporated areas and the people who live there.

Transcript

SAN DIEGO COUNTY IS EXPECTED TO GROW BY MORE THAN A MILLION PEOPLE IN THE NEXT 40 YEARS. NEXT WEEK COUNTY SUPERVISORS WILL START PUBLIC HEARINGS ON A NEW PLAN FOR MANAGING THAT GROWTH IN SAN DIEGO'S UNINCORPORATED AREAS. IT BEEN MORE THAN 30 YEARS SINCE THE SUPERVISORS LAST VOTED ON A PLAN FOR THE COUNTY'S RURAL AREAS. KPBS REPORTER ALLISON, ST. JOHN EXPLAINS HOW THE GROWTH WILL BE ACCOMMODATED.

THERE ARE ROLLING HILLS AND VERY FEW BUILDINGS BUT THERE WILL BE PRESSURE ON THESE THE PLACES AS MORE AND MORE PEOPLE COME IN TO SETTLE HERE. IN A IS A CONCERN FOR LARRY AND ARBY JOHNSON, THEY RETIRED HERE ABOUT 50 MIMES FROM DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO.

MY MOM AND DAD BUILT THIS HOUSE IN 1930. THE FAMILY HAS BEEN ON THE RANCH SINCE 1875.

AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE NEW PLAN THAT IS COMING UP FOR THE SUPERVISORS NEXT WEEK?

I THINK BASIC THING IS WE WOULD LIKE TO KEEP IT HISTORICAL.

THE JOHNSON'S RANCH WOULD BE DOWNSIZED UNDER THE COUNTY'S NEW GENERAL PLAN. IN OTHER WORDS FEWER HOMES WOULD BE ALLOWED ON THEIR PROPERTY IF THEY WANTED TO DEVELOP IT.

THEY DON'T MIND THE NEW RESTRICTIONS.

WHEN PEOPLE MOVE OUT HERE FROM SAN DIEGO OR TOWN, THEY ARE WANTING THE OPEN SPACES AND THAT KIND OF THING AND WE ARE HOPING YOU KNOW WE DON'T GET A WAL-MART OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, WHICH I HOPE NEVER HAPPENS EVEN IN MY CHILDREN'S DAYS.

THE CHIEF OF ADVANCED PLANNING SAID THE NEW PLAN MOVES FUTURE DEVELOPMENT AWAY FROM AREAS LIKE THIS.

THE MAJORITY OF OUR FUTURE GROWTH WILL BE IN THE WESTERN PORTION OF THE UNINCORPORATED AREA AND THE COMMUNITIES WITHIN THE COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY.

A SHRINKING WATER SUPPLY IS ONE REASON THE COUNTY IS SHIFTING ITS PLAN FOR FUTURE GROWTH WESTWARD BACK TOWARDS THE CITY. UNDER THE EXISTING PLAN 60% WAS TO TAKE PLACE WEST OF THE COUNTY LINE. UNDER THE NEW PROPOSED GENERAL PLAN UPDATE, 80% OF THE GROWTH WOULD OCCUR IN AREAS WITH ACCESS TO IMPORTED WATER AND 20% WOULD BE IN THE BACK COUNTRY. MUCH OF THE GROWTH WILL BE IN COMMUNITIES INSIDE THE COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY LINE.

FALL BROOK VALLEY CENTER, RAMONA, LAKE SIDE. AL PINE, AND SPRING VALLEY.

MANY RESIDENTS CHOSE TO BE IN BECAUSE OF THE RURAL LIFESTYLE AND ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE CHANGES. ANOTHER CHANGE IS THE RISK OF WILD FIRES.

MOST OF THIS AREA IN THE BACK COUNTRY HAVE A HIGH WILD FIRE THREAT. THAT SUGGESTS THAT WE SHOULD BE LIMITING THE AMOUNT OF GROWTH IN THOSE AREAS BUT ALSO WE ALSO HAVE A LIMITED AMOUNT OF FIRE SERVICE IN THOSE AREAS BECAUSE OF THE NUMBER OF FIRE STATIONS AND STAFF THAT WE HAVE AVAILABLE IN THOSE AREAS.

OUT IN CAMPO, THE JOHNSON ARE AWARE OF THE RISK OF FIRE. WE HAD A LOT OF HELL HELICOPTERS COME ENGINE AND TAKING WATER OUT. WE THINK ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME ESPECIALLY IN OCTOBER WHEN ALL THE GRASSES COME UP AND SOMEBODY DECIDES TO --A LAWN MOWER OR A WEED EATER --

THE COUNTY IS TRYING TO MAKE SURE THERE'S ENOUGH FIREFIGHTER RESOURCES TO COVER THE BACK COUNSEL. IT WOULD TAKE MORE MONEY TO PUT FIRE STATIONS OUT FROM. NOT EVERYONE IS HAPPY WILL LIMITING GROWTH IN A AREA OF THE COUNTRY.

PEOPLE ARE ANGRY WHEN THEY HEAR WHAT IS CONTAINED IN THIS PLAN.

HE SAID THIS HIS PROPERTY WILL BE DOWN ZONED CURRENTLY THE MINIMUM LOT SIZE, ARE FOUR, EIGHT, OR 20-ACRES.

IT WILL BE ZONED -- THAT'S THE OTHER THING. THERE ARE FOUR MAPS WE DON'T KNOW WHICH ONE WILL BE APPROVED. IT'S THE MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE MAP, IF THAT IS ADOPTED MUCH OF IT WILL BE 80- ACRE MINIMUM LOT SIZES IN THE BEST CASE 40-ACRE MINIMUM LOT SIZES.

THIS COULD REDUCE HIS PROPERTY VALUE BY 50% OR MORE. THOUGH HE HAS PLANS TO BUILD, THE PLAN THREATENS TO LOWER HIS VALUE OF HIS PROPERTY.

WE HAVE TO LOOK AT APPROPRIATE USES OF LAND USE AND WE NEED TO SEE WHAT IS APPROPRIATE AND WHAT IS FAIR.

THE CHAIR OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION SAID SUPERVISORS HAVE THE RIGHT TO REZONE AREAS BUT THEY MAY CONSIDER WAYS THAT COMPENSATE LAND OWNERS FOR LOSS OF EQUITY.

IT'S NOT CLEAR WHERE THE MONEY WOULD COME FROM.

THE PLAN BALANCES GROWTH WITH PRESERVING OPEN SPACE.

IT'S NOT PERFECT IN MY VIEW EITHER BUT IT HELPS TO DRIVE US TOWARDS A VISION THAT WOULD, IN THE LONG-TERM, PROTECT THOSE ASPECTS OF THE COUNTY THAT ARE NOT REPLACEABLE. THE LANDSCAPE IN THE BACK COUNTRY, THE OPEN SPACES, THE LANDSCAPES, THE FORESTS THAT WE HAVE, THESE THINGS THAT ARE UNIQUE TO SAN DIEGO --

BUT THE COUNTIER SUPERVISORS ARE LIKELY TO HEAR OPPOSITION FROM ONE HAND THAT DOES NOT WANT TO CITY GROWTH AND OTHERS THAT DON'T WANT TO LOSE THEIR DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS.

THESE COMMUNITIES ON A DAY- TO-DAY BASIS STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE. THERE'S NOT A LOT OF ECONOMIC DRIVERS, THE ONLY VALUE IS THE LAND.

EVERYONE IN THE COUNTY WILL BE EFFECTED BY THE NEW PLAN SINCE WATER, FIRE PROTECTION AND OPEN SPACE IS PART OF EVERYONE'S QUALITY OF LIFE, THE COMMISSIONS JOB IS TO BALANCE THE COMMANDS AND HELP IT BENEFIT THE REGION AS A WHOLE.

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