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Hundreds Speak Out On General Plan Update

Editor's note: the number of homes Accretive hopes to build near Valley Center is 1,700, not 17,000.

Audio

Aired 10/21/10

A plan for how to manage growth over the next 40 years in San Diego’s unincorporated areas attracted passionate supporters and opponents at a public hearing yesterday. The Board of Supervisors is considering several different land use maps that will affect property values, roads and future development.

San Diego County's General Plan Update will affect the unincorporateed areas of the County east of the city boundary lines. The red line running through the map is the County Water Authority line,  where much of the County's future growth will occur.
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Above: San Diego County's General Plan Update will affect the unincorporateed areas of the County east of the city boundary lines. The red line running through the map is the County Water Authority line, where much of the County's future growth will occur.

A plan for how to manage growth over the next 40 years in San Diego’s unincorporated areas attracted passionate supporters and opponents at a public hearing yesterday. The Board of Supervisors is considering several different land use maps that will affect property values, roads and future development.

The General Plan Update for growth outside San Diego’s incorporated cities shifts future development towards the urban areas, and away from the rural back country.

Twenty-seven local planning groups have worked with county staff over the past 12 years to come up a recommended land use map.

Nearly 200 people signed up to speak at the hearing.

Ed Delallis was one of many who objected to the plan. He said developers inserted a planned road though a cactus farm to facilitate a huge future development.

"It’s still zoned for agriculture," Delallis told the supervisors. "This is no place to put a city. I ask you to take Road 3A off the map."

The road in question is in Supervisor Bill Horn’s district and was requested by Accretive, a developer that hopes to build 1,700 homes. (Editor's note: the number of homes was previously misstated at 17,000.)

The last remaining Mexican land grant, Rancho Guejito, is also in Horn's district. For that area, Hank Rupp, who was representing the owners, objected to limits on future growth. Rupp called the new plan a “land grab.”

"You can impose it," he threatened, "but what will happen is what happens with all unjust plans. People will fight. There will be lawsuits and ballot measures and whatever people can do to protect the value of their land."

County staff estimate that about 20 percent of private property owners in the unincorporated areas will have their development rights restricted under the recommended General Plan Update. But County Planning Commissioner Bryan Woods told the supervisors that property owners could not realistically develop as much as the existing plan, which was drafted in 1978, allowed.

"The old plan established densities without considering restraints," Woods said. "Therefore many property owners have an inflated opinion of what their development potential is. The constraints of the backcountry are real. There’s not enough water, there’s not enough infrastructure and there’s a lot of quality habitat."

County staff say the fire risk has also increased and taxpayers will save if growth is closer to existing public services like fire stations.

The supervisors asked about possible ways to compensate property owners who will lose development rights.

The public hearing will continue Nov. 10.

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