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Much At Stake In San Diego County’s General Plan Update

This week, San Diego County Supervisors will consider a new plan for how to manage growth in San Diego’s unincorporated areas over the next 40 years. The last plan was approved 30 years ago, and much is at stake for communities all over the region.

The new plan has been 12 years in the making, and has involved numerous stakeholders. On Wednesday, for the first time, the County Board of Supervisors will take public testimony.

Jaqueline Arsivaud is with the Elfin Forest, Harmony Grove Town Council, one of the dozens of communities affected.

“This is going to have such a huge impact on San Diego,” Arsivaud said, “in terms of transportation, in terms of fiscal costs, in terms of greenhouse gas, all of those things, depending on which way the supervisors go.”

The “General Plan Update” recommends moving future growth away from the rural eastern parts of the backcountry and toward communities like Ramona and Alpine that lie on San Diego’s urban interface. It also recommends focusing growth in the core of these communities -- in clustered developments -- rather than scattering new development over open space.

The supervisors will consider four maps, representing four different options, for how to manage growth and development in unincorporated areas through the year 2050.

One map, the Draft Land Use Map, represents agreements hammered out with local planning groups over the past dozen years. Another, called the Referral Map, includes requests from developers and others for exceptions to that plan.

Arsivaud says her community is in support of the Draft Land Use Map, since the Referral Map would allow more development in their community.

Property owners in areas that would be down-zoned are concerned that their equity will be hard hit by the zoning changes.

The plan accommodates a projected population growth of more than 40 percent over the next 40 years. Each of San Diego’s 18 cities is responsible for its own growth plan, independent of the County’s.

The supervisors are not expected to vote on the issue this week. In fact, they may not be able to complete all the public testimony at the first public hearing on Wednesday.


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